Electric Book Works Web, mobile and print publications

Marketing a self-published ebook

Right now, EBW does not have in-house marketing expertise, so we can’t promise the guidance you’ll need if you’re about to market a book for the first time. That said, here are some things we do know or can recommend.

Marketing starts the moment you start working on your book. The title must draw people in, and the text must be brilliant. This sounds rather obvious, but you’d be amazed how much dross we’ve seen over the years, trying to pass itself off as sellable. When you self-publish, you’re up against thousands of highly trained, experienced professionals who do this every day of their lives. If you can’t bring your game to that, don’t expect more than sympathy sales to friends and family.

Then, what you need is true fans. One thousand of them actually. Read Kevin Kelly’s excellent piece on this. Seth Godin thinks it’s great too, which says a lot. On that note, read as much of Godin’s stuff as you can.

One thing that we hear a lot is that you want to develop a relationship with your readers. Big writers like Neil Gaiman do this by blogging a lot and being responsive to readers. Some do it by being friendly and prolific on social networks like Twitter and Facebook. (See Lauren Beukes on Twitter, or Nicholas D. Kristof on Facebook.)

By doing this, you’re building a platform. Read pieces by Michael Hyatt and Joanna Penn on building a platform. There’s more to it than Facebook and Twitter, you’ll be glad to know.

We also highly recommend reading Quirk’s eMarketing textbook from cover to cover. It’s the best reference we’ve found on the practical basics of online marketing.

And, in case it isn’t obvious, every word and every sentence and every action you take must be professional, carefully thought through, and error-free. Go and watch and learn from energetic, savvy publishers like Canongate. Sign up for their mailing lists, analyse their marketing communications and their books. Then try to do even better.

19 October 2010
This information is more than two years old, and may no longer be accurate. Contact us to check, or log an issue on GitHub.