Being a self-published author feels like a blessing and a curse.
On one side, you get to have full control of the book publishing process. Instead of being controlled by a group of people who you don’t know, you get to write that manuscript that you’ve always dreamt of writing.
But on the other hand, you’re also in charge of those parts of publishing that you don’t care for – like marketing.
Common Marketing Problems For Self-Published Authors
That’s right. Marketing. That dirty word that all self-published authors hate.
Whether you love marketing yourself or not, it’s something that all self-published authors have to do. You’ve put all of your time, money, and energy into creating a great book.
It would be a shame if no one was able to enjoy it because it wasn’t marketed properly.
And no, this doesn’t mean that all hope is lost. While marketing does take some strategy, it’s not as complex as everyone thinks.
If you’re a self-published author who is concerned about marketing for your book, there’s great news. You’re not alone. There are many self-published authors – myself included – who struggle with some type of marketing problem.
Here are 5 of the common marketing problems that you may face as a self-published author, and 5 solutions that can help you overcome them.
Judging A Book By Its Cover
Whoever told you not to judge a book by its cover may have lied to you.
We all are guilty of this. How many times have you thought to read a book because the book cover caught your eye?
Or maybe it was the opposite. How many books have you left on the shelf because the cover looked boring?
And this is a common problem among many self-published authors.
PROBLEM: Many self-published authors substitute quality for convenience.
They may be so focused on saving money that they create a book cover that makes their book look cheap. Or even worse, they may not know what to include on their book cover.
Your audience is just like every other reader out there. They make their decisions based on their eyes. If your book cover isn’t visually appealing enough, it may be harder for you to market your book to the right audience.
These issues can make it harder for your book to sell.
SOLUTION: Fortunately, there are many resources that can give your book cover the quality it deserves.
You can collaborate with graphic designers who can use their expertise and create the best book cover for you. There are many great freelance apps like Fiverr or Upwork that can connect you to great graphic designers.
There are also great resources for authors who want to create their own book covers. Some of the more popular apps that provide high quality are Canva, Adobe InDesign, and Photoshop.
You can also find thousands of videos on YouTube on how to create the best book cover. These videos can help you determine what software is best for you to use, what to include on your book cover, and how to help your book stand out in your designated genre.
Placing A Target On Your Audience
As a self-published author, finding your target audience is key.
Knowing your target audience is half of the marketing battle. There are so many elements of your book – like your book summary and book cover – that become easier to create when you know who you’re writing to.
PROBLEM: Many self-published authors don’t know how to identify their target audience. They may be writing their book thinking that the entire world is their audience.
The more you are able to imagine the type of reader who’s interested in your book, the better. Putting yourself in the shoes of your readers will make marketing to them so much easier.
SOLUTION: The best thing about being a self-published author is that you can identify your target audience in so many ways.
You can create an author’s website that you can direct your readers to. Having a personal website can help you stand out amongst other authors.
Besides introducing your book to your audience, you can create different types of content that can help establish a relationship with your readers. You can create infographics, videos, and blog posts about certain topics in your novel.
You can create a mailing list that your readers can subscribe to. This mailing list can be used to offer special deals to your readers and keep in constant communication with them.
You can also connect to your readers through different social media platforms. There are so many groups that allow self-published authors and their future readers to connect through different interests.
Having An Organic Buzz Around Your Book
After identifying your target audience, you have to know where to find them.
Which is another problem that many self-published authors face.
PROBLEM: Many self-published authors don’t know the best way to reach their target audience. Which is understandable. There are so many avenues that authors can use to market themselves.
SOLUTION: The best way to narrow down the best avenues for yourself is through a content marketing strategy.
Creating a content marketing strategy involves a little bit of research and analysis. And that doesn’t have to be as difficult as it seems. Do you know your target audience?
What type of platforms do they use? Are they mostly on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook?
Do they like to frequent bookstores or coffee shops?
Once you’ve discovered this type of information, that’s where the real fun begins. You can think of several different marketing strategies that can help introduce you to your audience.
If you want a more hands-on experience with your audience, you can schedule a book blog tour with several bookstores and libraries. You can also schedule a virtual meet-and-greet with your readers before your book launches.
Having both digital and traditional marketing options can expand your reach with your audience.
Studying The Marketing Strategies Of Your Book’s Genre
Even though marketing strategies change every month or so, there are some things that remain the same.
Every book genre has its own formula, so to speak, when it comes to marketing.
PROBLEM: Many self-published authors don’t take the time to study the marketing of popular books in their genre. Book marketing strategies are not one-size-fits-all.
Whether your book is a romance novel or a science fiction novel, it’s going to require a specific marketing formula.
SOLUTION: Study the different marketing strategies of the most popular books in your genre. Pay attention to the books’ titles, designs, descriptions, and reviews.
You are guaranteed to see a pattern between what readers often respond to.
As you study these strategies, make sure that you are still remaining as authentic as possible. You want your book to stand out while following the same marketing strategies of your genre.
You don’t want your book to seem like a generic copy of someone else’s book.
Dealing With Criticism
Remember what I said about dealing with the aspects of publishing that you don’t care for? This is one of those things.
Everyone is not going to like your book. And that’s okay.
What’s not okay is responding to every piece of criticism.
There are several videos on YouTube and Tik Tok about book reviewers who were harassed after giving a bad review of a book. This is a problem that many self-published authors struggle with.
PROBLEM: Many self-published authors don’t know how to handle the criticism that comes with their book.
The only way to avoid criticism is to not create your work. Once your work is released to the public, people from all walks of life are going to come across it and form a certain opinion.
The way that you address the criticism of your work can make or break your future career as an author.
Think about the time and money you’ve spent into marketing your book. Do you want it to be in vain because you just had to respond to this reviewer?
SOLUTION: Resist the urge to read bad reviews.
This is not as hard as it sounds.
If you want to seek honest feedback for your work, have your novel reviewed by beta readers before it is published.
If necessary, pay someone to handle your social media pages or your author website.
Whatever you have to do to avoid reading bad reviews of your book, do so.
If you want to improve your skills as a writer (as we all do), seek out constructive criticism from a professional editor or a book reviewer.
Overall, think about how you want to address criticism in the long run. It’s going to be with you as long as you are writing. You may as well figure out how you are going to address it in a healthy way.
As a self-published author, marketing does come with its own set of challenges.
But you can overcome those challenges with preparation.
By learning more about your target audience and your book’s genre, you can find the audience that is looking for you and your book.
If you need additional marketing tips, check out my blog post How To Market Yourself As A Self-Published Author – Valeria Publications.
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