So, you finished your WIP. The brilliant MS you’ve invested time and effort for a long, long time.
It’s now been edited, checked, and rechecked until you are convinced there’s nothing else you should take out. Take out, because there’s always something else you could put in. You’ve “killed your darlings”, you’ve shown as much as possible, told a little as possible.
So, as we said before, you are done.
Now, you are ready to publish.
It’s your debut novel. It’s the next installment in your long-running series. It’s the new genre you are going to take by storm. It’s the next self-help book you are going to publish.
You want it in front of as many readers as possible.
Readers? Don’t I mean people?
Nope. Not people. If the eyes that see your book are not readers, and even more specifically, readers of your particular genre, they will look at the cover and might say: “Huh. Look at that. Looks cool.” And they’ll move on. Won’t comment on it, and certainly will not read the book.
So you need to make noise. LOUD noise, yes, as loud as possible, but you also have to make sure the right people hear all that noise.
Who are the right people?
That’s the first question.
Ian Fleming wrote his first 007 novel for those adults with a taste for spy thrillers.
Agatha Cristie wrote her novels for the public that enjoyed a brain teaser, adults, mostly, fairly educated, with disposable income and time.
You should have a target audience in mind.
It may be a rough idea. Adults, i.e. over eighteen, high school graduates, readers of political or intrigue thrillers. This would be a good description of a general target audience.
Once you know who would like to read your book, you have to get the word to them that the book is out and available.
First, you’ve got to publish on as many platforms as possible. Amazon KDP, yes of course, but also Nook, Barns & Noble, Ingram Sparks, any and all you can think of. Once you are ready to go, you have to pick one (or more) that have print-on-demand commercial copies for the author, and you have to reach out to libraries and local independent bookstores.
However, tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of books get published every day. On every one of those platforms, just putting it out will not get it in front of potential readers.
How can you get it noticed?
There are things you can do.
Many of these will require your book to be on sale for $0.99 or be free for them to even consider promoting it. And most will also require the book to already have five reviews or more, and have a good review average, that is to say, four or more stars.
These are good alternatives. They have lists of readers who they reach regularly. Lists of people that love to read and are always, always, always looking for a new book to read. BUT these readers want a cheap or free book, and that is what most of these services are offering. They reach their audience by offering new work at discount prices.
You as the author, get something a simple “on sale” offer on Amazon or Ingram Sparks will not do. Many authors make a “for a limited time only! My book for $0.99”. But how will people see it in the sea of other books going on sale every day? Dropping your price or even going “Free!” for a week or so, might get your book in front of those readers that use the “List by price: Low to Hi” filter. The services listed above have a group of subscribers that are interested in buying books and will take a look at yours. These services will let you know how many people they have signed up for their email list for each genre and how much it’ll cost you to get the book in front of them. They select the books they will put in front of their lists because they want the books they offer to SELL. So they are right there in the trenches with you. They want to make sure the book sells because then they get the loyalty of the people and have them bring even more people to sign up for the service.
There are consolidating services, that will publish the book for you on many ebook portals (I don’t know right now of any that will also publish it as paper or hardback) and have it available with a universal link, that is to say, a link to all the places your book is being sold, so that the chances someone will go to their preferred seller and get your book goes up. However, that’s the extent of it. They’ll put it out, they won’t push it. There’ll be no buzz.
So, enough about how hard it is, how do you make NOISE?!?
First of all, of course, it’s your author’s platform. You have to be present on several social media services. YouTube was “the place to be” for a long time. Then it was Twitter. FaceBook. Instagram. Truth is, any and all are important. You have to look at them and find where the readers you wrote the book for hang out. Are there mystery clubs? Horror clubs? Thriller reading groups? Star Trek/Star Wars/ The Orville/ Galaxy Quest forums? You have to join and participate, preferably for months, before you drop your book on them. And, be advised, some, many, of those forums and groups expressly request you DO NOT promote your book.
There are book clubs and other organizations that read books. A different one every week, every month, etc. If they read books in your genre, you want to reach out.
You want to get on author interviews. Podcasts or YouTube “booktuber” hosts that interview other authors in your genre.
There are book boxes and other vehicles to get your book in the hands of readers of your genre.
If you have people you know, fellow authors or dedicated readers, that live in your city and other parts of the country, or other countries, you should get a Street Team together. These are people that will actively reach out to people they know, telling them your book is out and to check it out.
Then you need to ask for reviews. Straight out at the end of your book, you should include a call to action to review your book. The more positive reviews, the better received your book will be and the more buzz you’ll create.
There are many things, then, you can do to create buzz around your book. Get it in discount services, so that you get it in the hands of readers that will tell their friends about their new favorite author (YOU!), get on interviews so that people hear what you have to say about your book and discover that they’ll probably like to read it. Get the word out on FaceBook, Twitter, and all the other social media. I see requests from people every week: “I want a new book to read, what do you recommend?” Be there, follow them and, if possible, have them follow you back, so that you can tell them, “Hey, do I have great news! Check out my book. I think you’ll like it.”
Creating buzz is very hard, but it’s what you have to do, if you are going to get readers, the right readers, eyeballs on your book.
I hope this helps out a little. Thank you for reading and drop me a line if you have any questions or comments.