Author Q&A, Blogging, Writing

6 Effective Ways to Market Your Book Online (Guest Post by Hayley Zelda)

Great tips all writers can use! The world needs your story. Here are some ways you can spread the word about your books.

Image shows a person holding a pen and writing while they look at a laptop and an smart phone.
Image by Firmbee from Pixabay 

Introduction: I was very pleased Hayley offered to share her wisdom with us today. As an author, I’m always trying to think of new ways I can spread the word about my books. Whether you are a self-published or traditionally published author, it is becoming more important in today’s changing landscape for authors to work to promote their own writing. I found this post from Hayley to be incredibly helpful, especially since my third book, Hope for the Broken, was released this month by Touch Point Press. I encourage you read this piece and find out Hayley’s tips for how creators can promote their work to readers.

6 Effective Ways to Market Your Book Online by Haley Zelda

Hayley Zelda is a writer and marketer at heart. She’s written on all the major writing platforms and worked with a number of self-published authors on marketing books to the YA audience.

Even though publishing houses don’t do most of the marketing for authors anymore, that doesn’t mean that you can’t do it yourself. In fact, the internet is the perfect place to promote your book and get people talking. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re an experienced author, there are lots of ways to spread the word and help your book succeed. Here are some of the best ways to promote your book online.

  1. Build a leverage platform

If you’re an up-and-coming author, the best way to promote your book isn’t through traditional marketing, but through social media. Build a platform for yourself online, where you can share links to your book with your fans and followers. A proper online platform doesn’t just mean one social media account, it’s more like an interconnected network you build over time. At the very least, you’ll need a Facebook fan page, a Twitter account, and a strong author blog on your website. But it helps if you have some comment accounts on Twitter or characters on a specific platform like Quora, and if you can put out interesting content that the major social media companies will automatically share for you.

As your online presence grows, you’ll see more and more people following your posts, whether it’s on Twitter, Tumblr, or whatever you choose, making it easier to spread the word about your book. Remember to cross-post your blog posts to different platforms as well, and let your followers know when you’re adding new content. So for example, if you’ve got a new Youtube video hitting 100 likes and shares within the hour, you should repost it to your Facebook fan page so that you’re capitalizing on the renewed energy. Try to schedule this promotion in advance, and make sure to turn on hourly notifications so that you don’t forget!

  1. Market to the right audience

One of the first things an author should do is pick a target audience and stick to it. Figure out what relevant communities are nearby you and where you can advertise. Research each place and spend some time getting to know how the groups work. Once you know exactly how each community works it will be easier to approach your audience effectively. Depending on the size of your community it can be easier to post your work on a smaller forum than a bigger forum. Sign up for groups where you think your book will be the most attractive and look at the rules carefully. Be sure that your book fits in with that community. Developing a consistent social media presence is a good way to help develop an audience base. It can help you follow topics that are popular with your target audience. Even if someone sees you one time, they will automatically see your name if they are familiar with the site and stay in touch.

  1. Set up interactive social media channels

Social media is one of the best ways to drum up interest in a book you just completed. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are the best social networks for promoting books, mostly due to their immediacy. Blogs are very useful as well. You can post and tweet the release date and cover, and provide interesting quotes from the book that add to the mystique. News outlets and websites that promote books can be quite helpful as well, as long as you target only popular ones that have a good following. Reserve your advertising dollars for large websites that have a following of hundreds of thousands, or even millions.

As for the big, chain retailers, your book sales on Amazon or Barnes and Noble aren’t going to be affected much by social media, except perhaps to increase your notoriety. For them to be truly useful, you want actual revenue from your book sales coming in. Having small chains order your book can affect your bottom line more, but even these stores can remain elusive if you’re going up against big hitters. Ultimately, deciding what goals you want for your advertising campaign should inform how you commit to social media. If you don’t need the prestige of a large retailer and you think you can target small chains instead, you may be better off scaling back on your social media presence and brushing up on your book selling skills.

  1. Network with other authors

Whether you’re self-publishing or working with a publisher, the smart thing to do is build your online presence one person at a time. Luckily, online writers’ groups have emerged with just this in mind. They provide writers with the opportunity to connect and to learn and grow. The first thing you should do when you join one of these groups is get to know the other members socially. Find out what they are writing and figure out a way to contribute to it — reviews, extra content during launches, or mutual interviews for instance. These connections will be invaluable when it comes time to build awareness of your books. Also make use of the groups’ skills — whether it’s copywriting, design, or anything else. A lot of these groups provide non monetary resources to their members, making it much cheaper for you to produce your book.

Another type of online forum is a genre forum. These offer readers and writers the opportunity to connect, to discuss specific topics, and to see new books. When you first post your book, be sure to promote it heavily within the forum even while you’re linking to it on Amazon, rather than waiting for people to reach out to you. Since forums’ main purpose is to connect users, people who go there are used to looking at new books, later compared against similar ones. And since people come to these sites looking for advice, make sure to build teaser campaigns, mention sales, and promote your book in as many ways as possible, so that people will remember your book when they’re off the discussion boards.

  1. Use online advertising wisely

Don’t make the mistake of focusing only on social media. If you tweet ten times a day but never buy an ad, no one will know you exist. Paid online advertising is becoming increasingly effective, even for indie authors. It’s undeniable that Facebook and Twitter have helped indies gain visibility, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the nexus of Google. In today’s digital world, research indicates that more organic traffic actually comes from Google than either Facebook or Twitter. Consider putting a small book marketing budget behind a few social media campaigns, as well as a targeted paid ad campaign on Google.

  1. Publish a lot of good content

Not only will publishing good content help you attract readers and build an audience that is interested in you, it will also give you a reputation in your genre that will make it easier to promote your future books. The best way to make a name for yourself is to prove that you are an expert in what you are writing about, and nothing says that more than having a blog with useful, interesting, insightful articles about a niche.

Before you publish your book, search for the topic that you’re writing in on the internet to make sure that there aren’t thousands of other blogs covering the same topic. If there are, your prospects for publishing a successful blog on it are much slimmer. It’s easy to regret the decision to produce content after the blog has begun, so it’s one of the best ways to protect yourself from that — if there are too many blogs already, the competition is too high and you should rethink the idea that there’s demand for new coverage. 

Another form of content are short addicting stories or flash fiction. They can be related to your book — set in the same fictional world, for example — or something different, as long as it’s from you. Publish them on writing sites like Wattpad and Commaful. Then you can build an audience that’s attuned to you as the author. Don’t forget to let your blog readers know where to find these stories! So when you publish your book or plan on future books, you know readers that are waiting.

Don’t wait to spread the word – get started promoting your book online right now! There are lots of inexpensive or even free alternatives to pricey PPC and social media advertising, like posting recommendations on relevant discussion boards, setting up contributions pages, and guest blogging. With the right marketing strategy, you can have your book sell like hotcakes in no time at all!

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