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How Do I Promote My Self-Published Book?

How-Do-I-Promote-My-Self-Published-Book

Independent authors must navigate a fast-paced and competitive marketing landscape to promote their books.

Self-publishing as a practice continues to expand. The latest data available shows ISBN registrations for indie authors rising 21% between 2014 and 2015. With the growing success of easy-to-use self-publishing platforms like Lulu and Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), many authors are also turning to bootstrapped, DIY methods to promote their books.

But with so many potential options for promotion advertised to authors online, it can be difficult to know how to get started and the techniques to follow.

In this guide, we advise you on how to promote your book across key digital channels to target the right audience for your genre and topic. We tell you:

  • How to Understand Your Audience
  • How to Design a Great Landing Page
  • How to Promote Your Book on Your Blog
  • How to Find Guest Posting Opportunities
  • How to Submit Your Book for Reviews
  • How to Promote Your Book on Social Media

Read on to find out how to get your lovingly-crafted book to the people who will buy it. Work hard to promote yourself now, and you should start to see the readers roll in.

Understand Your Audience

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To promote your book effectively, you need to know who your audience is. Narrow it down as much as you can. What types of people would want to read a book like yours? Here’s a useful cheat-sheet of questions to ask yourself to help you figure out the particular sections of society that are highly primed to buy your books:

  • What categories or genres does my book fall into? (e.g. fiction/non-fiction, fashion/photography/horror/romance/drama/thriller)
  • What are the other interests of people who read books in the same categories as mine? (e.g., If they like a particular brand of horror, are they also likely to enjoy rock music, counterculture, and gruesome facts?)
  • Who are the most similar authors to myself (with regard to this particular book)?
  • What age range is my book most likely to appeal to?
  • Is my book tailored more to any particular gender?
  • Does my book appeal to people in a particular location? (e.g., If you wrote a book on the history of a town, would the people who live there have a higher incentive to read it than others?)

Answering the questions above will give you a good idea of the types of people likely to buy your book. Of course, not all people who are interested in a particular genre or topic hold similar other interests. For example, rock-music fans do not all like to read the horror genre. But this pocket of society is likely to contain a higher percentage of people who may take an interest in scary stories than others, for example, as opposed to moms who like classical music.

There may be a few moms who love horror novels, rock, and classical music. Nonetheless, targeting this section of society is unlikely to get you a huge number of leads – people who would consider buying your book. And you want to put your book in front of the groups that will get you the best returns on your promotional activities.

The more specifically you can narrow down your audience to, say, “horror readers who like other independently-published novels about gruesome crime,” the better. It will be easier to find markets you can make the most of, with less competition from others. The more markets like these you “collect” to target with your marketing efforts, the higher your chances of reaching the right people.

Design a Great Landing Page

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Every book needs a great landing page. A landing page is a web page designed with the purpose of getting visitors to take a specific action, like buy your book.

A landing page for book promotion and sales should provide information on the best features of the book, reviews from authoritative sources, some stunning cover imagery, and a “buy” button. The primary elements of a landing page are few. No headers, sidebars, footers, widgets or any other distraction from the sole aim of the page, to filter visitors through to making a purchase.

Though most authors are not seasoned web designers, it is easy to create landing pages using any of the most popular website-builder platforms (we’re assuming you already have an author website – if you don’t, check out our article 10 Essential Components of an Author Website). Platforms such as WordPress, Shopify, and Booklaunch.io all provide professional and eye-catching templates for you to market both print- and e-books.

Generate Traffic

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A great landing page is no use if no one can find it. You need to start getting traffic to your website so you can filter it through to your landing page. But how?

After establishing the particular audiences you want to target, you need to reach out to these audiences and start getting them into your site. Your most promising leads are the people with the magic combination of an interest in your particular type of book as well as purchase intent.

Packing your website with content these people are likely to search for when looking for their next book purchase is crucial. When readers are unsure about what to pick up next, the most common digital spaces they will go for answers are the popular search engines, such as Google.

But to be found in searches you need to ensure that your website, with your book landing page on, is filled with written content tailored to your specific audience.

Search engines like Google rank results according to relevance. If someone searches “best books similar to X,” the top website results will be those with the highest number of relevant keywords on and with the highest number of other authoritative (high-ranking) websites linking to them.

For each specific, narrow audience you have established, come up with a list of common searches people within it would type in when looking for their next book to read. Standard formats for book idea searches include “best books in 2019,” “best [genre] books,” and “similar novels to [author/book].”

With a good understanding your audiences, you can fill your website with high-quality blog posts related directly to these searches. Use the keywords you come up with to create search-optimized titles for your blog and write your posts to them.

Be sure to include the most relevant keywords within every post (e.g., if the keywords are “best blog titles author” you would write a blog post entitled “The Best Blog Titles for Authors” including all the relevant keywords within the main text of the blog post).

Regularly post search-optimized, high-quality content, targeted to the specific audiences who will be a) most likely to search for it, and b) most likely to take an interest in buying your book. One post per week should suffice.

You will start to build a repository of keywords on your site related to the interests of your particular audience. This will allow you to start getting them in from searches and filtering them through to your book. Filtering them through is the easy part – in each post mention your book at least once (where relevant) and stick an ad promoting your book at the top of every blog page.

Guest Blog

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As mentioned earlier, your blog will do better in the rankings if other established sites link to it. You can’t just keep sticking blog posts on your site, you need to try to get them out there to be read. A great way to do this, and at the same time bolster your digital presence and authority as an author, is to guest post on other blogs your audience is likely to enjoy.

The topics you’ll cover in your guest posts will be similar to those you cover on your own blog. They should be targeted to your audience and introduce visitors to your book in a positive way.

To find guest posting opportunities, you’ll have to do some research. Look for the other blogs and online magazines your audiences read, and see if they offer opportunities for guest post submissions. You can also search the keywords “guest+post” along with other keywords related to your audience’s interests.

When you find a guest posting opportunity on a relevant site whose audience you think you may appeal to, keep an eye out for the submission guidelines. If it does list guest posting guidelines, follow them, as well as examples of past content, to write an impressive article within the word limit on a relevant topic.

If they don’t advertise their guest posting opportunities, you can contact the blog owner with a friendly email and a pre-written post, perfect for their site and ready-to-go. Sites like these are more likely to accept your cold-submissions. As they don’t advertise the fact that they post guest contributions, they aren’t as inundated with external posts as those that do.

The Topic You Write About Could Be Anything That Will Enable You To:

  • Engage the type of people who read and buy your books and similar books
  • Provide useful information that your audience may search for online, in standard formats
  • Make use of your expertise – be it your knowledge of writing or your topic
  • Positively influence the reader’s life (within the remit of your expertise)

Important:
Guest posts do not serve the function of promoting your book directly. They are not opportunities to advertise yourself and your book. Submission guidelines even often prohibit use of guest posts for blatant product placement and promotions.

The purpose of your guest posts is to show off your unique, original writing style, personality, and expertise, make a positive impact by giving people solutions to what they search. Even writing posts just to generate excitement about your particular genre or a universal love of reading can influence people to see you as an authoritative and experienced author in a more effective way than telling them “buy my book.”

Get Reviewed

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Editorial Book Reviews

To validate the quality of your book, you need people to review it. There are many online magazines and blogs, some genre-specific, some more generic, that regularly publish reviews of new books.

Reviewers are looking for books they can write about, not books they can’t. But they won’t give your book a second look if you make it difficult for them.

Make the most of review opportunities by strictly following submission guidelines. Editors and reviewers likely don’t have time to read the pile of books on their desk as it is. Ensure they get a positive experience reading your novel by giving them all the information they need, in the formats they need it.

If your book does not conform to basic standards, it will not get reviewed. The easier you make it for reviewers, the more they will be able to concentrate their efforts on giving your book the review it deserves.

Book Review Programs

As well as submitting your book for review by online publications, you could also get it reviewed through volunteer programs online.

Sites like IndieView, IndieReader, and Self-Publishing Review connect authors to volunteer reviewers on the web. To stay on its list of reviewers, members must ensure they don’t charge for reviews, giving you great value. Plus, reviewers often post what they write to sites such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, which could get you a good deal of exposure.

Go Social

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There are some powerful tactics you can use to connect with your readers on social media without paying for ads. The majority of them take advantage of the following tried-and-tested social marketing techniques.

1. Engage

If your target audience consists of people who love horror novels, target the groups, the conversations, the fan pages, and the websites where people with these interests “hang out.” For each fan page, chat thread, or web page related to your particular milieu, join your audience in conversing about and sharing its interests.

