Selling your book will be ten times easier as soon as you can accept this one, think-out-of-the-box strategy: your book doesn't have to be inside a bricks-and-mortar store to sell copies. Too many self-published authors get caught up in trying to figure out how to get distribution which will get their book into big box stores such as Borders and Barnes & Noble. The process can be expensive and daunting. But these days the best grass-roots marketing that can sell tons of books happens on the internet. Using a few tricks of the trade you could reach a wider audience, sell more books and do it while spending less money!
Create a Website That Does More Than Look Good
Nearly every author has a website these days, but not every site helps sell a book. Yes, it's great to have photos, calendar dates and an order button for your book. But a website can do a lot more. Put a sign up box on every page of your site and offer a free gift to people who fill it in. That will give you a great head start in building your mailing list. You can also use your site to showcase your talent: post clips, sample chapters, your resume and a way for editors looking for freelance writers to contact you. Give your readers reasons to come back to the site regularly. Some authors hold contests and showcase readers or book clubs that loved the author's book. Have a speakers kit on your site as well for easy downloading so you can direct inquiries for appearances there. You can even feature periodic sales on your site (perhaps during holidays or your birthday!) where readers can buy your book in bulk for gifts.
Enlist Others to Assemble a Special Offer Package
Everyone knows you have to get your book on Amazon.com. It's the easiest place for people to go to find your book. But how do you get them to go there and buy it? The key is to get other people (preferably with lists of their own) to help you put together a special offer package.
You ask people to donate services, a free download, or gift certificate (the idea is this helps them promote their businesses) and you bundle these goodies up into a bonus package that people receive when they buy your book. The offers should appeal to your target market. Then you set a launch day and everyone who contributed to the package sends an email blast to THEIR lists telling them of the great offer. So you not only have a great offer to entice people to buy, you also have the offer going out to A LOT more people!
I'll give you an example so you can see how this works. I recently participated in a special offer for Christine Martinello to promote her new book, The Momager Guide: Empowering Moms to Leave A Loving Legacy. You can see her offer, as well as the list of goodies she gave away, at http://www.christinemartinello.com/specialoffer. This offer was only supposed to last a week, but it's been so successful that Christine has allowed it to continue. She also went, in just a few days, from being ranked #2.4 million on the Amazon sales list to being ranked #13 on the parenting and families bestseller list and # 238 in overall book sales. A true bestseller!
Use Many Tools
A great website is just a start. To maximize your exposure, use more than one of the many internet tools available. Use a blog to increase your search engine visibility. If you're posting on a regular basis and on subject matter connected to current events, your blog could also become a source of free publicity. Just make sure your blog postings note you are “author of your book". Podcasts are another way of establishing credibility and getting the word out. An aspiring author recently asked me about how to create buzz around a book he's writing about a historic sports broadcaster. A podcast is a natural outlet for him. Not only can he produce shows about sports broadcasting that show off his expertise, he can also play old clips of his book's subject and stir up interest in him as well.
E-newsletters, like this one, are a great way of establishing rapport with your readers and keeping them up to date on what's coming next. I recently signed up for Stephen King's newsletter so I can see how this mega-selling author continues to put himself out there. (Note: King and his publisher sent out text messages this week to random cellphones to promote his latest work, Cell. A great use of a different marketing tool!)
Don't overlook your email signature. I still get people interested in my book just because they saw it mentioned in my email signature. Keep it simple: mention the title, a great review and tell them where to get it. Since you can set your email up to put your signature on everything you send out, this is marketing you can just “set it and forget it".
Show Up in Many Places
The internet is a big place and the people you're targeting to buy your book visit many sites. Your best bet is to figure out where they go and show up there in a variety of ways. For instance, you can design a banner ad for your book and get it posted on targeted sites. In some cases you may have to pay for the advertising, but if you have a site that someone wants to show up on themselves, they may be open to swapping ad space with you for free. Same thing goes for newsletters. Write articles for other newsletters, swap articles with other authors. Or, better yet, post articles to sites such as isnare.com or EzineArticles.com, and your writing will be sent all over the internet. You never know where your article will show up. One of my articles recently led to me being interviewed by Investors Business Daily. The reporter simply found it while doing a search on the topic of her story.
One last note: Because the internet is practically limitless in its reach, it's easy to get overwhelmed by all the marketing possibilities. Take a deep breath and map out your strategy. Not every tool will suit you, so don't try to do everything. It's better to choose two or three techniques and work those to success rather than do ten things, in a scattershot way, with poor results. Remember, technology is supposed to make life easier!
© 2006 Sophfronia Scott
Author and Writing Coach Sophfronia Scott is “The Book Sistah" TM. Get her FREE REPORT, “The 5 Big Mistakes Most Writers Make When Trying to Get Published" and her FREE online writing and book publishing tips at http://www.TheBookSistah.com
Sophfonia is also author of the bestselling novel, All I Need to Get By. If you liked today's issue, stay tuned for more because The Book Sistah also offers FREE audio classes, FREE articles, workshops, and other resources to help aspiring authors get published and market their books successfully.
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