An old adage in publishing says that a book will sell pretty much as long as someone is willing to market it. Sadly, the work doesn’t end when you finish writing the book. If you ever want anyone to read your book, you need to get out there and market it.
Realistically, many writers are like me in that they have a great tendency to be a hermit. I’m basically a shy, retiring sort. And most marketing requires what we refer to here as “getting out of the bubble.” I live on a private dirt road miles from the nearest town, which has a whopping 7,000 people in it. For me, getting out of the bubble has to be done virtually. If I depended on the local economy to support my book publishing habit, I’d starve.
The good news is that the Internet is one of the best ways to market and sell your book. Many of the same methods you use to sell anything online also make sense for books. As Amazon has proved, books sell online. They are small enough to ship and easy to describe, so it’s much easier to sell a book online than it is to sell something like a sofa, which is generally simpler to purchase locally.
Here are 10 ways you can market your book on the Internet:
1. Create a web site for your book. A web site is the first step to marketing anything on the Internet, and a book is no exception.
2. Write articles. When you write articles about the topic of your book, you can include a “resource box” with a link to your book Web site.
3. Send out press releases. Many low or no cost press release services exist online. Your release may get picked up by the media or not. At the very least, you’ll get an incoming link to your web site.
4. Use social media. Communication is a key element of the Internet. These days you can communicate and make friends with people who share your interests using social media sites like Facebook.
5. Set up joint ventures. Once you’ve made friends with people online, consider setting up joint ventures where you swap ads or promote each other’s books or products.
6. Do blog tours or virtual book tours. In this case, you do “guest posts” on other people’s blogs or answer questions for a day. Like press releases and article writing, you get an incoming link to your site.
7. Post in forums. Although discussion forums may not have the “coolness factor” of blogs and social media, they are another way people communicate. Put a signature line on all your posts with a link to your book web site.
8. Send out a newsletter. Write articles about your book topic and send them out as a weekly newsletter. (Eventually you might be able to turn the articles into another book!)
9. Update and customize your Amazon listings. Use the Amazon Connect blog function, Listmania, and other Amazon tools to jazz up your book pages.
10. Optimize your Web sites. An often-overlooked way to get more visitors to your Web site is to make it friendly to search engines. Make sure you avoid using too many graphics, Flash and other high-end features that search engines don’t understand.
If you implement all 10 methods, you will be well on your way to book marketing success. But I warn you, each one of these 10 is a science unto itself, so be prepared to spend some time educating yourself. That’s one great thing about publishing – you never stop learning!
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