Yeah I know adding “non fiction” to my title probably cut down my potential search traffic by 9o% but what the heck – I really do think fiction is a whole other beast. Also I am only talking about eBooks – not dead-tree books (dtBooks) – though so a lot of what I have to say is probably relevant for them too.
OK so you did some keyword research before you decided on your book’s title (you did, didn’t you?) – so if for example you don’t have a book titled “Packing Secrets of the Not So Famous” – rather you have one called “Vacation Packing List: How to save your back, time and money”. You also have a series of books planned so that you can get the most bang for your buck in terms of cross-promotion.
The Key To Promotion – Promote to Customers NOT Writers!
When I started getting into this writing a book gig I went searching I found a bunch of forums and an even bigger bunch of blogs about publishing your book – usually written by writers who had – yup self-published their book!
This all felt very, very familiar – yup its like Internet Marketing – complete with a Warrior Forum analogue! Gorgeous self-promotional signatures, heaps of experts, everyone selling to each other – yeah been there done that got the T-shirt! Of course times have moved on and there is an active Facebook group to (this one isn’t too bad) – but again its pretty much about selling to your peers.
You don’t want to sell to your peers – you want to find where people who are interested in your niche hang out.
So where do my customers hang out. Stepping back – who are my customers:
- they are holiday-makers/vacationers/travelers/tourists;
- they are probably first-timers or first time overseas visitors or first time solo travelers;
- they may be just looking for something to read about their favourite topic without actually doing anything about it – yes I do own guidebooks to places I’ve never been to or got around to going to!
- they aren’t terrified of technology (they are going to buy an ebook) – but they may not be that confident online (haven’t found that any question will find an answer if asked on the popular travel forums).
Great so this is who I’m doing to promote – pretty much its a blend of sound SEO with a bit branding thrown in without getting into the dark, dark time-sink of social networking.
Yes I do have my book in my sig link on some forums – on TRAVEL forums – not writing ones – get it?
Now this stuff I can’t do until the book is live and this is the bit which is going to be fun. Amazon listing are loved by Google – you’ll see Amazon listings at the top of Google all the time. My little book’s Amazon listing is going to be linked to from every website and hubpage that I own that have anything to do with travel or vacation. I will of course use my affiliate ID so I get the extra 4-8% commission when someone buys. I am picking that this will be enough to get my Amazon listing #1 for my main keyword – watch this space!
My book will also be published at Smashwords. This gives me access to other distribution channels (Apple, Barnes&Noble, Whitcoulls) – which I can’t get to otherwise so why not? And again it should be a listing that I can rank – though its not nearly as keyword rich -as
So with some, hmmm,
luck links, I aiming at controlling the first three listing for my favourite keywords – before it even gets hard…
Note you will get three Amazon listings: amazon.com, amazon.co.uk and amazon.de. Really though I see no reason why I can’t just send some links to the dot com version – if you land on the uk Amazon site when you are supposed to buy from the dot com Amazon will send you on to the right place.
Oh and I have done a profit-sharing deal to get a German language version of my book to, I know Germans travel a lot – and it must get tedious reading about it in a foreign language!
Building Your Online Home(s)
- Author you, or your pseudonym, needs an identified home – for many this would be your own dot com – johnsmith.com or johnsmith.me. As MY online home is already occupied and not really associated with travel – I needed a new one – which was branded for the new niche – hence http://listraveltips.com (made with my favourite theme Catalyst).
- Next your book needs a home – you may have noticed that many movies now use a domain like e.g. gonewiththewindmovie.com – well books are starting to do the same thing – so we get Vacation Packing List – Book – this isn’t a blog in the sense that it will ever get updated – its a static mini-site, developed in WordPress – which is basically an exercise in getting the person who arrives there to buy the book and linking them back to the overall “author home” site – this is a set and forget it website (all done with pages for the technically minded, and I again I use Catalyst theme because I’m too lazy to use anything else now).
- On your author website add the compulsory social media buttons – now one of the reasons I decided against yet another persona for the books is that I already have a (genuine) FB profile and an (entirely automated) twitter one . People who buy eBooks don’t necessarily read blogs – so for once I find a genuine reason to use social media.
- Decide what the aim of all this is for. My aim is to a) build a list (I can’t believe I just wrote that down LOL) and b) sell my books to my list.
- Link to your author home from both your Smashwords profile and your Amazon author’s page (which will take an RSS feed) using either your brand or your name.
Well that’s a start! One thing I’d say about the author home – you need to keep it focused on the niche – not on how to write about your niche and publish a book about it!
My Lis’s Travel Tips site won’t be getting updated at all regularly – I threw some content up – note how you can’t tell which dates the updates were posted? But really this is more like a once a month event not once a week! After all I want most of my content on SALE not being given away on my blog!