Additional Services, Marketing, Self Publishing, Social Media

How to Sell Your Self-Published Book Online in 6 Steps

In 2018, the debate is pretty much over; online sales are a key component of any self-published author’s book marketing campaign.

But for authors, who often prefer to be between the pages of a book than on the internet, it can be daunting for someone with little technical experience to break into the sphere of digital marketing. Fortunately, the internet’s ongoing shift towards user-friendliness has given authors more tools than ever to market and sell their book online.

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Even if you have little to no technical experience, these six steps can go a long way to increasing your online book sales.

1. Have a website

Convenience is king. In the increasingly saturated online marketplace, customers need a quick way to browse and purchase your book.

A website acts as a “home” for your book. It’s the place where all of your marketing efforts eventually lead back to. Ideally you’ll want a website with a checkout cart that will allow customers to order your books online. By reducing that number of steps needed to buy your book, you significantly reduce the chance that a customer might distract him/herself from making a purchase.

sales tools sell your book online

Creating, hosting and maintaining a website can often be an expensive endeavor. However, a growing trend in online marketing is to utilize a template website service, which will create and host your website for you.

Looking to service independent authors, we at Gorham Printing recently relaunched our Sales Tools service. Sales Tools supplies authors with a one-page, customizable web store where customers can browse, share and buy their books.

2. Write some blog articles

Imagine this: your book is finally finished. You’ve spent months, maybe years, writing, editing and perfecting it. Then someone comes in and tells you that you have more writing to do.

Blogs keep the conversation about your book going long after its publication. They are a great way to promote upcoming events, such as book signings and speaking events.

Write blogs to inspire discussion among your readers. Write an article about your writing process or a character’s intentions, and let your followers carry the discussion from there.

3. Host an online launch party

Launch parties are a great way to kick off your book release with some momentum. But what if I told you that you could have hundreds of attendees without any of them having to leave their houses?

Online launch parties make it convenient for readers to participate in your release. Often times these launches are paired with giveaways that incentive users to like, comment and share your content. Many authors choose to give away signed copies of their book.

how to sell your self-published book online in 2018

4. Start a newsletter

The quickest way to a customer’s heart is email. A newsletter starts by asking your readers for their email in exchange for relevant and interesting content. Prepare a content calendar following the release of your book with interesting blog articles, event invitations and anything else your readers might find interesting.

5. Create a social media business page for your book

Social media is no place to be shy. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are finely tuned to make sharing content quick and easy.

Beyond just sharing content on your personal profiles, consider creating a business account page for your book or publishing group. This will allow you to gain followers specific to your book without diluting its content with your personal information.

6. Contact popular bloggers for reviews

You don’t have to do all that sharing on your own. There are scores of book review bloggers and websites that are hungry for new content.

Start by looking for local reviewers, who would jump at the chance to feature an up-and-coming local author. From there, expand your search to include bigger bloggers. Even a 140-character mention from a popular reviewer can skyrocket your popularity.

While these online marketing strategies can’t guarantee a successful release, by increasing your online presence you can continue to stay relevant on the minds of your readers long after your books’ release.

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how to store your books to make them last
Reading, Self Publishing, Social Media

How to Store Your Books as a Self-Publisher

Most people are accustomed to storing a few books in their personal library. What they are not accustomed to, however, is handling a shipment of 100+ copies of their freshly printed book. Self-publishers often struggle with finding storage space while also preserving their books’ quality at a level that will be satisfactory to their customers.

If your library of books is becoming frayed or worn, you might be storing them wrong. Here are 6 tips for how to store your books to make them last.

how to store your books to make them last

1. Firstly, you will need a storage space that is neither hot, cold or damp. Storing books on concrete, such as a garage floor, is a recipe for trouble. Similar to a sponge, the paper used in books is hygroscopic, meaning it wants to reach equilibrium with the surrounding moisture level. Moisture from damp floors will transfer to your cover and interior pages. This also holds true for stacking against a concrete wall. Instead, consider using a wooden pallet to elevate your books while also ensuring proper air circulation underneath them.

2. Open cartons of books can attract insects. Unhatched insect eggs can appear as small specs on the pages. If caught in time, the eggs can be cleaned with a soft brush. Sealable containers, such as plastic cartons, can prevent bugs from infiltrating your books. However, do not wrap your books in plastic wrap or foil, as this may trap moisture against your books’ covers and lead to mold.

3. If possible, store books in a climate controlled area. Fluctuations in temperature and humidity can result in mold. The ideal storage space has a temperature of between 60-75 degree Fahrenheit. Spaces like garages, which can suffer dramatic temperature changes between night and day, should be avoided.

stacked books

4. While you may be tempted to display your books next to a window to show off their beautiful covers, too much direct sunlight can lead to bleached covers and cracked spines.

5. Shelves not only provide a nice display for your books but also provide good ventilation to help prevent dust from collecting. Make sure your shelves are high enough to avoid potential water damage caused by spills or flooding.

