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Ten Steps to Online Success for the Independent Author

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Old 11-09-2008, 02:32 PM
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Default Ten Steps to Online Success for the Independent Author

Originally written by flashgordon:

10 Steps to Online Success for the Independent Author: Marketing Your Book Before and After Publication

To be a successful independent author requires a lot of hard work. Not only do you have to write, but you also have to market and promote your work. However, with the hard work comes a great reward – the ability to be a successful indie author and writer who is living the dream. One of the ways you can pursue your dream of independent author status is through the internet. How do you utilize the power and reach of the internet to market your books and/or writing? In terms of your writing, there are many different methods, and I suggest you begin here. If your looking at marketing and promoting your book online, then keep reading.

Marketing your book online is both rewarding and challenging. It’s rewarding because much of what you can do online is either free or low cost. Knowing what to do and in what order, however, can be quite a challenge. Below are ten general steps to marketing your book online that you’ll need to follow on your road to becoming a successful indie author. If your marketing and promotion efforts are haphazard, you’ll put a lot of effort into but be frustrated with the results. If you do them in the right sequence, on the other hand, your marketing efforts will yield exponential, long-term results.

Whether your book is being published through a traditional publishing house or you are self-publishing, you must take a highly active role in promoting and marketing your book. The ten steps described below are aimed at building interest and drive sales. Implement them in the order given to maximize your online marketing and promotion efforts.

Six Months Out

1. Create a website for your book

No, not an author website tacked onto the back of your publishers site. You need your own website where you can be in charge of the content, with the title of your book as your domain name.

Hire a professional copywriter to write your front page, and make sure you optimize your site for both search engines and customers. Writing is not the same as copywriting. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that, simply because you’ve just written a book, you are up to the task of writing copy for your own site.

Four Months Out

2. Set up a blog and start blogging about your book.

Now it’s time to create a blog for the specific purpose of connecting to and initiating dialogue with others about the concepts and ideas in your book. Think of your blog as an extension of and supplement to your website. At least two posts a week is ideal. Also start leaving comments on the blogs of other people whose area of interest is related to your book. When you leave a comment, be sure to include your full name, the title of your book, and a link back to your website or blog. Continue leaving comments and blogging about the content of your book for the next 18 to 36 months. (Here is an article on building links from blogs for book marketing.)

3. Start writing articles for online publications.

There are a number of places to broadcast your articles on the Internet. Write 500- to 750-word articles related to the topic of your book. Publish as many as you can before your book comes out both in what are called article directories and online magazines. For more on utilizing online magazines for marketing your book read this.

At the end of each article add an author box where you tell about yourself and your book. Add a link to your website or blog. End with a call-to-action. (For example: To read the first chapter for free, click here.) Continue writing articles aimed at your intended readers for the next 18 to 36 months.

Two Months Out

4. Set up a Virtual Book Tour on the Internet.

Prior to going on virtual tour with my book, I had no idea such an opportunity even existed. I just assumed I would be going out on a traditional book tour. Going virtual, though, was so much better!

Here’s why:
  • Watching news of your book spread from one blog site to another is exciting.
  • Seeing your book title pop up in different places all over the Internet is exhilarating.
  • Reading the comments that other people leave for you is priceless.
  • Looking at your book from another reader’s perspective gives you great insight.
  • Spending money on travel is unnecessary. The entire tour is done from the comfort of your home.
Contact bloggers who cover your book’s topic. Offer to send them a review copy of your book in exchange for a review on their blog during your virtual tour. Set the start date for your Virtual Book Tour two weeks after your book is published. Then fill it with as many virtual stops as possible.

As Soon as Your Book Comes Out

5. Let people know you are available for interviews.

There are many sources for Internet interviews and tons of people interested in interviewing you. Jack Canfield said that, when marketing Chicken Soup for the Soul, it was his goal to get five interviews a day. This is a strong marketing strategy. While you may not be up to the task of five a day, five a week will go a long way toward getting your name and book out there and talked about. Continue actively giving and seeking interviews for one full year after your book comes out.

6. Write a steady stream of press releases about your book.

Let people know anything newsworthy, including your book release date, Virtual Book Tour schedule, upcoming speaking engagements, and any awards you receive. Submit these to all the free press release wires. Also use the paid PR wires for really special events. Continue writing press releases and announcements about your book for one year.

Two Months After

7. Use social media tools and networks to promote your book.

You can go crazy using all the social media tools, so pick one or two to start. Set up your profile and get started promoting your book. The important thing is to become part of the community and to remain active. As the year progresses, add additional social media tools.

8. Enter your book in national contests.

Getting recognized by winning or being a finalist in a national contest will give your book lots of attention and exposure. Besides having one of those fancy gold stickers placed on its front cover, your book will also be placed on a national book list that is both published online and sent in print to everyone in the literary world. Enter your book in national contests the first and second year after it comes out.

Six Months After

9. Create a book trailer video.

This can be a big expense, so consider whether you want to create a video of your book yourself or hire someone else to do it for you. If you hire another company, you may lose editorial and content control but gain access to that company’s marketing network. If you do it yourself (as I did), you may have a learning curve while putting the video together, but you’ll have complete control over content and product.

Make your book trailer informational, entertaining, short (no more than three minutes) and professional. Then broadcast it everywhere! To help you do that, use Tube Mogul to send it to up to 13 different video aggregates. For the next year, make additional one-minute videos about your book and broadcast them.

Eight Months After

10. Use Google AdWords to advertise your book.

Google AdWords is Google’s own version of pay-per-click advertising. AdWords are the “sponsored links” that appear on the right side of the Google search results page. Since you, the advertiser, will pay every time someone clicks on your link, think carefully about the amount you want to pay each month for this kind of advertising.

If you know what keywords to use and what niche market you want to target, this can be very effective advertising. Registration and set-up are easy, and you can make changes to keywords at any time to maximize your success. Continue placing Google AdWords for as long as you like.

Effectively marketing and promoting your book online doesn’t have to be haphazard. There is a way to let people know your book exists, and enticing them to take action will increase the book’s visibility and sales. In order to do this, you will need to take a very active role in promoting and marketing your book. Follow these ten steps in the order given and you will be well on your way to becoming a successful independent author and writer.

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