Archive for the ‘Author Marketing Tips’ Category
I know. You’re probably cringing. Because after all this advice that you’ve been getting about blogging and building presences on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, GoodReads, etc… the last thing you probably want to hear is about why you should dedicate a little time to LinkedIn. But that’s what I’m about to tell you.
Now, LinkedIn isn’t necessarily for each and every author. But if you fit into one of the following categories, you should seriously consider it:
1. You’re a nonfiction author. Yea, that’s about half of you. If you’ve written a nonfiction book, then you’re an “expert” in that field. So it’s important that you build a LinkedIn presence that establishes you in that genre. Because when the media is looking for someone to interview on the subject, LinkedIn may be one of the first places they go.
2. You’re looking for a book deal. Okay, that’s a lot of you, too. Unless you’ve self-published your book and are dedicated to doing the same going forward, you’re probably open to inquiries from agents and publishers. In that case, creating a professional author presence on LinkedIn will help you get noticed by those in the publishing field.
3. You want to build connections. Well, who doesn’t? The truth is that there are tons of other authors (or people in the field that you write about) who may be very good people for you to know professionally. LinkedIn is all about these professional connections … and those are hard to make without a professional profile.
Okay, so are you convinced? Now that you know you should create your profile, here’s some advice on exactly what (and what not) to do, courtesy of Social Media Today…
- Make sure that your profile is “complete.” This means adding (at least) your industry, location, special skills, education, a summary, and two past positions.
- Make sure that your headshot is a good one! Don’t just crop a picture out of a recent family photo. Make it friendly, appealing, close range (filling the frame), and professional.
- Add “Author” and the name of your book to your work experience. Be sure to include a description of the book, and a link to purchase in the work history. … Also be sure to upload your book cover image and if you have a book trailer, add that as well. You can even offer a sample chapter here as well.
- Create a vanity URL. People won’t remember the system-generated URL, but they may remember your name.
- Connect your author website and/or Amazon page to your profile. LinkedIn lets you connect three other URLs to your profile. If you have an author website, always use that one. Other choices include your Facebook page, your author page on Amazon, or a glowing book review.
- Write your background summary in a conversational style. I use first person. Making your summary conversational demonstrates that you’re accessible and easy to communicate with.
- Think keywords! Make sure that the summary includes keywords related to your topic of expertise. Keywords for LinkedIn profiles can be sprinkled throughout the profile (in the headline, job descriptions, summary, etc.), and should be done without naturally.
- Add your book titles to the Publications section, as well as any guest posts you’ve written. Consider this an opportunity to showcase your work beyond what they can find on your website.
And I would like to add another tip to this list. Join author groups on LinkedIn and chat with your fellow authors about what they’re doing, what’s working, and what they feel is a waste of time. I belong to about five such groups and I find the advice extremely useful. Heck, I get most of the ideas for blog posts from those conversations.
In short, take a few minutes and set up your LinkedIn profile. It’s a lot less time consuming than Facebook, and may be a whole lot more helpful.
We’ve talked at length about the need for authors to create presences on Facebook, Twitter, etc… But there are some other, lesser-known sites out there which can provide a great service to authors who are looking to market their work.
Without further ado, here are three that I’ve heard authors raving about…
1. GoodReads. You’ve probably heard of it. What you might not understand is how it works and what its benefits are. Here’s how the site is described: “The Goodreads Author Program is a completely free feature designed to help authors reach their target audience — passionate readers. This is the perfect place for new and established authors to promote their books.” And some of the features that GoodReads offers authors includes the ability to promote upcoming events (like signings/speaking), a place to share book excerpts, the ability to post videos, and the ability to lead a discussion group or list a book giveaway. In other words, GoodReads is a great place to find your target audience and speak directly to them about why your book should be next on their reading list.
2. Novelrank.com. Have you ever wondered how many copies of your book have been sold on Amazon? Probably, because it’s nearly impossible to find out … or so you think. Somehow, the experts at Novelrank.com have solved the mystery. According to the site’s homepage: “NovelRank is a completely free website for tracking books or other product’s Amazon Sales Rank on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.ca, Amazon.fr, Amazon.de (Germany), Amazon.co.jp (Japan), Amazon.cn (China),Amazon.it (Italy), and Amazon.es (Spain). NovelRank is the best free resource for self-promoting authors to track their print and ebook sales and Sales Rank on Amazon with charting, RSS feeds, and real-time data.”
