Congratulations, you have self-published your book. And while this is an amazing achievement, unfortunately the hard work doesn't stop there...
As you will know, as a self-published author you receive a lot less support with your book. Essentially, you're on your own. So if you want to get your book out there, it's up to you. So here are some of the things you can do to get your book out there...
Before you publish
This is something a lot of people underestimate, but marketing your book before it comes out is a really effective technique as it can bring in a readership before your book even comes out.
Promote your book leading up to its release
Get people interested and talking about your book. A good way to do this is through social media. Instagram is a great community for self-published authors because not only can you connect with people who are doing the exact same thing as you and support each other, but it's also a great way to reach out to readers.
TikTok is another great platform. You can be as creative as you want. Check out what other authors are posting if you need some inspiration. Your content can be as simple as you sitting in front of your phone and talking about your book. There is a whole author and reader community to join.
Set up a pre-order
This is essential if you're hyping up your book before it is released. People can go ahead and preorder, meaning you don't have to remind them when the book comes out. It really is a no-brainer, since you will be making sales before the book is even released.
Send out proof copies
This was something I did and found it very useful. As I have only directly worked with Amazon KDP, I am not sure about other self-publishing platforms, but on Amazon, you can order proof copies of your book. It's important to know that a proof copy will come without a barcode and a 'not for resale' banner across the front, as proof copies are actually illegal to sell. So if you're looking to give out free copies of your book, you won't be able to do this until your book is published.
Through Instagram, I connected with a number of UK bookstagrammers, sending them a message and asking if they wanted a free copy of my book in return for an honest review. This was great as it meant when my book was published, I automatically had a bunch of reviews on Amazon and Goodreads as well as a little bit of promotion from their accounts.
This was also a great way to receive some feedback before publishing. Of course, it would be too late to make any changes, but the positive feedback helped me feel more confident about publishing. It's important to note that although you don't pay for your proof copies, you still need to pay for the printing costs, which do add up. For me, I was very indecisive when it came to the design of my book and I ended up with 10 different proof copies, so I ended up sending them out with a note just letting the reader know that this wasn't the final design on the outside of the book. Alternatively, to keep the cost down you could give eBook proof copies to readers, this wasn't something I tried as I thought readers may be less reluctant to actually read it if they just received a PDF, it would kind of take away the novelty of receiving a proof copy.
When you publish
So now you're published your book, what now? I know some authors would disagree with me, but now is the fun part to go WILD with marketing your book.
Share on social media
Go crazy and post it all over your social media. Create posts, stories, reels etc all about your book. Try and get your book in front of as many eyes as possible. Again, you can be as creative as you want. Depending on what your book is about, you could tailor your content to it. For example, fantasy authors on TikTok look like they have the best time marketing their books through their videos. It can be so daunting and a lot of the time you don't want to come across that you're being annoying, but the truth is, you've spent so much time and effort working on your book, you should go wild with it.
Run a giveaway
Giveaways are such a great opportunity to grow your readership. You can set up a giveaway from your website, Instagram, twitter etc, however, I would say it would be much easier to run from one place and use the rest of your social media to direct people there. I also think Instagram is very accessible and perfect to run a giveaway on.
Create a post about your book and that you're giving it away, getting people to enter by: following, sharing and tagging a friend(s), you will be able to build up your social media too. Anyone who enters will also be sharing your book with all their followers too. Be sure to use hashtags like #bookgiveaway #bookstagram etc to help get more attention to your post. Just be careful, one thing I noticed when I ran my giveaway is that there are people on Instagram that are just there to enter giveaways, I could tell when I checked their story, it was just full of them sharing giveaway posts for all different kinds of things from garden tools to a lifetime supply of cereal.
This is such an important part of the publishing process. Make sure you try to rally up as many reviews for your book on all platforms, but most importantly if you're selling on Amazon, reviews have a big impact on where your book is ranked and ranking can have a big impact on who sees your book on Amazon and how much it sells.
You don't want to beg readers for reviews, but just mentioning how important reviews are on your social media or if a reader gives you feedback through a message is a good way to encourage people to leave a review. If your friends and family are buying your book, make sure they are leaving reviews too, as verified buyer reviews on Amazon are way more credible.
After you publish
This is where things start to slow down a little. After the first couple of weeks of publishing, things get quieter, but this isn't the time to give up.
Get involved in the online community
Like I said, there is a whole community of self-published authors out there and it's such a supportive community to be a part of. Create your own social media dedicated to your author brand where you not only talk about your book, but about what you're up to as an author. This means you can build up an even bigger readership for your next books. You can also use this account to support other authors too. Support works both ways and if you get stuck in with the community and support everyone else, when your time comes, they will support you too.
Always look out for new opportunities
Keep an eye out for competitions for self-published authors, opportunities for guest posts on other social media accounts, invitations to talk about your book and more. It's important to remember that just because your book isn't fresh out anymore, that it's done. Colleen Hoover wrote 'It ends with us' in 2016 and the book really picked up on TikTok in the past few years.
A great example of an opportunity is the Indie Author Spring Festival I took part in last month. This was something I wasn't aware even existed until I entered the online community of self-published authors on Instagram. There are a variety of book fairs/festivals out there for self-published authors to get involved with and can easily be found on social media through accounts and hashtags. I took part in an Indie Author Spring Festival on Instagram ran by another amazing self-published author called Hayley Anderton (@hayley_a_writes). This was such a great event that took place over the month of April 2023, each day a new author was featured and offered a promo on their book. This event not only increased the sales of my book, but it allowed me to connect with other authors on Instagram and support them too. These are authors that I still continue to support now and know when it comes to publishing another book. will support me too.
If you're a self-published author looking to join a book festival/ fair, you should definitely give Hayley a follow as she is always running these events. Her next one is July 14, it's a summer extravaganza and there is still time to get involved, so go and check it out if you're interested.
Consider pay-per-click ads
Paying to advertise your book is definitely something you can look into. You can create an ad with any big search engine and only pay for the clicks. If it's been a while since you received sales, you may want to try this as a refresh and if you self-publish with Amazon, you can even do PPC ads through KDP. This is a good way to guarantee getting your book in front of people's eyes but it doesn't guarantee sales. In my opinion, I think that there definitely other options to consider before spending any money on advertising, but it's something to consider and play about with if you have the fund and knowledge. Paying for advertising works great for traditionally published books, but then again they have a much bigger marketing budget than most self-published authors.
Just remember, marketing your book is not a race, it's a marathon. Don't burn out too early, you're in this for the long run!