Are you a first-time, self-published author? Wondering where to get started with promoting your new book? Or, perhaps you’ve traditionally published your book and are surprised by how little your publisher will be doing to market your book?
A Beginners Guide to Self-promotion
The biggest mistake that many authors make is waiting until the last minute to think about how they are going to market a book. Oftentimes, it’s not until after it is already published that they even start to consider “what’s next?” However, marketing plans should be started early in the writing process so that you have sufficient time to build the connections, relationships and social media profiles necessary to get the word out about your new title.
If you’re like the vast majority of writers, a marketing plan may never have even made it onto your To Do list. Here you are, with your newly published book in hand, and no idea what to do next.
Your marketing strategy is going to be different than someone who started earlier, unless you have a large platform already (a platform is the online reach you have using e-mail, social profiles and other online connections to connect with an audience.). Building an audience takes time, especially if social marketing is going to be a part of your overall marketing strategy. The goal of any good marketing strategy though is going to include maximizing exposure to the right target audience for your book. And while self-promotion may feel awkward and uncomfortable to you, there is no one who knows your material better than you do! You can do this!
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
1. Find people with the right audience for your book, and encourage them to blog about you and your book.
Getting other people to help you “build the buzz” is a surefire short-cut to gaining visibility and growing your own audience. So, give others the opportunity to interview you, review your book, or publish a guest post that you write. This still requires hard work, and the easier you make it on someone to write about you, the more likely it is that they will. So, put in the legwork to ensure that what you’re offering is suitable for their target audience. Bloggers have a duty to provide their readers with fresh, timely content, but most of all it needs to be relevant to the readers. Make sure when you reach out to someone else with the hope that they’ll promote you or your book that you clearly outline what your plan is, and how it’s relevant to their readership.
2. Know your keywords!
Understanding the words and phrases your target audience will use to find your book (and books like yours) is essential. You can have the greatest book in the world, but if people can’t find you or haven’t heard of your book before, it won’t matter. Search engines of all kinds (Google, YouTube, Bing, Facebook, Pinterest, and any other site that has a Search box) rely on properly coded “keywords” to identify your listing for their search results. However, it doesn’t have to be a guessing game! You can use Google AdWords to search for a general keyword related to your topic. For the purposes of one of my books, I used “book marketing.” The keyword tool then shows me exactly what search terms people are using to find sites related to book marketing. Selecting the “Exact” match type will ensure that the results are relevant to your search term. Sort the results on Global Monthly Searches to identify the search terms that are being used the most. Select the most commonly used search terms and ensure that they appear in titles, descriptions, etc. of your listing, website, blog posts, interviews, etc. The difference for you between using “marketing strategy” and “marketing strategies” may be minimal. However, there are 22,500 few people looking for “marketing strategies” last month than those seeking a “marketing strategy.” Knowing what you’re audience is looking for will help you to position your content where they will find it.
3. Optimize your presence on Amazon.com.
Making sure that your author page is set up, containing relevant information and resources, is a great start. But you also need to make sure that your book listing is set up properly, keyworded thoroughly, categorized correctly, and contains sufficient user-generated content to be trust-worthy. Encourage people who have read your book already to leave reviews, and then publish the reviews to your social profiles to promote what others are saying about your book. Encourage your following to give a “thumbs up” to helpful review comments by clicking the “Yes” button next to helpful reviews. And, don’t forget to comment on reviews as well, if only to thank the reviewer for taking the time to leave a comment! All of these different things play a part increasing your visibility within Amazon searches.
These three steps will help you to leverage existing audiences and people interested in what you have to offer while you turn your time and attention on building a social media platform that will allow you to broadcast your own message.
For further ideas about how to market your book online yourself, check out my do-it-yourself guide called The Plan that Launched a Thousand Books on Amazon today!
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