From time to time I get into rather interesting conversations with authors lamenting the fact that their book simply isn't selling they way they'd expected. My response is to ask them what they'd done to market their book. Oftentimes their response was that they hadn't done anything. Many authors, especially newbies, honestly believe that all they have to do was list their book on Amazon, and people would come along to buy it.
"Build it and they will come," may have worked in the movie Field of Dreams, but that mindset simply doesn't apply in the business of selling books. Nor is it up to your publisher to go out and sell your book for you. They can distribute it, but unless you, the author, go out and do some marketing, your book won't sell. Fortunately there are many things that you, the author, can and should be doing to help promote your book.
- Have a website or a blog, or both, about your book.
- Promote your book on social media, including Twitter and Facebook.
- Listing your book on other websites such as Goodreads.
- Book signings.
- Contests and giveaways.
- Book Trailers.
If you only do one item on this list, make it a website. Depending on your budget, you can do a simple, do it yourself blog website on WordPress.org or Blogger.com, virtually for free, or you can hire a webmaster and have a state of the art website will all the bells and whistles.
Social media is an absolute must as well. It costs nothing to open account on Facebook and Twitter, and Facebook author pages are free as well. Keep in mind, however, it takes time to build a following on social media, so don't expect instant results. I have, however found Facebook advertising to be very affordable and a nice tool for building my brand. I've also found contests and giveaways to be a nice marketing tool as well. From time to time I do giveaways on Amazon, and it typically results in more book sales.
If you have the means you can certainly hire a publicist, but be sure that he or she has experience in book promotion, as book promotion is different from other kinds of public relations. Also be sure to talk to them about the cost. Some firms may charge as much as $3000 a month for their services. Others charge much less, and may do just as good of a job as the higher-priced publicists.
No one ever said marketing a book would be easy, especially in a time when anyone with a computer and access to the Internet can upload a Word file onto Amazon Kindle and call him or herself an author. However, unless your name is Stephen King, James Patterson or J.K. Rowling, don't expect people bust down the doors to buy your book just because you've listed it on Amazon. You really do have to get off your fanny and do some work.