- Make your book the best it can be. If you can afford an editor then find someone who knows your genre and has good qualifications and testimonials. If you can’t afford an editor straight away then, at the very least, get some people to read your book to help you find errors and give you an idea of anything they feel doesn’t work. That doesn’t mean you have to assume that their views are right – or the comments of an editor – as one person’s opinion is just that. However, if more than one person mentions having trouble with the same thing, it’s probably something you need to work on or correct. For self-editing tips read my article here. It’s far better to correct any mistakes and plot or character problems at this stage than after you’ve got a 1-star or 2-star review that will put people off buying your work for a long time.
- Get an amazing cover. A striking, professional-looking cover that appeals to the readers of your genre is one of the best ways to sell your book, so don’t be tempted to buy a cheap cover or make something yourself, unless you have graphic design experience. Your book will be competing for readers’ attention with thousands of others in your genre so it needs to stand out. If you are serious about getting your book to sell then this will be an excellent investment.
- Write the best book description possible. Study the descriptions of top best-selling books in your genre and see what makes them effective. Often they will appeal to the heart, with enough detail about the characters to bring them to life, a hint of the central plot conflict and they might end with a question that makes the reader keen to find out more.
- Get reviews for your book. You can contact book review websites, offer them a free copy and ask them to consider writing a review. Many Amazon reviewers include their e-mail address with their information so you can find ones who review similar books to yours and offer them a free copy and let them know how much you would appreciate a review. Amazon has strict rules about not giving a book in exchange for a review, so you can only encourage people to leave one. Amazon lets you give the book away for free for a few days each month, so if you do a few of these promotions and advertise them well you will start getting reviews without any effort. Your mailing list, mentioned below, is also a great way to get reviews.
- Create an author website with information about you and your books, with links to where to buy them. If possible, include a blog at your website, with articles that will appeal to the readers you want to sell your books to. For instance, if you write historical mysteries, then write an article on the top 10 historical mystery novels. If you don’t feel you have time to run a blog of your own, write a few articles for other specialist websites, especially when you’re launching a new book.
- Create a mailing list and include details of it in your book and on your website. Use an incentive to encourage readers to join, such as a free novella, article or book. This is a way for you to have contact with people who enjoy your writing and is a fantastic opportunity to let them know more about you and tell them about upcoming books. Some of the people on this list will probably be happy to review your books and tell their friends about them, so this is a vital part of book marketing.
The above list may seem straightforward or even obvious, but these are often the areas where new writers do badly. Without an eye-catching, professional cover and a description that makes readers excited to read more, no amount of advertising will work. If you spend time getting these 6 aspects right, you will be on the right track for making your books as successful as possible.