I’ve noticed a bunch of trends within the worlds of successful indie authors (well, successful by my own metric). Here are a few things that I’ve noticed have made some authors stand out, all lifted from a nifty resource I stumbled upon (which was probably a collection of other advice pages’ data before someone aggregated it,) located here: http://insights.bookbub.com/book-marketing-ideas/
These are my first “top five.” I’ll likely post another set next week–and I want to go on record (as you might guess, if you’re read my blog) by begging indie writers to edit, edit, edit! Hiring an editor is not on this list at the above link–probably because no amount of tips, tricks, or nifty programs can rescue a shoddy book. Look at 50 Shades of Grey… it may be a runaway success, but it’s still a load of crap and written more poorly than a Shakespearean turd (just don’t focus on the fact that the author made millions and my argument holds more water) and look here… my top 5:
Hire a cover designer. A great cover design can have a major impact on your sales numbers. For example, romance writer R.L. Mathewson went from selling five or six copies per day of her novel, Playing for Keeps, to over 1,000 per day by updating her cover design. It’s usually worth hiring a professional to create a polished cover that appeals to readers in your genre.
Unify cover designs in a series. Create consistent branding between books in a series to make purchasing decisions easy for readers. A unified cover and title style often helps readers recognize connected titles and encourages them to purchase subsequent books.
Make book samples end on a cliffhanger. For example, on Amazon, users can download the first 10% of a book for free or read it on-site via the “Look Inside” feature. This gives you the opportunity to score a sale if the reader wants to continue after the sample.
Bundle the first few books in a series. Include the first two or three books of a series in a box set to promote a full-price book later in the series. This can be a way to hook readers and make them invested in the characters so they’re willing to pay full-price to know how the tale ends. Promote the next book in the series in the box set’s back matter.
Offer free copies to Amazon top reviewers. Reach out to Amazon users with a “Top Reviewer” badge who’ve reviewed books similar to yours. They’ve proven themselves to be experienced reviewers — they know what makes a good review, they’re willing to take the time to write a truly helpful review, and they will likely have a quick turnaround on reading and reviewing.