3. ReadersCircle.org. Ah, book clubs. They’re the target of many authors’ marketing efforts, but to no avail. Thankfully, we now have Readers Circle, where book clubs around the world form and gather. “Each year Reader’s Circle serves 90,000 inquires for local book clubs in 5 countries,” according to the site’s homepage. And as some savvy authors have discovered, Readers Circle is a great place to find and target book clubs specific to their genres. Through Readers Circle, you can get the names and contact info of book club organizers, and send them emails offering a free copy of your book, a discussion guide, the opportunity to have you meet with the group via Skype, etc… It’s a win-win.
If you’re an author who is working to market your latest (or future!) book, all three of these sites are worth visiting. And if you know of any others that have been helpful to you, share them with us in the comments field below!
I came across an interesting read on PublishersWeekly.com this week. It’s about four YA authors who got together and organized their own book tour.
Here’s a summary of the article:
- The touring authors – Martha Brockenbrough (Devine Intervention, Scholastic/Levine), Sean Beaudoin (The Infects, Candlewick), Kevin Emerson (The Lost Code, HarperCollins/Tegen), and Cat Patrick (Revived, Little, Brown) – are friends who met through the Seattle writing community.
- The “You Are Next” tour, a nod to what the group calls “the next generation of books for the next generation of readers,” launched in January, with visits to schools and bookstores in Las Vegas, and San Francisco, and Portland, Ore.
- To chart their itinerary, the authors brainstormed about West Coast cities they’d like to go to and bookstores they’d enjoyed visiting in the past. They contacted booksellers to arrange store and school visits, and circulated flyers announcing the tour.
- The tour will next touch down in greater Los Angeles, where the quartet will make several store appearances during the week of March 25.
- Capping off the week is a visit to Disneyland on March 30, when they will be joined by several other YA authors, plus bloggers, librarians, booksellers, and fans for a day of play.
- At each stop on the You Are Next tour, which the authors are publicizing through its Facebook page and through their respective Twitter feeds, the authors offer a panel presentation that involves significant audience participation.
- The authors show embarrassing photos of themselves (“including but not limited to prom photos,” she says), read from their books in voices mimicking those of celebrities, and give kids prizes if they guess correctly which “fun facts” pertain to which authors.
What a brilliant idea! These four YA authors came up with an innovative way to get their books in front of their target audience … and have fun all the while. I’m not sure who is paying for this trip — or how much the total cost will be — but this should be a model for authors everywhere.
Communicate with other authors in your genre. Think of them as idea-generators, not competitors. Together, you can think outside the box and come up with creative ideas like these four women did.
I spend a good chunk of time each week browsing author conversations on LinkedIn. This week, there happened to be a lot of discussions regarding what other authors are doing to promote themselves and their books. I took it upon myself to gather some of the highlights and share them with you…
One of the best ways to create visibility is by getting a story in the local newspaper, or an interview on radio and TV. Once this happens, there is the potential to reach thousands of people at the same time.
–Rachel M. Anderson
Every author needs a blog – even traditional publishing houses are now recommending authors blog. Of course, you need a plan to make the most of it. I blogged for 2 years before publishing my first book and my (award winning) blog is the home base for all my book marketing.
I recommend doing guest posts on blogs relevant to your material. Also, giveaways can sometimes drum up some attention (ie Goodreads)
Not a secret, but speaking in public has worked well for me. It builds a very loyal following because the audience feels they know you like a friend.
–Carol Topp, CPA
Every time I give a book away free, I sell two. I’m sure the one I give away is passed around among friends, but so what if there are sales in there somewhere. Of course, this works with digital books. Print books are much too expensive for this tactic.
I’ve found that having lectures in libraries, book stories and having friends throw book signing parties, advertising anywhere and everywhere, placing ads in the local papers and the list goes on and on…
–Pattimari Sheets Cacciolfi
TWITTER! I have made a great deal of “contacts” and friends there. I have made MANY on this site joining groups and participating in conversations like this one: www.KristinaLouise2012.com
Hope this helps!
John Kuhn and Mark Mullins are business consultants with decades of corporate, entrepreneurial and academic experience. Their newly published book is Street Smart Disciplines of Successful People – 7 Indispensable Disciplines for Breakout Success. And their website, StreetSmartDisciplines.com, has been a success as well, with over 500 visitors in the past month. So how did they do it? Read on to hear their answers to our questions…
Who built your website? How was the experience?
