A very easy way to ensnare potential readers for your book is to release your first chapter into the wild. It costs nothing, it can be a great advertisement for your book and if it leaves readers wanting more, it will translate directly into sales.
(That’s if it good, of course, but let’s assume for the purposes of promoting our self-published book that it’s an absolute blinder.)
I’d recommend doing this as soon as your first chapter is locked down. Us self-publishers can be editing up until the eleventh hour if not beyond, so me saying you should do it x weeks before publication doesn’t really mean anything. Instead I’ll say release it as soon as you know it’s not going to change. This isn’t going to work if someone reads your first chapter, buys the book and discovers the two have nothing in common, now is it?
To start spreading your first chapter, you need:
- To be able to change your Word or Pages document into a PDF
- A release date (or ball park release date) for your book
- A URL of your blog and/or your book’s official website, so people know where to go if they want to know more.
This is my first chapter. As it’s post-publication and the link is on Mousetrapped‘s site, I don’t have any additional info at the end, but I did in the pre-publication version. In that, I directed people to Mousetrapped‘s site, Facebook page and my Twitter account, and told them they could sign up to receive more detailed publication information closer to the date.
What to do with your first chapter?
- Upload it your blog or website.
- Tweet links to it.
- Post a link to it on your Facebook page, or circulate it in an update.
- Attach it to an e-mail and pass it on to everyone in your contacts list.
- Use Bookbuzzr to make a fancy, book-like widget for your first chapter and help spread the news about your book.
I have had sales that have directly come from dispersing my first chapter – one of my Amazon reviews even mentions it. It costs nothing, it takes about five minutes and it definitely works. So do it!