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Writer's Digest: 2013 Best Writing Websites (2013)

  • By Victoria Mixon

    It’s Penn Week at A. Victoria Mixon, Editor, with Joanna Penn from TheCreativePenn: Adventures in Writing, Publishing and Book Marketing, one of the Top 10 Blogs for Writers. Joanna is the author and self-marketer of her self-published thriller, Pentacost.

    GUEST POST BY JOANNA PENN

    Writing and publishing your book is just one part of the author journey. Once it’s out there in the world you need readers, and whether you are traditionally published or independent you can benefit from knowing the basics of online marketing.

    1) Create your online home

    You may have a book sales page on your publisher’s site or Amazon, but the best place to start marketing is your own home on the web. A static website is a good start—a blog is even better, as you can easily customize it to fit your personality. Decide on a theme that suits your subject matter and genre.

    The first thing to add is a link to buy your book. Use a ‘Buy the Book’ page so readers can easily buy from all online sites or use Amazon embed code to put a widget on your sidebar. Make it perfectly clear how to buy and also how to connect with you.

    2) Produce regular quality content

    Search engines love updated, keyword-rich sites, and the best way to get regular attention is through blogging. The most important aspects are first choosing your niche carefully, then being consistent, useful and interesting in your articles. When you provide value, readers develop the habit of coming to your site to learn and enjoy. This is the core principle of content marketing.

    3) Go where the market is

    You can’t just stay on your own site if you want to attract attention to your book sales page. You need to find your readers. Research other blogs in your niche and offer them guest posts. Check out Goodreads and Shelfari and join in reviews and conversations on other books in your genre. Readers will click through to see your page soon enough.

    Submit your book for review to many of the book review blogs within your niche. They can be a bit hard to find, but a simple Google search for “book review” and your genre works—nothing high-tech. Personally, I host Mystery Thriller, reviews of thrillers and mystery novels. Research review sites well, and make sure your book fits their standards. There’s no point sending horror to a romance review blog!

    You may even consider paid advertising on a monetized review site like Kindle Nation, if you have a budget for marketing. I target Kindle-specific websites for my novel, Pentacost, as well as giving my blog readers free copies in exchange for reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, where book buyers are.

    4) Develop relationships

    This takes time but is incredibly rewarding. Use your blog to promote other authors and blogs within your niche. Comment on others’ sites and join discussions, connecting on social networks. Once you have made an initial connection, you can email and suggest a mutually-beneficial article exchange or review of each others’ books.

    There is an etiquette around these types of online relationships, so make sure you start developing them well in advance of your book promotion. The relationship is not all about the marketing. Make it a real connection.

    5) Be sociable

    Social networking sites are a huge source of attention for book sales pages, as readers recommend books to friends, sharing reviews and author interviews. Join at least one of the sites, like Facebook or Twitter, so you can engage with other writers and readers. Focus your time on joining conversations and providing useful and entertaining resources readers can pass on.

    Along with search engines, social media is one of the best ways to gain attention, especially as even Google is now tweaking rankings to include realtime updates.

    6) Be seen

    Video is a hugely under-utilized marketing resource for authors, who are often shy and not tech-savvy. When you embrace video, you have the chance to stand out from the crowd.

    Video search is growing, as bandwidth and mobile devices improve. Google, which owns YouTube, is currently investing in voice-recognition tools to improve the search engine capability of video. Well-done book trailers are a great means of attracting attention, as are video interviews and video blogs. You can buy a Flip camera cheaply or just use your webcam to get started.

    Humans communicate through body language, and you can tell a lot about someone from a few seconds of watching them talk. Readers are more likely to buy from people they know, like and trust, especially if they listen to your voice for 30 minutes a week and hear you laugh or read your book aloud.

    7) Be heard

    Millions listen to audio programs on their commute, while exercising or during household chores. It’s a great way to be educated or entertained. Produce a podcast of your book or as an interview series, starting with a short teaser to be used in other podcast shows between segments. The software is free and easy to use, and you can submit your podcast to iTunes to reach a bigger audience. You can also submit your podcast novel to PodioBooks.com. Podcast novelists like JC Hutchins, Scott Sigler and Philippa Ballantine have gone on to print publishing success after gaining audio audiences for their books.

    Even when you choose only a couple of these methods for marketing, you put yourself ahead in the game. There are millions of books for sale. How will yours stand out?

    Joanna Penn is the author of Pentecost, a thriller out now on Amazon.com. She can be reached through her blog, TheCreativePenn: Adventures in Writing, Publishing and Book Marketing and Twitter.

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    11 Comments

11 Responses to “7 Ways to Attract Attention to Your Book Sales Page”

  1. Another great post! (You’re a busy gal this week!) I particularly like #5. The whole point of social networks is the social aspect, but it’s so easy to forget that in our mad rush to promote ourselves and our work.

  2. Joanna,

    What a good overview here. For me, in my online marketing journey, the developing relationships (#4) has been key. I learned that it is incredibly important to gain the following and support BEFORE you need it. Because, frankly, who wants a bunch of one-sided, broadcast sales messages—online or off? Do any of us even pay attention to them?

    Very helpful information here. Thanks!

  3. I’m surprised more big dogs in the copywriting field don’t do more video, especially since software makes it easier than ever today. And techniques like the “ugly duckling” technique make broadcasting your message with video super simple. (And example of this technique is here: http://thewpmechanic.com/take-the-tour.html ) All you do is take your blog post or sales page text, put it into PowerPoint slides, record your script using Audacity, import your script into PowerPoint ,and record the presentation while recording it with Camtasia Studio.

    Regards,
    Shane

    ps. Book authors should use this method on their sales page. Some people are visual learners and they’d rather see and listen to a video about the book instead.

  4. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Lisa Cron and April Smith Aragam, sillystoryideas. sillystoryideas said: 7 Ways to Attract Attention to Your Book Sales Page: It’s Penn Week at A. Victoria Mixon, Editor, with Joanna Pe… http://bit.ly/g6jR2N [...]

  5. Thanks for having me Victoria!

    @kmweiland – yes, we are all busy ladies :) I’m so glad we have this social network as authors though – it’s so supportive.

    @Judy – building those relationships prior to launch is critical and best to be giving before you ask for anything too – I agree!

    @Shane – I think we’ll see changes in the use of video in the next few years as it becomes more popular. Authors and writers are more comfortable with words, but it will change as search moves more to video. Thanks.

  6. You’re very welcome, Joanna!

  7. Hey, thanks for all the information, Shane! I know Joanna’s right, and I have been talking about doing video for, oh, just about a year now. But my pesky life keeps interfering.

  8. Victoria,

    If you had a landing page with some sales copy for your book, I could throw something together for you to demonstrate the ugly duckling video technique. The process is real neat. I go to the person’s website, grab the color codes and logo to create a PowerPoint background that matches the site. I copy and paste the landing page text, and the author sends me the .wav file of them reading the text. Record the presentation. Voila. They now have a video to go with the text on their sales page.

  9. I’ll email you, Shane.

  10. Great advice. A bit dumbfounding to the beginner, but what other way is there to get out there than to jump in and hope you can swim. My memoir, The Last Resort, comes out in June. I’d better hit the water soon.

  11. Hi Norma, all these things are a little overwhelming at first, but just take the first step with something, develop that and then move onto the next thing. You’ll find your way!



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