Smart Author Sites did our website. It was a great experience. A very seasoned team of pros that understand what authors need. Outstanding guidance and quality creative suggestion. Completed ON TIME and ON BUDGET!
Which social networking sites do you regularly participate in? Facebook? Twitter? GoodReads? LinkedIn? Any others?
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, GoodReads
How has your online presence (be it through a website or social networking profiles) increased your visibility/book sales?
We have used our website as the primary platform to communication our book’s message and the value to the reader… As we designed our social media campaign, we built it to direct people to our website and let the website do the selling for us.
What is your “secret” to achieving this success? Were there any tricks or creative ideas (i.e. a contest) that you used?
Provide overwhelming and compelling evidence to our potential readers that they will gain tremendous value from reading our book. We recommend that all authors provide entertaining and informative details regarding the book and be selling ALL the time.
What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned in the process of building your online presence as an author?
Being “famous” online does NOT translate to book sales! You have to be actively soliciting people every day to buy your book… use blogs, use articles about your book, post pictures and create some video to post as well… Any time we posted these items we got more traffic, which usually resulted in more book sales.
How and where do you promote your website? Is the URL on business cards? Your email signature?
EVERYWHERE… Every blog, every article, email signatures, business cards, in our book, in our videos, we mention it in all radio interviews and have the show host post it to their website and on all promotional materials.
Final words of wisdom for any new authors wondering how to get started….
Don’t quit! This is really hard. Edit your work a bunch of times and then have other editors look at it too… Then have someone, at the end, when you think you’re done proof the entire book… You will be shocked at how much you missed that was just about to be published! Yikes!
It’s one of the things I push to all authors I work with: amass an email list. Facebook “likes” and “fans” only go so far. There’s nothing like a ready-made list of email addresses with people you can notify when you have a book signing, upcoming radio interview, or new book available on Amazon.
That said, collecting email addresses is the easy part. The hard part is creating emails that are effective. Despite what you may think, putting together a successful email campaign takes a whole lot of thought, planning, and testing.
Here’s what you need to know…
1. Pick your time wisely. When do you schedule your emails to go out? Chances are, you’re not thinking nearly enough about it. Did you know that click-thru rates from emails spike between 8 am and 10 am? And then again between 3 and 4 pm? Make sure to schedule your emails to arrive in people’s boxes at or near the beginning of those time periods. Keep time zone differences in mind, as well. Personally, I would lean towards the afternoon times instead of the morning: people are less likely to be bogged down with emails towards the end of the day.
2. Be late and you’re dead. Did you know that five hours after they’re sent, an email is essentially dead. In other words, if your email isn’t opened in the first five hours after it’s sent, it’s likely never to be read again. So avoid sending middle-of-the-night emails, weekend emails, or emails when people are commonly on vacation (like when school is out, for example.)
3. Choose your subject line with care. Authors commonly spend a lot of time perfecting every word in an email. And the subject line? That’s usually just an afterthought. But that’s a big mistake. For example, an author might tell me to use a subject line like “Newsletter — January, 2013.” Okay … but would you open that? Does that pique your interest? New York Times best-selling author Chris Brogan recently shared a killer list of email subject lines. They included, “2 Minutes to Read …” “Need Your Decision: …” and “Yes or No: …” Now those encourage people to read and take action.
4. Keep it short. Sure, we might call it a newsletter. But don’t make the mistake of putting tons of text in it. People just don’t read that much in an email. Keep your points brief, and include links and calls to action where people can learn more, by the book, etc… Here’s a rule of thumb. If it takes up more than one screen, it’s too long.
5. Include forward/share links. If you write a good newsletter, people are going to want to share it with their friends. And that’s the best thing that can happen to you. So make it easy for them to do so. Embed “share” links whenever possible. Include a blurb at the bottom that encourages people to forward the email to their friends, or encourage them to sign up themselves. Remember … there’s nothing more powerful than word of mouth!
I stumbled across a post on LinkedIn today. The title was:
Book Giveaway: We are giving away 4 copies of this book! If you are interested, just send me your email and it will be sent to you as an Amazon gift!
Interestingly, there were a few responses (already) from people hoping to get a free copy.
This reminds me that an author really does need to think outside the box in an effort to build an email list.
Even if you offer to give away 10 free copies — which wouldn’t cost you a whole lot — it’s a great way to get people to give you their email address.
Let’s say you offer to give away 10 free copies to people selected randomly among everyone who enters their address before such-and-such a date.
