We’ve got a lot to say on this topic, so we’re going to cut to the chase. Here are the tried-and-true secret weapons that will take your good book idea to star status.
1. A Kick-ass Book Cover
Your cover is the first impression-maker. It must be thoughtful, well-designed, and eye-catching and is one of two places you cannot cut corners (the other is in editing). One literary agent we met once told us she accepted a new author largely due to the beautiful cover she hired a designer to create for her self-published book. This author’s book cover showed the agent that she meant business and that author soon received a large advance and book publishing deal. A remarkable cover is a part of your brand and authors who know this tend to go a lot further.
2. A Classy Bio
In doing research on this, we found that top speakers, thought leaders, popular novelists, and the most-followed Twitter-users had one thing in common: a compelling bio. Don’t underestimate the power of credibility. Your bio will find itself in more places than on just your book: guest blogs, articles, event flyers, press releases, social media sites and the list goes on. A strong bio is the key that will open doors for you and upon which sales leads and referrals are often built.
Readers buy books based on reviews, which includes word-of-mouth. In support of authors we work with, if we lend or give a book to someone, we insist they post a review on the author’s website, Amazon.com, or even on their Facebook page. Reviews go a long way. Encourage readers to contact you either in your book or on your website with thoughts/comments. You should then post reviews that are emailed or shared with you verbally on your Facebook fan page, Linkedin profile page, website, and even share them on Twitter. If you give a book away, make it a contingency that the reader must spread the word and post a review. The more reviews your book has, the more readers will find you, the more buzz you’ll create, and the more sales you’ll make. Tip: comments on your blog can also suffice as reviews prior to book publication.
Offering freebies go a long way. The list of what you can offer for free is abundant: how-to videos, tutorials, newsletters, book giveaways, checklists, templates, ebooks, podcasts, and resource lists. Consider freebies another form of a business card. The more ways people can access an entry to your content the better. One author gives each visitor to her website a free ebook about the topic of her book. It’s just enough–valuable yet not her full book.
If there is strong demand for your book before it hits the market, kudos. A ready audience is money in the bank. Many an author have cashed in by merely publishing the right book at the right time. If you’re unsure about whether there is demand for your book, create your own demand. Social media is a great way to do this, but teaching classes, doing readings of your work, pitching a story about your book subject to the media, and blogging are all ways to establish your voice and draw interest to your topic.
6. A Vibrant Network
A legendary bestselling author (who we won’t name) is infamous in publishing circles for enlisting the support of his contacts to catapult him to fame. He’s now a HUGE name and continues to write about the importance of massaging your network to help you get ahead. Before your book is released, start rounding up the troops. Once it’s released, create several launch events that engage your networks. Also, keep them in the loop with updates, events, awards, and request reviews from them for your marketing efforts.
As an indie author, the main advantage a traditionally published author has automatically that you might not have is distribution. That is the major secret weapon of publishers. Its what grants their books access to online bookstores, libraries, book retailers, grocery stores, gift shops, and to book clubs. Indie authors who don’t research the business of publishing often discover this too late. Without stores, you’re left with selling all of your books by hand. For some books this is an ideal and preferred sales method, but for most it’s just not enough to create the desired buzz and achieve the desired reach. If you want adequate distribution, research Baker & Taylor and Ingram–the two wholesalers that will get your book into bookstores. Create an account with Amazon and consider using their Createspace service for print-on-demand. Also check out this page which is a resource list for individuals seeking book distribution.
As a bonus, Check out the infographic below to examine Self-Publishing, printing options and an insightful look at the numbers.
Infographic by: Web Site Creation.com
So this is the ultimate list of secrets. What are your thoughts? Do you have any thoughts on how any of these secrets worked well for you? We want to hear!