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Are you already doing basic marketing for your books, but wondering how to take it to the next level?
Last week at self-publishing conference #UpublishU, Pressbooks partner Bibliocrunch hosted a panel to help with just this dilemma. Bibliocrunch CEO Miral Sattar moderated the panel, which included Penny Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., and Sandra Beckwith, CEO of Build Book Buzz. The panelists offered next-level marketing strategies to build an author platform and promote book sales. For those who couldn’t be present in person, we recap a few of their tips for you here.
1. The last page of your book is a marketing opportunity
Sansevieri said the No. 1 thing readers want at the end of a book is to engage with the author, so don’t forget that all-important letter at the back of the book prompting readers who complete the book to review it and share it with their networks.
2. Build authority, and not just by blogging on your own website
For business book authors, Beckwith suggested repurposing blog posts as posts on LinkedIn to build authority. (Be careful to rewrite them enough so they aren’t duplicate content with your website–otherwise Google will ding your SEO.) You could also take your book and turn it into an ecourse to position yourself as an authority, Beckwith said.
3. Mind your metadata
Metadata–your keyword phrases, category and the like–are crucial to your book’s discoverability. “Amazon is more of a search engine and less of a bookstore,” Sansevieri said. But where to start? Research popular, relevant search phrases, she suggested. The first step is to plug what you think people would search for to find books like yours into the search bar on Amazon with the word “and” and see what comes up. When you find terms that generate books similar to yours, be sure to add those phrases to your book titles and description.
4. Think beyond the press release
Of course, you’ll want to send one. But if you don’t have a compelling and timely news angle, you may not get much play. Supplement the straight news release by pitching yourself to the media as an expert on your book’s topic, Beckwith suggested. Or, pitch a roundup article on a related subject. You can even pitch your book around certain holidays (National Day of the…) if they’re relevant, added Sattar.
5. Leverage free giveaways and promotions
While the word free may be frightening to some authors, Sansevieri said free book giveaways are a worthwhile promotional device to build your email list and drive readers to your other books. “We live in a culture that demands free…demands sampling,” Sansevieri said. “If free isn’t working for you, you need to rethink how you’re doing it.”
You can also send non-book freebies to your superfans (those who are likely to tell 10 people about your book). Think swag bags, character trading cards or other goodies.