by Carma Spence
Most writers are stunned when they learn that they are expected to do more than just write. Yes, folks–writers are expected to become marketing experts. Carma Spence, author of Home Sweet Home Page, has graciously offered ten tips that will help authors and others with the requisite task of self and book promotion.
Because of Amazon, online marketing has been important for authors for a long time. However, because of the pandemic lockdowns, it has become even more so. The following 10 online marketing tips will help you sell more books using online tools – both free and low cost – so that you can get your books into more readers’ hands, shelves, and e-book readers.
1. Optimize Your Website for Your Ideal Readers
When your ideal readers arrive at your website, do they know they are in the right place? Use your headline, tagline, design, and imagery to show them both visually and verbally that you understand them and what they are looking for. This is true whether you are writing a how-to or a mystery novel.
2. Leverage the Power of S.E.O. with Your Blog
What keywords would someone use to find what your books are about? Write blog posts optimized for those keywords. If you use WordPress (which I recommend you do), install Yoast’s free SEO plugin and follow its advice. Your organic traffic will grow, and if you’re using the correct keywords, it will be the kind of traffic that includes your ideal readers.
3. Synchronize Your Social Media Branding
Make sure that all your social media accounts match your website’s branding. That means you’re using the same headshot – or at least a headshot from the same photoshoot. The colors and the fonts should be the same. In other words, your brand should be instantly visually recognizable no matter where on the Internet your readers happen upon it.
4. Host a Viral Giveaway
Grow your email list with a viral giveaway. GoViral from Growth Tools is a free tool you can use to build campaigns that will encourage people to share your blog posts or opt-in incentives. You can also look into other giveaway tools such as RaffleCopter or KingSumo. The premise of these tools is that you give people something to encourage them to share your content. This is what makes them go viral. Both the incentive to share and what they are sharing need to be perceived as valuable in some way, even if it is simply entertainment value.
5. Partner with Other Authors in Your Genre
There are several ways you can partner with other authors in your genre to help market each other and sell more books together. Here are some ideas:
- Create a multi-author e-book boxed set of titles within a similar theme that you each promote
- Create a series together set in the same world, each writing one book in the series
- Do a newsletter swap where you each promote the other’s book to your email list
- Do a merry-go-round blog tour where you each guest post on each other’s blogs and promote on social media
- Host a reverse blog tour where you host their guest articles on your blog during a set period of time and all on a specific topic. You can read the case studies of the two reverse blog tours I did for Your Perfect Pie and Public Speaking Super Powers on my blog.
- Create and promote a viral giveaway together
- Interview each other on Facebook Live events or YouTube videos
Get creative and you can probably come up with many more ideas of your own.
6. Build Your BookBub Following
BookBub has a nice feature that after you’ve reached 1,000 followers, you can drive pre-orders of your books by announcing your forth-coming books to your current followers on the platform. And this costs you nothing.
To build that following, you need to be active on the platform, but not as active as you need to be on other social media platforms. A simple plan to build your following organically might look like this:
- Add “Follow me on BookBub” links to your website, email newsletter, and other places that you post follow me links
- Review a book you’ve read once a month on BookBub
- Join a BookBub following promotion – often for $25 or less
- Add following you on BookBub to any viral giveaways you host
- Send out a solo email to your list requesting they follow you on BookBub
- Occasionally post on social media requesting follows on BookBub
- Do a flash giveaway contest where people have to follow you on BookBub to enter
It might take you a while to get to that number, but once you are there, your sales should increase with each new book release.
7. Get Good at GoodReads
GoodReads is another place that readers hang out. This platform allows authors to interact with readers a bit more than BookBub does. You can answer questions, link up your blog – as well as post directly to the platform, and share books that you are reading, as well. There are plenty of articles online that give good advice on how to market with GoodReads, so I won’t go into it here.
8. Embrace Video – Both Live and Pre-Recorded
Readers love to get to know their favorite authors. Video is a great way to give them that more intimate experience without having to travel all over the world to meet them in person. Pre-recorded videos are great for book trailers and educational shorts. But live videos, where you can interact with your readers in real-time can be a game-changer for many authors. It can be intimidating at first, but well worth the effort of building up the courage to do it.
9. Activate Your Amazon Pages
There are two pages that you need to concern yourself with on Amazon: Your Author page and your book’s page. For book sales, the most important of the two is your book’s page. You need to do these things:
- Have a compelling book description
- Have at least 10 book reviews (keep asking until you get them!)
- List your book in up to 10 categories
For your author page, include a strong bio. Hook up your blog – if you post to it regularly. And make sure that every time you publish a new book it gets connected to your page.
10. Go on a Tour of Blogs and Podcasts
A great way to get in front of potential readers who would otherwise not hear about you and your books is to go on a tour of other people’s blogs and podcasts. Do interviews, provide guest posts, and generally be of service to others in a way that relates back to your book. In this way, you can spread the word about your book, as well as generate traffic to your website not only in the short term but potentially for years to come.
You don’t need to implement all these tips at once, nor all of them at all. Pick and choose those that make the most sense to you, your skillset, and your audience, and you won’t go wrong.
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Carma helps entrepreneurs, small business owners, and mid-level executives write, publish and market a non-fiction books based on the knowledge between their ears even if they’ve never written before and are crazy busy.
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This is your business.
This is your website.
You need to understand what makes it effective so that you know that your web designer and virtual assistant are doing a good job.
But you don’t need to know the design theory behind it. You don’t need to know the coding that makes it happen. You don’t need to spend a lot of time learning any of that stuff … you just need to know what to do and the basics of how to do it so that you can hand this off to people who love all the technical stuff.
That’s why I wrote Home Sweet Home Page, to give you the basics you need to know in simple, accessible, and easy to implement language that you can understand.
The first edition helped many authors, speakers, and coaches make their websites more effective.
This second edition updates the content from the original book and adds in additional information you need to know in the 2020s.
Carma Spence is the author of five books, including 57 Secrets for Branding Yourself Online and the award-winning bestseller Public Speaking Super Powers. She has also co-authored several International bestselling anthologies. She helps entrepreneurs, small business owners, and mid-level executives write, publish and market non-fiction books based on the knowledge between their ears even if they’ve never written before and are crazy busy. In her spare time, she loves to read science fiction, play with her cat, and hang out with her husband (not necessarily in that order). You can learn more at www.bookmarketingclub.com.