You've been edited and proofread. You have your interior layout and cover done. Your designer has a PDF file ready for a printer someplace (Print on Demand through Amazon, or Lightning Source, maybe) and you have a ebook-ready file in MOBI (Amazon) and EPUB (everybody else) formats. It feels like you're publishing.
Your biggest job is to get out the word that your book is available. Most writers don’t like promoting themselves, but you can be the exception. You’re the CEO of your book, as they like to tell us all. No matter when the book will be available for sale, the time to start promoting is right now. Actually about 4-6 months ago. Get your book up for presale at Amazon before you can deliver it. This gives you a running start on rankings on Amazon.
A full overview of a book marketing plan is out on YouTube. Draft2Digital, a sales advice company and a distribution provider, did 90 minutes plus questions. The chart below from the webinar below shows all four pieces of getting a platform (sales market base) for your book. The only jargon on this page is CTA: Call To Action. “Buy this book now and have a better life through yoga.” That’s a CTA.
It’s easy to see a marketing webinar like that and get overwhelmed with all that you can do. But you worked hard on your book and it deserves to be seen and used in the world, so it can help others.
Getting people you never met to read your book, review it, and love life a little more, is not something that just happens. You need to make these things happen.
Make a good website for the book (it can be a very good landing page on your existing site)
You build and use a mailing list
You write a terrific book blurb for Amazon and choose the right metadata categories
You can advertise on Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, and other places, too. You have a great mystery, thriller, science fiction epic, young adult novel. Ads really help, since there are so many books.
Then there’s speaking, in libraries and at book clubs and in bookstores. You can buy a space on a table in the front some stores to sell your book for awhile. The prices at Barnes and Noble, as well as the space, are for high fliers with publishing contracts. But bookstores are advertising hubs now. Every book on a table in front got there when a writer bought the space.
I didn’t know all of this seven years ago, when I was six months away from releasing Viral Times. I wrote a great book and didn’t follow through with marketing. To be fair, lots of the marketing tools of 2018 didn’t exist in 2011, either. It’s an investment of time and assistance and expertise to get a book noticed, read, and most of all, reviewed. The book deserves the attention. Only by doing your marketing can you say you're self-published in full.