Don’t plug your business, don’t promote yourself, just chat about what you know and what your audience love (horror novels/movies/rock music). Provide thoughtful and concise answers to questions they have on your topics of expertise, whether this is writing itself, your genre, or whatever you write about. Chat with them about the other authors they love and the books and the stories that connect them to each other and to you.

Engaging with your audience at a personal level is imperative. Readers will be more likely to take an interest in you as both a brand and an individual, rather than merely “someone trying to sell their book on a Facebook group.” And if they are interested in and respect you, they will be much more likely to want to find out about and read your book.

2. Follow up

For every person you manage to successfully engage on social media, through conversations, solutions, or messages of support, follow it up with a social “favor.”

A favor on social media, in the form of a like, a share, a follow, or a “friend” (depending on the platform) can result in the goodwill being returned. The more friends and followers you have with a specific interest in what you write about, the easier it is to engage with them and get them excited about your book. But you have to give something to get something in return.

3. Share

The best way to advertise yourself as a writer is to put your writing in front of your audience’s faces. People spend hours each day reading short, digestible articles on social media platforms.

If you write brilliantly, show off your technique. Regularly post interesting, relevant written content that your audience will enjoy from your blog to your social media accounts. Once your social followers click through to your blog, you can point them toward buying your book.

You don’t have to write all the content you post. After all, as an author, you probably have quite a bit of writing to do. The rest of the time, engage your audience with high-quality, third-party content from other authors in the blogosphere.

Your community will get great daily content from you, and the other writers whose content you share may even be happy to give you some exposure with their online community in return.

4. Network

They say it’s all about who you know. Knowing the right people on social media could benefit you in diverse ways, all the way from a simple returned “like” to your next book deal.

Who you know, on social media, is also critical for engagement with your audience, because it can see all your interactions and connections. If you associate yourself (or your book as a brand) with other reputable, trusted, and loved authors, publishers, and groups, by implication you will begin to take on these qualities yourself, in the eyes of your followers.

As well as regularly interacting with your audience in every and anyway you can, join groups of similar authors, engage with them and solve their queries, do some social favors, and chat.

Go where other authors like yourself are in digital space, and you may even get some great insider tips and tricks from those who have been there and done it.

5. Retain

There are apps and plugins on every social media platform, which you can use to get people to sign up for an email list. The people coming through to your landing-page will either buy your book or leave. Give them a third option.

People might not want to buy now, but if you offer an incentive to join your mailing list (say, a free e-book or chapter from your novel), you can retain them for later retargeting. The ones who do buy, keep on your list and let them know when you start writing your next book.

Paid Ads

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There are many paid book promotion sites, and it is worth registering with some of them and using their services if you have put aside a modest amount of cash for paid book promotion.

The most popular paid advertising platforms for self-published authors include Facebook and Google pay-per-click ads. Nonetheless, these types of advertising can be costly and difficult to learn and navigate for the less digital-savvy among us. Essentially, if you don’t know what you are doing, you are likely to lose out.

A more accessible, manageable option could be to use paid-advertising packages already set up for authors and targeted to the digital spaces where readers will be. For example, Whizbuzz Books offer book promotion for a year of exposure to over half a million Twitter users, plus Facebook, Pinterest, Google ads. GoodReads, as well as Amazon and many other book sales and review sites, also offer paid advertising packages and spaces specifically for authors to promote their publications to the reading public.

Get Protected

As you begin to introduce your book to new people, new audiences, and increase your digital presence, your aim is to spread awareness and create a demand for it as a product.

Throughout this process, it is vital that you use some form of Digital Rights Management (DRM) to protect the e-book version of your book from piracy. Creating a demand for your book also increase the incentive for people to want to get their hands on it for free. And it only takes one person to copy your e-book file and put it up on the web for everyone else to download. Don’t let present oversight impact future profits. Get protected.

For more information on the different types of DRM protection available from EditionGuard, visit our features page or check out this article, which guides you through how to choose the right type of e-book protection for you.

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How to Market a Self-Published Book Effectively: Digital Marketing for Authors

How-to-Market-a-Self-Published-Book-Effectively

There is no secret to marketing a self-published book online.

The real secret is that there is no secret technique to get people to buy your book – because they won’t. If someone does not want to buy a surrealist children’s book with existential overtones, they probably won’t come across some promotional material and be persuaded to.

The most important thing to be aware of when strategizing your marketing efforts is that you are not just trying to get just “people” to buy your book – you need to get your book to the people who already have the inclination to buy a book from your genre in the first place.

Don’t convince the people who will never enjoy your book to buy it. You’ll only hamper the most valuable but vulnerable marketing power you have — your reputation.

You have written a great novel. Put it in front of readers who will love it. Your marketing efforts will be focused on the most promising leads, and your customers are more likely to spread the word about your brand (yes – if you are a self-publishing author, you are a brand too).

In this guide, we reveal exactly how to strategize online marketing efforts for a self-published book.

We tell you how to understand your audience and what influences decisions to buy one book over another, and how to choose the right tactics for the type of buyer you need to target.

A Note on Paid Ads:

We don’t cover paid ads in this post. This is a “bootstrap” type of guide. To find out more about paid ads for self-published authors subscribe to our mailing list for a weekly update on our blog posts.

Find the Most Promising Leads

Your most promising audiences are those already making their way toward buying a publication like yours soon — people with the magical combination of purchase intent and a specific interest in your genre. Think about the decision process these people would go through to find the specific type of books they like to read. Whether it’s e- or print- books, this process will likely follow a similar pattern. If they want to buy a book and don’t already have one in mind, they will likely head to the web for answers.

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A Decision-Making Flowchart for Online Book Purchases

Visualize the flow of decision-making for the customers primed to buy the type of book you are selling. It will help you to establish where they go for the information that influences their decision to buy one book over another. Create your own flowchart for the reader decision-process. Pay particular attention to the methods by which they may discover a book title and note these down.

Let’s be clear, you do not just want to target a particular “physical” audience or a particular section of society, you also want to focus on the places they hang out and communicate about their interests online, where they go for their most trusted information. With an awareness of your audience’s typical buying processes, you can begin to place authoritative content in the places they will go to find advice on the best books to read for your particular genre or niche.

The spaces you will find your audience are on the results end of Google searches for the “best books similar to” authors they already love, the social media groups sharing the best books in your genre, and the blogs covering the essential books to read this year with similar narratives to yours.

Narrow Down Your Audience

We used “romance novel” as the niche for our hypothetical example in the flowchart above. But the more you understand who your audience is, the more specifically you can target them, and this means less competition. It means less competition for you as a marketer (and yes – if you are a self-published author,  you are a marketer) because a smaller audience produces a lower incentive for large publishers and other audiences with “bigger fish to fry” to target your audience too.

Ask Yourself:

  • Why Did I Write This Book?
  • What Do I Want People to Get From It?
  • What Will Motivate People to Want the Information in My Book?

The more specifically you can narrow down your audience to, say, “romance readers who read other independently published romance/drama novels about being a writer,” the better. It will be easier to find markets you can make the most of, with less competition from other marketers, publishers, and self-publishing authors. The more markets like these that you “collect,” the further your hard work will go.

Create a decision-flow chart, like the one above, for a specific pool of readers and interests. Narrow down the places you will find them. We will stick with “romance” as our genre example for the purpose of this post. Nonetheless, bear in mind that the techniques we suggest are most successful when you target a highly specific, niche audience. After narrowing down your audience as much as possible, you need to plan your approach.

Plan Your Approach

Sketching out a flowchart, like the one above, will enable you to see the finer points in your audience’s decision-making process, at which you could have the most impact. The most influential stages of the purchase path to a novel likely include Google searches, blogs, social media groups and communities. It is at these points that customers begin to narrow their options down to just a few choices.

Target people with a prior interest in books likes yours and it it is less probable they will be disappointed with what’s inside the cover. This means a higher percentage of your reviews will be positive, giving you better chances of being someone’s top pick if they narrow their reading choices down to just a few. (User reviews are one of the biggest factors influencing online purchase decisions.)

Continuing with our example, imagine we have considered various online communities and resources that our audience may use to influence their purchase decisions on books. Out of these, we have established four points of influence that are most relevant to our customers and the particular book we are marketing to them, including:

1. Search Engine Results for Related Keywords

2. Search Engine Results for “Similar Authors to…”

3. Blogs Frequented by Romance Novel Readers

4. Social Media Groups Frequented by Romance Novel Readers

We must now figure out how to target each of these points of influence to gain customers. These points will become the primary gateways of online traffic to our website or the store selling our book. We need to divert some of that traffic towards our book’s landing-page by making it known. But how?

Fill your marketing streams with examples of the specific searches, groups, and fans you that you could use to market your book. We have demonstrated this is a basic way below. But you should note down as many specific points of influence where you could target your audience as possible.

