Marketing your book is a two-month coaching class. This is just the overview.
The time to start marketing your book is the day you commit to writing it. Whether you get a traditional publishing deal or publish independently, you are the marketing department. You are solely responsible for marketing and selling your book. The only difference between marketing and sales with a traditional publisher and independent publishing is that in the latter case you keep all the money instead of almost none.
You need a website. It doesn’t have to cost a lot, but it cannot look like your neighbor’s kid did it. It cannot look like you did it yourself. I am delighted to offer advice about web work at no charge, or to provide professional web work for extremely economical rates. I’m very good at it and it doesn’t take me long to do it right.
You need a blog. This is a huge marketing tool. It allows you to communicate with interested folks. You’d think an author would be able to write a paragraph on a blog three times a week. In most cases you’d be wrong. If you blog regularly and interact with your commenters, you’ll stand out from the crowd.
Do not waste time with book signings as a place to sell books. Unless you have a gaggle of fans already, a book signing is a way to sit, alone and lonely, in a bookstore or coffee shop. If you already have a gaggle of fans, don’t make them attend a dry, boring book signing. Throw a party and invite them all. Make it fun.
Network. Find groups who might be interested in your topic and offer to come speak to them. Do not go there to sell your book. Make it available, of course, but go there to give valuable information away, absolutely free, no obligation. If visitors connect with you and your message, they’ll buy your book.
Carry the book with you everywhere. If you’re in the coffee shop or library or wherever you hang out, having a book on the table with your picture on the cover is a nice conversation starter. And if someone wants to buy your book, you want them to get it now, not “later,” whenever that is.
Introduce yourself as an author. You may be a life coach, dentist, musician, or computer programmer, but if you want to talk to people about your book, when they ask what you do for work, tell them “I’m the author of [insert your book’s name here].” The thing you do for money will come up based on the conversation about the book, but the book won’t come up naturally in a conversation about your business.