Using long-term book promotion strategies can generate much more exposure for you as an author and your books.
Social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are the go-to platforms for self-published authors trying to promote their books.
But tweets and social shares are very short-term options.
A better solution is to use promotion tools that work much longer and with less effort.
Social media is hard work
I see streams and streams of tweets and Facebook posts every day by authors.
They are either plugging their books directly or posting regular writing updates.
Sometimes, it is often only posting trivia to keep attracting attention.
It can be helpful to some degree.
But it takes an awful lot of time and effort to keep posting day in and day out.
In effect, it is a 24/7 undertaking to maintain a regular flow of self-promotion.
Even with the aid of some automation, it is still hard work.
You need to schedule and calculate the peak times of the day or which days of the week work better.
Then you need to decide which posts perform better and enter them into a scheduling or auto-posting program.
Of course, you can’t automate monitoring and your replies to posts and messages. So there goes a lot more of your writing and free time.
Social media book promotion has a very short active life
The other problem with social media is that it is all so very instant.
Once a Tweet, Facebook, or Instagram post has dropped off the bottom of a user’s stream, it is dead, gone, and forgotten.
Here are four recent examples of my own Twitter and Facebook posts, and they illustrate how they can attract attention.
But they are so short-lived that they need to be re-posted repeatedly to keep attracting shares, re-tweets, Likes, and clicks.
Look at the graph in the image below, and see how the attention peaks immediately at the time of posting and then quickly fades to nothing over 24 hours.
Also, look at how many impressions there are for each post, yet how few user actions there are. Another useful statistic from these examples is that image posts definitely gain more user actions than text.
Social media is a very good short-term method of attracting attention and is well-suited for a book launch. But you lose the benefit of a post very quickly.
Search engine listings of your books are the long game
A far more effective, long-term book promotion approach is to use old-fashioned web search via Google, Bing, Yahoo, and others.
Yes, it takes longer for search engines to list and index your posts, and you need to write and post compelling content.
But once your content is listed, there is nothing more you need to do. Your posts will be working for you for years, 24/7.
On top of that, your page views to click rates will be much higher than what you can achieve from social media.
All you need to do is make sure that your book buy links or book cover widgets are in your sidebar.
You could perhaps put them in the header or menu of your blog.
Both ways make sure your books appear on every page of your blog.
If you are promoting a free book, add it prominently for your campaign period.
Your well-written and informative blog content is what is known as ‘hook bait.’ Yes, it’s an awful expression.
But it is right in that you entice your visitor to your content via their search phrase.
You can expect that some will click on your book buy links and go to your sales page.
It’s the same aim as social media. But with no effort at all on your part once Google indexes your content.
Write more blog posts
The most effective content is, of course, well-written and informative blog posts.
Every post you write increases your search discoverability.
The images below show how attracting visitors via search is far more effective than Twitter or Facebook.
The first image is the search result for an individual blog post over 60 days. This particular blog post is now over four years old.
Imagine how many people have read it since I originally posted it.
The key numbers are that 1,215 people read this post over the 60 days, and the average time on the page was around a minute.
One minute is plenty of time for a visitor to read the content, discover that I’m an author, and have Kindle books available online.
The two images below are overviews of different views of two of my blogs for the last 30-day period.
In the first image, the key numbers are 3 page views per visit and 57% new visitors.
It also has a low bounce rate, which means that only 18% of visitors left after viewing only one page for less than 30 seconds.
The second image shows an even better engagement rate.
This blog averages nearly 4 page views per visit and an even lower bounce rate of 13%.
What search is not good for is attracting visitors to static websites.
In my case, my website consists of only a handful of pages that are rarely updated.
Because it is purely about me, it is not very likely that people will enter search phrases that will find my site, as the image below of visits over 30 days illustrates.
Social media would probably be a better means if I wanted to promote my site.
Although, quite honestly, static websites have minimal appeal to people now.
Long-term book promotion works
From the few examples I have included in this article, it is easy to understand why search is powerful in attracting traffic continuously over a long period.
Yes, waiting for search engines to list and index your blog posts takes a little time and patience.
And there is a learning curve involved, particularly if you decide to learn more about SEO (search engine optimization) for your blog posts.
But once you do the work, you don’t need to lift a finger to get traffic and attention.
In my mind, this is a much better means of selling books than living on Twitter and Facebook 24/7.
If you don’t want to set up and maintain your own blog, another way of achieving search listings is to guest post on other people’s blogs.
Contact book bloggers to see who may be interested in either doing an author interview with you or a book review.
You could also contact book and publishing-related bloggers to see if they accept guest posts.
Does long-term book promotion sell books?
All I can say is that this month is historically one of the quietest in the year for book sales for me. But my sales have still been steady and regular.
So I would say yes, and they probably came via my indexed pages that have been listed for ages rather than from posts or tweets on social media.
Of course, some may well have come from them.
But I have never noticed a sales spike due to my increased social media activity. Don’t worry; I have tried.
Social media is just one ingredient in the mix. But it may not be as crucial as you think in helping you sell books.
However, it can be a very productive tool to get blog traffic to a new blog post while waiting for Google to index it.
My belief is that indexed pages are my investment account to ensure my future book sales.
What I have written in this article may not be indexed fully for a couple of months.
But in five years, it will still be available in Search engines.
The longevity of search is the big winner over social media.
As a last note, I have to say that social media, used well, can have an instant and positive effect on book sales.
But this is generally only for the short term, as user interest wanes if a campaign lasts too long and becomes repetitive.
You limit your book promotion because only the number of followers, friends, or Likes you have can see your posts.
This is why blog posts and organic search are far more effective for long-term book promotion.
It is a means to continually attract new visitors and potential buyers for years and by an unlimited number of people.
Self-publishing ensures that your books will always be available and need never go out of print.
By spending the time now gaining search engine listings, you will be investing very wisely in your future book sales.
Your blog is one of the best book and author promotion tools you can have.
Related reading: Promote Your Book With Images For Google Image Search