Even the most introverted author must get out and promote in order to sell books. Traditionally, authors use promotional methods such as feature stories in magazines and newspapers, interviews on radio shows, and appearances on TV. The more an author is in front of the public, the more likely his or her book will stand out from the thousands of other books published each year. The Internet has provided authors with a few more options for promotion and book advertising. So how should one go about author promotion and book advertising?
Proven methods such as press releases, articles, and talk radio campaigns remain very cost effective marketing methods for author promotion. While these methods definitely get authors out in front of the public, there are some newer must-have items every author should put in place before beginning a marketing campaign. The first of these is a website, which is essential for author promotion and book advertising because it will become the starting point for all online marketing efforts.
When an author sends out a press release or asks for an interview on a talk radio show, the first thing a producer will do is search the author’s website to find out more. A website has become the starting point for research by readers, agents and publishers as they try to find out more about the author. A website establishes the author’s brand and “talks” to the public in his or her own voice. The author website should showcase publications, link to any other mentions of books or the author on the web, contain the latest news and publication notices, and link to various social networks.
The website should be both attractive and professional, and feature an associated blog from where the author can make posts about publications, appearances, and other news. The more content associated with the website, the more likely searchers will stumble upon it as well. With a blog, the author can continually add new and interesting content. In many cases, blog posts will automatically show on the author’s Facebook and Twitter pages, expanding their visibility.
Another marketing tactic authors can employ is to participate actively in Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. There, authors can discuss their books, and connect with their audiences to answer questions, and make friends. On social sites, authors can connect with other writers and build relationships with people who work in the media, and may potentially discuss the author on their own blogs and pages. A Facebook fan page can contain links to the website and to any videos that the author may also have developed. Sometimes a series of videos about topics related to the author’s publication attracts visitors who would also be interested in purchasing the book.
A third online marketing idea for authors is to guest-blog on blogs that already have good traffic. The author can try connecting with the blog owner and ask to be interviewed about a forthcoming publication. Guest-blogging can benefit both the blog owner and the author. Since readers of the blog can number in the thousands, this is a great way to provide new content for the blog owner, and also to get the author in front of potential readers. Similar to guest-blogging, authors can also use forums to post comments on related topics. The author can provide a link back to his or her website in a signature associated with the post.
Every author should set up a series of Google Alerts to be notified whenever something is posted online using his or her name, or the title of a publication. These alerts will go into the author’s email, and he or she can respond by thanking anyone who has written them.
A final proven online promotion idea for authors is to create a free sample of some of the pages from their publications to lure people to your website. This free sample can also be placed on your social media pages so that it can be shared easily. Anything “free” on the web grabs people’s attention, and this “give-away” can be used as a tease to entice people to read the book.
Authors should enhance the more traditional methods of book promotion by trying these web-based activities. Although press releases, articles and interviews are still the bread and butter of author promotion, as more and more people rely on the Internet for information, online book advertising should also be employed.