How do you market your books?

by K.C. Hilton
(Harrodsburg, KY, USA)

The Magic of Finkleton (Finkleton, Book 1)

The Magic of Finkleton (Finkleton, Book 1)

The Magic of Finkleton (Finkleton, Book 1)
Return to Finkleton (Finkleton, Book 2)
90 Miles to Freedom (YA/Adult)
K.C. Hilton

Books don’t just sell themselves. How are you supposed to sell your book if you know nothing about marketing?

After choosing to go through CreateSpace to publish my first book, The Magic of Finkleton (webmaster's note: read our review), I quickly learned that I had to wear a new hat. And that hat would be "marketing."

And now with the second book about to be released, "Return to Finkleton," I should be a pro at this marketing thing.

LOL.

So, I started to research.

How to market your books

I’ve been a member of GoodReads for several years and I love that site. I listed my book and created an author’s page, then made sure my website/blog feed was connected. Every time I write a new blog post, it feeds into Goodreads, as well as Twitter and Facebook. Doing this saved me countless hours! I also listed my book for a giveaway - twice, actually!

Reviews are a must have for marketing tool for books. I started following book review blogs and watching book reviews on youtube. I’ve found several awesome books to read!

It was easy to figure out which reviewers might be interested in reading my book. I couldn’t very well contact a reviewer that loved to read romance for a children’s book. I contacted a few children's book reviewers and received favorable responses.

Reviewers have followers, and those followers have followers - get my meaning? It’s sort of viral, and the word spreads all over the internet. It might take some time, but it’ll get there.

But there are more places to market your books and get reviews.

  • flamingnet.com

  • topbookreviewers.com

  • reviewthebook.com

  • bookhitch.com, and so many more.


How do you market your books? Keep reading!

After contacting my local newspaper, they did a story about my first book (full front page). They’ve always done a piece on local authors in our town, but I’ve never seen anything bigger than a small footprint for the story. I was totally doing my happy dance! During the interview I left five books for the newspaper to do a giveaway of their own, along with tons of bookmarks. They also wanted to display them for sale and encouraged me to place them in a few shops around town to be mentioned in the article (coffee shop, family restaurant, mechanic shop, pool supply store).

They're helping me market my books!

A few weeks later, I received a certificate of recognition in the mail from Senator Jimmy Higdon. Now that was totally awesome!

After getting some favorable reviews and selling a few books, I needed to do some major marketing. I chose a few places online such as:
  • dailycheapreads.com

  • kindlenationdaily.com

  • thefrugalereader.com, and

  • kindlebooks.co.za

Of course I have a website with a blog and I have a dedicated blog for the Finkleton series. I signed up for Amazon Associates, because I thought the widgets for selling my book looked pretty cool. I placed those widgets on my website and blog for easy ordering through Amazon. (Webmaster's note: Using the Amazon Associates links also means that KC gets a commission from Amazon on sales of her own books - and anything else her buyers buy on that visit to Amazon! See the link at the bottom of the post for a sample.)

Not only do I place reviews on my website and blog, but I also link to video book reviews that mention my books. These are totally cool! I also linked the videos and book trailer on my Goodreads Author page. Sometimes I sent an additional book with extra bookmarks so the reviewer could do their own giveaways.

Again, it’s viral. If a person doesn’t win, they might still purchase the book.

I’ve also given books, posters and bookmarks to grade schools for giveaways. Imagine your child coming home, wishing to have won a book in a giveaway at school. As a parent, I would search high and low to find that book for my child. Why? Because I would rather my child read a book than play a video game.

As I’ve mentioned, the Finkleton series is for children and middle grade readers, but adults like to read them also.

Never stop marketing!

I started a marketing campaign where I used PrintKEG to print postcards (they also print posters and bookmarks). I’ve not found anyone to beat their prices yet! I had help from a friend and we started mailing them to grade schools, libraries and independent book stores. We’ve completed four states so far.

The stamps cost more than the postcards, go figure. I’ll start mailing more postcards in the spring. Bookmarks are like a business card. Leave them EVERYWHERE! I gave tons to the library and grade schools, and I also leave them in book stores - with permission, of course.

How do YOU market YOUR book?

For a self-published author, I’m not sure if my sales are outstanding, mediocre or low. I’ve been told that they are great, but I wouldn’t know how to find out what the normal selling range is for a self-published author. The last I checked (nine months of sales), I sold around 4,500. Most of the sales were eBooks. I’ve sold around 500 paperback books. The Magic of Finkleton has been on several bestseller lists, several times over.

The only two downsides of using CreateSpace (I love them by the way – customer service is awesome) that I know of is that they don’t offer hardback, and the book is POD. Because the book is a POD my local Barnes and Noble store can’t order them. They are non-returnable, and rules are rules.

How do I market my books? The internet!

Internet recognition is priceless. I entered several awards competitions. There are tons available such as:
  • clcawards.org

  • writersdigest.com

  • indieexcellence.com

  • indiebookawards.com

  • readersfavorite.com.

The first book in the Finkleton series, The Magic of Finkleton, received the Children’s Literary Classics Seal of Approval, Gold Award for Best of Pre-Teen Fiction and Five Star Readers Favorite. I’ve already started entering the second book, Return to Finkleton, in some of the awards. It’s best to get an early start on marketing!

Webmaster's note: Read K.C.'s post about the importance of book covers on our sister site.

Webmaster's request: Fellow self-publishers, how do you market your books? Post and tell us!




Comments for How do you market your books?

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Feb 22, 2012
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Marketing Your POD Books
by: Anonymous

Thank you SO MUCH for this post!

You don't understand how important this post is to me, another first-time author inexperienced in marketing.


Feb 22, 2012
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Booksignings
by: K.C. Hilton

Hi Steve!

And thank you for allowing me to publish this post!

I wanted to touch base on another issue about POD. I may have not been detailed enough.

The only problem that I've noticed with having a POD book is that Barnes and Noble can't get the books in for me to do a book-signing. The books they order in must be "returnable." POD books are "non-returnable."

I even offered to purchase 100 books myself at my cost, and let them keep all but $1.00 of the profits. I thought it would have enticed them enough to say, "yes", but sadly they said, "no."

But it wasn't from lack of trying. The employees wanted my book on the shelves and said they would sell like hot cakes.

But, where there's a will, there's a way! I've already started contacting independent book store owners. And during November and December 2011, paperback book sales went through the roof. Seriously! Single orders of 18 and 25 were being sold!

Feel free to ask questions! Thanks again!

Feb 22, 2012
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How does KC market her books? Energetically!
by: Steve B. (webmaster)

K.C., thanks for one of the best posts we've ever had.

I think the keys to your success were

1) the early realization that the books weren't going to sell themselves, and

2) your willingness to go out and do just that!

And you did so without the motivator of 3000 books in the garage. You did it because you wanted to get your book out there.

Congrats on all the well-earned success and best wishes on achieving still more of it. We'll be watching!

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