9 Critical Steps to Successful Self-Publishing: Critical Step 7

Critical Step 7: Prepare Key Marketing Materials

While Your Book is Being Readied for Publication, Prepare Your Marketing Materials

The most important materials you need to support the marketing of your book are:

A website for your book (with eCommerce enabled so people can buy directly from your site, a link to Amazon.com, or another retailer). CONFIRM THE AVAILABILITY AND REGISTER THE DOMAIN NAME BEFORE FINALIZING THE BOOK TITLE.

A One-Sheet (also known as a Sell Sheet), that provides certain critical information about your book, and;

Leave-Behinds – material that you ‘leave behind’ when you have a speaking engagement, attend a professional event that allows promotional material, or should have available to offer to people who seem interested in your book.


Your website is a critical piece of your marketing plan. Here is where you can talk about your book in greater length than in the blurb on the back cover.

You may wonder what your website should contain, other than a photo of the cover of the book and a Buy Now button. Here are some suggestions:

Book Description: What if someone who doesn’t know about your book stumbles across your website? Your website should provide a compelling synopsis of the book. You can also include an excerpt of the book to give a viewer the immediate gratification of getting to read and become interested in your book.

Author Bio: Let your readers know about your background, especially as it pertains to your book. This is a way of establishing a relationship with your audience.

Contact Information: your readers need to be able to reach you to ask if you’d be willing to be interviewed, to invite you to give a speech, or to ask questions about your book’s availability.

Social Media plug-ins, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, that allow your readers to share your content (and spread your message) to other potential readers.

Ask your readers if they’d like to sign up to receive a newsletter (if you plan to create one). Have a Follow or Subscribe plug-in or offer an RSS code that automatically sends them your latest blog post or notifies them when there is new content (such as reviews and author appearances).

Ask your website’s visitors to share their email addresses if they want to know when you release a new book, especially if you work in a genre that tends to publish series of books, such as the Twilight series or children’s books. Although there are programs that automatically capture the email addresses of visitors to your website, this is not an ethical way to obtain email addresses. Any request for a visitor’s email should be clearly identified as voluntary and communicate how the information will be used and not be used (i.e., it will not be sold, or used to pitch content unrelated to your book). Also include an Unsubscribe link.

Reviews, interviews, author appearances and press releases. Let people know what you’re doing with your book and which audience is interested in it. If possible and appropriate, include excerpts of videos of you speaking about your book.

For advice on putting together a One-Sheet and Leave Behinds, see 9 Critical Steps to Successful Self-Publishing: Get it Right the First Time.

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