Why is a modern self-published author like a Swiss army knife?
It might sound like a strange joke or logic puzzle, but it couldn’t be more true!
Just as a swiss army knife contains a whole host of tools and capabilities within a single package, the modern self-published author has to operate in the same way.
If you self-publish, you need to be able to not only write, but also market, network, promote and format!
As authors grow, it’s often smart to outsource parts of the process to specialists. For example, a talent in writing doesn’t always equal a willingness or desire to engage in social media, which is where services such as those offered by Ausoma come into their own.
Not everyone has the luxury of using paid services, and some authors like to be as hands on as possible in many areas of their writing business. For such authors, I’m now going to share areas of the self-publishing process where I feel software can play a very valuable role. The links are not affiliate links, just genuine recommendations I feel would benefit a lot of authors.
Book Research Tools
While a considered approach to book marketing is absolutely essential for self-publishing success, marketing should be thought of as a holistic process, rather than an isolated function that occurs around the time of publication only.
The best form of book marketing starts with thorough research to find a book idea that is worth writing and represents a real opportunity for success and profit. Book idea research can be carried out manually or through the use of specialist software tools. (Sue’s note: checkout this article with 7 tips on researching your book.)
Regardless of how you choose to research your book idea, you should always aim to find a book idea which fulfills all of the following criteria –
- The idea is one which people are prepared to spend money on
- The idea is likely to experience sustained interest and not be a flash in the pan trend
- The idea is one which you can add value to and produce a book that offers something different from what’s on offer
Of course, it’s possible to research ideas manually, without the use of any specialist software. This can involve –
- Running your idea by reader friends and getting their feedback
- Seeing what’s selling on Kindle and other self-publishing platforms
- Paying attention to the traditional bestseller lists
- Writing a book that solves a problem you have that no other book addresses
- Putting a new spin on a tried and tested concept, such as a unique take on a diet book
Carrying out book idea research manually has the advantage of saving you some cash, as you do not need to invest in specialist software. On the other hand, manual research is often time consuming, so you often save dollars but spend additional hours.
I’ll now share a few of my favorite book research tools, along with a brief suggestion as to the key advantage they confer.
Evernote is perhaps the quintessential research app, although many users feel its best days are behind it. It allows you to quickly and easily sync your research across devices, although the free version is far more limited than it used to be.
Simplenote is similar to Evernote, just a lot simpler. Like the good old days of Evernote, Simplenote will allow you to sync all of your research across devices for free. It has unlimited storage and is compatible with virtually every device and OS out there. The only catch is it only allows for text research, not images or other media.
Many people have a natural aversion to Microsoft products. It’s easy to understand why, as their web browsers and search engines are often far inferior to competing options. OneNote is actually an exception to the rule. It’s a good synced research software similar to Evernote, offering 5GB of free storage across unlimited devices.
Full disclosure – I am the creator of KDP Rocket! However, I genuinely stand behind it as an awesome book research tool. You can use it to quickly and easily identify profitable book topics and even research your competitive strategy from within the software. It also massively speeds up the process of finding AMS keywords, when you are ready to advertise your work.
KD Spy is an older book research tool similar in many ways to KDP Rocket. Although I prefer KDP Rocket for its overall research capabilities, KD Spy is still worth your time if you focus heavily on book categories as part of your research process.
Book Writing Tools
At first glance, book writing software might not seem that relevant to marketing, but nothing could be further from the truth.
As per the 4 Ps of marketing framework, your product is a key aspect of marketing. Seeing as your writing app is the tool you use to craft your product, it has a significant influence over the quality of your book. A carefully chosen writing app can dramatically increase your efficiency and allow you to create better and more complex books which are easier to market.
Scrivener is a super-popular writing app used by some of the greats such as bestselling author Michael Hyatt, and screenwriter for Dr. Who, Neil Cross. Scrivener allows you to store and access all of your research within the software, easily structure and rearrange your work, and even export to almost every format imaginable. Having the right book format is an essential technical aspect of book marketing, and Scrivener makes it a breeze.
Ywriter is a free alternative to Scrivener for Windows users only. It lacks some of the functionality of Scrivener, but has a lot of epic features not found in standard word processing software. It was created directly by a novelist, so you can be confident the functionality on offer is actually useful.
On the other end of the spectrum from the fully featured powerhouses Scrivener and Ywriter exists Ommwriter. Ommwriter has been designed to encourage focused writing with a full screen mode, peaceful nature sounds and other benefits to get you truly in the zone.
Book promotion is the stage of book marketing which most closely resembles marketing in the traditional sense. Of course, your marketing endeavours will be a lot easier if you’ve carried out careful market research and created a quality book, but it’s still vital to get the word out to the right people.
Some of the key objectives for book promoters include –
- Coordinating promotional pushes prior to, at, and immediately after launch to build momentum behind a book
- Arranging for the book to be reviewed as books without reviews rarely sell
- Finding the ideal readers for the book online through blogs, reader groups, forums, and social media platforms
- Building and maintaining the book’s social presence through the use of Facebook content, Tweets and wider strategic moves such as the use of relevant hashtags
- Generating positive online word of mouth buzz by building relationships with key influencers within the book’s niche
No software app is able to replicate the capacity of an experienced marketer for strategic decision making, but there are plenty of apps which can speed up and enhance the book promotion process.
There are plenty of apps similar to Hootsuite, but it’s the one I personally use, so I’ll recommend it here. Hootsuite allows you to create, schedule and monitor social media posts across different platforms in a single app. For example, you could access Hootsuite once a month and schedule a batch of content for each and every social network for the upcoming time period. This is great if you want to largely ‘set and forget’ your social media promotion, or just hate using a separate app for each network.
Meet Edgar is a really interesting approach to social media marketing. It allows you to categorize your content and then automate a post schedule based on the type of content you wish to share. This allows you to ensure your audience gets the right mix of content types without you having to manually think about and arrange it.
Sendible is a premium priced alternative to Hootsuite with a lot of functionality. It does everything Hootsuite does, such as scheduling content across social networks, but also offers a lot more. For example, Sendible notifies you every time you are mentioned anywhere on the web, and also allows you to carry out advanced forms of marketing such as SMS campaigns. Most authors probably won’t require something as advanced or pricey as Sendible, but it’s a great option for book promoters with packed to-do lists.
Book Marketing Software Solutions Final Thoughts
Hopefully you now share the viewpoint that while book marketing software may never replace the need for human intelligence and creativity, it enhances our capabilities and makes us more efficient.
For the sake of brevity, this article has focused on three key stages of the book marketing process, and looked at a few of the best tools to assist with each.
I’ll now open up the discussion to you guys. What other parts of the book marketing process do you use software for? Do you love or hate any of my suggestions? Which software app has made the biggest difference to your own book marketing?
Kindle Marketing Jedi, Kindlepreneur.com
Check out Dave’s latest Software: http://KDPRocket.com