I asked authors and writers in online groups what industry expertise they needed to sustain their publishing career. By far the responses related to marketing and the inability to really know if advertising efforts are leading to increased exposure and book sales. That made me look for information to share with the independent publishing community. I admit it is an undertaking to understand how different platforms capture and present content and how to ensure your books are found. It involves a learning curve that varies based on the platform. I found the Marketing Insights Series on Ingram Blog. A great article series which outlines a three part strategy.
After you appeal to the imagination and desires of your audience, you must learn their purchasing preferences and strategically position information about you and your books in those virtual spaces for them to see and purchase. Learning and applying technical back-end website information can be a daunting experience when you’re most comfortable creating characters, stories and sharing information. I understand. Establishing a sustainable career as an author and creating a successful business model for marketing your published works requires that you enter the world of algorithms, metadata, website presence and social media engagement. Sorry, we cannot bypass this critical area on the path to independent publishing success. Book Marketing in the Era of Algorithms is a resource independent authors should not be without. It is a great primer to introduce the non-technical author to this world of data management that can make a significant difference in the traffic to your website and growth in book sales.
1. Build Your Foundation with relevant author and book data. Own your traffic by having an author website containing quality content about you and your book. The data you list will be available to retailers and key for your discovery so it should be detailed. The Ingram Blog article advises focus on book metadata, book and author profiles and publisher and author websites. Make use of any author pages on platforms where your book is available for sale.
2. Develop Your Audience by understanding them, where they are virtually hanging out and what they search for and what they purchase. Spark strategic conversations with them that lead to relationship and them developing an affinity for you and your published work. The key to developing an audience is research of readers’ behavior. A recommended research tool is Soovle, a search tool that searches across major search engines. Another tool that allows you to compare detailed data of similar books to yours in is LibraryThing.
3. Expanding Your Reach by participating in key events and activities to make you books available to more readers. One strategy is to create a strong newsletter that is relevant. Make connections with your content to current events and seasons. Use compelling social media graphics. Canva is a great tool with more than 1.5 million premium images. Canva offers a free version of the app as well that allows you to upload quality graphics directly to your social media pages to promote your book. Share reader reviews with social media graphics and solicit trade reviews by recognized authoritative channels like Publishes Weekly, Foreword Reviews, Booklist and Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal and Library Journal. BookExpo is a leading trade event in publishing. It is an opportunity for you as an author to place yourself in traffic with perhaps the largest audience of publishing service providers, distribution channels as well as independent booksellers looking for titles. The 2019 Book Expo is May 29-31, 2019 at the Javits Center in NYC.
In coming articles we’ll take a deep dive into some of the tools noted to better understand how they can benefit your book marketing efforts.
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