You could possibly collect over 100 email addresses during that time period. That’s 100 people that you can email regularly with information about your upcoming book, news about your book being released as a Kindle, etc… In short, it’s a ready-made list of people interested in your writing that you now have the permission to reach out to regularly.
I love this book giveaway idea. If you have any others that you’ve used in order to build your email list, please share them!
In today’s world of social media, some people like to proclaim that “email is dead.” They’re wrong.
But all of this does mean that you might need to work a little bit harder at making your email efforts successful.
Here are five things to keep in mind, courtesy of Internet & Marketing Report, as you build an email campaign to promote your author website and your book.
1. Pay attention to your subject line. Remember: the email that you’re writing is essentially a marketing tool. So choose the wording wisely. For example, subject lines that include the word “exclusive” or touts the “top 10″ of something lead to a much higher open rate.
2. Treat email as a two-way street. Send out an email to your readership asking them to review your book (with a link for them to do so). Or encourage them to respond to your email with questions, which you can then answer in future blog posts. Emails asking people to offer their own opinions on things get a 39% higher click-through rate.
3. Always send a welcome email. Go ahead. Sign up for your own email list. What do you receive? How quickly do you receive it? By going through this process yourself, you will get a chance to see exactly what happens to your fans when they enter their email address. If you don’t have an automated email that goes out within a reasonable amount of time after sign-up, you’re likely to lose that person. “Sometimes they forget they signed up or flat out ignore companies’ email by the time the first one hits their inbox,” according to the report.
4. Clearly spell out what users should expect. First, you have to get someone to give you their email address. To do so, you must clearly explain what it is that they will be getting by doing so. For example, will they be receiving daily emails? Weekly emails? Or only emails when you have big news to share? Make this information very clear in the sign-up area, and then re-state the information, either in the “welcome” email or in a follow-up email.
5. Avoid clutter and long emails. Some people like to use their emails to readers as places to share their latest and greatest stories. But be forewarned: people probably aren’t going to read it. According to Internet & Marketing Report, here are some questions to ask yourself to find out if your email is too cluttered:
- Does it take more than 30 seconds to read?
- Does it look and feel like a full page on a website? Or worse … like a magazine?
- Does it have multiple calls to action?
If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, then it may be time to pare down your email efforts.
Ah, LinkedIn. It’s a wonderful source of information. I browse author discussion groups regularly to find out what’s working — and what’s not — in terms of author self marketing.
With that in mind, I have amassed a series of comments that authors posted in response to the question: “I’d love to hear feedback on how self-marketing your book is going. Do you find it’s been effective?”
Here are some of the highlights of the responses:
In my case, my book is a non-fiction how-to on mnemonics, and I wrote and self-published it to build my credentials as a speaker and for back-of-the-room sales. I’m surprised that Amazon sales, which I expected to be zero, are just over a book (or Kindle version) a day. That’s tiny relative to the market, but I love it! As it turns out, I don’t know now if I’m a speaker who has a book, or an author/publisher who does speaking. To more directly speak to your question, if a book can be turned into a speaking topic – and I think that virtually all non-fiction can – it means you will be paid to market your book!
Here’s another idea: Create Google Alerts for key word phrases that hit your topic. I’ve done that for phrases like “how to remember” and “memory training.” At least a few times each week, there’s a blog post or Yahoo Ask posting requesting an answer to a memory-related question. Of course my answer is signed with my name AND book title – just like this one.
What people don’t know is the analytics behind your efforts is very important as well, and reveals some interesting patterns as far as timing of what you market to your audience as well as what we call A, B testing the messages. Obviously times change, so does your audience. Even if you track the marketing behind the sales numbers for a quarter or two, you may find some interesting results that can serve as an input to another strategy. I always say start with a baseline strategy, with tracking so that you can see over time what is effective. For example: Let’s say you find out your sales spike during certain seasons. If yes, allocate a larger budget with an emphasis to complement the seasonal spikes vs. consistently spreading your marketing dollars across the board to see how you yield a return on your investment.
I’m doing an Internet version of direct marketing. Our book “Which One Am I?” was always designed both for consumers and as an adjunct text for psychology students. I’ve been working my way through the various psychology schools sending pitch letters and e-versions of the book to those who ask for one. So far, we’re in consideration to be added to the curriculum at 5-6 colleges including Yale, UC Berkeley and the University of Minnesota, all in the Top 10 of psychology schools. They won’t purchase for this semester already underway, but if they like what they read at least “Which One Am I?” will be in consideration for subsequent semesters.
