October 8, 2012

17 Tips on How to Market Your Books Online

online marketing

Photo credit: Public domain pictures

I have experimented with online book marketing over the past few years with mixed results. When I heard about a seminar on this topic in my Poynter’s Newsletter, I decided it was time to hear what the professionals had to say.

Just to be clear, prior to the San Diego conference entitled 21st Century Book Marketing, here’s what I tried:

  • Amazon.com–to sell my hard cover books
  • Scribd.com–to sell digital versions of these book
  • Teachers Pay Teachers–to market digital texts to teachers
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • blogs (like this one)

Everything was self-learned. Surely, experts would have words of wisdom that would turn my marketing efforts into gold and I too could proclaim myself as a NYT Best-selling Author (which seems to be just about every published author out there).

Turns out, what I’m doing–a mix of online book sellers and social networking–is the right approach. My mistake: not being more active in the online communities I’d joined. And, not using the myriad of free resources available to nascent authors.

Before I get into the tips, let me share the collective resume of the group I became convinced within about thirty minutes of the first day would make me money:

  • Penny Sansieveri, author of Red Hot Internet Marketing. I’ve read her book and found many valuable tips
  • Marci Shimoff–(another) NYT Bestselling author. Her presentation centered around what she did to succeed and that nothing happens overnight
  • Jack Canfield–author of the Chicken Soup series. Like Marci, his tips were to be aware of opportunities and be patient (a quick summary–he actually shared a whole lot more depth in his 45-minute speech)
  • Dan Hollings–touted as the Mr. Universe of internet marketing, he shared secrets for becoming a Twitter Twenius via Twitter’s tweets
  • Dan Poynter–great Poynts about why traditional book publishing is “going going gone” and how that puts savvy authors in the drivers seat.
  • Mike Koenigs–sold me on the importance and ease of a video marketing campaign–use a flip phone video, follow a two-minute scrip, upload to YouTube and you’re off

Here are some of the tips:

  • Self-publish, then self-promote. Even if you’re published traditionally, you’ll probably have to push sales yourself
  • Access B&N.com and Sony eReader via Smashwords.com (when I went to this site, they do provide access to many platforms, but the price was such an extensive redo of my book’s layout, I’m questioning the value)
  • If you have ten books and can pass Barnes and Noble’s other online hurdles, try promoting your books at Fictionwise, B&N’s answer to Scribd
  • Publish your digital books on Scribd.com. They make it fast and easy–and I can say from experience, it works
  • Go to Alexa.com to check the status of your blog or website. Is it getting the word out for you?
  • If someone praises your book, bookmark them through Digg, Delicious, Stumble Upon to spread the good word
  • Compare your site to your competition with Web Confs SEO Tools
  • Claim your blog at Technorati, the leader in blog info
  • Use Spacky.com to do a keyword research for your blog or website
  • Set up accounts at LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. Join the communities. Participate in Discussions. Often! This was emphasized by most of the presenters. Our brave new 21st century is all about social networking.
  • Use SocialOomph to get more out of your Twitter account
  • If you’re trying to tweet 24 times a day (like the marketing experts recommend), visit Twyndication. It’ll make that possible.
  • Create your writer’s profile on Google Profiles
  • Visit Author 101 for a crash course in publishing success
  • Set up an Amazon Best Seller campaign
  • Set up your Amazon author’s page
  • Set up your Goodreads author’s page

This should get you started. Do you have other ideas for readers? Post them under comments.

Jacqui Murray is the editor of a K-6 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, creator of two technology training books for middle school and six ebooks on technology in education. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco guest blog, Technology in Education featured blogger, IMS tech expert, and a bi-weekly contributor to Write Anything. Currently, she’s editing a thriller that should be out to publishers next summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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