Today, aspiring and published authors have to constantly keep pace with technology, especially if they want to sell books. That means knowing where and how to sell books on the Internet–before and after your book release. I asked bestselling indie ebook author (A Walk in the Snark) and social media consultant Rachel Thompson to provide you with the most essential elements necessary to sell books successfully today—in cyberspace. NA
Most authors have high expectations of their book’s success–and we should. We believe in it enough to see it all the way through.
Well, back up. Writing a book is a huge deal. But if you feel you’re done upon release, you are sadly mistaken. Your journey is only beginning. In fact, you should begin your marketing journey even before your book comes out.
I’m a huge proponent of establishing a full and thriving author platform that includes these basic components:
- Social Media: particularly Twitter and Facebook (I’ll discuss the others in a moment). Not just having it, but engaging with it.
- Ads: Google AdWords, Facebook, Goodreads, YouTube, Pinterest, individual promotional sites–all so important.
- Website/Blog: You must have one or the other and be sure it has SEO (search engine optimization) and SMO (social media optimization).
- Digital copy: Amazon is the largest buyer search engine in the world, and it’s growing at 119 percent each year. Of that growth, almost one-fourth is eBook sales (Amazon, 2012). No eBook? Get one.
- Branding: What keywords describe you, your book, and your interests? That’s your branding.
1. Social Media:
There are so many sites at this point it can be hard to decide which one to spend the majority of your budgeted time on. So…what to do? We are all naturally drawn to one site, at the most two. I’ve found Twitter to be my most viable platform, but I also enjoy Facebook and Pinterest. Increasingly, due to changes in their algorithm, Google is now giving more weight to their own products, so that means Google+ and YouTube.
Devote an hour or so each day to social media marketing. And by that I mean utilize Hootsuite, Buffer, Pluggio (I use all three!), to create an interesting drip feed of branded information, resources, links, and content. However, check in often on all sites and interact live with people!
You and I purchase products because we see or hear ads for them. Same concept applies to your book. People think ads are a waste, but I beg to differ: Targeted ads that cost a few dollars per day and increase your sales are a critical component to any successful book launch. I use The Ad Words Guy simply because, well, I trained him (and full disclosure, he’s my guy). Don’t pay a lot for someone to do it for you, but only do it yourself if you understand branding and keywords or you will lose money.
Another viable option is to advertise on book promotion or book blogger sites. Less expensive and can be effective if they are fully optimized.
Whichever you go with, be sure it’s optimized–meaning, all your links are easily found, it takes little to no time to load, and above all, provide fresh content! Updates a few times per month (or per year –gasp!) are not enough for the Google crawlers to recognize fresh content, and you will not rank highly. Blog about relevant topics to you and your brand (see below).
4. Digital copy/eBook:
Paperback and hardcover are becoming dinosaurs. With well over one billion Kindles (and that doesn’t count Nooks or other eReaders), you must create a digital copy of your book. And when I say you, I mean a hire a professional formatter who knows what they’re doing.
Authors especially are confused by this marketing term. I hear every day: I’m not a brand! I’m a writer! Well, then writing is your brand. We as humans instinctively categorize the millions of bits of data that rush at our overloaded brains every second. How can you stand out?
People know that my author account, RachelintheOC, is the snarky redhead who writes about men, love, loss, snark, real-life experiences, and social media (okay, Nutella also, but who’s counting?); whereas my business brand, BadRedheadMedia, is all about helping and supporting authors, social media, Twitter tips, and blogging—quite different than my author account.
What are you naturally drawn to? What are you an expert at? Boom. There’s your branding!
Be consistent in your marketing efforts. Interact, engage, and share others’ information. Look at the overall picture. The more you’re “on,” the more easily you will be found. Visibility and exposure will help people find you and your book. It shouldn’t take you all day (and if it does, contact me for help because I’m a whiz at time-saving techniques). Keep writing above all.
People often ask how to succeed as an author. First, write a great book. Second, market the heck out of it (which hopefully you can do more effectively after reading this article). Third, write more great books!
Thank you for reading, and please tell me what I’ve missed or share your own experiences by leaving a comment.
About the Author
Rachel Thompson, aka RachelintheOC, is a published author and social media consultant. Her two books, A Walk in the Snark and The Mancode: Exposed are both #1 Kindle bestsellers. When not writing, she helps authors and other professionals with branding and social media for her company, BadRedhead Media. She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut.
Thompson is currently working on her third book in the “Chronicles of Snark” series, titled Chickspeak: Uncovered, as well as her first collection of non-humorous essays, titled Broken Pieces.
Note: This post is part of the 2012 Write Nonfiction in November (WNFIN) challenge, which takes place during National Nonfiction Writing Month (NaNonFiWriMo). You can find out more at www.writenonfictioninnovember.com. To participate in the challenge, simply “sign in” by commenting and leaving a description of the nonfiction project you'll be completing during November. Come back and report in if on the status updates page, and comment on the various blog posts or on the WNFIN Facebook page.
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