The following is not a quick fix, but it’s the only way to provide lasting results.
In the traditional world of retail, location is everything. Online, information is. Information serves the same role as location, which is to get traffic into your “store”.
Put yourself in the mindset of someone who’s looking for books like yours.
How would YOU find them? What other interests do you have that are related? What websites or blogs appeal to you? If you did research in order to write your book, where did you get your information?
You need to think about how your target market looks for information, what kinds of information they’re likely to search for, then build a site that provides it and write targeted posts centered around keywords related to your topic. Write enough to cover each topic well and don’t worry too much about length, but don’t write a book in a post; break larger topics down into manageable chunks. This will make your blog or site begin showing up in search engines.
The quality of your posts is what will keep them coming back
So write with warmth, humor, and authority. Once people are drawn to your site, you can direct them to posts that talk about the experience of writing your books, or the intricacies of characterization, or the role of first-person vs. third person perspective, or other means of introducing your work in the course of talking about something else. This is called “pre-selling your audience” and it primes their interest.
Then you can monetize your blog
By placing links to topic-related products like other people’s books in related genres, or research tools, educational opportunities and entertainment. It may seem counter-intuitive to be promoting other people’s work on your blog, but nobody online responds to a hard-sell unless they’re desperate for the product on offer, so generally speaking the hard-sell only works for non-fiction, and it’s still an inferior approach to the one I’m describing. By providing a useful service and recommendations they can trust, you build a relationship with your audience.
Provide something valuable
When you make it clear that your aim is to provide something useful and valuable to your readers, and only secondarily to make money from it, you’re in the sweet spot where they’ll trust your judgement and possibly feel a sense of gratitude, as well as intrigued about what this obviously canny individual’s paid work is like. After all if the free stuff’s this good, the stuff you’re charging for must be excellent!
That’s when they’ll click on the book cover that’s been hovering in a discreet yet prominent location throughout their browsing experience on your site. That’s when they’ll eagerly await your next book and tell their friends about any free promotions. That’s when they’ll like your Facebook page and actually pay attention to your posts on their feed.
That’s when you get a following.
Now when you supplement your efforts on your site with more traditional marketing tactics, they’ll actually work long-term instead of just providing a flash-in-the-pan boost in traffic or sales, because they’re a part of a larger vision instead of the whole show.
You can then put your efforts into stuff like building link exchanges, posting your site in directories, buying occasional Facebook or Google ads or ads from places like www.sitescout.com, because when people click on those ads and go to your site they won’t be immediately turned off by an obvious in-your-face marketing message.
You can also go to other people’s blogs and make relevant comments that include links to your own site without getting flagged as a spammer, participate in discussions on public sites and do the same, join Groups on Facebook and Google and comment with links to your site (NOT your book), tweet links to your own latest articles and other people’s work that may be of interest to your followers.
I use @bufferapp for hassle-free consistent tweeting and Facebook Fan Page posts. Sign up with this link and we both get a bonus.
We’re talking several months to a year here, and TANSTAAFL.
This was inspired by the Does anyone know of any free ways to promote yourself as an author? thread on BookBlogs.ning.com.
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