There is a tremendous opportunity for authors to reach millions of potential readers by marketing books online. Even better, you don’t have to be a technology guru or spend a lot of money to launch your online marketing campaign.
First and foremost, every author should have a website. You can use your website to not only market to readers, but to communicate with editors, agents and publishers. Your website is essentially an online brochure that can include as much or as little information as you’re willing to share.
Website hosting is also surprisingly affordable with rates ranging from $5-$20 per month depending on the provider you choose and the services you need. Some providers to consider are Yahoo (http://smallbusiness. yahoo.com), Network Solutions (www.networksolutions.com) or Go Daddy (www.godaddy.com).
Once your website is up and running, there is plenty you can do to get the word out. Following are strategies you can use to market your books around the globe with your own online marketing campaign.
Host a Newsletter
Sending an electronic newsletter, also known as an ezine, is one of the most effective and affordable marketing tools available. This is your opportunity to communicate with your readers, announce events, tell them about new books and products and build loyalty.
Make sure to send your newsletter on or around the same time each month or week. Ideally it should be loaded with interesting information so that your subscribers are eager to read each edition. Check out www.constantcontact.com for email management solutions.
Form Strategic Alliances
Contact authors and business owners in your field and inquire about partnership opportunities. You can swap links to each other’s websites, promote each other in your ezines, refer each other to media opportunities and speaking engagements, and find other mutually beneficial partnership opportunities.
Maximize Exposure on Amazon
There are a variety of programs on Amazon that can boost an author’s book sales. Check out Amazon Connect, where you can post messages to readers and on your book’s main page. You can also create Listmania lists, post reviews for other people’s books, and submit search terms relevant to your book. Also, make sure your book’s description on Amazon is accurate. If not, contact Amazon and request appropriate changes.
Participate in Forums and Message Boards
Online forums are a place where visitors can exchange information. Whenever you post a message, you can include a brief signature line with details about your book and your website address. Locate forums related to your book’s topic and become a regular visitor. You might be surprised by how many new readers you will find here. One great resource is Yahoo! Groups: http://groups. yahoo.com. Also search the internet for industry-appropriate forums. If you’re really ambitious, you might consider hosting your own forum.
Host a Blog
A blog, also known as a web log, is essentially an online diary where you can post brief bits of information for your readers. Most bloggers post messages two or three times per week. Well-read blogs provide information on controversial topics or offer how-to advice and useful statistics. You can start a free blog by visiting www.blogger.com. Make sure you promote your blog everywhere by including a link from your website, in your email signature and mentioning it in your author bio. You might also want to read some existing blogs to get some ideas on how to format yours.
Many of the millions of websites on the internet are in need of quality content and articles. You can write articles related to the topic of your book and submit them for consideration to industry-related websites. Make sure to include an author bio with a link to your website.
You can also post articles to content sites such as www.ezinearticles.com and www.ideamarketers.com. Visitors to these sites look for articles to publish on their websites and in their ezines. When your article is selected for publication, the publisher must include your author bio. This is one of my favorite book marketing strategies. Even if you publish just one article per month, over time you should see your website traffic grow dramatically. Don’t forget to run an internet search periodically on your article’s title so you can see where it is featured.
The more time you spend online looking for opportunities to market your book, the more chances you will find to increase sales. Commit to spending an hour every day to marketing online and you will surely see your sales improve.
Stephanie Chandler is the author of several business books and the founder of http://www.BusinessInfoGuide.com , a directory of resources for entrepreneurs. She also recently released a workbook and eBook called “Online Marketing for Authors. ” For details visit http://businessinfoguide.com/products.htm