Monday, 12 November 2012

How to get noticed…

"But, Officer, I am just
promoting my book..."

... Self Publishing is Publishing - Part 3
Two weeks ago, I was lucky enough to win a place at the Writers & Artists Yearbook Conference, Self Publishing in the Digital Age. It gave me lots to think about and although I could have blogged off the back of this conference for a year, this post will be last one.
To recap … Read Part One HERE and Part Two HERE
... So, you've written your book and you've published your book. How are you going to sell it? Apart from the obvious proviso - make your work as good as it can be - Amazon's tips to help you sell more books are;

  • Make your work discoverable by adding the metadata (tags, photos, reviews, etc).
  • Books with a ‘search inside’ facility sell more than books without.
  • Update your author page regularly, with as much information as you can (biography, twitter name, your blog/website links, bibliography, appearances, videos, pictures, etc)
Beyond Amazon, getting yourself noticed is the key. Marrying a celebrity, streaking across Twickenham or winning Britain’s Got Talent will all help with publicity, but generally speaking we are talking about Social Media. Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn led a very useful session on developing audiences for your writing, and Joanna Ellis from The Literary Platform  talked about online writer and reader communities. (Basically, developing audiences is another term for marketing, except it's much more fun!) The contacts you make over months and years, on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linked in, blogs and so on, are the contacts who may help to sell your books. 
KNOW, LIKE and TRUST are the key words for social networking, so if you haven't yet established an online presence, start building one now. These things take time.
And then it was the turn of the authors. Ahhh, the authors; those wonderfully lucky people who have already made a success of self publishing… Louise Voss & Mark Edwards (the first 100% indie writers in the UK to top the Amazon charts), Nick Spalding, and Ben Galley. These writers are all now signed up with major publishing houses, having demonstrated not only their earning and writing ability, but also their marketing savvy and media awareness. Their websites are full of useful information for the wannabe published writer and I can't recommend them highly enough.
Here are some of their top tips for getting noticed and selling books.
1. Design a great cover
2. Put your book on as many retail platforms as you can.
3. Do free offers - either the first book in a series, or have free days when your book is available at a cost of £0.00.
4. Engage with readers on a social level (social media, thanks for reviews, acknowledge supportive emails etc).
5. Take advantage of any offers to guest blog, do an interview, and promote yourself.
6. Tweak and change your book blurb, to reflect page visits and conversions to sales.
And finally, there was another mention of that little nugget about self published authors being happier than their traditionally published counterparts, (read Alison Baverstock’s excellent blog post about this here ). As a writer in charge of your own destiny, you are involved in every stage of the book creation process and you get much better and more immediate access to your sales stats, giving you the power to change things which aren't working, and even to improve the things that are. If I wasn't already sold on self publishing as a process, this would have been my turning point. 
So there; that’s about everything. I could go on, but hopefully I have given  just enough information for you to start the ball rolling on your own publishing career. I personally got a huge amount of knowledge, ideas and confidence from this conference, but if you follow my links, you have access to all the same information, for free. Happy writing, publishing, and marketing!

Self publishing is liberating.
Self publishing is here to stay.
Self publishing is publishing.


  1. Hi Wendy
    I read and enjoyed this at the time, I apologise I didn't stop to comment then. It is a very persuasive arguement and one I think about almost every other day. Congratulations on Applecore Books, I've bought Where Bluebirds Fly - looks like my kinda story. Also congratulations on the Mslexia long list! Really really hope both books do well x

    1. Thanks so much, Jan. I am so glad I 'jumped'. It's not what I originally wanted but after so many false starts, I really feel like I am getting somewhere now. It's not the answer for everyone, but definitely something worth considering. Thanks for buying Where Bluebirds Fly. I really appreciate that :)))


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