 1. Search Engine Results for Related Keywords

  • Best Romance Novels
  • Best Romance Novels 2018
  • Contemporary Romance Novels

2. Search Engine Results for “Similar Authors to…”

  • Bella Andre
  • Sarah MacLean
  • Julia Quinn

3. Blogs Frequented by Romance Novel Readers

  • All About Romance Blog
  • Fiction Vixen Blog
  • Dear Author Blog

4. Social Media Groups Frequented by Romance Novel Readers

  • Romance Macias (Romance Fan Group)
  • Marketing For Romance Writers (Group)
  • Romance Novels Publicity and Book Club (Group)

You should have the bones of a rudimentary marketing strategy, including the particular audience(s) you are marketing to, the parts of the web they go to research their decisions on book-buying, and a collection of specific instances of these influential spaces that your can use to target your audience.

Now you know precisely where to target your customers, the “how?” part becomes easy. How you target your customers is dictated by how they pick up the information that influences their purchase decisions in the specific areas of the web they pass through.

1. Build a Presence in Searches

Unless you already have an established website, with lots of other sites linking to it, packed full of content to do with your particular niche, you won’t rank in the top ten in organic searches (unless your keyword research is spot on) for relevant keywords quickly enough to market your book anytime soon if you start now.

What you can do though, is target the websites already ranking for various keywords you think your audience will tap into Google. If you can get a mention, a review, contribute a guest post, article, or give an interview on a site that ranks for the keywords your audience might be typing in, there is a good chance you can intrigue some of that traffic enough to point it to where they can buy your book.

Take the example of a single keyword-phrase our romance readers are likely to type as they look for their next read: “Similar Authors to Bella Andre.” Let’s say that Bella Andre is the most similar author to yourself with regard to the book you have just published. What happens when we type this search into Google?

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We now need to Place information about our book and ourselves as its author strategically in the places where our most promising leads could be found. This can be done in a variety of ways:

Social/User Review Site Ads

Now – you will not be able to influence social or user review sites such as Goodreads to promote your book unless you use paid ads, which may be something to look into if you are going that route too. Goodreads, as an example, offers a program by which self-published authors can easily create ads on the site. If you don’t have loads of cash, you probably want to spend your ad money somewhere that gives you the flexibility to target your audience more efficiently, as with Google and Facebook. But if you have a pot of money to spend, going through the process to place an ad on there could get you some valuable leads.

Editorial Book Reviews

Skipping to the next-top result from our Google search, we find what we are looking for – a site which we can use to promote our book to the people who will be most likely to buy it. The site, Publisher’s Weekly, does not advertise the opportunity to submit guest articles or contributions, but it does have a page detailing its submission guidelines for book reviews.

Any opportunity you have to submit your book for review by top-ranking sites is promising.

Reviewers are looking for books they can write about, not books they can’t. But they won’t give your book a second look if you make it difficult for them to review. Make the most of review opportunities by following submission guidelines “to the letter.” Editors and reviewers likely don’t have time to read the pile of books on their desk as it is. Make it easy for them to have positive experience reading your novel, by giving them all the information they need.

Book Review Programs

As well as submitting your book for review by all the highest-ranking editorial review sites you find from your research, you could also get your book reviewed through online volunteer programs such as IndieView. Sites like IndieView connect authors to volunteer reviewers on the web. To remain on its list of reviewers, members must never charge for reviews – good value. Additionally, reviewers will often post their reviews to sites such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Shelfari, getting you high exposure at a low cost.

2. Build a Presence on Blogs

Guest posts are one of the best ways to reach your audience and get it engaging with your voice as a writer. If no blogs advertising guest-posting opportunities arise in your Google searches for the keywords you have come up with, add “guest+post” to your keywords. As you can see below, romance+novels+guest+post returns a multiplicity of results for me to sift through and start submitting blog posts or articles to as a guest contributor. Do this for each keyword result and/or popular blog in your industry.

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(Source: Author screenshot)

When you find a guest post on a relevant site whose audience you think you may be able to gain traction with, look for the guest posting submission guidelines. If they do have guest posting guidelines, use them, and the examples of content previously published on the blog, to write an eloquent and witty article within the word limit on a relevant topic.

If they don’t advertise their guest posting opportunities, you can contact the blog owner with a friendly email and a well-written post that is perfect for their site and ready-to-go. Sites like these are more likely to accept your cold-submissions because they don’t advertise the fact that they post guest contributions, they aren’t so inundated with external posts.

The Topic You Write About Could Be Anything That Will Enable You To:

  • Engage the type of people who read and buy your books and similar books
  • Provide useful information that your audience may search for online, in standard formats, like “the ten best classic romance novels,” or “where to download the best romance e-books”
  • Make use of your expertise – be it your knowledge of how to write a book or the knowledge you have gained researching your topic
  • Positively influence the reader’s perception of reading in general, your genre, or the store through which you sell your books

Guest posts do not serve the function of promoting your book directly. They are not opportunities to simply advertise yourself and your book. Posting submission guidelines often actively prohibit the use of guest posts for obvious product placement and promotions. The purpose of your guest posts is to show off your unique, original writing style, personality, and expertise as you provide your target readers with information to positively improve their life.

Again, the information you give your readers does not have to be anything directly in your book or about yourself, just anything helpful to your readers. If they see you as an authoritative, positive writer, when they reach the end of the post and find your details attached, they may just be intrigued enough to click-through and get some more information about you and your body of work.

What you can promote, is positivity surrounding your industry, your genre, and your passion. This should not be hard to do. In an article about the “ten best classic reads,” promote the joy of reading itself. Promote the love of stories; your love of the written word, or the rise of e-books.

Generate excitement surrounding your particular genre or industry to filter readers through to your products in more relevant and genuine ways than telling them “buy my book.”

Build a Presence on Social Media

Social media marketing is all about the hustle. For many, it is a full-time job. As a self-publishing author, you don’t have the resources to spend all your day on Facebook (in fact, you might spend most of it trying not to check your social media).

But there are some powerful tactics you can use to connect with your readers, other independent authors, to become part of a community where you can promote and share your lovingly crafted work with your friends and fans. There is no one way to build a presence on social media, but we’ve come up with a bunch of ideas to get your engaged and build a presence on social media.

1. Engage Your Audience

If your target audience consists of people who love romance novels, you need to target the groups, the conversations, the fan pages, and the websites where people who are interested in romance novels “hang out.” For every relevant fan page, chat thread, or web page, insert yourself into your audience’s conversations about their mutual interest.

Don’t plug your business, don’t promote yourself, just chat about what you love (romance novels/books/stories/romance movies) with other people who love it. Provide thoughtful and concise answers to questions they have about other books; chat to them about texts they love; debate with them (in a friendly way) which books are the best or the meanings behind them. If you engage with your audience and your community, they will become more likely to take an interest in you as a brand and an individual, rather than simply “someone trying to sell their book on a Facebook group.”

2. Follow/Like/Share

For every person you manage to successfully engage on social media, through original conversations, solutions, or messages of support, follow up with a social “favor.” An offering of good will on social media, in the form of a like, a share, a follow, or a “friend” (depending on the platform) often results in a favor returned. If you “friend” someone in your community you have actually spoken to, it would be impolite for them not to add them back. This is your strength on social media as an author – you are part brand, part solo creative artist. Often the latter helps to counteract any suspicions people may have about a commercial “brand” disingenuously commenting on their Instagram posts.

3. Regularly Post Content

The best way to advertise your writing is to put it in front of your audience’s faces. Some people spend hours every day reading short, digestible articles on social media platforms. It could be anything from “The 10 Weirdest Animals” to “Quotes From Romance Movies to Make You Cringe.” If you write brilliantly, show off your skills by regularly posting witty, relevant, content that your audience will enjoy. Once they click through to your blog, you can tell them about your book and where to buy it.

You don’t have to write all the content you post. Regularly posting 1-2 articles per week to your community written by you is manageable. The rest of the time you can find high-quality third-party content from other authors in the blogosphere and share it. Your community will get great daily content from you, and the other writers whose content you share should be happy to get you some exposure with their online community in return.

4. Network With Similar Authors

It’s all about who you know, they say. Knowing the right people on social media could get you numerous benefits, all the way from a simple returned “like,” to your next book deal, or speaking appearance. Who you know, on social media, is critical for engagement with your audience, because they can see all your interactions and connections. If you situate yourself as an author (or your book as a brand) with other reputable, trusted, and loved similar authors, publishers, and groups, then by association you will take on these qualities in the eyes of your followers too.

