photo courtesy of David McNew/Getty Images
As the floodgates of independent publishing open wider each day with more and more aspiring scribes looking to attain Amanda Hocking numbers, it's a bit alarming how so few are aware of crucial steps toward promoting ebooks that can stand next to the competition.
When Amazon first opened the doors to its Kindle Direct Publishing platform, mainstream publishers scoffed at the notion of indie authors circumventing the system, offering product with tremendous earnings potential that would soon grow to outsell brick and mortar bookstores. Add into the mix Amazon's Kindle Singles program and now Kindle Serials, any up and coming author looking for a lucrative opportunity outside the system now has several avenues to choose from. Yet as a common factor for success, how prepared are the millions of authors to have their material put its best foot forward? Consider the following:
Your book cover: Familiar with the old adage of "Never judge a book by its cover?" Well forget it. In the world of independent publishing and all of publishing for that matter, it's the cover that sells your potential audience. One of the classic mistakes that indie authors make starting out is by just slapping some photo they photoshopped onto Amazon's site as their book cover. This causes more damage to your earnings potential than anything else. Even if your material is award-winning worthy, it's the cover that says it's worth reading. There are professional photographers and designers out there who will charge anything from $150 into the thousands to design a cover. Understandably expenses will be an issue when first starting out but the blunt truth is that if you aren't willing to invest in a professional cover, you aren't ready for self-publishing.
Your price point: If you aren't Stephen King, James Patterson or Dan Brown, your price point (especially for your first work) should be between the 0.99 to $4.99 price point range. There are a lot of new authors out there pricing books at $10 and up, yet wonder why their sales are stalling. Besides the cover, branding is also everything. People know Coca-Cola and Pepsi, which explains why they're successful. People know Apple which is why they're so lucrative as a company. Build your brand before you hike up your price point. $2.99 at the most would be a safe price point for most new novels. Also, if your work is part of a series, consider pricing your first work at either 0.99 or $1.99. The first work in your series becomes a loss leader and you can raise the price on later editions in the series.
Promotion: If you don't have a Facebook or Twitter page, get one ASAP. Word of mouth is crucial to your potential success. John Locke, the first indie author so sell a million books on Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing platform credits Twitter as a vital key to his success. Setup a Twitter profile and immediately start following and networking with other authors, illustrators and anyone else in your industry. Don't just use the platform to promote your work but actually engage in meaningful relationships with other authors and the like. Be sure to reply, re-tweet and interact with as many people as possible. And don't just limit yourself to Twitter and Facebook. Utilize other social networking platforms from Google + to Pinterest as well.
Branding: Who are you? Do you have a name that stands out? Do you have an online presence that commands attention for your work? If not, then there's no time like the present to start working on your brand. In addition to social networking platforms, definitely start a blog. No one's going to promote you more than you, so definitely start blogging and capturing as much interest for your product as possible. In addition to your own branding, be sure to reach out to reputable sites that can help with advertising for your product. World Literary Cafe is one such avenue. With every tool from featuring your work on their site to actual tweet teams that promote your work on Twitter, this is an asset too good to miss out on.
For more information on self-publishing and promotion, see the following links:
*Looking for a professional to design an awesome cover for your work at a reasonable rate? Check out Ryan Doan Illustration & Photography.