There are many ways any self published independent author can start marketing and promoting a book on line. But unfortunately for many that means either learning how to do it, or paying someone else to do it for them. Either way there is a price to pay, the first is payment in time and the second one means parting with hard earned cash. Of course you could do a balance between the two and take on some of the work yourself and just pay someone to do the trickier bits for you.
So lets assume that you have at least some time available and are prepared to use that time in order to market and promote your book or books. Doesn’t really matter whether they are printed book or whether they come in a digital format, marketing on-line at the end of the day will be virtually the same for both. Here is a list of ways to market a book on-line:
- Publish a static website and/or a blog
- Creating a Facebook and a Google+ page
- Create a mailing list
- Micro blogging using sites like Twitter
- Utilise free Web2.0 facilities such as YouTube or Hubpages
- Try out bookmarking sites like Stumbleupon
- Register with book review sites like Goodreads and Shelfari
- Post your books for sale on major book distribution sites like Amazon & Smashwords
Publishing A Static Website and/or Blog
A website would be great of course but it does require quite a lot of skill to create and maintain it, so if you are adamant that this is the route for you, I would strongly recommend that you either seek the services of a web designer or you could take the option of using the WordPress blogging platform, which can be used to create a static website, a blog or a combination of both. But before you do you may want to check out this website design guide unless of course you are already technically savvy and know how to do all this.
A blog is a little easier to put together and to maintain, once you have learned the basics, because you are basically just using posts and don’t have to worry too much about setting up navigation menus. The recommended option for this, as previously stated, is to get yourself a self hosted WordPress blog with your own domain name. Choosing the right hosting service and creating a WordPress blog that you know will work suddenly becomes so much easier.
You can get a free ebook that explains how to create a WordPress blog by subscribing to this blog using the ‘Subscribe to eBookIssues’ option in the sidebar, the book has recently been updated so will provide the basic information you need to get online and started.
The rational behind having your own website or blog is that it can be used to post your articles, excerpts, sell your book or share any other interesting information that you want to over the Internet providing the opportunity to build up a bit of a fan base and a mailing list of people you can contact with any news, like the release of your next book for example. The optimum solution in this respect is to have a website with a blog built in, and that of course can still be a WordPress blog made to look like a static website as explained in the website design guide mentioned above.
Creating a Facebook Page or Google+ Page
Facebook as everyone knows is the social media site with the most active members, so registering with Facebook and creating a Fan page is a bit of a no brainer. It is free to do and allows you to tap into a huge resource of people with an even bigger range of different interests and ‘Likes’, excuse the pun. You can post news, links to your website or blog, your book and interact with people on any number of topics. But remember it is a social media site so be sociable and not a salesman. You can join Facebook here then you will need to familiarise yourself with the environment, especially the privacy settings. If it is all completely new to you you might find this link Creating Facebook Pages useful.
Google+ offer a very similar facility to Facebook, you can register with them and once registered you can start to interact socially with other people of a like mind, other authors or people that like to read books for example. You can also create a page for your book and direct people to it and any of the information you share on the page. Separating out who sees what seems a little easier on Google+, but you do have to pay attention to your privacy settings especially if you decide to start using these services on a personal level to stay in touch with family or friends. But once again this is a fabulous free resource and another huge platform to build relationships with people.
Creating a Mailing List
This is something that is always easier said than done, but anyone that knows anything about marketing on-line will always tell you that building a list of people interested in your topic is crucial for on-line success. For authors of course it is a list of people interested in their books or reading in general and keeping a note of anyone that has shown an interest in your book(s) should become second nature so that you can build your list.
One of the beauties of a WordPress blog is that it is an open source program, which basically means there are literally thousands of people developing code for the program. A significant amount of which is available for free in the form of ‘Plugins or Widgets’. One such plugin is WP email Capture , this can be installed on your blog and provides lots of functionality aimed at getting people to subscribe to your blog and, when they do, it records their email address. Of course there are many ways you can collect email addresses including through Facebook or Google+ and once you have them, you can share articles related to your topic, announce events or book signings and tell them about impending new releases. Never be tempted to send emails to anyone that has never registered an interest in your books or reading in general and always provide a facility to un-subscribe so that you are not labelled a spammer.
Without doubt the most famous micro-blogging site is Twitter , and building a list of followers through Twitter is another way to get news out about your books. The reason it is called micro-blogging is because, although you are effectively making a blog post, you only have 140 characters in which to send your message. Many people view this as a pointless exercise (despite the fact there are many millions that would argue that point), but if you can build a decent following and engage with people properly it is a fantastic way of promoting a book, with the potential to go viral. To find out how to get started with Twitter you can use this link. Once you are registered on both sites, you can also link between Facebook and Twitter so that if you do a status update on one it is automatically sent out on the other.
Using Web2.0 Resources
Web2.0 is actually quite difficult to give an exact definition, but you don’t really need that definition to use some of the facilities that come under the Web2.0 umbrella. So in as succinct a way as I can describe it I will say Web2.0 means you as a user control your own data and publish it over the Internet. Clearly blogs come under that description, but with your own blog, you are literally on your own, whereas if you tap into resources like HubPages you are joining a community where you can write and publish articles, again related to your books or any other relevant topic that is associated with you as an author, but you can tap into an extremely influential Internet presence, that immediately gives you a bit of a head start in the world of the Internet. YouTube is similar, but you publish in video format, so you need to develop skills for creating videos for publication. Here are a couple of examples of articles written for books on Squidoo and HubPages to give you an idea of the sort of things you could do if you register using the links above and use their services:
Book marking is another form of social engagement and there are some very good sites available for registering an interest in a webpage and, when you have established some friends on the sites, for sharing recommendations with them. One of the better book marking sites for authors is:
StumbleUpon is a very effective tool for bookmarking a site to register an interest in that site. Plus as previously mentioned you can build up social relationships with like minded people and share your recommendations with them. Remembering once more that you cannot sell on social media sites, you are there to meet people and garner trust.
Book Review Sites
Registering with and participating on book review sites has to be a good idea, it is another place where you can discuss books and writing in general with what must be considered a captive audience. Three of the best review sites around are:
All these sites allow you to add books that interest you and allow you to join groups for discussions on specific forums. It is also possible in some cases list your book under a specific genre like French Books for example.
Using Major Distributors for Book Promotion
This may seem a bit obvious but I will mention it anyway, one of the most effective ways to get your books in front of a paying public is to be listed on a mayor distributor’s sites such as Amazon or Smashwords There are many others but Smashwords does offer the facility of registering ebooks to several large distributors, once they have passed certain acceptance checks for quality, and managing all payments through PayPal. This is a very straightforward way to get your books published worldwide, assuming you have the publishing rights of course. Amazon offer KDP Kindle Direct Publishing to provide a means of publishing your ebooks on all the Amazon sites around the world and Amazon remains the premier book distributing site on-line.
I would love to hear your book marketing ideas and suggestions especially specific techniques you have found to be effective. You can use the comments facility below for this. Also if you need any assistance with any of the above it might be worth getting in touch for a chat. 🙂