5. Design a Great Landing-Page

Writers are often uncomfortable with the sales end of book promotion. But in 2018 a great sales pitch doesn’t have to be about reducing your book to something that it is not to get it sold. If you are self-publishing, wherever you are actually offering your book up for purchase online, you have the freedom to create your own sales pitch.

Whether you use Shopify, WordPress, Magento, or are selling your book on Amazon, you need to create a unique, detailed, professional landing page with a call-to-action (CTA) (a “buy now” button) to purchase your book with. Display your book in high-quality photos and make sure you have a great cover design that attracts attention; don’t tell your readers what your book is about – tell them what they will take away from reading it, what they will gain from it. Make sure you have a link to your landing page on all your social media pages and in all the emails you send when you begin to have a big enough pool of subscribers on your mailing list.

6. Start a Mailing List

On each social media platform, there are apps and add-ons you can use to get people to sign up for your email list. If you fail to catch it, the traffic coming through to your landing-page will either buy your book or leave. Give them a third option. People might not want to buy now, but if you offer a good incentive for joining your mailing list (say, a free ebook), you can retain those customers and retarget them later. The ones who do buy, keep on your list, and let them know when you start writing your next book…

Use these 6 tactics to market your self-published book on social media for the exposure your story deserves. Actively share useful, positive, quality content and engage your audience through unique encounters. Create a community surrounding your passion and your brand.

If You Didn’t Get the Message…

Marketing your book is not about selling. You shouldn’t be uncomfortable. Marketing your book is about finding the people who will most appreciate it. This has many advantages.

The most trusted marketing medium is word-of-mouth, and this includes review sites and online publications. The better your reputation is among a small following, the more likely it is they will spread the word.

Your marketing efforts will consist of sharing and writing about your passion and talking to similar people who share your interests. Because if you don’t enjoy it, you won’t do it.

You can be honest, and you have control. There’s no hard-selling involved if you market your book to your audience right. Planning and research, and conveying the information your audience need to know about your book honestly, are key. Know your market.

There is no secret, but there is a way to find it – by working hard to reach the readers who will most enjoy your book to tell them your story and make a positive impact in their lives.

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The Indie Author Business Plan: A Step-By-Step Outline

business plan

Successful indie authors have one thing in common: they realize that they are not only writers, they are also business owners, marketers, salespeople and much more.

The reality is that authors can no longer be solely writers. If you aren’t willing to wear the other hats mentioned above, you will struggle to find success. Sure, you could try to hire people to help, but that gets expensive quickly. For the sake of this post let’s assume that you are like most indie authors and money is tight. Hiring a full-team to run your author business is out of the question.

Why Do You Need A Business Plan?

Without a plan most authors get lost. Business does not come natural to us. When you create a business plan it is like having a map. If you do find yourself lost you can always refer back to it to get back on track.

Business plans help you avoid procrastination, focus on what really matters, avoid spending too much money and most importantly, sell more books.

Below we will discuss an 8-step indie author business plan. This business plan will be much like the business plan used by the largest businesses in the world. Don’t worry, I will make sure to explain each step and how to apply it to your specific situation as an author.

The Indie Author Business Plan

business plan

1. Finalize Your Book Topic (Product)

Every business starts with a product idea. As an author your product will be your book. If you already have books available for purchase, you will want to create separate business plans for each book (unless they are part of a series).

It is important to not move past this step until you know what you will be writing about. Once you do have a topic idea, you will be ready to move on to step 2.

2. Write Down Goals and Deadlines

With your book topic in mind, it is time to set specific goals and deadlines. Goals might include: writing every day, hitting a specific word count or even selling 1,000 copies. Goals are good, but they are rarely achieved without deadlines.

Creating realistic deadlines are crucial. You will not write your entire book in a month. Having this type of deadline will stress you out and isn’t helpful. Your deadlines should include: when you will complete your first draft, when you will begin marketing your book, when your book will be complete and when you will achieve your sales goal.

I cannot tell you what goals or deadlines to set, but I can tell you that this step can make and break your success. Take time to creating motivating goals and procrastination killing deadlines.

3. Create A Competitive Analysis

business plan

Do you know who the top selling indie authors are in your genre? How did they become so successful? What channels do they use to market and sell their books? Who is their target audience?

These are all questions you need to be able to answer when creating your competitive analysis. The point of this step is to understand who your competition is, while also learning from their successes and/or failures.

There are millions of authors in the world, so you will have to narrow down your competition significantly if you want to be able to analyze them. Look for the 10-15 authors that you share the most in common with (same genre, similar topic, shared target audience, etc).

Now study what has helped them succeed and take notes. You will want to use this information to help shape your strategy moving forward.

4. Create A Marketing Plan

The competitive analysis is a major component of your marketing plan. If you plan on selling a large quantity of books, you will need to master the basics of marketing. In my experience marketing is where most authors fail.

It is important to start thinking about your marketing plan as early as possible. In fact, one could argue that you should consider a marketing plan even before you begin writing your book.

Doing so will ensure there is an audience for the book you are writing. Many authors are surprised to realize that once they finish a book there isn’t actually a large enough audience interested in what they wrote about. Talk about a bummer. Let’s avoid this by creating a marketing plan early on.

So what should you include in your marketing plan? Here are a few components it must include:

  • Target customer: age, gender, location, interests, etc.
  • Marketing channels: social media, blog, in person events, etc.
  • Pricing strategy: how much will you sell your paperback, hardcover and eBook for?
  • Special offers: will you offer discounts or give away the first few chapters for free?

Your marketing plan can include several other component, but it must answer the following question: how will you make sure your target customer knows about your book and is able to purchase it?

5. List Required Outside Help

Hiring professionals to help with different parts of the book creation process is critical for success. Whether it is an editor, cover designer or reviewer, you will need to spend some money on professional help if you plan to offer a high quality book.

The easiest way to decide what to spend money on is to make a list of your strengths and weaknesses. Once you have this list you will want to hire professionals to help in your weakness areas. Quality professional help does not have to be expensive.

At a minimum you will want to hire an editor. Don’t try to write and edit your own book; this rarely ends well.

6. Identify Financing Needs

indie author business plan

Many of the steps above cost money. Marketing your book will cost money. Hiring professional help will cost money. Simply allocating time towards writing your book costs money since you will not be earning money during those long hours.

The point of this step is to identify how much money you will need. Business owners have to nail this part of the business plan since running out of cash is the number one reason businesses fail. You are now a business owner so you must think like one.

You should be excited about this step because it will save you money. When you plan ahead of time you are less likely to overspend. Be honest about your budget and then allocate your spending accordingly.

7. Create A Strategic Sales Plan

The final step before we put together the formal business plan is to create a strategic sales plan. This plan will answer the following question: how will I sell my book to interested customers.

As an author this is an important question since there are so many options. Will you sell your book on Amazon? Will it be available as a paperback and a hardcover? What about an eBook? Maybe you want to offer it only as an eBook. Will you sell your book directly from your website?

The great thing about being a modern author is the plethora of sales options. Technology has made it easier than even for indie authors to sell their books. The only problem with options is you can’t choose them all.

Your competitive analysis and marketing plan should help you decide how to effectively sell your book. Worry less about your personal opinion and more about how your target audience buys and consumes books. Make it as easy as possible for people to find out about your book and buy it.

8. Create A Formal Business Plan

At last we are ready to write the formal business plan. Up until this point you have been compiling each section step-by-step and probably have a jumbled mess of notes.

It is now time to simplify what you have come up with into a short, concise business plan. Keeping your formal business plan shorter than 8 pages should be the goal. Any longer and you will be less likely to refer to it on a regular basis.

Congratulations! You have successfully created a business plan that any indie author would be proud of. Now it is time to write your book and follow your business plan as closely as possible. Doing so will ensure you work effectively and reach your goals.

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How We Use eBooks To Grow Our Email List and Make Money

email list

At EditionGuard we use eBooks to not only educate our audience, but also to grow our email list and make money. We truly believe that every business should be creating eBooks and in this post you will see why.

Why Should Businesses Create eBooks?

  1. Establishes credibility
  2. Generates qualified leads
  3. Easier than ever to publish and sell
  4. Proven strategy to grow email list

While the first three benefits listed above are important, let’s focus on the last benefit. Growing an email list is crucial for all businesses, especially online businesses.

If your business has a website, you most likely have a blog. In fact most businesses would consider a blog a no-brainer. After all, without a blog you are very limited in your ability to educate your audience, generate traffic and increase your search ranking.

Most blogs offer a subscription option that requires an email. This option increases repeat readers, but also helps businesses grow their email list.

