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Marketing a Self Published Book Online

Teen Poetry Book - Wish by River Clark

Click to see my daughter's book, Wish, by River Clark

Today my daughter and I attended the Sonoma County Book Festival and had a lot of fun. Since I am an author in 2 books, and she has published her own book of poetry and wants to publish more books, we attended a few sessions about book publishing. I was not surprised to hear several times – over and over really – how important it is as a self published author to have a website, have a blog, and have a Facebook Fan Page.

As I sat and listened I realized I should have had a booth at the fair offering my services! Setting up a WordPress site/blog and Facebook Fan Page comes easily to me and is an affordable service we offer for those who need to market their self published books. Several of my clients are authors from Thrive Publishing™ as one of the requirements for working with that publisher is that you have a website in which you can offer the book for sale. I am able to either add their book and a shopping cart to an existing website, or create a new website with WordPress, as well as add book information on their Facebook Fan Page.

One of the sessions was with author Buzzy Martin. Buzzy has a great story to tell in his book – be sure to check it out. But what was really exciting to me was that he said creating a website and then a Fan Page were really 2 turning points in his experience as an author. First the website gave him instant credibility. He had self published his book but was also shopping it around to major publishing houses as well. After creating his website and meeting some key people he did indeed get picked up by Penguin books. The really cool story though is that he didn’t even know how to use a computer! Someone told him to start a Facebook account and his wife showed him how – it was all very new to him. Shortly after, he connected to someone who knew someone and… Now his book is being made into a major motion picture! All because of a connection through his Facebook Fan Page.

If you have a book, or are thinking of writing one or co-authoring one, establishing an online presence is critical! I know it has helped me when marketing my two books, Direct Selling Power and Incredible Business.

Here are the various things I would recommend:

  1. Static website that includes a “store” page where visitors can purchase the book through a shopping cart system such as Paypal “add to cart” buttons, or 1shoppingcart. This website I would recommend creating through WordPress, as it is almost free (just pay for domain and hosting) and highly indexed by the search engines.
  2. Blog where you can give away some of your writing for free – post articles, excerpts, samples from your book. Or use it to share about things not in your book – about your life, your travels, your hobbies. A blog will boost your website’s search engine rankings while also giving readers a chance to “try before they buy” – including potential publishers, magazines, or event planners. I would recommend a WordPress blog associated with a WordPress website, but if you have a regular HTML website, still install WordPress in a /blog/ folder so it is attached to your main domain.
  3. Facebook Fan Page. People love showing off what they like and are involved in, and they love the interaction they can have with an author through a Fan Page. Customize your Fan Page so you can send people to your site for more information on your book – or  better yet, customize a shopping page right within your Fan Page.
  4. Email Marketing. On your website and/or blog, and on your Facebook Fan page, have some way to capture people’s email addresses. They want to hear from you – let them know once a month or so what you’ve been up to. Share an article related to your topic. Announce events or book signings or classes you’ll be conducting.
  5. Twitter. Again, similar to Facebook, people want to be in touch with you. Be sure you have a Twitter account set up. Feed the Fan Page to the Twitter account, and check regularly for replies. Twitter is another doorway to your website and therefore your book!
  6. Other Social Media Profiles. Be sure you are listing your position as Author on other social media platforms such as LinkedIn, BizNik, Yelp, and others. Post across the internet when you are doing anything around your book marketing.
  7. Free Teleclass. With my 2nd book, Incredible Business, the co-authors and I are conducting a Virtual Book Launch and this is a great way to showcase your expertise and give people a taste of what they can find in your book. You could simply schedule a teleclass through freeconferencing.com and invite all your contacts to attend.
  8. Offer an ebook version of your book, or even a chapter of it, that people can buy or download with purchase. More and more today people are preferring this format and it satisfies their need for instant gratification!

If you are an author and do not yet have a WordPress website or blog, or a Facebook Fan Page, try setting one up for free (just the cost of hosting) at Free Blog Factory. (aff link) People who are interested in the exact subject you are offering in your book are looking for you – and they’re looking online!

Those of you who already have books, what book marketing techniques have you found to be effective?

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4 Comments

  1. Patricia@lavenderuses
    Follow me on Twitter: lavenderuses
    on October 3, 2010 at 8:35 am

    Hi
    I have a question for you. Is this also the way to market PDF books on the net? I am a newbie blogger and so have heaps to learn. I eventually want to producte a book on my passion all things lavender and have begun writing some articles I will be adding to it.
    Great article with plenty of helpful tips for this newbie to take in. Will be bookmarking so thanks.
    Patricia Perth Australia

    • Karen
      Follow me on Twitter: mybizpresence
      on October 4, 2010 at 12:16 am

      Sure, that would be a great idea! I haven’t marketed ebooks yet but I don’t see why this wouldn’t apply to those as well!

  2. John Gammaitoni on December 8, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Hi,
    I’ve basically been going from site to site trying to figure out how to promote my self-published book. As with many others, this is all new to me, along with blogging. I understand the purpose of a blog but can’t imagine what I would post every day. Just to give you an idea, my book is a sarcastic look at people working out. I was a personal trainer for years and basically chronicle in a funny way what I’ve seen over the years.
    Anyway, I guess I need to read some blogs and see what the heck they’re all about. Writing and publishing a book is so much fun…and takes no time at all…Not!! Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated here.

    Thanks,

    John

  3. C.J.BRADEN on April 8, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    Hello Karen,

    It took me 9 years to write my book, because I was living it and writing it in tandem. I copyrighted it, paid to have it professionally edited and in November 2012 I chose the route of self-publishing. I am not a computer whiz, but I persevered and designed my own website and launched it. Then I entered the world of Facebook. I have never blogged, chatted, or tweeted in my life so this was a challenge. I am beginning the blogging part, I have had one local speaking engagement and my book is in the local book store. I am finding marketing to be the greatest challenge so far. The book has received some very good reviews on my site and on Amazon, and unsolicited positive comments to me personally, now I need to know the strongest path to take to market this book to Christian and Non-believer Market. I am on Book Daily, Bookends, and Goodreads, MEND, and Christian Writers Showcase. I have been told about reviews and interviews online, is that something I should persue? I is hard to keep up with what is fresh and what is fading in the world of books. I am anxious to get into dialog with readers and potential readers, but I have always been a private person and the concept of making contacts and virtual “friends” is very foreign to me. I also have to make a living from home on the computer, and that takes the focus off the marketing effort. Is there anything you can see that I am missing, other than a Twitter Account which I do not have?

    Thank you,
    C.J.Braden

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