The Fundamentals of Book Marketing

Your book has been released and you can search for it on Amazon. It’s a good feeling. All of that hard work and there it is, for everyone to see. But are there many seeing it?
At Sunbury Press, your book is available Internationally to bookstores and online. But just like we discussed last month, that is like a drop in a vast ocean of books people have to choose from. So how are they going to find yours?
If you’ve done your homework from last month, you have been researching small pools to wade into; pools that align with the subject matter of your book. But you have to capture and communicate with those new fans.
You’ll need an author website. If you are only ever going to write one book, you can make the site entirely about your book and its subject matter. However, if you intend to write and publish more books, then your site should be about you and the URL should be your name in some form or other. Domains are not expensive, and it is the beginning of your author brand, so I encourage you to get one.
If you are a new author, or if you just don’t want to spend a lot of time and money on a website, I suggest two free options: Weebly.com and Wix.com. You can purchase domains through them as well. They both allow you to create a very nice-looking site, even if you have very little technical ability. If it still seems overwhelming, find someone who can help you through it. Both of these sites allow you to pick a theme, drag and drop images, and tailor it to meet your needs. At a minimum, you should have a homepage, a page dedicated to your book, and a contact page. We’ll talk about other pages in the future like media and social share pages.
On both of these free site options, you can create a contact form to go on your contact page. This allows visitors to “talk back” to you, making communication two-way. You want to create relationships with your subscribers in order for them to become fans. It takes time to respond, but it’s worth it.
On your website, you will also need a newsletter signup form. This is separate than the contact form and very important! I recommend you use a professional email marketing service instead of the newsletter form on the website builder. Two services that are fairly easy: MailChimp and iContact. The first 1-2000 subscribers are free, and you can create a form and put it on each page of your site. To get visitors to your site to sign up, you can give away free incentives. Usually, authors give away a free chapter from their latest book. To get to that 1000 fans, you have to get many more subscribers. That makes this part of your plan very important. Again, if you are intimidated by this, get help. Don’t skip this step.
Another way to get subscribers is through social media. If you are not on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. I recommend you start. Each of these are different and will provide another audience for you to find subscribers and hopefully fans. We’ll be discussing them more in future posts. For now, get signed up and start talking about your book. Remember, don’t just try to announce and sell. Tap into the reasons you wrote the book and don’t forget you’re an expert.
Hopefully, you have also setup your author page on Amazon.com and on Goodreads.com. These are dedicated to books and authors and you can’t dismiss them if you are serious about selling books. Neither can be set up until your book is available, but as soon as it is, get those up and running. (Instructions: http://sunburypress.com/amazon-central-and-goodreads/)
This is a top-level, crash course in creating your online presence. To extend your presence into your local community, many authors have printed materials made for their local bookstores and launch parties. Printed material can be expensive, so think ahead. Be sure you have put your website on each poster, bookmark, and business card. You’d be surprised how many authors just put the cover of their book without this easy reference to find the author. Make finding you as easy as you can. Be sure your website is also in your bio. This means it will be on everywhere you are asked for your bio – online and off – including in your next book!
Next month, we’ll step back out of the nitty-gritty details and discuss your brand presence and how to talk about yourself and your book. Many authors, especially novelists are introverts and don’t want to think of themselves in this way. But, if we can get you armed with a script and a few talking points, you are going to feel better about it. Because in reality, you are the best seller of your book and without you, your book will get lost in at sea.