Three Book Marketing Myths to Bust: Making the Switch From Trade to Self-Publishing

We found three common myths which might affect your confidence in your ability to switch to self-publishing and market your own books.
The publishing industry once dictated an author’s sense of self-worth. Publishers had the power to make writers feel treasured or rejected. Then the internet came, dramatically disrupting the industry.

Authors like Rachel Abbott, E.L. James, Andy Weir, and Lisa Genova all utilised social media, ebooks and traditional marketing and networking methods to become famous with their self-published books. Theirs were commercial successes, which turned into full-blown literary careers.

But despite the success of so many self-published authors, it is still daunting for an author to switch to self-publishing having been published by a traditional publishing house in the past.

That validation which comes from a publisher accepting your work is a common myth. Self-published authors - with the right process and team around them - build their own belief in their writing. They learn how worthwhile their writing is, not because of a book deal, but because it appeals to an audience and readership which they’ve nurtured and gotten to know.

It’s simply another step outside of your comfort zone.

And it’s the first step to create a solid book marketing strategy: know your customers, build the relationships.

In exploring this, we found three common myths which might affect your confidence in your ability to switch to self-publishing and market your own books. Today we want to bust those, showing how they can be conquered:

Myth #1

The up-front investment for self-publishing feels too large. How can I possibly afford to pay for book marketing on top?

One of the questions we are often asked at SilverWood Books is whether self-publishing is worth the investment compared with mainstream publishing. The choice to invest in yourself is extremely personal, a decision that can only be made by you.

The fear is that it’s expensive - costing a couple of thousand pounds to self-publish at a professional quality and then the marketing will cost even more. Yet the myth remains that the marketing costs will be covered by your publisher if you get a deal with a trade publisher.

While a traditional publishing house may promote your book on their networks and amplify your work on their social channels, every author is still responsible for the bulk of their marketing and the budget. With the exception of established international best-selling authors, who might get a website built for them, most authors will only get a pre-publishing cover reveal and a mini-marketing plan. A trade publisher won’t create your author brand or execute your book marketing plan.

Marketing may seem unfamiliar to some, but there are plenty of resources available to help self-published authors succeed. From branding yourself as an author to hosting a successful book launch, it's important to know that help is out there and you are not alone in promoting your book.

Myth #2

It’ll seem weird: I can’t arrange a fancy book launch by myself. Surely my publisher has to be there?

Published authors have the added boost of their publisher attending their book launch. However, that’s true too in the self-publishing world. Wherever possible, we try to go along to support our authors, or you may have used a professional editor or proofreader who you can invite. Behind the scenes, it’s still the author who is paying for their book launch because trade publishers simply don’t have a budget for big events. Build your virtual team and you’ll still have the backup when it comes to the launch event.

Again, it comes down to your book marketing strategy, budget and confidence. Because the launch event helps kick off initial book sales, it’s a great opportunity to engage potential readers by sharing value from the content or out-takes from the story. You may even be able to secure speaking slots or paid workshop work by widening out the guest list and planning the content carefully. Many SilverWood authors find that each event they do leads to other interesting opportunities, including invitations to speak at different events, or take part in author panels, book clubs and festivals.

Myth #3

There’s too much to learn about digital marketing and my publisher is the expert. Although I have a large audience and fans of my books, how will I promote my own books online?

Working with a trade publisher, you’ll have a period of support - but they’ll be taking on new authors. You’ll still need to learn about digital marketing for yourself because the publisher’s resources are finite.

The internet, while full of opportunities, is in a constant state of change - so any digital marketing 'expert’ can struggle to keep up. Because of this, it can be intimidating for authors to market their book and optimise book sales for online, digital readers. You’ll have to think about optimizing books on Amazon, advertising on Facebook and making sure your book is likely to come up in Google search results.

With the right direction and assistance, however, digital marketing or advertising online can be straightforward and simple to even the most technologically challenged.

Many of our authors share with us how they conquered their fears of marketing online and we have resources, tips and guidance to help. The essential marketing tools are:

1. A professional website
2. Email newsletters for fans
3. Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter - all types of social media profiles
4. Online advertising such as re-targeting and Facebook ads
5. Media relations - sharing press releases
6. Attending literary festivals
7. Arranging a book bloggers virtual tour
8. Putting yourself forward for podcast guest interviews
9. Organising local bookshop signings

These will complement your digital marketing efforts - all of which of you will need to own, arrange and maintain for your books, to keep your audience engaged and interested.

If you would like to learn more, or you're considering self-publishing with SilverWood support, please get in touch with us here.

You might also like:

Why publish your own work?

To Be Or Not To Be... Indie or Mainstream?

Building an Audience for Talks & Events

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“If you’re thinking of self-publishing, I hope you don't go at it alone. With a team like SilverWood behind you, you have the support you need to publish the best work you believe in.”

J A Higgins