Why is an email list so important? Here are a few of the many benefits:

  1. Provides a direct line of communication between you and potential customers
  2. Email list can be used for targeting advertisements
  3. Almost all people check their email daily
  4. Website visitors rarely return after their first visit unless you give them a reason to

Is your business actively building an email list? If not you should start now. Offering a blog subscription option is a great start, but let’s look at an even more effective strategy.

How We Use eBooks To Grow Your Email List

Think of an eBook as a lead magnet. When you create an eBook covering a topic many people are interested in, they will be willing to give you their email address in order to read it. Unlike a blog post, eBooks are sent as a digital file that can be downloaded. Naturally, email is the easiest way to send this file.

This means every person that reads your eBook will provide their email. Even the best blog in the world would be lucky get emails from 10% of their readers, which is what makes eBooks so powerful.

At EditionGuard we offer an eBook to every person that reads one of our blog posts. There are several tools available to do this, we prefer to use SumoMe. SumoMe is packed with features, including one called a Welcome Mat.

Below is an example of a Welcome Mat we currently have on our blog:

email list

 

In comparison to our blog newsletter, this Welcome Mat generates 5x as many email signups per week.

The best part is that this eBook was not difficult to create. It contains 10 chapters and is about the length of 6-8 of our regular blog posts. Creating the eBook and getting a professional cover made took less than two week from start to end. Not a bad investment for the return we are getting.

How You Can Use eBooks To Grow Your Business’s Email List

Ready to create an eBook for your business? Below are the simple steps you should follow to create an intriguing eBook in 2 weeks or less:

  1. Find the 10 most popular posts on your blog
  1. Identify the common theme amongst these posts
  1. Use this common theme to create an in-depth eBook
  1. Decide on a title for your eBook
  1. Hire a professional to create a few cover designs (websites like Fiverr and Upwork have cheap deals)
  1. Finalize your eBook and set up a Welcome Mat or landing page
  1. Use SumoMe to collect emails and automatically build your list
  1. Use a service like MailChimp to engage your email list with new content regularly

It really is that easy! So, the only question is: why don’t you get started now?

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How Authors Can Use Guest Blogging To Sell More Books

guest blogging

Have you ever felt envious of how many readers other blogs attract? If so, you aren’t alone. As an author it is normal to imagine how much easier it would be to gain exposure and sell more books if only we had a larger audience.

Unfortunately, growing your blog audience takes time. Most successful blogs are active for years before they can be considered high traffic generating. If you have already published your book(s), you may not have the luxury of time.

Thankfully there is a solution: guest blogging.

If you are not familiar with guest blogging, it refers to the practice of writing blog posts for other blogs. Ideally, you will be writing for those high traffic generating blogs you are envious of.

In this post we will discuss the benefits of guest blogging, how to secure guest blogging opportunities and how to use guest blogging to sell more books.

Why Authors Should Write Guest Blog Posts

guest blogging

There are several benefits of guest blogging, which include:

1. Exposure to A New Audience

Guest blogging on blogs that have a larger audience is certainly a benefit, but exposure to a new audience is even more important. When you are able to guest blog on a website within your niche, you immediately are exposed to hundreds or thousands of new people.

The problem with only blogging on your own site is that your content is often seen by the same loyal blog readers. Your goal should be to continually grow your reader base.

2. New Readers For Your Blog

Growing your own blog is another benefit of guest blogging. When you write a great guest blog post, readers will head over to your website to check out more useful content. When done right, you can secure dozens of new blog subscribers very quickly thanks to guest blogging.

Make sure that you focus on writing high quality posts and include an interesting bio about yourself with links to your website and social media accounts. When you give away helpful information for free, people will come to your website for more.

3. High Authority Backlinks To Your Website

Backlinks help with search engine optimization. Let’s not get too technical here. When you search something on Google, you see results in an order of relevance. One of the major criteria for pages that rank high on Google is backlinks, meaning other websites include a link to your site.

When you guest blog you are able to include a bio with a link to your website. Over time guest blogging can result in a lot of different websites having your link within their blog. This means Google will send more free traffic your way!

Not bad, huh?

4. Forms New Relationships With Influencers

Never underestimate the importance of forming relationships in life. Knowing the right people can make all the difference. This is especially true when it comes to selling books.

Due to the plethora of books available, most people choose books to read based on recommendations from people they trust. Many of the people who run the blogs you will be writing for are trusted and have a large following.

Make sure you take time to build relationships with these people. One of the biggest mistakes guest bloggers make is forgetting the importance of relationships. Sure, there are plenty of benefits of writing the post and moving on, but you will be missing out on possibly the biggest benefit if you squander the opportunity to gain a lifelong advocate for your books.

Consider sending them a free copy of one of your books as a gift once your post goes live. This will help you stand out and may lead to an endorsement from them.

5. Builds Authority

One of the main reasons blogging is so popular is that it builds authority. When you are able to share your expertise, people start to consider you an expert. Being seen as an expert makes it much easier to sell things, including books.

How Authors Can Secure Guest Blog Posts

guest blogging

Now that you know the benefits of guest blogging, you are probably eager to get started. So, how exactly do you find guest blogging opportunities?

The first thing you will want to do is make a list of your favorite blog sites. Starting with websites you are very familiar with is best because you will already know the type of content they accept and post. Once you create that list, you can add other websites that interest you. It is important to pinpoint websites that you think your target audience will be reading. Otherwise your posts will not be seen by people who will be interested in you and your books.

It is very important that you are organized when it comes to your guest blogging opportunities. I have found that creating an excel spreadsheet is the easiest way to keep myself organized. I create a spreadsheet with the following columns:

  • Website Name
  • Contact Name
  • Link To Guest Blogging Guidelines
  • Date of Outreach
  • Accepted or Denied
  • Topic For Post
  • Link To Published Guest Blog Post

Once you have your spreadsheet set up, you are ready to start reaching out to the sites on your list. Most websites have a portion of their website that outlines their guest posting guidelines. Make sure you look through these guidelines prior to contacting the website.

The rest of the process is fairly straightforward: follow the guidelines and secure your opportunity. If the website does not have a blog guideline section you should make contact and include 2-3 potential topic ideas.

How Authors Can Use Guest Blogging To Sell More Books

guest blogging

Now that you have several guest posting opportunities you are probably wondering how to make sure your posts help you sell more books. I have a lot of experience writing guest blog posts and I can tell you that simply writing the post isn’t enough. Here are a few tips to increase your odds:

1. Optimize Your Own Website For Sales

Is your own website optimized to be a sales machine? Most author websites actually are not. Make sure that your website makes it easy for visitors to learn about your books and buy them. You also want to make it easy for visitors to subscribe to your email list so you can continue to engage with them moving forward.

2. Include Call-To-Actions In Your Post

When you guest blog you do not want to be overly promotional. The quickest way to get your post denied is for it to be blatantly promotional. This doesn’t mean that you can’t include something about yourself or your book. Find subtle ways to mention one of your books or include a link to your website/blog.

3. Write An Intriguing Bio

The bio is your best friend. This is where people will learn who you are and how to connect with you. Make sure your bio answers includes:

  • Who you are
  • What you do for a living
  • A link to your website
  • The titles of your most popular book(s)

4. Monitor The Comment Section

I cannot tell you how many guest bloggers make the mistake of thinking their job is over once the post goes live. They couldn’t be more wrong. Once your post goes live it is so important that you monitor the comment section and respond to every comment. When people take time to comment on your post, they are significantly more likely to become a fan of yours. Take time to solidify the relationship!

5. Promote The Posts Like Crazy

The final thing you need to do is promote your guest posts like crazy. Post them on your social media accounts, email them to your blog subscribers, create a section on your website that lists all the guest posts you have written, etc. The bottom line is you cannot rely on the website to do all the promotion. If you are able to drive significant traffic to a post on someone else’s website they will want you to write for them again and again.

Final Thoughts

Guest blogging is a proven way to grow a business, and as an author you are running a business. The reason guest blogging is so powerful for authors is that we are great writers. Writing is something that comes easy, so there is no reason for authors to not be pursuing guest blogging opportunities.

Have you written a guest blog post? If so, let me know your experience below!

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10 Authors Share The Book Marketing Mistakes Authors Should Avoid

book marketing mistake

At EditionGuard we are lucky enough to interact with authors nearly every day. Over the past few years we have seen plenty of mistakes derail the success of authors, but one area stands out more than any other.

Most authors do not know how to effectively market their book(s).

Whether you are a self-published author or have gone the traditional publishing route, marketing your book will ultimately be your responsibility.

In an effort to help authors avoid the book marketing mistakes that we have seen over the years, we reached out to several book marketing experts and successful authors to get their opinion on the following topic:

What is the biggest book marketing mistake authors make and what should they be doing instead?

Below are exact answers we received in response to the the question above. If you find these responses helpful, please share this post.