We’re also on an extensive blog tour. A radio tour begins next month and we’ll be doing signings locally. That last we’re doing only as a tool to get print, radio and TV interviews. Because book stores take a percentage of cover price — usually 30-50% — we’d be making, at most, $2 per book sold. However, we won’t get the print without doing the bookings, so we have to view readings as the carrot on a stick.
My biggest advice, what works, is being active. For example, if you are selling at a table or back of the room, it is not enough to have the books just sitting there and hoping people will walk by and notice. You don’t have to be a carnival barker, but even if you see someone with a little interest, if you simply greet them, it can open up more doors to chit chat which can lead to sales.
I like the airplane trick… Drop a book off a boo at an airport and write in the front of the book that this a FREE copy from the author and you hope they enjoy your book but please leave behind for someone else to enjoy. Make sure you have your website and email written in the book and drop it off at a local airport chair or table… You’ll be surprised how many emails you get from people all over the states and possibly the world…..
Marketing that I’ve used includes book reviews from my key markets, social media (twitter, linkedin, and facebook), free book giveway on goodreads.com, blog posts, Amazon author page, and for one of my books a youtube video (house tour). I also believe in the power of press releases in book promotion both locally and online. I find the e-books especially do well with online promotion. Locally, print does well and I’m surprised how many online sales I have with print. I’m always looking at new ways to market books and encourage everyone to have their books in both electronic and print. The Professional Writers Assocation of Canada forums shows 4 to 1 sales on electronic vs print.
I would recommend using social media tools and listening tools would be a good baseline first (both are free if on a tight budget) before spending money on google ads. Then you will know who to target, then when you do have more data, you can then move on to google ads to start targeting better like region, demographics, income, men or women, etc., without feeling you are throwing a dart at the board and not sure where it will land.
Do you have tips on what’s worked? Share them here! There’s nothing quite like authors helping authors!
It used to be that a publisher was responsible for … well … publishing books. Times surely have changed. Now, everyone and their brother is self-publishing a book. Which means that authors themselves are now responsible for all aspects of creating and selling a book — from cover design to pricing.
And pricing seems to be where many authors get hung up. After all, while writers may be able to tell you exactly what their book cover should look like, they probably can’t do a mathematical analysis to determine at what price it would make the most financial sense to list their e-book.
That’s where I come in.
After doing a fair amount of research on the topic, here’s my advice: charge very, very little for your e-book. In fact, consider charging almost nothing. Why do I say this … despite the fact that you are (probably) not so happy to hear it? Here’s what I’ve learned…
1. People are far more likely to download free books. That’s just common sense. People will take anything they can get for free. One author on LinkedIn started a recent conversation by saying: “At the free price I was selling 150-200 books a day. So I changed price to 99cents and sold 35 in a week.” If your goal is to get your book read, then the answer is simple. Charge less. This is especially appealing to people who have written books about topics that they feel are very important (i.e. animal rights, religion, etc…) and really want to get the word out.
2. Selling more copies of your first book can lead to selling more copies of your future books. This is basically a continuation of point #1. If you plan on publishing more than one book — especially within the same series — it makes sense for you to get as many people as possible sucked in by the first book. Then you can charge more for the others, and you’ll have a lot more people ready and willing to pay money for those titles. Think of it like the drug dealer giving a free sample. You know they’ll like it. FYI … based on various online conversations, people seem to think that $2.99 is the magic price for the other books in the series.
3. Lower prices = better placement. Author Ron Baumbach recently shared the following on Linked In: “Nook …received great product placement by changing the price … of my book, ‘The Last Walk on Our Block’ for Cyber Monday…lowered price for the period.” Apparently, his book is now appearing higher on the list of books in his genre because of the lower price. And this, too, makes sense. Barnes & Noble wants to sell as many books as possible. They know that people are more likely to buy the books that cost the least. So its in their best interest to have the least expensive books up top.
Obviously, it’s up to you to decide how much you’re going to charge for your book. After all, if your goal is to “spread the word,” you won’t be quite as bothered if your first book nets you very little. On the other hand, if you’re using your first book to test the waters as to whether or not you can make a living doing this … well, then you might have other priorities.
But all of my digging has taught me one thing. It’s probably in the best interest of a new author to price their first book at 99 cents or less. As with everything, patience is a virtue. And in the case of e-books, such patience seems to pay off in the long run.