First things first. I needed a book to market, to advertise. My wife took care of that, with some nudging from me. Oh - and about 1000 read-throughs of the manuscript. I did that part. I also marked the edits, over and over and over until we got it right.
Second - Get the book uploaded and available for sale. Sure, this goes without saying, but, while it IS possible to market a book that is not yet for sale, I don't really see it as the most effective way to go about it when the author is brand-new published. So, we did our hard work, did all the prep for the book and got it uploaded.
Third - Find the best places to upload the book. Everyone knows about the Kindle. Well, almost everyone. And most everyone knows about the Nook. So those two spots were obvious. We uploaded to Kindle through KDP, and then I learned how to upload to the Nook through their 'Pubit' interface. In fact, we did this a couple of times as we learned the ropes to self-publishing. Through trial and error, we are happy with the current online product. I'd love to add some 'after matter' to the book now, you know, more info about the author, contact information, the 'reviews aren't required but are appreciated' type stuff, but I think I'll leave it alone for now.
What some people (pointing at myself) don't know about is smashwords. It wasn't until after we got the book uploaded to Kindle and Nook that I learned about Smashwords.
So, after yet more work, I got the book uploaded there. I won't take the time to talk about how nice it was that they published it so much faster, but it was nice that they published it so quickly. I'm still new to Smashwords so I need to take more time to learn all the ins and outs there.
Fourth - Now comes the marketing. And boy-howdy was I new at this. During time that I wasn't working I began to read and read and read. Then I read more. I found website upon website of great information for self-publishers and kindle users. I setup at Kindle Boards. I have an account at Goodreads. I've setup a lot of accounts recently. I am helping my wife with tweeting and facebook and blogging. I continue to read and learn and implement. Some of the things I've learned in this new endeavour:
- Cover Art - Absolutely Essential. Everything I read says to make sure your cover art is top-notch. Beyond actually writing the book, your cover art is the single most important sales tool you have. Potential buyers look at the picture. If they like it, they'll read the blurb. If they like it - they'll buy the book.
- After the Cover art (in importance) comes the blurb for your book. My wife and I worked a long time to get a clear and concise blurb for the book that we feel conveys the message of the book without boring the potential buyers. I'd love, love, love to hear feedback from average readers on what they think of the blurb for this book.
- Get your name out there! Obviously, if no one knows who you are or what (or where) your book is, they aren't going to buy it. Because of this, getting your name out there is essential. Goodreads, Kindle Boards, Twitter, Facebook, Blog Posts, and a host of other methods are free and easy to use. Every time you post, almost anywhere, people see your name. They begin to recognize that name and when they finally go look at your book, they are more likely to buy.
And more regarding getting your name out there:
Some people, especially new authors, fear the marketing and promoting because they are concerned people will think 'hey - stop pushing your book on me!' But that's not it at all. I am happy to say that I haven't yet had to do any 'look at me' marketing. Instead, you have to become active in the reading/writing community. People have to get to know you, see some of your writing. Then, and only then will they become interested in your book(s). The writers with who you are interacting become comfortable around you and are more likely to offer a plug, or review, or interview or guest blog post. Readers get to know you and, seeing that you are human and not a marketing machine, are more likely to want to read your book.
So, that's what I'm currently working on. Getting her name out there. I'm posting relevant content. I'm trying to showcase her writing talents. I'm getting to know other authors, other readers, other people involved in the publishing industry.
And - I'm reading. By golly, I haven't read so much online since ... well... since I can't remember when. I read, read, and read some more so that I can learn more.
Part of my fourth step is also learning about new ways to market this book. I've been reading about blog hops, guest posts, interviews, etc... I've just signed her up for her first 'blog hop giveaway'. Or something like that. It's at the end of October so I've got some learning to do, but I'll get that done soon enough. Having her signed up is the first step.
Getting reviews is also essential. I've visited so many book review sites lately that I nearly forget where I've already been. I'm searching for Historical Fiction/Romance reviewers. I feel obligated to get to know the reviewer before blindly sending in a review request. I visit their site(s), read about them, read some of their reviews. I read their submission policies. If I feel that they may be a good candidate to have review this book, I spend some time crafting a clear email and sending it over.
Results on requesting book reviews are still out, because we've managed only one single review until now. Hopefully, we'll hear back from some of the others we've queried and get some reviews from them. Then I'll be able to update back here on the results of getting reviews.
Note: - There are hundreds of thousands of ways to market and promote a book. I don't know even know a fraction of them all. I've learned some that I'm happy with and I'm working on them. And I'll continue to work on them until we see hundreds of thousands of sales.... That could be a while.
And lastly, Fifth - Success! Sales! Yes, we've seen sales. There were, of course, the first 2 or 3 right after we posted the book. I'm sure this is from those people who watch the 'newly published' list and grab things they are interested in. But now we are in the 'mainstream' of books, right next to some one million other books.
But now we are starting to see more sales trickle in. As these sales slowly (and I emphasize slowly here) begin to increase in frequency, I feel like I need to double my efforts. 5, 10 - 15 sales in the first 2 or 3 weeks. Is that a good start? Who knows. But it IS a start nonetheless and we'll roll with it.
Sales on Nook and Smashwords are also starting up now and we're happy. We have our own goals and sales marks we are reaching for.
In the end, marketing is a tricky monster and many go about it in many ways. The items I've outlined above are our first attempts and we'll continue to work as our sales numbers go up.