Gloria Zachgo graciously agreed to my request to write a post on what happens after you've finished and self-published your book. She and her husband work together on the marketing. Gloria is the author of four self-published books. The titles are The Rocking Horse, Hush Girl, Never Waste Tears, and Never Waste Dreams.
Gloria Zachgo writes:
When Nancy asked if I would guest blog about marketing my self-published books, I said sure. Then I realized I would have to tell others how little I know. My husband, Ron, is the one who does most of the work of promoting my four novels. That makes it easier for me, but he can tell you it’s not an easy job.
The journey began ten years ago when I self-published my first novel. Except for my family and friends, I was an unknown author. So, we introduced The Rocking Horse during a 24-hour period giveaway. As a result, the eBook version was downloaded 6,953 times. It had cost me nothing, and the next month, it resulted in the most sales I’ve ever had. However, that was in 20ll when fewer books were being published, and self-publishing was relatively new.
So, what does an author do to get noticed today? Advice flows all over the internet on how to make your book stand out from the thousands of new titles published daily. Unfortunately, many times there is a hefty price tag on that advice. So, how do I know if the price is too high? Who is giving me advice? Who do I follow?
Here are some of our experiences using what’s available in this highly competitive market.
I’ve had book signings, I’ve spoken at libraries and book clubs, I’ve joined several writer groups, and I’ve even given a few workshops. This personal touch of meeting readers face-to-face not only gives me good local exposure but also rewards me with feedback from other authors and readers. In addition, it’s great for selling my paperback copies. However, to market my eBooks, I need to concentrate on a much broader venue.
It’s a constant challenge to find new ways to become noticed. We’ve recently learned that although we were only permitted two categories when first listing a book with Amazon, they allow up to ten categories later if they are requested from Amazon. By listing more categories, Amazon makes it possible for readers to search books in the genre of their interest. This website supplies more information. https://blog.reedsy.com/guide/kdp/amazon-book-categories/
To have more professional images on my website and social media, we include AllAuthor https://allauthor.com/ in our budget. It offers review GIFs that allow a download of customer reviews, mockup banner themes, and options to generate JEPG or PNG images. In addition, many of the images can be saved, and utilizing AllAuthor’s TWEET SCHEDULER, they will be automatically tweeted.
Because we’ve chosen not to establish an email list, we’ve decided to budget advertising through several different promotion sites. Numerous websites give advice on promotional services. One Ron trusts and often refers to is Alliance of Independent Authors, or ALLi https://selfpublishingadvice.org/
We are currently trying different promo sites, often with a pricing special. Some have paid for advertising costs, and some haven’t. BookBub has the reputation of being the best. However, it is also the most expensive and uses a selection process. It is my understanding that only 20% of the books submitted will be accepted. We’ve submitted books but have not had one selected yet. We will try again.
I can’t write about marketing without mentioning how critical reviews are for an author—especially if they are independently published. I know that I usually read several reviews when selecting a book to read. But not all reviews are equal, and we’ve found both reader reviews and editorial reviews may be purchased in either small or large quantities. We do not include this service in our budget. However, I consider reviews and star ratings on Amazon and Goodreads as a gift from my readers.