1. Forgetting That Social Media Is Social

book marketing mistakes

“I think the biggest online book marketing mistake new authors make is forgetting that social media is social. They broadcast “buy my book” everywhere and fail to interact with people.

Authors need to remember social media is for making friends, not direct sales. The sales come later. Don’t expect immediate results. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Plus, you’re writers, not marketers, so write!

That’s why I think blogging is an author’s best marketing tool.”

Anne R. Allen is an author of eight comic mysteries and a collection of short stories and poems. She is also the co-author of a guidebook for writers, written with Amazon superstar Catherine Ryan Hyde. Before becoming an author, Anne was an actress, bookseller and the former artistic director of the Patio Playhouse in Escondido, CA.

2. Failing To Interact With Readers and Fellow Writers

book marketing mistakes

“One of the biggest book marketing mistakes authors make is failing to interact with readers and fellow writers as human beings. Too many marketing strategies come across as self-focused and/or robotic. Not only do pushy me-me pitches and mechanical sales-only approaches turn off readers, they are also wasted opportunities.

Approach your marketing with an attitude of genuineness, openness, and generosity. Put yourself in readers’ shoes. What messages would you appreciate from authors? What messages would annoy you?

Same goes for networking with fellow authors. Don’t pitch “trades” (for Facebook likes, book reviews, link promotions) that compromise your integrity, and don’t ask for favors you wouldn’t wholeheartedly grant yourself.

Ultimately, good marketing is about empathy. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and learn to think and feel the way they do.”

K.M. Weiland lives in make-believe worlds, talks to imaginary friends, and survives primarily on chocolate truffles and espresso. She is the IPPY, NIEA, and Lyra Award-winning and internationally published author of Outlining Your Novel and Structuring Your Novel, as well as Jane Eyre: The Writer’s Digest Annotated Classic. She writes historical and speculative fiction from her home in western Nebraska and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.

3. Not Starting To Market Their Book Early Enough

book marketing mistakes

“One of the biggest book marketing mistakes most authors make is: They don’t start marketing their book early enough. Reviewers need lots of lead time, book tours should be organized months before the actual tour begins, your local book library and bookstore often arrange their scheduled author appearances six months before a book is actually published.

It’s important to have a carefully thought out marketing plan, but the real trick is to put it to work long before your book is ready to launch.”

Betty Kelly Sargent is the founder of BookWorks.com, the Self-Publisher’s Association, an online community and resource for indie authors and professional service providers. Betty is the former Editor-in-Chief of William Morrow, Executive Editor of Harper Collins and Delacorte Press, Fiction and Books Editor of Cosmopolitan, and book reviewer for CNN.

4. Having Vague Goals and Not Having A Marketing Plan

book marketing mistakes

“One of the biggest mistakes an author makes is having vague goals and not having a marketing plan in place. It’s essential to having a marketing plan around your book. Books don’t just sell themselves. This is probably where you’ll spend most of your time and a good chunk of your money.

As an indie or self-published author it’s really important to do your research before making any vendor, retail, or editorial services decisions. It’s a lot of work, but thinking through all the pieces will prevent you from wasting potentially thousands of dollars and hours of time.”

Miral Sattar is founder and CEO of BiblioCrunch, an award-winning author services marketplace that matches authors with quality, aware-winning professionals to get new books and apps to market. She has working in the media industry for 11 years, most recently at TIME where she launched several digital initiatives including an iPad and mobile site, mobile apps, a video and podcast channel, blogs and SEO. Her writing has been featured in TIME, CNN, NY Daily News, among other media publications.

5. Not Realizing That Being An Author Is A Business

book marketing mistakes

“One of the biggest book marketing mistakes is not realizing this is a business. Everything stems from that because if you treat writing, publishing and promoting your book like a business, you make decisions that are aligned with growing a business – as opposed to simply appeasing your ego.

I’m an author myself so I can say that’s a very real thing! If you treat being an author like running a business you will also start to realize that (like a business) things take time. It took me three years to make AME profitable – time and patience and hard work – are keenly important when running a successful business.

So don’t sit back and wait for success to find you just because your book is finally up on Amazon. There are over 4,500 books published every single day. An author’s work is not over when the book goes up for sale, in a lot of ways it’s just beginning. Most of us write because it comes easy, it’s the promotion and marketing that are foreign to a lot of people, it’s growing the business that trips people up.

A quick fix is to find trusted sources and commit to not only learning from them, but implementing their tips and recommendations. A step up from that would be finding a company to partner with, that can help take you to the next level. But don’t lose sight of the fact that even if you hire someone, this is still your business to run, so be the CEO your book deserves and do everything you can to aid in its success.”

Penny Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. (AME) and Adjunct Professor at NYU, is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns. Find out more at http://www.amarketingexpert.com.

6. Expecting Amazon To Generate Sales

book marketing mistakes

“One of the biggest book marketing mistakes I see authors make is not doing it at all. They put their eBook up on Amazon and expect sales to roll in magically, then they’re disappointed with the results.

The fundamental thing about marketing a book is the same as marketing any other product; it’s a multi-channel and continuous effort that yields results in the mid to long term. Starting this effort as early as possible, even before the launch of the book itself is of paramount importance.

Also, instead of focusing on just one or two channels like social media or forums, spreading the word out on as many channels as possible is more prudent, as it’s difficult to tell which channels will return the best results and making more informed decisions will be easier with a variety of data at hand.”

Turgay Birand began his entrepreneurial career while still a student in college in 2001. Since then he’s been building and operating many digital assets such as e-commerce stores and SaaS businesses. As the founder of EditionGuard he’s currently focused on helping and shaping the eBook self-publishing sector by empowering smaller authors and publishers with the secure distribution tools they need.

7. Not Obtaining Endorsements Prior To Publishing

book marketing mistakes

“One of the biggest book marketing mistakes many independently published authors make is to wait until their book is published to market it. Instead of waiting until the birth of a book, marketing should start with the conception.

One largely underutilized marketing technique that begins prior to publication of a book is obtaining endorsements. The majority of independently published authors neglect this very powerful and free marketing tool. Endorsements are secured prior to the publication of a book from influencers and other authors who speak to your target audience. They help you sell more books by expanding your audience and signaling readers that an influencer has deemed your book worthy of their time and money.”

Sarah Bolme is the author of the award-winning Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace (www.marketingchristianbooks.com), now in its third edition. As the Director of Christian Small Publishers Association (www.christianpublishers.net) she helps independent authors and small publishers market their books in the Christian marketplace.

8. Not Understanding Who Their Exact Audience Is

angela ackerman

“One of the biggest book marketing mistakes authors make is not understanding who their exact audience is and instead engaging in general “buy my book” promotion on social media.

Investing time to uncover what makes one’s book special (a subject, interest, theme, or other element) will allow the author to search online to find people interested in this same element. The author can then put their energy toward building genuine relationships with this potential audience using their favorite social spaces. By interacting authentically (through discussion, sharing, and adding value) rather than promoting, the author builds trust and friendship, turning readers into fans and influencers.”

Angela Ackerman is a writing coach, international speaker, and co-author of the bestselling book, The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression, as well as four others. Her guides are available in six languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. Angela is also the co-founder of the popular site Writers Helping Writers, as well as One Stop for Writers, an innovative online library built to help writers elevate their storytelling.

9. Focusing On The Launch Period To The Exclusion of the Pre-Lauch Period

book marketing mistakes

“The biggest book marketing mistake authors make when marketing books is that they focus on the launch period to the exclusion of the pre-launch period.

Marketing for a book begins the moment you get the idea (or decide to become an author). Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, you need to build an author platform. That can take years! But it is the foundation for all book marketing. Without platform, you have no audience to which to market.

When you know you have a book to launch–and you know when it will launch, set up promotion for the month prior to that release. This builds up pre-sales, which help the book become a bestseller. When it trends on the Amazon Top 100 list in its category, it gets noticed by potential readers, which increases sales.

With a platform and pre-launch marketing plan in place, develop a launch strategy for the month or two after the book launches. Books are marketed over time. In fact, book marketing is ongoing…for the life of the book.”

Nina Amir is an author, with 14 books written to date, an Author Coach, Blog and Blog-to-Book Coach, nonfiction Book Coach and High Performance Coach. She is also a nonfiction book proposal consultant and editor.

10. Not Realizing That They Aren’t Just Authors — They Are Also In Sales

book marketing mistakes

“One of the biggest book marketing mistakes authors make it not realizing that they aren’t just authors — they are also in sales.

Your book’s success will be based almost entirely on how much you actively market it.”

