Marketing a book is far harder than writing it, especially as a new author. Since the release of A Boy Named Zephyr, I have tried several different approaches to marketing. Below are a couple methods that are cheap and easy to get started with, and have worked decently for me as a new author.
Goodreads giveaways have given the best bang for the buck of all of my marketing attempts. To host a giveaway, you need an author account with Goodreads, and a physical version of your book. While you cannot host a giveaway for an E-Book, having your book available in multiple formats is a good idea anyways.
Many people think the point of the giveaway is to toss out a ton of free books, and watch as they turn into reviews. In reality however, most people who win a giveaway probably won’t even read the book, let alone review it. The point of a giveaway is marketing a book to as many people as possible, as cheaply as possible. A single copy generates as much visibility as dozens, but is much, much cheaper.
Goodreads recommends 30 day durations for giveaways, but I have found more success with less. When setting a duration, The goal is to be featured on multiple giveaway highlights at once. A short enough duration can put your book on the “New giveaways”, and “Giveaways ending soon” highlights at the same time, doubling exposure. Opening up your giveaway to the entire world is also key. Don’t limit it to just your home country.
For my first giveaway, I received 639 requests. I hosted the giveaway for one month, and it was open only to the USA and Canada. Not amazing results for sure, but that is still 639 people who have now heard of my book. My second giveaway was only 20 days long and open to the whole world. I received 1376 entries.
Marketing a book on its own website
While I have my personal website here, I have also taken the time to create a website specifically for the Gemsong Saga Series. Within that website, I have added back-stories, history, and lore, about the world and characters that exist in the book. It has been a ton of work, and the results have been mixed in some respects, and great in others.
I don’t get a ton of random traffic to the website which isn’t great, but expected given that it is an unknown/niche subject. It has however, worked well in tandem with Goodreads. Visitors who were directed to the site from a Goodreads giveaway showed a very high conversion rate.
It’s a long road
Authors that become successful rarely if ever do so overnight. It is a long game that revolves almost entirely around laying the ground work for the future, and waiting. So much waiting.
Don’t focus on generating sales, because you probably won’t have many until much later. Early on, it’s all about small victories and getting your name out into the world. Every follower is someone to be treasured, and every mention a small victory.