6. The way your books are stacked also matters. For long term storage, books should be kept together according to size and weight. Books should never be stored on their spine. Rather, books should be either stored upright or stacked flat with the heaviest books at the bottom. If they are stored upright, make sure the books are pressed tightly together and not slumping at this can lead to creases.

Keep in mind these suggestions are for books for general usage. If you have rare or extra valuable books, additional means of protection should be considered.

With proper care and regular cleanings, these steps can go a long way in keeping your book beautiful, clean and ready for the market.

Book production, Cost, Links, Local authors, Marketing, Self Publishing, Social Media

Need to pay for your book project? Try crowdfunding!

We’ve seen many authors and artists come through our shop who have used a crowdfunding website to fund the cost of publishing their books. What is a crowdfunding website? It’s a website that exists as a platform to help people who have an idea, but need dollars to make the idea a reality. In our line of work, that idea is a book.

Listing your project on a crowdfunding website is also a great way to test the market’s interest in your book before it’s published. It will help you start thinking about the niche your book will fill. If you can successfully generate buzz for the concept of your book on a crowdfunding platform, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to enjoy some traction with your marketing efforts once the book is published.

The most commonly-used crowdfunding website is Kickstarter. Here is a link to their handbook to get you started, and a few tips to help along the way:

  • Backing others helps you learn the ropes and get a feel for the Kickstarter community.
  • Set up your payment options in advance so you are ready to accept funds on day one.
  • Be clear on discounts and perks – and get creative!
  • Aim high when setting your dollar amount, but not so high you can’t meet your goal and cash in.
  • Tell the story of your book, and consider making a video.
  • Answer all backer questions. They are supporting your efforts!
  • Use a simple analytics tracker to learn more about your readers.

Time to get inspired! Here are a few authors we know used Kickstarter to fund their book projects, then hired us to print them.

Bard_Hey Baby

 

Breena Bard, a Portland, Oregon-based cartoonist and graphic novelist released “Hey Baby,” a 6.5×8.5″ softcover, in summer 2016.

Breena’s Kickstarter

http://www.breenabard.com/

 

 

 

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Margaret Davis, another Portland-based writer and book artist, funded “China Under the Covers” this past winter.

Margaret’s Kickstarter

http://chinaunderthecovers.com/

 

 

 

 

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Olympia-based fungi enthusiast Ellen King Rice funded her novel “The Evo Angel” in 2015 for publication in spring 2016.

Ellen’s Kickstarter

https://www.ellenkingrice.com/

 

 

 

 

Back in 2014, Peter Donahue funded a beautiful full-color, full-size landscape hardcover book complete with custom-printed end sheets and a matte-laminated dust jacket for the first volume of his popular “Rudek and the Bear” comic collection. As one of his Kickstarter pledge prizes, Peter drew any supporter who pledged $35 or more into the style of his characters and added it as a spread in the beginning of his book.

RUDEK AND THE BEAR VOL 1.indd

Peter’s Kickstarter

Peter’s ongoing web comic: http://zuzelandthefox.com/

Test the waters for your book project! Try crowdfunding!

Community, Design, Events, Local authors, Marketing, Reading, Self Publishing, Social Media

Promoting Your Book at the Library

Are you looking for new ways to promote your book? Libraries are a great place to gain new readers and connect directly with your target audience.

Consider approaching your local library to set up a speaking engagement. If the library is interested in hosting your reading, they’ll likely put you on their event calendar so you can generate interest ahead of time. Ask if you can register the event on any other community event calendars, or with local special interest groups that might be interested in your topic.

The promotional tools an event like this can offer don’t stop there. The library might announce your reading on their social media pages, like Facebook and Twitter. Make sure to continue to share these event announcements, and encourage your friends and followers to share them too. The library might even have event posters printed, so ask if you can have a few to post around your community.ray_biko-frontcover-for-web

Many of our self-published authors give talks throughout their local library systems. In fact, we have a few regional authors with library events coming up!

The Naselle Timberland Library will host Laura Ray, author of Because of Biko, this Wednesday, March 1st at 6:00 PM. Laura will read from her book, which tells the story of her travels in Africa, and a discussion and book signing will follow.fateful-fourth-cover

On Saturday, March 4th, local author and historian Russell Holter will talk about his recently-published title, The Fateful Forth: The Story of America’s Worst Trolley Disaster at the Vernetta Smith Chehalis Timberland Library at 2:00 PM. A book sale and signing will follow. Russell’s book is part of our History Book Program, so you can order a copy online!

Author and Life Coach Anatha Attar will host a workshop title Tarot: A Path to Greater Personal Creativity at the Lacey Timberland Library on Saturday, March 4th at 3:00 PM. Anatha published her title Tarot and the Twelve Powers: A Journey for the Heart and Soul in summer 2016. You can learn more at her website.

Reach out to your local library system today to find out how you might be able to promote your book with their help!