Tag Archives: Book Promotion

What to do when your book cover sucks!

It is not just about the reviews!

Learning to market your book as a self-published author is an interesting and sometimes painful journey. There is so much to learn and so much to do. The book cover, the story itself, the categories and keywords, SEO, social media marketing, Twitter, Instagram. BookBub, etc. … and getting reviews. The list of things to do can quickly become rather extensive.

The reviews I get tell me my story is pretty darn good.

Of course, you always get a few bad reviews. Not everyone will like your book. That is just a fact of life.

However, most of your reviews have been 4 and 5 stars. Some of the reviews have been absolutely outstanding. So why is your book not selling a little better?

Yes. It does take time. When first starting out, you are not exactly Tom Clancy, Lee Child, or Vince Flynn! At least not yet!

You do have to keep plugging away at finding what marketing ideas work for you. There is no way you can do it all. You have to have a plan and then you have to work the plan.

Enter the experts

Through ALLi (Alliance of Independence Authors), I have been exploring and learning about marketing for self-published authors. I have been working with Beth Kallman Werner at Author Connections and now with Jim Kukral at Authors Marketing Club.

The book cover story

book cover

About a week ago, while on the phone with Jim Kukral, we went through my book’s categories and keywords and at Jim’s suggestion, made some smart changes there. I learned about KDP Rocket and if you are a self-published author, I think this tool is indispensable.

We also looked at the book cover. Jim’s comment was that the book cover looked like exactly what it is … a first cover attempt by a newbie self-published author.

I must admit it hurt just a bit. After all, I was kind of proud of the cover. I mean, I designed it myself. Jim then suggested I take a look at other book covers in the same genre; essentially military action thriller.

I did this and his point became painfully obvious. A lesson learned. Jim explained the concept of “cover to market.”  Essentially, this means your cover has to stand out in the market you are competing in. Kind of a “duh” moment actually.

So … back to the cover drawing board we went. And, about a week later, voilà!  I must admit, I love the knew cover. It fits the genre and stands out among the book covers of my competitors. It gives clues to the story line with out being a “spoiler.”

In addition, many people I have shown the book cover to really like it.  A few have not. But when I dug a little deeper, I realized this is not a genre they read very much of. That kind of clicked as well.

The unveiling!

book cover
The new cover

I would be happy to hear your thoughts on this new book cover.

I think there are several good lessons in this post. Self-publishing is an interesting new venue for aspiring authors. It is very cost effective when you are just getting started. But being self-published does not mean that you have to remake the same mistakes as everyone else.

You most certainly can if you want to!

And, we will all make our share of mistakes. However, there are legitimate experts out there who really love helping authors succeed and it does not have to be prohibitively expensive. Talk to a few people who know. Check out the competition. Learn about concepts such as “cover to market.” Check out tools like KDP Rocket. And always remember, it is not a sprint to instant success  … it is a marathon where endurance and training count.

Promoting Your New Book? Have You Tried Libraries?

Book Promotion 101

promotingYou are a self-published author and you have published your first work. Unfortunately, it is not flying off the shelves at Amazon.com. You are selling some books and getting some great reviews, but real success seems to be so slow in coming. Establishing yourself as an author takes time and hard work. Now, is when the real work begins. You have to begin promoting your book. There are a lot of ways to do this. Amazon.com offers promotion tools. You can join Goodreads, BookBub, AuthorsDB and other online book promotion communities. I am sure you have a website. a Facebook Fan Page, and a blog. You do book signings when you can.

What else can you do to promote your book?

Have You Thought About Promoting Your Book Through Libraries?

People who read often go to libraries. I have been donating copies of my book to any libraries that are interested and so far, they have all been. What I am after here is name recognition. You want people to check your book out from the library, read it, and enjoy it. Then you want them to tell their friends how much they enjoyed your book. This library idea is something i am currently trying. And, to be honest, I am not sure how well it will work. But, it certainly can’t hurt!  If anyone else has tried this, I would be happy to here their comments or suggestions.

So far my book, Serpents Underfoot, is in four libraries and will very soon been available in several more. It is currently available at the Inlet Public Library in Inlet, NY, the Raquette Lake Library in Raquette Lake, NY, and the Old Forge Public Library in Old Forge, NY. It is also in the Southern Regional Library in Durham County, NC. In addition, it will soon be available in the Wake County Library system, the Knoxville Public Library system in Knoxville, TN and the Clinton, Oak Ridge, and Norris public libraries also in Tennessee. Getting your book placed in the “Local  Authors” section of your local library can’t hurt either!

Another Benefits Of Using Libraries

Another benefit I can see is that many libraries purchase books through Ingram Spark. I used Ingram Spark to produce the hardcover version of my book. If your book gets good circulation, I think you can be pretty confident that these libraries will be open to purchasing future works by you as they are published.

Any Experience With Libraries You Want To Share?

Again. this is basically an experiment on my part and I am not sure how well it will work, but I believe it has real potential if you can handle donating a few books now for success later. I will keep folks posted on whether or not this works out for me. Also, I am interested in hearing of your experiences if you have tried this and you are willing to share. Promoting a book as a self-published author takes time and effort. Anything you can do to help is probably a good thing. I believe it is a lot of trial and error to find out what works for you. You try a lot of ideas over time and some of them work. If you throw enough mud at the wall, some of it surely will stick!