With the rise of self-publishing and independent publishing, there have never been as many books out there as there are today. In this climate, it can get overwhelming. You may get discouraged, thinking that with so many books out there, it’s not likely that anyone will ever read yours. Chin up! Luckily, people are reading more than ever. People will read your book if you make it stand out from the crowd. Here are a few ways to do that:
1. Be authentic. Don’t set out to write a book like another popular author. People want to read original stories by authors with unique voices. Be yourself. Write the story only you can write. Ask yourself what makes you qualified to write this story? What can you bring to this story that no one else can? When you tell the specific story only you can tell, it will often speak to the universal experiences we all have.
2. Don’t rush. I get it. You want to be a published author. You want to get your books out there. Whether you are self-publishing or opting for the traditional publishing route, don’t rush through the writing or revising process. This is where the creative fun happens anyway! Take the time to make sure you have made your book the best it can be.
3. Know your audience. This is not something you need to worry about when you are writing a first draft, but as you are revising and marketing, it is helpful to know who this book is written for. If you’re writing a young adult book, for example, try to read it through that lens when you are editing. If you’re writing a science fiction book, make sure it will play well to that audience.
4. Get friendly with reviewers. This is something you can do before your book is even published. Read book blogs. Watch Booktubers (people on YouTube who talk about books). Comment when you can, and get involved. Build relationships with people who review books. This will help you to stand out from the crowd when your book is published and you are trying to get it reviewed.
5. Have a marketing plan. This is obviously essential for self-published authors, but even for traditionally published authors, it is also a good idea. Publishers want to see that you are willing to put in some marketing effort to sell more books. Read marketing blogs or e-books about how to market your book, get active on social media, start your own blog. The possibilities are endless.
6. Join an author community. There are tons of websites, Facebook groups, Google+ groups, etc. where you can find fellow authors. They are a great resource. You can talk about what works and what doesn’t, ask questions and get advice, and support each other! Plus, you’ll make some amazing friends.
7. Have an eye-catching cover. If your book just has a “meh” cover, it won’t stick out in anyone’s mind when they are flipping through the multitude of books to read. Whether you are self-publishing or publishing the traditional way, you want to make sure you have a great cover. Sometimes you won’t have a lot of (or any) say about the cover if you are traditionally published, but you can be proactive. Maybe give the publisher or your agent an example of book covers you love (in your genre) to pass on to the graphic designer.
8. Think outside the box. If you can tie your book into any sort of organization, event, local non-book store, or anything not related to books, you should! Does your book mention any local restaurants or local organizations? Maybe they will let you sell books there. Does your book deal with a cause like feeding the needy? Maybe you could throw a benefit for a local food bank, sell some books there, and donate half of the proceeds to the organization. Whatever you can do to get the word out about your book is good!