11 Essential Online Marketing Strategies for Self-Published Authors

image credit: prevokestudios.com

image credit: prevokestudios.com

Look at you, you’ve successfully self-published your book. It took you time, effort, and perhaps a little pain, but you made it. You’re not a New York Times bestselling author (yet) but you do deserve to pat yourself on the back. Well done!

Now another challenging course is presented in front of you, and perhaps it’s occupied your mind for quite some time. Are you looking for the right pick-me-up to help get those Amazon numbers up? In this article, it’s all about helping you promote your work. It all draws down to expertly brewing your online marketing tactics.

1. Start even before you begin

Marketing is a long road met by a dozen constructions and roadblocks. The perfect starting point before you have actually self-published your work is to promote it beforehand. Build connections with your readers and know the kind of material they want to read. To do this online, create a fan page, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other hot social-networking platform especially for your upcoming project.

Expand your e-mail list. You can even contribute to web forums that talk about the same themes your book represents. For example, give members pieces of advice and give away a link to your fan page or blog (if you don’t have one yet, see step 2!)

You have to gather your audience, study them, get to know them, and more importantly, pay attention to them. Because they will churn great returns once your book is out.

2. Build a home, build a website

Your website is your workplace, it is where everything happens. Remember tip #1 on starting before beginning? Be sure to have a website ready before you have published your book. You can easily ask services from a competent web design company to help you with this step. Your website should contain the following elements:

  • Book blog – book updates and responses to suggestions and comments from readers.
    • Tip: To keep your blog engaged, write 100-150 words per day. It can be anything under the sun that is related to your book or read-worthy underlying topics that work around it. Make it educational and inspirational. Do this for at least a year.
  • Samples of a chapter or two from your book
  • Book reviews and blurbs
  • Links to websites like Amazon, Apple iBookstore, Kobo, or Smashwords for ease of purchase – make it super convenient for readers to buy your book in just one click.
  • Links to your videos (see tip below)
  • Schedule of appearances and talks
  • A professional, standout author photo. Also use this same photo in your bio, other printed materials, all your social media profiles, and preferably at the end of your book
  • Contact information

3. Ask for book reviews

Before your book is set to be released, 6-9 months prior, you should start asking friends, acquaintances, eager readers, and even noteworthy names to make an honest review for you on Amazon. Make it up to at least twenty! You’ll be amazed at how effective these compliments are.

Tip: For stellar reviews, try to get in contact with Amazon Top Customer Reviewers especially those near your area.

Send your reviewers a promotional copy, galley proof or PDF of the table of contents, the first two chapters, and your biography. One or two sentences is fine, but a paragraph or more would be terrific.

Tip: For a reasonable fee, websites like ezinearticles.com can provide you with professional, well-written reviews to boost your credibility.

Note: With PDFs, be sure to check with your publisher first on the review copy policies. A lot of publishers don’t allow the author to send out a PDF copy of the book for fear of theft.

4. Articles, articles

eZine and number of other websites, publications, and magazines can market your book through articles that have relevance to your book’s theme. Choose the best from the lot that will prove a great pitch to your readers. Articles should be pitched early because most eZines and magazines have a 3-6 month lead time.

Once you have articles from these sources, advertise your book by inserting your title somewhere in the articles. Link the book title to your book’s Amazon page so readers are closer to buying your book! Remember, if your book is out in December, you should schedule the articles to appear three months succeeding that launch.

5. Trust advertising

Advertising is a highly-powerful tool that returns tenfold the amount you initially invest. Set up your own Google Adwords account or try Facebook ads. Also, check out websites like BookBub or EReader News Today. Be astounded of the numbers that go up.

6. Utilize Amazon’s amazing features

When you have studied and understood Amazon’s system, you must maximize its promotional power. Use categories to heighten discoverability and write alluring book descriptions. For tips on Amazon descriptions, look up Author Marketing Club’s Amazon Description Generator.

7. Create and post videos online

A short video or a series of videos that feature you talking about topics related to your work is a hefty advantage. There, you can also place your book title and URL in the description box and credits. Your videos can be uploaded to dozens of websites from YouTube, blip.tv, jumpcut, Vimeo, to vSocial, to name some of them. Don’t forget to embed a video link on your main website as well.

8. Author hangouts on Google+

If you haven’t yet heard of the prominence you can have, launch your book along with Google+. It hosts and records author hangouts for your online launch party. If you have no idea how to do it, just check out this video for a tutorial.

9. Get mentioned in e-mail blasts

An e-mail blast usually involves mass e-mailing 100,000 or more subscribers. Search for organizations in your line of field that send e-mails in big volumes and try to get some reviews for your book through their newsletters. A handful out of 100,000 is not bad!

10. Bit.ly vanity

Ask help from a techie friend to make a short bit.ly vanity URL for your book. This streamlined method allows you to see stats on the number of clicks to your important links and where these links were shared. You can just check out a how-to guide to make this happen.

11. If you haven’t yet heard of Goodreads

Finally, to really boost your social media, there’s a particular website that can give you the author limelight in Google. Always current, with already over 20 million users, and with massive potential to draw in the throng of readers, comes Goodreads, the highly innovative tool to bring book lovers and authors together through virtual shelves, competitions and of course talk about books they love! When you know how to turn the keys to its incredible features, you’ll realize just how much potential online book marketing can grow for you.

After signing up, you can easily connect your Goodreads account to your Facebook account as well as e-mail account so your friends will know what you the self-published author, are up to. But the best way to capture new fans is to make new friends on Goodreads. Send out friend requests and accept some. Do this for both authors and readers. As time passes, imagine how wide your connections have grown!

The next step is to “claim” your book to make it an author account. Simply search for your book, click it to claim it, then Google will get back to you with what is now an author profile. An author profile offers numerous advantages from SEO ranking to social authority. Google looks up to you! Remember to add that great author photo, videos, and a background about yourself. The rest is history!

Here’s how you can step by step utilize Goodreads’ savvy online features to your marketing advantage:

  1. Create a free blog on your author profile or import your current one with RSS feeds.
  2. Place a Goodreads widget on your author website to connect it directly for any type of update on the site.
  3. To save more time while enhancing your audience, sync your Goodreads to your Facebook or Twitter accounts.
  4. It’s time for the promotion! Schedule a Goodreads giveaway. The competitions mentioned earlier are a new alley to give readers an opportunity to win print books. Authors and publishers will be offering one or more published books as giveaways to help market it and get some good reviews. On average, a giveaway appeals 725 participants. That means more eyes on your book and more potential for readers!
  5. Create an e-mail list that invites people to sign up for regular updates. To lure someone, it’s always good to offer a perk like a PDF of writing advice, audio or video clip of you regarding the book and characters.
  6. Add your book to Goodreads Listopia, making your book appear well-known among other popular books of the genre. Spread out adding lists and add them efficiently.

Online promotion is all about letting your readers locate you. It’s important to focus on being discovered than selling your work first. Maximize your author presence and grow a network of readers you never thought you’d have. With these strategies, you can gain an audience you wouldn’t have acquired without online ingenuity’s help.

Accept that promoting your work is a big responsibility and it involves you taking rigorous steps of hard work and dedication. Always have a marketing plan and implement this plan from beginning to end to achieve your goals. And remember, have fun while you’re at it!

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