Ann Handley is a veteran of creating and managing digital content to build relationships for organizations and individuals. Ann is the author of the Wall Street Journal bestseller Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content and the co-author of the best-selling book on content marketing, Content Rules: How To Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business. She is the Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs: a LinkedIn Influencer: a keynote speaker, mom and writer.

Now it is your turn! What book marketing mistakes do you think authors should avoid? What strategies should authors use to increase book sales? Let us know in the comment section below.

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How To Market Your eCommerce Store On A Budget

ecommerce store

Running an ecommerce store on a limited budget can be frustrating. Afterall, if you had a large budget surely you would sell more.

This is a misconception far too many people fall for. Having a larger budget doesn’t necessarily mean you will have more success.

Take for example, Dr. Bob Wagstaff, the creator of the Orabrush tongue cleaner. After spending $40,000 on an infomercial that converted into less than 150 order, he decided to give YouTube a try.

He spent $500 to create a video that currently has over 27,000,000 views. You read that right, over 27 million views!

Smaller budget, larger results. In this post we will discuss how you can market your ecommerce store on a budget. Since EditionGuard helps authors sell eBooks, we will use eBooks as the example product.

No Traffic. No Business.

ecommerce store

Let’s imagine two bookstores. The first bookstore averages only 30 visitors per day. The second bookstore averages 1,000 visitors per day. Which book store do you think sells more books?

It may seem obvious that the second bookstore will sell much more books. Afterall, the amount of traffic at their store is much higher than the first store. However, when it comes to ecommerce stores this same scenario isn’t always as obvious.

It doesn’t really matter what you are selling, if you can’t figure out how to attract traffic to your ecommerce store you will struggle to sell anything.

If you don’t have a large budget, let’s be honest few authors do, then you will need to identify cost effective ways to increase traffic to your store.

A few options are:

  • Social media marketing
  • Guest blogging
  • Promotional giveaways
  • Community building
  • Content marketing
  • Influencer marketing

We will now focus on the last three options listed: community building, content marketing and influencer marketing.

Build A Community First

ecommerce store

One of the most affordable ways to market your eCommerce store is to build a community around your brand. Doing so will give potential customers an emotional attachment to your products that they may not have with your competitors.

There are many ways to build a community, including: Facebook Groups and a company blog.

The reason community building is so important for ecommerce stores is that it gives you access to repeat customers. Having customers that consistently buy from your store is crucial for success. Otherwise you will have to rely on spending money to constantly acquire new customers.

So, what would a community look like? Let’s take a look at an example of community building for an eCommerce store selling books. For this example we will look at how to create a community using a Facebook Group.

Step 1: eCommerce Store Creates A Book Related Facebook Group

Step 2: eCommerce Store Begins Creating Content To Attract People To Their Facebook Group

Step 3: eCommerce Store Begins Engaging With Members and Forming Relationships

Step 4: eCommerce Store Learns From Community and Begins Understanding Their Wants Needs

Step 5: eCommerce Store Creates An Offering Based on What They Learn

Step 6: eCommerce Store Begins Offering What Audience Needs and Sales Increase

Now this is a very high-level look at community building, but the goal is simple: if an ecommerce store can build a community of people who trust them and their product(s), then they will be able to increase sales. Marketing your ecCommerce store via community building is affordable and highly effective.

Content Marketing Is Affordable
ecommerce store

We already discussed the importance of driving traffic to your ecommerce store. Content marketing, even when done on a small budget, is a very effective way to drive traffic.

Having a smaller budget isn’t necessarily a bad thing when it comes to content marketing. In fact, most content marketing campaigns that have driven viral traffic required very little capital investment.

If you have a small budget, you will need to invest more of your personal time. If you are serious about increasing your sales, this shouldn’t be a problem. Neil Patel wrote a fantastic blog post discussing how to you succeed at content marketing with a small budget.

There are two approaches to content marketing:

  1. Drive Long Term Traffic
  2. Short-Term Traffic Boost

If you want to drive long term traffic to your ecommerce store, you will want to create evergreen content. Evergreen content simply means content that does not become outdated quickly. Examples of this type of content include:

  • How To Blog Posts
  • Training Programs
  • Explainer Videos

Keep in mind that the goal of evergreen content is to create several pieces of content that you can rely on to drive traffic for years. Don’t expect this type of content to “go viral” and drive large amounts of traffic to your store immediately.

If your goal is immediate traffic, you will need to create a different type of content. This content will be less focused on longevity and more focused on immediate popularity. Examples of this type of content include:

  • Industry News
  • Unique Ways To Use Your Product
  • Case Studies

Social media, blogs and most of the web is fueled by content. If you can create content that will entertain, inform or attract your target audience, your ecommerce sales will increase. And remember, it doesn’t have to cost you anything other than your time.

Influencers Will Help You

ecommerce store

It doesn’t matter if you are selling books, skateboards, or anything else, there are always people within your niche that have extreme influence over the market as a whole. For example, if you were selling books, having a famous author like Stephen King help to promote your ecommerce store would be a game-changer.

Now it is very unlikely that a small ecommerce store would be able to get the support of Stephen King, but there are plenty of lesser known individuals that still have major influence.

Despite what many people might think, influencers are willing to help if you make the process easy and beneficial for them. When it comes to influencer marketing, it is crucial to remember that there is a big difference between popularity and influence.

You may find someone on social media with 100,000 followers that has far less influence than someone with 1,500. If you can identify influencers within your niche, you will be able to ask them for help.

So, how exactly will an influencer help you increase your traffic and sales?. Let’s look at an example:

eClincher, a social media management SaaS provider, created a blog post that involved over 20 of the top influencers in the digital marketing industry. The post included predictions for the upcoming year from these influencers. Simple enough, right?

The results were over 1,000 shares on social media and a massive increase in new customer signups. Since many of the influencers in the post shared it with their followers, it became a massive success.

The best part? The post was completely free!

Final Thoughts

If you don’t have a large budget to market your ecommerce store, that is ok. In fact, having a smaller budget may help you to become more creative and find greater success.

The most important thing when it comes to increasing your sales is to increase the traffic to your store. You can do this by building a community, creating killer content and leveraging influencers’ audiences.

These certainly aren’t the only ways to market an ecommerce store, so now it is your turn. Let us know unique ways you have marketed your ecommerce store in the comment section below!

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7 Reasons Why Every Business Should Create eBooks

business ebook

Attention all business owners. You should be producing eBooks regularly as part of your content marketing strategy. If you aren’t, you are missing out on a massive business opportunity. Let me explain.

Over the last five years smartphone sales have soared. So have tablet and ereader sales. This makes eBooks easier than ever to consume.

Despite this trend, many businesses still aren’t creating eBooks. You understand the importance of blogging. And certainly the importance of social media too. So why is it that so many businesses seem to be blind to the the many benefits of creating an eBook.

In this post we will discuss 7 reasons why every business should create eBooks.

1. eBooks Attract Targeted Leads

Creating eBooks should be an integral part of your content marketing strategy. The objective of content marketing is simple: attract people who would be interested in buying what you are offering.

An eBook is a great way to attract targeted leads than can eventually be converted into paying customers. To attract targeted leads via your eBooks, follow these steps:

  • Identify a target audience
  • Brainstorm topics they would be interested in
  • Create an eBook involving one or more of those topics
  • Promote your eBook to your target audience
  • Require an email in exchange for your eBook (more on this in a second)

The market is flooded with blog posts. Creating an eBook is an easy way to lower competition and access a whole new pool of potential leads. Skim through your most popular blog posts and you will find the topics that your audience is most interested in.

2. eBooks Grow Your Email List

No online business can have sustainable, long-term growth without an email list. If your business relies heavily on the internet, you should be focused on consistently growing your email list.

ebooks

Even if your business isn’t online, an email list gives you direct access to people interested in buying what you are offering. Every business owner loves the sound of that. That is the sound of money.

eBooks are hands down the best way to grow your email list. When you offer an eBook, you should always require an email address in order to gain access. This type of requirement is called “gated content” and will help you quickly grow your email list.

Since eBooks bought from your website will be delivered via email, asking for an email address in exchange for your free, or even paid, eBook is natural. Growing your email list via eBooks is much easier than via blog post subscription.

3. Ebooks Establish Authority

Every business owner knows how hard it is to actually get people to pay for whatever they are offering. Thanks to the internet, customers now have more options than ever. So, what will make them decide to pay you and not one of your competitors?

The answer is simple: you must establish your business as an industry authority.

When you become an industry authority, potential buyers begin to associate your brand with the entire category. They trust your business and are much more likely to buy what you are offering. When you become an authority in your industry, price even becomes less of a deciding factor.

