# Mark Dawson’s Expert Tips for Marketing Your Self-Published Book: A Comprehensive Guide
In the dynamic realm of literature, self-publishing has emerged as a formidable force, empowering authors to bypass traditional publishing houses and forge direct connections with their readers. However, navigating the vast sea of self-published books and capturing the attention of potential readers can be a daunting task. Mark Dawson, a highly successful self-published author and founder of Self Publishing Formula, generously shares his insights and strategies for effectively marketing a self-published book.
**1. Invest in a Professional Book Cover: The Visual Allure**
The adage “don’t judge a book by its cover” may hold true in some instances, but when it comes to self-published books, the cover design plays a pivotal role in attracting readers. Mark Dawson emphasizes the importance of commissioning a professional designer to create a captivating book cover that can compete with those published by traditional publishing houses. He allocates approximately £500 (around $618) for each book cover, recognizing that a well-designed cover can significantly enhance the book’s appeal. For authors on a tighter budget, Dawson suggests purchasing pre-made covers or collaborating with cover designers who sell their spare designs at a reduced cost.
**2. Hire a Copywriter for an Enticing Blurb: The Art of Persuasion**
Crafting a compelling book blurb, a concise promotional synopsis, can be a challenge for many authors. Dawson acknowledges that writing a 150-word blurb requires a different skill set compared to writing a 10,000-word novel. To address this, he recommends hiring a local copywriter to create a professionally written blurb. While this may involve some investment, Dawson believes it is a worthwhile expense. For authors with limited resources, Dawson suggests seeking feedback from fellow authors on online forums or utilizing AI-powered tools like ChatGPT to generate a first draft of the blurb.
**3. Ensure Flawless Editing and Proofreading: The Mark of Quality**
Dawson emphasizes the importance of delivering a polished and error-free manuscript to readers. He stresses that readers will not tolerate “slapdash” writing and that the book must undergo professional editing and proofreading to meet the standards of traditionally published books. Dawson recommends seeking recommendations from other authors or using platforms like Reedsy to connect with qualified editors and proofreaders. While hiring a copyeditor may cost around £1,000 (approximately $1,228) for a 90,000-word novel, Dawson suggests exploring cost-saving options such as trading editing services with fellow authors.
**4. Build Your Mailing List with Freebies: Nurturing a Loyal Readership**
Dawson highlights the significance of building a mailing list as a powerful asset for promoting future books. He advocates offering freebies, such as novellas linked to the main novel, in exchange for readers’ email addresses. By acquiring readers’ email addresses, authors can directly reach them with information about new releases and upcoming projects. Dawson’s mailing list, which he has nurtured over the past ten years, has proven to be an invaluable tool for promoting his books. He notes that emailing his list of 120,000 readers about a new book can result in preorders ranging from 10,000 to 15,000 copies by the release date.
**5. Consider Advertising Strategically: Targeting the Right Audience**
While advertising may seem like a logical step in promoting a self-published book, Dawson cautions authors to carefully consider the return on investment before allocating funds for this purpose. He points out that selling a book for £3.99 (approximately $4.90) on Kindle Direct Publishing, after Amazon’s 30% cut, yields a profit of around £2.80 (approximately $3.44) per book. This profit margin may not be sufficient to justify advertising expenses. However, once an author has written multiple books in a series, the profit margin becomes more substantial, allowing for targeted advertising campaigns. Dawson recommends investing in advertising on platforms like Amazon and Facebook, where authors can precisely target their desired audience based on factors such as gender, age, and location.
**6. Target the Right Audience for Digital Advertising: Precision and Efficiency**
Dawson emphasizes the importance of targeting the right audience when running digital advertising campaigns. He compares traditional billboard advertising, which lacks specific targeting capabilities, to the targeted advertising options available on platforms like Facebook and Amazon. These platforms allow authors to narrow their audience based on relevant characteristics, ensuring that their ads are seen by individuals who are likely to be interested in their books. Dawson advises authors to refine their targeting criteria until they find the right audience that yields a positive return on investment. For his upcoming book set in his hometown, Dawson is targeting people living within 25 miles of the city with a daily advertising budget of £10 (approximately $12.29). This targeted approach has proven effective in generating interest in his book.
**Conclusion: Embracing Success in Self-Publishing**
Mark Dawson’s insights into self-publishing and book marketing provide valuable guidance for aspiring authors navigating the competitive world of self-publishing. By investing in professional cover design, hiring copywriters for compelling blurbs, ensuring flawless editing and proofreading, building a mailing list, and strategically targeting advertising efforts, authors can increase their chances of success in reaching and engaging readers. Dawson’s emphasis on quality, targeted marketing, and building a loyal readership serves as a roadmap for authors seeking to establish a successful self-publishing career.