Congratulations!! Your book has been published. This is a life dream, a bucket list item that makes the sky bluer, the air sweeter and life a happier adventure. Take a moment and enjoy the glow!
Shortly after basking in that glow, I realized that my book was going to languish unless I did some proactive marketing for it. Sure, the publisher did some marketing, but as a classic Type A, I wanted a little more control over my own destiny. I started looking for quick and easy ways to help market my book. There are a lot of suggestions with a quick google search. Some these were relatively low tech.
In fact, my favorite low tech marketing tool is a bookmark. I put a nifty bookmark together myself on PrintRunner shortly after my book A Year of Disney was published. For less than $75 I had 1,000 bookmarks. Giving those away has been a great deal of fun, leading to some of the best conversations with total strangers. However, the more I looked, the clearer it became that the real bang for the buck for today’s author is in social media.
Social media is mostly quick, easy and fun. It requires dedication to do it right. However if you have the determination to see a book through to publication, you have the determination down pat! I took what struck me as the best of the suggestions from google searches and tried them. While none of these have catapulted my niche non-fiction books to best seller status, I have noticed a small spike in sales when I try one of these social media marketing tips. Without further ado, I will share them with you.
Top Tip #5: Create a Blog to HQ Your Social Media Content
Create a blog to support your books. This blog can be the headquarters and central home of all your online content. My books happen to be about theme parks, so my blog is mostly about Walt Disney World. It is a very new blog with lots of room to grow. As writing is a moonlighting venture for me, it may take time to really grow the blog. That’s okay, as it gives me time to learn what I am doing as I go.
After looking at a number of options, I went with WordPress for my blog. For $18 per year, I get a very easy to use site with the domain name that I wanted. Let’s face it, I need simple. I tried other options but those didn’t click with me. WordPress does. For a good review by someone who knows a lot more about available choices than I do, check out The Best Places to Start a Blog by Greg Narayan.
As the HQ for content on the web, I want my blog to feature my other work. Let’s take photographs as the first example. WordPress makes it easy to insert photos from an URL. That makes it very easy for me to display my theme park photos uploaded on PhotoBucket in blog posts on WordPress. While most of my photos are of things in the parks, here is one I put together yesterday when I was trying to think about how my books link together.
WordPress also makes it very easy to insert web links. This is crucial, because I want it to be easy for people browsing to keep clicking to more of my content. For example, if you are a Disney World fan, my Facebook page might be of interest. Or, if you prefer watching videos, perhaps my Fort Wilderness Playlist might be worth a click.
WordPress has a number of widgets to do specialized work on your blog. My current favorite is one that runs in the background to pull over posts, including photos and videos, from other streams. I use this to pull over content that I put on my Facebook page for my books. This reinforces the idea of the blog/website being my online HQ.
Top Tip #4: youTube And Your Book
So far, I have earned almost as much with through my channel on youTube as I have from book royalties. More importantly than income, the small group of youTube subscribers on my channel are more likely to be interested in my books than the average Joe as the content overlaps. My goal is to convert at least 10% of my subscribers into purchasing readers while making it easy for casual viewers to click a link and check out my blog.
Earlier today, I read that embedding a link to a youTube video on a WordPress page was as simple as posting the URL in the page draft. Let’s give that a try here!
Top Tip #3: Use the Amazon Author Page
There are several authors that I follow on Amazon. Yet for some reason, it did not occur to me to set up my own Amazon author page when my first book was published. This page can be a tremendous resource. I went to look at some of my favorite authors to see what they did with their page. Very few are using the full potential of their pages. For bestselling writers, this does not matter. They don’t need the exposure. As an author trying to actively market my books, I do want this exposure and potential connection to readers. It is worth some time to me to add content to this page.
The first thing I did was upload a photo and a short bio to add some interest to my Amazon author page. Just yesterday, I finally figured out how to link my WordPress blog to the author page so that blow posts automatically update there. Here are Amazon’s instructions for doing this. Over time, this should be really helpful. At some point in the near future, I will make a video about writing & publishing books on Walt Disney World. Once it goes up on youTube, I will embed it on my blog and post it on the Amazon Author Page. All roads eventually lead to Rome!
Top Tip #2: Facebook and Forums – Finding Niche Groups
When Camping Disney, the Field Guild to Fort Wilderness came out, I posted that on a couple of Facebook groups focused on camping or camping at Fort Wilderness. I also shared the news in several Disney related groups around the web that permit this. This is a great way to get the word to groups most likely to be interested in the book. However, there is a watch out here. Don’t go randomly posting you have something for sale in groups. That’s a good way to get kicked out of groups. Instead, check with the group admin to see if there is a way to share the good news without breaking the no solicitation rules most of the good groups enforce.
Top Tip # 1: Email Signatures
This is the simplest, easiest tip. Add a signature line in your email that links to your author page on Amazon. Or link it to your blog or your publisher’s page on your book. Any of these will work. It is somewhat like a modern bookmark, quietly attached to the bottom of every email you send. Here are instructions for how to add an email signature for many mail services. Another variation of this is to add your link with a brief description to any web forums or groups where you are an active member. I suggest doing this selectively, as it likely works best when you already have built a reputation in a specific group.
And…..that’s it. While it takes some work on the front end, once you set these most of these up, they can keep quietly running in the background while you work on the next book, the next blog post or the next video. Or all three!
Please share your thoughts and suggestions here. I’d love to learn from you!