Advice on marketing Your Book
Once your book is written, edited and printed, you can finally get started on the marketing.
The purpose of marketing is to make your potential readers aware that the book exists - if they don't know about it, they can't read it.
As the author, you are uniquely qualified to market your book and you are likely to be engaged with the 'tribe' that is your potential readership.
We strongly recommend that you as the self-publisher do most of the marketing yourself.
Getting outside help from agencies is expensive and won’t automatically result in increased sales.
We have listed below some of the techniques that have been succesful in promoting some of our best-selling books.
If a bookshop wants to order a book, they usually search for it on the Nielsen International Book Database and then either place an order with the publisher (for large orders) or with Gardners Books for single copies. Gardners consolidate orders from bookshops and relay them to publishers using Nielsen BookNet. YouCaxton manage this for you as part of their distribution service.
It isn’t a legal requirement to register your ISBN. So for example, you don’t need to register if you are producing a book of poetry that is only going to be sold at poetry readings but there are additional advantages, the main one being that once an ISBN is registered, the six copyright libraries will request that you deposit copies of your book with them and this will give you copyright protection. The copyright libraries are located in Belfast, Dublin, Edinburgh, Oxford, Cambridge as well as the British Library in London. YouCaxton will ensure that your book is deposited at these libraries.
This is so important when it comes to searching for books on Amazon as the title is effectively the main keyword for searches.
Try searching on Amazon for a book in your genre using different phrases and see what turns up – then use this information to help you decide on your title
Then include more key words in your subtitle.
A series of books called Guides for History Travellers is a series of four short history books about Spain, France, Turkey and Greece, designed to be read in about two hours on the plane or at the airport.
Each book has cartoons, maps, and informative text with references and suggestions on slightly off-beat sites to visit.
The series was originally called Amazingly short histories of … Spain etc. but sales were weak. The books were then relaunched, with a new title after spending some time testing the title by searching on Amazon.
The author wanted the books to appeal to travellers interested in history and for the books to appear in the travel-guide section - so renamed the series from Amazingly short histories - Spain to Guides for History Travellers - Spain.
Suddenly sales took off and for a significant period, sales of two of the books, Spain and Turkey, were at the top of the Amazon best-seller ratings in their category.
For two years, sales were around four hundred copies per month.
Sales were especially high in the USA - perhaps because the USA market is so large - or perhaps because Americans take more interest in the history of countries they are visiting.
If you already have a website, it makes sense to add your book to your existing site but if you don’t have a website, it isn’t cost-effective to build one for just one or perhaps two books.
A good alternative is to use an Author-WebPage.
This is a single page on the YouCaxton website which is effectively an AI Sheet (Advance Information Sheet) which describes your book and how to buy it. We can also post reviews and any other information you want to display.
Each Author-WebPage has a unique link which looks like:
If you want to check out some WebPages, just go to the YouCaxton Bookshelf and click on a book. You will be taken to the WebPage for that book.
You can use this link in any printed matter such as press releases or AI Sheets as well as adding it to the bottom of your emails, on social media or circulating it to your contacts. If you are offering a discount to your contacts for pre-publication sales, this can also be managed through your Author-WebPage.
YouCaxton charge £35 to set up the page for you.
If you decide that you need a website, Youcaxton can help to get you started.
Local media are always in need of local stories. A little research will soon establish which journalists and presenters take a particular interest in cultural events and in locally published books, and it's best to target communications at these individuals.
Often, the peg for the publicity will be an upcoming book launch. The author can coordinate the timing with local media to promote/advertise the event at which copies of the book can be sold.
The standard format for providing information to journalists and presenters is a Press Release but it's usually advisable to precede this with an initial explantory email or phone call. Blanket mailings rarely work as journalists are snowed under by unwanted information from 'publicity companies' and you need your press release to stand out from the rest.
It can be useful to look at the circulation figures of the various publications and you can offer to provide a free review copy to those with the highest circulation.
The Press and other media are often more interested in the story behind the book and why you came to write it, so don't make the mistake of focusing too much on the detailed subject matter of the book in the press release.
It's also a great help if your book has a local element to it so that you can include some local reference in the title or subtitle e.g. Mathematics of Murder, Northampton's Deadly Calculus; a superb novel based on a local Northampton figure that we published last year.
There are a surprising number of organizations looking for speakers.
A benefit of selling books direct to readers is that the book can be sold at full price without having to give hefty discounts to Amazon or other book-sellers.
Charles Rolls of Rolls Royce by Bruce Lawson is a text-book example of how this approach can work very well for self-publishing authors. Bruce was an accountant and owner of a vintage Rolls Royce and he arranged to give talks which were promoted amongst the Rolls-Royce community - a perfect example of a niche market.
This was Bruce's first book and he worked with YouCaxton to edit and polish the book ready for publication. He also sought and received a forword by Lord Montague of Beaulieu whose father commissioned the original 'Spirit of Ecstacy' mascot..
The books was originally produced as a hadback edition and later as a paperback to be sold on Amazon.
Atlantic Lady by Diana Carrington is another good example of another book which is made available mainly through talks.
The way the Ad Campaign works is to try and get your book to appear when Amazon customers search for related products.
There are two parts to this...
1. Make a list of keywords that identify your book. For example if your books is a picture book about cats and you think it would make a good Christmas present, your keywords should include Gift, Christmas, Cats, Present, Book, Pets etc.
2. Decide on an advertising budget - and start a campaign.
You will need to decide on the maximum amount you are prepared to spend each day. This could be as low as £1, and you also need to decide the maximium bid-price which might typically be 20p.
Amazon will try to match the keywords you have chosen to customer searches and your book may appear if there is a good match. If it does appear, this is called an Impression.
So far there is no charge.
Amazon charge the bid-price if somebody clicks on the Impression and links through to your book.
Once somebody links to your book, they may or may not buy it, so you need to make sure your book cover looks attractive and affordable.
You also need to make sure that the keywords you have chosen will make your book appear in the places where people are most interested in the subject
If you want to manage the campaign yourself, you will need to set up your own Amazon account but if you would like YouCaxton to manage the advert for you we charge a setup fee of £25 and provide you with a monthly report.