First-time author? You have finished publishing a book! Now What?
It doesn’t matter if you have self-published or have been published by a small press or publishing house; a new book release is when writers get excited, motivated, and extremely keen to start seeing a lot of book sales roll in.
Unfortunately, in their eagerness and excitement, many new writers and indie authors make silly mistakes that can have exactly the opposite effect.
Most of these mistakes can be labeled as instant sales killers, and although the intention may be positive, the actual results can be very negative. Avoiding the typical first-time author mistakes will save you a lot of time and embarrassment.
1. Don’t Bomb Social Media
Social media can be useful in marketing your book to readers.
But it is almost pointless if you have only a very small following of mostly friends and family. Bombarding your one hundred or so social contacts will quickly drive them away.
Social media is only helpful if you have a large and growing following, and even then, book promotion should only represent about 5% of what you post.
What matters and works on social media is informing, entertaining, communicating, and sharing your perspective on various topics. By doing so, you will build your following.
Social media is not about direct selling books. This is the most classic of all first-time author mistakes.
2. Don’t Write Your Book Description As An Afterthought
Your book description is the hook to get readers interested in your book, so it is vitally important that it does its job well.
A short fifty-word outline is not a book description and will give potential readers a poor impression.
It takes time to write a good book description, so take the time to do your research.
Look at popular books in your genre and study their descriptions. Or even go a step further and pay a good copywriter to do it for you.
3. Don’t Make Your Own Book Cover
Bad book covers are an instant sales killer. An amateur-looking book cover is recognizable instantly and will turn off book buyers as quickly.
Always get a professionally designed cover.
Pre-made covers cost around $40.00, so even if you are on a budget, it is money well spent. If you can spend a little more, a custom cover design is, of course, much better.
4. Do Use Amazon’s Book Promotion Tools
Most book sales on Amazon, and all other online book retailers, are generated by readers scanning, searching, and stumbling across books that interest them.
Learning to use and write your book metadata to attract book buyers is the most powerful means of gaining book sales.
Well-written metadata is more important than any other form of book promotion. So spending the time to learn how to improve a book’s metadata is critical in gaining book sales.
Pay special attention to your choice of Amazon categories and keywords.
Amazon provides many book promotion tools, so use them to help you promote your book more effectively.
5. Do Use Amazon Author Central
If your book is listed on Amazon, using its Author Central Author Page is an absolute imperative. Many new authors don’t even know about this Amazon service.
From an Author Central page, an author can add even more metadata, modify book descriptions, add editorial reviews, and back and front flap text.
All of these tools make your books on Amazon much more discoverable.
6. Don’t Add Lists of Book Buy Links
Sure, you have to let people know that you have a book to sell.
But adding a long list of book buy links to Amazon, Apple, B&N, Smashwords, your publisher, and any retailer with your book is a huge turn-off and makes it look like you are desperate.
First-time author mistakes like this can make you look like an amateur.
One buy link is always more than enough, and even then, if someone is genuinely interested in your book, they will find it by using Google Search or retailer search.
Use a universal book buy link rather than making a long list of retailer links.
7. Do Blog!
In the long run, blogging is the best way to show off your writing talents, engage with people, exchange comments, build a true author following, and increase your social media following.
Two intelligent blog posts per week can do more for your book sales than spending money on paid Facebook advertising.
However, make sure your writing is absolutely perfect for your blog post.
If you are blogging regularly, you should consider using a premium online grammar checker to make certain your content is top-notch.
8. Don’t Ever Write ‘Buy My Book’
Desperate calls to ‘check out my book,’ buy my book,’ ‘follow me on Facebook,’ and ‘here’s a free ebook for you,’ all have a negative effect.
How do you react to imperative phrases and orders like these?
No one buys a book because you tell them to do so.
9. Do Be Patient
Okay, you want to be a bestselling author; well, believe me, it won’t happen overnight.
Writing and selling books and ebooks is a long-term occupation, and success, even modest success, usually starts to happen only once you have a few books on your backlist.
So calm down, stop checking your book sales five times a day, and, instead, write your next book.
10. Do Learn To Learn
Like any other occupation, the more you learn, the better you become.
Find experienced authors and follow their blogs and subscribe to sites offering writing or book marketing advice.
Self-publishing especially involves a long and steep learning curve, so never stop learning.
One of the most important lessons is that not everyone will like your book.
In fact, it will be of interest to very few people.
Your book will have niche appeal, so learn to connect with people who share an interest in your book’s genre or topic.
You will never sell a book on How to Cook The Best Steaks to a vegetarian, nor a cozy romance to a reader of war novels.
Get to know your market and write and publish for your niche readership.
11. Don’t Give Up!
With self-publishing, a book never goes out of print now, so never give up on it or yourself as a first-time author.
You can always improve it, modify it, change the cover, write a new book description, or un-publish it and do a complete edit, add a new title, and re-publish.
Also, the more you write, the better you get, so keep trying, keep working on avoiding common writing mistakes, and keep learning, and over time, you may find that success comes your way.
Always remember that the harder you work, the luckier you get.
Related Reading: 17 Book Marketing Ideas You Can Do In Under 90 Minutes