When it comes to writing a book, most people don’t realize that writing it is actually the easier part. We all have zest for whatever it is that we’re passionate about, and have a lot to say on our topic of interest. But then what?
What happens after the book is published? How should authors go about marketing and selling it in this digital era?
For starters, don’t count on luck or word-of-mouth to make magic happen in terms of visibility, awareness, and sales right off the bat. Also, if you’re not presently a mega-influencer in the social media arena, a book tour may also be out of the question. You also can’t just create a listing for it on Amazon and expect it to be a bestseller just because you’ve self-published it.
Let’s take a look at proven marketing tips that have helped authors increase sales online.
Build A Website
If you want to connect with potential readers and sell books online, it’s important to have a dedicated website to spread the word, while also building an email list for email campaigns. Understand that you will start with zero traffic, but it will increase with consistent promotional efforts.
Considering that consumers do majority of their research online, a website is the first thing you should focus on. Give potential readers a place to quickly and easily find all the information they need. While social media accounts are a great marketing tool, you never know when a social media platform will change an algorithm or remove content, whereas on your website you always have complete control of what potential customers see.
Be Strategic And Selective With Social Media
“Social media will play a major role in terms of visibility and sentiment. Depending on the content of your book, try to figure out which networks are the ones in which your audience chooses to hang out, and start there,” says Sean Castrina, author of World’s Greatest Business Plan.
For instance, if your book is catered to business professionals, LinkedIn may be best, followed by Facebook and possibly Twitter depending on the industry. If you created a graphic novel or any other type of book that is very visual, you may want to start with one of the more visual platforms, such as Instagram and Pinterest.
In addition, find groups that are relevant to your topic, join them and engage in authentic conversations, without promoting your book. Allow natural connections to be made – it’s important to share your knowledge and build your reputation as an expert on your topic.
Castrina advises all novice authors to get their digital bases covered in order to properly market their book(s) online.
Capitalize On All Amazon Offers And Pursue Reviews
If you’re selling on Amazon, be sure to take advantage of every space and feature they offer to increase your chances of being discovered. Be smart with keywords and key phrases in your description.
If you want Amazon to recommend your book(s) to others, it’s crucial to get good reviews from your early customers. A decent number of genuine reviews under any book adds credibility. Don’t be afraid to ask readers who purchased your book to help out by leaving a review. In most cases, they will happily oblige. Readers love helping authors they appreciate.
Experiment With Email Promotions And Online Advertising
There are many approaches that can be taken for email promotions. These include the likes of MailChimp campaigns, to partnerships with book promotion sites that send emails to their own subscriber lists.
Online advertising campaigns consist of everything from paid social media promotions, to Google ads, and Amazon ads. If you’re not already familiar with this territory, you may want to consult with a professional, as the simplest mistakes can get costly, and there’s a lot of research and experimentation that would need to take place on an ongoing basis.
Generously Give, In Order To Receive
Helping people without expecting anything in return has a way of bringing about good karma. As an author looking to sell your book online, that would mean offering value to your prospective audience well before your book launch, in an effort to naturally get their support upon launch.
“My advice for novice authors would be to orient your personal brand ahead of time to what you plan to publish long term. I started by teaching classes and publishing articles on Medium. People became familiar with my work, and my teaching style. Through that I gained trust with my audience. I also found that when I gave away my eBooks for free for a 5-day giveaway, my numbers exploded afterwards and I continue to see higher sales even after the giveaway,” says Lauren Glass, author of Data Mastery.
Capitalize On The Flywheel Effect
The flywheel effect refers to factors setting wheels in motion and building momentum. This is an ideal scenario when it comes to marketing your book.
“Truth be told, nobody cares about you or your book. They care about the value they can get out of your book. The flywheel effect worked to my benefit. I put out a book, some people read it, and it led to requests for me to speak to large audiences. In those speaking engagements, I would mention or quote the book and bring a copy of it to add credibility to the lecture itself. That collectively led to greater exposure, interest, and sales,” says Moe Mernick, author of The Gift of Stuttering and CEO of Winfluencers.
Seek Outside Assistance If You’re Able
Hope is not lost for those of you that simply don’t have the time to manually and organically market your book. You can easily seek outside assistance. In fact, that might even be the better route.
“Working with a good publisher helps a lot. It certainly did for me in my case. They do so much of the heavy lifting that you probably wouldn’t even know was needed,” says Amir Shevat, co-author of Designing Web APIs and CPO of Reshuffle.
Each of these efforts are easier said than done, and it’s important to understand that you’ll be implementing these marketing strategies for the long haul. After all, in order to keep the buzz going, new marketing angles and campaigns are necessary to keep your book relevant and expose it to an even wider audience. But when done right, with a long-term strategy in mind, persistence will pay off.