When self-publishing a novel, promotion is everything!
On the traditional publishing path, literary agents will provide numerous opportunities to raise awareness and your publisher will likely have well-traveled paths for advertising in place.
When you’re on your own, it’s up to you! Everything about promotion, the factor that will partly determine the success of your novel, is in your hands. That should sound both scary and exciting!
To make sure you can rest easier and enjoy the process as much as possible, we’re glad to provide help, insight, tips, and tricks on the topic of…
How to promote your self-published novel
So many promotion steps work best if they happen beforehand! The question is: how far beforehand?
If you’re still thinking of writing a book, or plan to wait for a long, long time to publish the novel (perhaps you’re creating the entire series first), you have lots of time to prepare!
Well done! Few people think about promotion this early!
It’s possible to make small changes that will help later on. First, tell others about your passion for writing. Second, to develop credibility and expand your horizons, look for other writing opportunities. Pick up a related job or join a writing group. In the process, you might just discover a knack for journalism, comic development, or another form of literature!
During all that, explore your writing style; where you like to write, what you like to write, and your goals (if you want to create any at the time). This is all about positioning: you don’t need to bend over backward to imagine a writing lifestyle, and make small preparations.
Months beforehand, it’s likely you’ve climbed the mountain of novel writing: the nth draft has been completed, you’re reading through it with friends, family, or editors, and you’ve probably even considered the traditional publishing path.
You know you have a good story. You want it to be seen!
At this point, start thinking of the ways you can reach out, advertise and connect. Start creating goals. And in the beginning, don’t worry about developing a solid plan: brainstorm and put down any crazy idea without any judgment.
Next, when you’re done brainstorming for a while, run back through them and see what’s doable, what looks good. Let the judgment begin! From here, you can begin to research and arrange the promotional steps.
(Also, while you’re at it, make another list of all the people you want to thank, from family and friends to your favorite English teacher. It’s never a bad idea to brighten someone’s day with a little gratitude!)
By this time, the plan should be in place. If you started long ago, you’ve likely positioned yourself and begun to build credibility as a writer. Others know about your vision and are excited for what you’re ready to publish.
Start taking those steps.
In the moment and after
Sometimes you don’t seriously consider promotion until your first novel appears on Kindle Direct Publishing, and then you have to figure everything out in the heat of the moment. If that’s the case…
Don’t panic! Take a deep breath and get ready: while these pathways work best with foresight, there’s still time to get the word out!
Social Media is one of the most powerful tools for individual creators to let others know about the newest developments in their work.
Of course, most people know that by now.
So, rather than say “social media sites are great”, we’ve put together a nice breakdown of what you might expect from a few major players!
(REMEMBER: in this category, be wary of your “promotion.” Social media is meant to be SOCIAL, so focus on letting others hear about your masterpiece. Don’t “sell” to your friends or family, and don’t anger the Reddit mods!)
More than many other sites, Twitter loves writers!
Twitter posts are generally comprised of short literary snippets, possibly with a link and a small picture. The focus lies on the wit and skill of the writer.
Here, many authors show off their ability to write clever, thoughtful, harrowing, and humorous thoughts. If you find your crowd, it can be the perfect place to get excited about your upcoming book publication!
However, starting can be difficult. If you’re new to Twitter, you may have to spend time in the program: get involved in other conversations, repost, and use other mediums to direct people here.
Again; planning and preparation can greatly improve your chances!
Instagram loves photos!
Most people go to Instagram to see quick snapshots of what’s new. For your novel, consider taking a picture of your writing setup or buying a few copies of your book beforehand – if possible – and taking a picture with it.
Honestly, the joy of holding a copy of your book is well worth the price. Make sure to look at other photos to get an idea of what looks good!
Facebook loves friends!
The site focuses more on updates like Instagram, but has an enormous range of extra features. For one, Facebook allows for more words in the text of a post. You may be able to spend more time discussing the plot of your novel, or the process of completing it, while still including a great picture!
Also, you can far more easily create events on Facebook. If you’re planning on having a release day, consider giving the book’s release an official date.
There are tons more sites that love writers!
As always, you could try our old friend, Reddit. The subreddit r/selfpublish has great community resources, but make sure only to announce your novel in the weekly self-promotion thread! If you’re looking for shameless self-promotion anytime, try r/selfpromotion. But we’ll be honest: there’s no telling who goes there, looking for what… Good luck!
Discord also has a number of popular venues for discussion. Just remember: the rules for posting are different for each. Make sure to read what they are!
Search the internet: there’s always more, and no way to be sure if something specific will be your golden ticket.
Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)
If you’ve been following our series on Amazon’s publishing service, Kindle Direct Publishing, you have a few great tools right at your fingertips!
First of all, when creating your book in KDP, there is an option to set the date your book gets published. This will allow you to prepare your promotions before the book gets published.
(However, we do recommend a “cheat”: publish quietly beforehand and buy a copy of your book. This lets you check the print quality and take a few pictures with a printed novel! Cherish those first copies, friends.)
Second, when your novel is approved, you can select “Promote and Advertise” from the main screen, for both Kindle and Paperback:
This opens a new page of opportunities! We’ll discuss the main two: price promotion and ad campaigns.
With a Price Promotion, you can reduce the price of your book for a time, by a certain amount or completely. If you know your novel will blow readers away, allow the first few to try it out and then let them bring word to others!
Ad Campaigns will bring your book up on Amazon in your region. You only pay when someone clicks the ads, and the cost won’t go above the budget set. Not a bad option if you’re willing to personally invest!
There are always local opportunities.
Talk to friends and use word of mouth advertising. If you’re in school, ask a teacher or professor what might be available. And most of all, remember that most places have a system in place for such things at:
Libraries and bookstores
Did you know: libraries often have entire days dedicated to published authors from the community? If your library works like ours, there’s even a “writer of the month” chosen, and their work goes on a poster for all to see!
On the other side of the coin, many bookstores have great potential. Being more inclined toward selling rather than just announcing, they may also be interested in making space for your work on the shelves!
Seriously, we’ve never failed to be amazed at the hidden possibilities these places hold. What’s near you?
At first, you may be worried there aren’t enough places to promote a novel. In the end, you’ll probably realize there are too many!
Plan ahead. Brainstorm. Write down the ideas, sort ’em out, and narrow them down. If you do these things, you’ll have a much easier time of discovering and making steps for the ideas that work best for you, your area, and your novel. Good luck, and we hope this advice helps your novel take off!