There is a method to marketing your book online that you'll need to follow if you want to leverage your efforts and steadily increase sales. If your marketing efforts are haphazard, you'll put a lot of effort into marketing your book and become frustrated with the results. If you do them in the right sequence, though, your marketing efforts will yield exponential, long-term results.
Whether you have published your book through a traditional publishing house or a print-on-demand publisher, you must take a highly active role in promoting and marketing your book.
Follow these ten steps to build interest and drive sales. Implement them in the order given to maximize your online marketing efforts.
Six Months Out
1. Create a website for your book.
No, not the traditional website that many publishers provide for their authors. You need your own website where you can be in charge of the content, with the title of your book as your domain name.
Hire a professional copywriter to write your front page, and make sure you optimize your site for both search engines and customers. Writing is not the same as copywriting. Don't make the mistake of thinking that, because you've just written a book, you are up to the task of writing copy for your own site.
Four Months Out
2. Set up your blog and start blogging about your book.
Now it's time to create a blog for the specific purpose of connecting to and initiating dialogue with others about the concepts and ideas in your book. Think of your blog as an extension of and supplement to your website. Write posts a minimum of four times a week. Also start leaving comments on the blogs of other people whose area of interest is related to your book. When you leave a comment (No solicitation, folks!), be sure to include your full name, the title of your book, and a link back to your website or blog. Continue leaving comments and blogging about the content of your book for the next 18 to 36 months.
3. Start writing articles for online publications.
There are a number of places to broadcast your articles on the Internet. "Submit Your Articlesand "Ezine Articlesare two that I use. Write 500- to 750-word articles related to the topic of your book. Publish as many as you can before your book comes out. (Shoot for 20 a month.)
At the end of each article add a resource box where you tell about yourself and your book. Add a link to your website or blog. End with a call-to-action. (For example: To download your free sample chapter, click here.) Continue writing articles aimed at your intended readers for the next 18 to 36 months.
Two Months Out
4. Set up a Virtual Book Tour on the Internet.
Prior to going on virtual tour with my book, I had no idea such an opportunity even existed. I just assumed I would be going out on a traditional book tour. Going virtual, though, was so much better!
-Watching news of your book spread from one blog site to another is exciting.
-Seeing your book title pop up in different places all over the Internet is exhilarating.
-Reading the comments that other people leave for you is priceless.
-Looking at your book from another reader's perspective gives you great insight.
-Spending money on travel is unnecessary. The entire tour is done from the comfort of your home.
Contact bloggers who cover your book's topic. Offer to send them a review copy of your book in exchange for a review on their blog during your virtual tour. Set the start date for your Virtual Book Tour two weeks after your book is published. Then fill it with as many virtual stops as possible.
As Soon as Your Book Comes Out
5. Let people know you are available for interviews.
There are many sources for Internet interviews and tons of people interested in interviewing you. Jack Canfield said that, when marketing Chicken Soup for the Soul, it was his goal to get five interviews a day. This is a strong marketing strategy. While you may not be up to the task of five a day, five a week will go a long way toward getting your name and book out there and talked about. Continue actively giving and seeking interviews for one full year after your book comes out.
6. Write a steady stream of press releases about your book.
Let people know anything newsworthy, including your book release date, Virtual Book Tour schedule, upcoming speaking engagements, and any awards you receive. Submit these to all the free PR wires. Also use the paid PR wires for really special events. Continue writing press releases and announcements about your book for one year.
Two Months After
7. Use social media tools and networks to promote your book.
You can go crazy using all the social media tools, so pick one or two to start. Set up your profile and get started promoting your book. The important thing is to become and remain active. As the year progresses, add additional social media tools.
8. Enter your book in national contests.
Getting recognized by winning or being a finalist in a national contest will give your book lots of attention and exposure. Besides having one of those fancy gold stickers placed on its front cover, your book will also be placed on a national book list that is both published online and sent in print to everyone in the literary world. Enter your book in national contests the first and second year after it comes out.
Six Months After
9. Create a book trailer video.
This can be a big expense, so consider whether you want to create a video of your book yourself or hire someone else to do it for you. If you hire another company, you may lose editorial and content control but gain access to that company's marketing network. If you do it yourself (as I did), you may have a learning curve while putting the video together, but you'll have complete control over content and product.
Make your book trailer informational, entertaining, short (no more than three minutes) and professional. Then broadcast it everywhere! To help you do that, use Tube Mogul to send it to up to 13 different video aggregates. For the next year, make additional one-minute videos about your book and broadcast them.
Eight Months After
10. Use Google AdWords to advertise your book.
Google AdWords is Google's own version of pay-per-click advertising. AdWords are the "sponsored links" that appear on the right side of the page. Since you, the advertiser, will pay every time someone clicks on your link, think carefully about the amount you want to pay each month for this kind of advertising.
If you know what keywords to use and what niche market you want to target, this can be very effective advertising. Registration and set-up are easy, and you can make changes to keywords at any time to maximize your success. Continue placing Google AdWords for as long as you like.
Effectively marketing your book online doesn't have to be haphazard. There is a way to let people know your book exists, while enticing them to take action that will increase the book's visibility and sales. In order to do this, you will need to take a very active role in promoting and marketing your book. Follow these ten steps in the order given and maximize your efforts for steadily increasing book sales.
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About the Author: Dr. Susan L. Reid is a business coach and consultant for entrepreneurial women starting up businesses. She is the author of "Discovering Your Inner Samurai: The Entrepreneurial Woman's Journey to Business Success.To download a free PDF chapter of her book, go to Alkamae. Susan is part of the Small Business Trends Expert Network.