Like many authors I know, I love writing but hate the job of promoting what I’ve written. It takes time away from writing, and to be frank, I’m terrible at it. But when you’ve an indie author, you have to do it. No one is going to read your book if they don’t know about it.
So I’ve resolved to learn how better to promote my novels. I’ve taken a couple of courses, I’ve gotten advice from other authors, and I’ve read books on the subject. I certainly haven’t mastered it. I still have a lot to learn, but I am learning.
One of the things I’m doing is setting up a pre-publication promotional campaign, using a newsletter, a free e-book as a reward to those who sign up to receive my newsletter, beta readers who read the book in advance of publication and tell me what they think works in it and what doesn’t. And also to catch any typos or missed punctuation marks I overlooked in all my read-throughs. (Some always slip through. Gremlins at work!)
If you are reading this blog and would like to receive my newsletter and take advantage of the free e-book offer, here’s the link to my web site, where you’ll see on the opening page a place to sign up for the newsletter and be sent the link for the book:
Another thing I’m learning is the importance of categories and keywords to help people find my book. Categories are the broad, general slots into which your book fits. My next novel is an epic fantasy. I place it in that category, which is a large one, because general fantasy is even larger. And according to definition, epic fantasy is fantasy that deals with problems not just affecting individuals but a world or an empire. Many such novels involve wars or world-changing cataclysms. No wars are currently being waged in my novel, but it does concern a kingdom that, a couple of centuries earlier, was conquered and brought into an empire by force. Its people are suffering under cruel edicts and are rebelling against imperial rule. It’s protagonist is not part of that rebellion until she is dragged into it by her need to rescue her sister.
If after my book is published, you go to Amazon and put “epic fantasies” into the search bar, you’ll see a page with the most popular books in that broad category. My book won’t be on that list unless I get very, very lucky. It will be so far down in the pages of novels in that category, you’ll probably lose patience long before finding it. I could also use “fantasy adventure,” which might not be quite as broad but still too large for my book to be anywhere near the top.
That’s where keywords come in. Keywords are words people who read books like mine are likely to enter into either a search on Amazon or on Google. They can take readers to more restricted lists where my book has a better chance of showing up. When you publish on CreateSpace and/or Kindle Direct Publishing, you are asked to list keywords. For my upcoming novel, some of the key words and phrases I might use are “evil empire,” “gods and goddesses,” “princess in peril,” “clever thief,” “street gangs,” “rebellion,” “impostor,” “towers,” “dungeons,” “unlikely heroine,” “secret passages,” commoner princess,” “evil ruler,” and–well, you get the idea. I must choose carefully, as CreateSpace, through which I will publish the print version of my novel, only allows five keywords, while Kindle Direct Publishing, which I will use for the electronic edition, allows seven. That’s still not many But there are other ways of getting keywords that Google will recognize. One is by using a subtitle. The title of my forthcoming novel is The Twisted Towers, and I’ve given it a subtitle: Where Gods and Mortals Meet. So a search for “towers,” “gods” and “gods and mortals” could lead readers to my book.
Book descriptions on the back of the book, on its Amazon page, and in other locations (such as this blog) can also provide search terms. I’ve learned the importance of having a catchy tag line to introduce a description. How’s this one? “A Princess in peril! A Kingdom in revolt! An Empire at risk!”
Or this? “She’s told that only the gods can help her save her sister. But Sefis doesn’t trust the gods.”
Or this? “Would you risk your life and the life of four strangers to save someone you love?”
Which of the above would be more likely to draw you in? Let me know.
I’ve also learned the importance of an eye-catching cover. Here’s the cover of the new novel:
Again, if you’d like to learn more about The Twisted Towers and my other work, both published and to come, do visit my web site, erosesabin.com and, to learn about those novels to come and get in on other offers, please sign up to receive my newsletter.