This is a guest post by Victoria Greene, a freelance writer and branding expert.
In an ideal world, you will already be looking for ways to promote your book as you’re writing it. After all, you’ve already gone to the trouble of considering your audience and the style of writing they like, as well as analyzing the characteristics of your book’s chosen genre. But in terms of nitty-gritty marketing techniques, here are 7 author strategies you can learn from to promote your book successfully.
1. Make Your Website The Center Of Your Brand
Your website should be the central hub of your promotional operations. But for many authors, the thought of creating a fancy website can be daunting. By using a hosting platform like Squarespace, Shopify, or WordPress, authors can knock up a decent-looking website in a matter of hours – no previous experience in web design necessary. There are many basic templates for small brochure sites; you can also access hosting and all the tools needed to sell and promote your book online.
A basic author website should include:
● A homepage featuring your book’s cover image, synopsis, and link to buy or download
● An About page including your background, an image, and contact details
● A regularly updated blog
● Links to your product listings on Amazon, Kobo, etc.
● Book reviews
● Links to your social media channels
2. Build Real Relationships
Writing is often tipped as a lonely profession. But in order to make it nowadays, no author is an island. The relationships you make both online and in person will make or break your career.
Finding influential voices in your genre or subject matter is easy thanks to social media, but being heard and remembered by these influencers is a different story.
Obviously, trying to get in touch with J.K. Rowling on Twitter isn’t going to be a successful strategy, but starting off locally might be. Find writing groups and authors in your area and make a connection. In building authentic relationships, you will need to take the time to build your own genuine interest in other people’s work. Attend writing events and offer to guest post on another author’s blog every once in a while.
3. Think In Keywords
As the biggest bookseller online, Amazon has refined its internal search engines to the nth degree. Its use of metadata and keywords helps millions of customers find the books they want to read in seconds.
Authors should, therefore, consider their book’s keywords very carefully, in order to draw the most traffic to their page. Remember, it is not just about ‘stating the obvious’ in terms of naming your genre or targeting highly competitive search terms.
To avoid common Amazon keyword mistakes, you should firstly think about your readers and the kind of words they might use to find your book. If non-fiction, might they be searching Amazon for a book that solves a problem? Similarly, if your work is fiction, does it cover any widely discussed or topical themes, such as environmentalism? For more on readers’ search intent on Amazon, take a look at this previous post.
4. Boost Your Email List
Your email marketing strategy could be paramount to your long-term success as an author. Developing a long list of subscribers isn’t easy, but these regular readers are crucial to building up your core fanbase.
Further, make sure you provide your email subscribers with remarkable and exclusive content from time-to-time. For example, a free supplementary eBook download could be a great way to build up anticipation ahead of a new book launch.
Email lists are also one of the cheapest forms of direct marketing available to authors. In order to build a list that drives significant sales traffic, you need to promote and talk about it often within your blog posts and social media updates.
5. Gather Reviews As Early As You Can
Ideally a good few months before your book is released, you will need to begin the process of gathering reviews. In order to do this, you will need to prepare some ‘Galley Proofs’ of the first couple of chapters in a PDF. Don’t be afraid to approach many different industry voices, publications, and even news publications to get a review. Even if the review is only couple of sentences, you can use this as part of your publicity material.
6. Don’t Ignore Facebook
You should already be using social media to connect with interested readers. Through online communication there is ample opportunity to promote your book, without relying on the typical front cover image and pitch.
Since everyone and their mother (often literally!) use social media these days, authors ignore sites like Facebook at their peril. There are numerous creative ways to bring up your book’s content, without expressly plugging it.
For instance, if there is a news story that closely mirrors some of the issues the characters in your book face, share this and ask your readers for comments. If your protagonist battles with depression, for example, the latest research findings could easily be related to your readers. Further, if you do this in the development stages of your book, your reader’s observations may help guide your character’s behavior and make them more believable.
Millions of authors use Facebook as a tool for promotion, but did you know that you can also use the social media site as a direct selling platform? Using Facebook’s marketplace, you can safely and securely sell copies of your book from your author profile page.
You will need to set up a separate Facebook page under your author name, rather than your personal profile. Depending on the ecommerce selling application you opt for, you can very quickly and easily make your own online store for your books, with very little technical know-how required. So why not make the most out of this traffic?
7. Generate Sales Fast With A Promotion
Amazon sales are based on rankings. Books at the top of the rankings are more likely to be discovered by potential readers. So it should be the aim of every author to rank as well as they can.
There is no surefire way to cheat Amazon’s algorithmic ranking system. However, generating many sales over a short time period is bound to contribute some positive traction for your book’s ranking within the site.
Offering a large discount over a 48-hour period is a great way to generate fast sales in the early instance of a book launch. Also, be sure to ask these discount readers for a review, so more readers can look you up online.
You should also blast the news of your sale on social media sites and use a book promotion hosting service, such as Bargain Booksy, to help you get the word out to as many people as possible.
Marketing should infuse everything you do as an author, from designing your front covers, to putting your best foot forward with your social media posts. There are many tricks of the trade that can help you boost your website and sales rankings. But ultimately, your success will come down to the amount of genuine effort you’re putting into promoting yourself and engaging with readers.
Victoria Greene is a freelance writer and branding expert. She runs her own blog at victoriaecommerce.com. Here she dispenses advice to authors and brands looking to boost their sales online.