There are no secret formulas for promoting your book online
All you need is to have three base elements from which you can continue to build your online book promotion.
In short, these three elements are a blog, social media and effective online promotion.
With these three pillars in place, you can attract attention, increase interaction, as well as get the message out about your books, but without spending hours and hours each day being a slave to book promotion.
The key to effective book marketing online is to use your time efficiently and make each one of the three pillars work for you, and not the other way around.
Writing your next book is far, far more important than spending hours each day on Facebook or Twitter. So let’s look at how you can achieve a balance between your writing time and the time you spend encouraging people to read your book.
Step One: Use your author or book blog as your base book promotion tool
Nothing works better to sell books than having readers find your blog via Google, Bing or Yahoo search. It is by far the most powerful tool you have at your disposal, so work on making your blog even easier to find.
Here are some steps you can take to gain more search traffic.
1. Write a new blog post once a week to keep your blog fresh
Fresh content is key, as Google especially use this a ranking factor. Fresh content also helps you keep your blog readers and having them return regularly. A good tip is to publish new articles on a schedule so your blog readers learn to expect new posts.
Think about doing this on perhaps Tuesdays or Wednesdays when people have more time to read. Avoid Fridays and weekends because people are too busy.
2. Use a little SEO to get more search traffic to your blog
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is not difficult at all. Take the time to learn a few of the basics such as using keywords, adding alt tags to images and writing meaningful descriptions. You can learn these basics by reading the following easy to understand articles.
3. Update your old blog posts
Your old blog posts are a potential goldmine for marketing your book online. Instead of spending hours writing new articles, look back at your existing posts and find ones that can be refreshed, extended and updated. Don’t forget to add a little SEO that you have now learned.
You can either update the post, which Google will hopefully see and help your ranking, but your original publishing date will remain unless your blog has an updated date function.
Or, you can publish it again as a new article, which helps you with posting fresh content and saves you time on writing a whole new post.
4. Encourage comments
The easiest way to connect with your readers is to encourage comments. The best way to achieve this is to add a call to action to your posts. Even simply ending a post with a question can gain more comments and importantly, connect not only you with your potential book buyers but your commenters with each other.
This is the closest you can get online to word of mouth marketing.
5. Write Evergreen blog articles
The best way to keep your blog relevant, informative and fresh is to write Evergreen blog articles that will not date. Evergreen posts are highly suited to book marketing as they will work at promoting your books and your author brand for years to come.
Step 2: Use social media, but don’t let it use you
Social media can eat away at your time, so don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you need to invest hours each day on Facebook and Twitter.
While social media is now clearly a vital means to promote any product or service, it needs to be used with book promotion in mind, and not as a chat channel.
1. Separate your private and professional social media accounts
Never mix business and pleasure. If you are using your personal social media accounts to market and promote your books, you should really think about setting up new professional accounts.
2. Use a Facebook Page, add content, and get Likes
A Facebook Page is much more useful and productive than a personal profile, and it is by definition, a marketing page. You can add a shop and services as well as many other apps and functions that are highly promotional.
If your blog is continually refreshed, you will have plenty of new content to add to your Facebook Page. This is why your blog is your number one book marketing tool.
However, without Likes, you will have very few people going to your Facebook Page.
Gaining organic Likes is a very slow process, so I really do recommend using Facebook Ads to help get more Likes. Sure, it costs a little bit of money, but it is money well spent, as people who Like pages on Facebook rarely leave by Unliking a page.
On average, one Like will cost between $0.10 and $0.15, but you are charged for impressions and not Like clicks, so you do need to have a smart plan.
You can use a small budget of say $5.00 a day, and only run your Like promotion on days and times that work best. In my experience, Mondays and Tuesdays, in the afternoon and evening are the best days and times.
Again, Weekends and Fridays are bad days, so don’t waste your money on these days as you are likely to get very few Likes for your money.
On your Facebook Ads dashboard, you can pause your Likes campaign at any time, which helps you keep your spending in check.
Don’t rush it though. Gaining 40-50 Likes per week for around $5.00 is very good value, and inexpensive. In time you will have a Facebook Page that will be working for you with minimal effort on your part.
Add content regularly, build up your Likes and let Facebook work for you.
3. Twitter is a must, but don’t waste a lot of time
Having used Twitter since 2009, I can say I have been around the Twitter block for a long time.
My advice is to use Twitter as a means to gain traffic to your blog. (Yes, your blog keeps coming back as being your most useful and productive asset.) Share your blog posts on Twitter at regular intervals and they will bring people to your blog.
If you are really keen and have a little technical ability, there are many ways you can automate your blog to share your articles and book promotion pages to social media.
Spend at most a half an hour a day on Twitter and follow a few new users who might fit as potential readers or book buyers.
You can search by a hashtag to do this. Look for #amreading or #booklover or you can do a user search for people who might have an avid reader in their profile.
If you really want to gain traction on Twitter you will need to manage your account, and especially by using smart unfollowing. You can read this article for more information.
4. Five social media services that don’t take much effort, yet do work.
Sharing your blog posts on social media always helps, but it is not only Facebook and Twitter.
I get a lot of blog traffic from five others. Consider using the following list of social media platforms to share your blog posts and book promotion pages.
None of them needs any other interaction other than to share your content, but all of them deliver regular traffic to my blogs.
Step 3: How to promote your book by going much wider.
Your blog and social media will have limited reach, no matter how many Likes, followers, friends and subscribers you have.
When you consider what book promotion to use, always consider how far it can extend your reach. In other words, will it spread the word about your books further than your online footprint?
If the answer is yes, then it is worth considering.
1. What can you do to promote your books?
There are many ways to promote books, but the best are ones that don’t take up too much of your time. There are many ways you can promote your book in ten minutes, so before you spend a cent, try ways to go wider.
Commenting on blogs is one of the quickest and easiest, as is publishing your blog posts on Medium.
2. Look for services that can help you with book promotion.
There are many book promotion sites online, both free and paid. Your choice will depend on your budget, your books, your genre or if you are perhaps promoting free ebooks.
However, in making your choice make sure that your book or books will be promoted to an audience much larger than your own and that the service has a track record of good customer service.
You also need to decide if you want social media, on-site or email based promotion.
3. Yes, free book promotion is great, but value for money is better.
There are hundreds of free book promotion sites and services, but many of them are using book promotion, and especially free ebooks as a lure to make Amazon Associates income.
In other words, by attracting someone to click on your book, the promoter gets an Amazon cookie, that then helps the promoter gain income from what the visitor buys from Amazon over the next 24-48 hours.
Therefore, be careful when choosing a free book promotion service.
By concentrating on the three steps above, you will not only save yourself a lot of valuable time, but you will increase the effectiveness of your book promotion.
Clearly, your blog is your biggest book marketing asset, so make sure your blog is updated and up-to-date and if not, it truly is time to do a blog checkup and audit to get your blog working better for you.
Once your blog is working well, it will feed your social media and book promotion.
Keep your social media time to a minimum, but continue growing your reach and leverage with Facebook Likes and Twitter followers.
Also, use other sharing services, especially ones where you can share your book trailer and highlight your book cover.
By doing all of this, you will have a base to market your books, but you will still need to promote your books.
So yes, you might want to consider using effective book promotion that will extend your online reach and access many more potential book buyers.
Now you have all of the three bases of book marketing covered and working for you.