A great example of this is GoPro. There are plenty of other options in the action camera market, but GoPro completely dominates it. Their cameras aren’t the cheapest. Their cameras aren’t necessarily better from a technical standpoint either.

ebooks

The reason GoPro has had so much success is that they have positioned themselves as the authority in their industry. They were able to do this by creating content to educate, entertain, and engage their market. People trust GoPro and are willing to pay a premium for the peace of mind that comes with that trust.

Your business can use eBooks to position your brand as the expert in your industry. If you can successfully gain the trust of your market, your sales will go through the roof.

4. eBooks Improve Your Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing has become the largest marketing trend in the past 5 years. If you aren’t aware of exactly what content marketing is, let me explain.

Forty years ago businesses like Coca Cola controlled the entire marketing process. They would hire large, Mad Men style, marketing firms that would devise large scale marketing campaigns that would then run via radio, newspaper, television, etc.

ebooks

For the most part, these ads were how people learned about what to buy. This gave the large companies quite the advantage.

Then came the internet and everything changed. People now gather information about products and businesses on their own. We can go to Google and simply search for anything we need to know.

Content marketing takes advantage of this new trend. When businesses create content that potential buyers will be interested in, they increase their odds of being seen. That is why most businesses are active and blog on social media.

The problem with both of these methods is people expect small, consumable content. A 25,000 word blog post is overwhelming and most people won’t read it.

eBooks allow businesses to cover specific topics in extreme detail.

If your content marketing strategy is lacking depth, creating eBooks is the best way to fix this. Your target audience will consume longer content if it is in the form of an eBook that they can download and read when they have time.

Again, look through your most popular blog content to date and decide which topics your audience would benefit from a more in-depth look at.

5. Creating and Distributing an eBook Is Easy

Does your business have a blog? If so, you have more than enough technical skills to create and distribute an eBook. Here is what you will need to do:

  • Type your content and format it as a PDF or ePub file
  • Create a book cover: Check out Canva for easy book cover design
  • Use a tool like EditionGuard for effortless distribution

Creating an eBook is easy. Distributing an eBook is even easier. Seriously, what are you waiting for?

6. eBooks Can Make You Money Directly

If you create an eBook that is valuable enough, people will pay you for it. Let me say that again. People will pay you for your eBook if it is valuable enough.

Imagine having an alternate stream of income for your business thanks to your eBook sales. Now it is very unlikely that you will sell thousands of copies of your eBook, but an eBook is one of the few marketing activities that can directly earn you money.

Experiment with charging for one of your eBooks to see if people are willing to pay for it. Just keep in mind that people won’t be willing to pay unless you give them a reason to. It is time for you to think like an author!

7. eBook Consumption Is Rapidly Increasing

eBook consumption is at an all time high. Over 50% of Americans own a dedicated ereader device and even more are consuming eBooks via computer, cell phone, etc.

This means your next paying customer most likely reads eBooks.

I will leave you with this question: When your target audience needs information on a specific topic, do you want them to discover and consume your eBook or one of your competitor’s eBooks?

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Hey Authors, Social Media Doesn’t Work

book marketing

Social media doesn’t work for authors. At least not how most authors are using it.

Hearing that social media doesn’t work might be shocking to you, considering how popular social media is right now. Every author dreams of sending out a tweet and selling 10 books as a result.

Unfortunately, when is the last time you saw someone post “buy my book!” and you actually went and bought it? Never? Me either.

I think we can both agree that there a real opportunities to sell books online, even on social media, but most authors don’t possess the marketing skills or understanding to leverage social media for book marketing success.

So, how can you increase your book sales using social media? In this post we will discuss it.

How To Sell More Books Using Social Media

It is important for authors to have the right mindset about social media. Traditionally, authors look at social media as a place to connect with other authors and potential readers and to sell books.

Authors that find success on social media realize that social media should be used to improve all other areas of book marketing.

That means social media should help you define your target audience. Social media should help you grow your email list. Social media should help you find guest posting or speaking opportunities. And yes, social media should help you sell more books.

Mark Dawson’s Proven Social Media Strategy

book marketing

So, what does a successful social media strategy look like? Let’s take a look at a strategy used by best-selling indie author Mark Dawson. His strategy uses Facebook Ads, but can easily be adapted to use the advertising platform on your social network of choice.

Dawson’s strategy has two main objectives:

  1. Grow his email list
  2. Drive direct book sales

Here is a quick summary of how it works:

  1. Set up a Facebook Ad that is highly targeted
  2. Offer something of value in exchange for an email (eBook, webinar, etc.)
  3. Use growing email list to support other marketing activities and sell more books
  4. Repeat the process and use your email list to refine your Facebook Ad targeting

For a more in-depth look at how Dawson has used his strategy to grow his email list to 20,000+ and now makes $500,000 per year, check out this interview.

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How To Market Your Book With Slideshare

Slideshare

Well written books don’t always sell. Well marketed books almost always do. Whether you self-publish or go with a traditional publisher, your success will depend on your ability to market your book.

Most authors understand the importance of using social media to connect with their audience and market their books. Facebook and Twitter are the popular choices, followed by other networks such as: Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn.

One social network that is often overlooked by authors is Slideshare.

In this post we will discuss how to market your book with Slideshare. If you are not familiar with what Slideshare is and how it works, we will begin with a brief explanation.

What Is Slideshare

Slideshare

Slideshare is a slide hosting service that was acquired by LinkedIn in 2012. You can think of Slideshare as a social network where people share information in Powerpoint style presentations.

When you upload a presentation to Slideshare it can be viewed on the site itself, as well as embedded or shared on other websites and social networks. When done right, Slideshare can help you generate serious website traffic, generate leads and enhance your blog posts and other social network content. Now that you are familiar with what Slideshare is, let’s discuss how to use Slideshare to market your book(s).

How To Market Your Book With Slideshare
Slideshare

If you do not have a Slideshare account, you will need to create one before getting started. Once you have a Slideshare account, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Create Your Presentation Using Powerpoint, Keynote or Google Slides

To get started with Slideshare you will need to create your presentation. You can create your presentation using Powerpoint, Keynote or Google Slides. Choose your favorite and start creating your presentation.

Slideshare Best Practices:

  1. Keep it Simple: Use 10 words or less per slide
  2. Use Stunning Images: Images will make your presentation more visually appealing
  3. Have A Clear Storyline: Your presentation should have an easy to follow storyline
  4. Make It Clickable: Add URLs to text or images you want to be clickable
  5. Include Call To Actions: Make it clear what you want viewers to do

Step 2: Include Several Call To Actions

A call to action tells people what you want them to do. An example of a call to action is a “Buy Now” button below your book on your website. Without a call to action people will simply view your presentation and then leave. We want people to buy your book, so make sure they know that too!

Call To Actions You Should Include

  1. Buy Now
  2. Visit Your Website
  3. Connect With You On Social Media

Consider including promotional slides throughout your Slideshare presentation. Promotional slides are slides that are dedicated to promoting your book.

Imagine that you create a presentation that is not directly related to your book. You may see solid traffic, but it is highly unlikely that they will buy your book without a little nudge to do so.

Including two or three promotional slides throughout that presentation to entice viewers to buy your book is a great way to convert your Slideshare traffic. You should always end your presentation with a promotional slide.

Step 3: Upload Your Slideshare Presentation

Once you have created your Slideshare presentation, you will be ready to upload it to Slideshare. To do so, you will need to save it as a Powerpoint file. If you are using Powerpoint, this doesn’t require any additional steps.

If you are using Keynote or Google Slides, you need to “Export” as a Powerpoint file before uploading to Slideshare.

Once you have uploaded your presentation, you will need to fill out some additional information before you publish it. This information includes:

  • Title
  • Description
  • Category
  • Tags

Including popular keywords and tags will make your presentation more discoverable, so make sure you do not rush through this step. One of the best things about Slideshare is viral organic reach. If people begin to show interest in your presentation, Slideshare will start showing it to more and more people for free.

Step 4: Share and Embed Your Slideshare Presentation

Congratulations! You have successfully uploaded your Slideshare presentation. Now it is time to promote your presentation to ensure people view it. Below each Slideshare presentation is a “Share” button.

slideshare

Clicking on this “Share” button will provide you with several different ways to conveniently share and embed your Slideshare presentation. Your other social media accounts are a great place to begin sharing your Slideshare presentation.

You should also consider turning your presentation into a blog post, which you can embed the presentation into. See example below:

Final Thoughts

Slideshare is a legitimate option for authors to market their books and build an audience. This unique social network provides long term traffic and helps you enhance your other social networks and blog.

Creating a Slideshare presentation might take a little extra time, but it is totally worth it. Most authors are using Twitter and Facebook. You can stand out by taking a plunge into Slideshare today!

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