I am a bibliophile and have been one since childhood. In fact, Biblio is my avatar name. Books were my favorite birthday gifts. A week before I got married I took the GRE test so I could go to Library School the following year. (I knew that I wanted to be a Librarian. But no, we did not get to sit around and read books all day.) Unlike some of my fellow librarians, I never had the urge to catalog my Golden Books.
With so many books and so little time, I’ve turned more into a tsudonko. (Tsundoku is acquiring reading materials but letting them pile up in one’s home without reading them. The term originated in the Meiji era (1868–1912) as Japanese slang. It combines elements of tsunde-oku, (to pile things up ready for later and leave) and dokusho…
If you are a self-published author, you are often on your own when it comes to marketing your work. There are many avenues to explore including review blogs, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, email lists, etc. In fact, it can sometimes be a bit overwhelming!
In my opinion, social media marketing is great for getting exposure. You can build a support network of other writers (#writingcommunity), gain ideas about target markets for your books, and promotes specials or giveaways. You may even sell a few books.
But I have come to a conclusion that people who spend a lot of time on social media outlets, are probably not book lovers or voracious readers. If they were, they’d be reading, and not Tweeting. So, I decided to try something new!
I decided to try creating a book trailer.
Videos do seem to be another great way to grab a possible reader’s attention and interest, gain exposure, and maybe even sell a book or two. Videos are easy to share and can certainly be used with social media. But, they can also be used on your website, uploaded to YouTube, emailed, shared on blogs, etc.
I started trying to do this myself, but quickly found out that there is a good bit to it. Access to appropriate royalty-free footage, editing software, having a script or storyboard, and a good soundtrack are all important and too much to learn all at once. Therefore, I enlisted the help of a video editor on Fiverr.com to help me get started. It turned out to be a lot of fun. You can view the results above, of course.
As part of this process, I did learn the importance of having a script and storyboarding your video to get your ideas in laid out and conceptualized before you go looking for royalty-free video footage, etc. I am also looking into getting some better video editing software. I think this would be fun to do yourself, but then, you also have to consider time and investment.
So, for my next project, a “coming soon” book trailer for my sequel to Serpents Underfoot, I will certainly still get some help from the experts on Fiverr.com, but who knows what the future may hold!
One thing is clear. Writing a book is only part of the battle, and in fact, may be the easiest part. Getting your book out there and getting exposure, building a reader base, driving sales, all while continuing to write additional books can be quite a challenge. Hopefully, somewhere down the line, the work pays off. You have to truly believe that the investment of all your time and hard work will pay off in order to keep chugging away and eventually be successful.
Just don’t stop trying!
There is some sage wisdom from some old martial artist that seems appropriate here. The founder of Isshin-ryu Karate, Tatuso Shimabuku, used to say it, but I am pretty sure it didn’t originate with him. The saying goes:
If you fall down seven times, get up eight!
My version of that is “I am to stubborn to know when I am beat, so I just keep going!” But, isn’t that the secret to success?
Stay tuned for future book video trailers. And for other blog posts and book reviews, click here!
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.
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.
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.
Thank you, Martha, for your thoughtful comments and great Five Star Review on Amazon.com. That makes 6 so far!
I continue to be surprised by the number of women who enjoy this book. I think Martha’s review shed some light on this for me. While it is a counter-terrorism-type, military thriller … which in my mind, would appeal more to men, woven through the story are elements of love, family, morals, loyalty, politics, deceit, and justice. It is not just about war. It is also about many of the things that made this country great!
Core American Values
A strong sense of family, a belief in God ( or for some, a higher purpose), love of Country, sacrifice, and a strong sense of right and wrong. I guess these things would appeal to a broader base. It is just pleasing to see so many different people enjoying the book.
So, My Shameless Plug
Christmas is just around the corner! I bet you have at least one reader on your gift list for which this book would make a great Christmas present! Get them a great book to curl up with and read on a snowy, winters day while sipping on a hot cup of tea, hot chocolate, a glass of wine, or even your favorite bourbon!
If you were to get them a copy of my book, Sophie and I would greatly appreciate it!