How do you find readers for your self-published ebook?
If you simply upload your ebook to Amazon and wait for sales to flood in, you'll be sorely disappointed. It could be weeks before you make your first sale.
To sell your ebook, you must tell people about your book.
Twenty years ago, marketing books was a job left to publishers. Authors wrote books, publishers did the editing, printing, distribution and marketing. Today, in the age of self-publishing, you're responsible for your own marketing.
The good news is that with the advent of social media marketing is far easier and cheaper than it used to be. The most effective marketing tool of the 21st century - social media - is completely free and available to everyone.
Yet when it comes to social media, it's easy to get it wrong. I see so many authors using outdated interruption marketing on Twitter. "Come check out my new book!" they shout. Only when they check their sales do they realize nobody's listening.
In this tutorial, I'll show you the right way to market on social media. It's about building relationships, it's about listening, and it's about being a fun person to be around. I'll assume a basic knowledge of social media. If you're starting from scratch, you can check out the FreelanceSwitch sessions on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.
A word of encouragement before we begin. As a business owner, you're at an advantage over most self-published authors. If you're marketing your business effectively, chances are you already have a presence on social media, and you will have attracted exactly the kind of followers who want to read your book.
To complete this tutorial, you will need:
- An ebook published to Amazon (Many of the strategies can be used for ebooks published elsewhere);
- Twitter and Facebook accounts;
- Optional: LinkedIn and Pinterest accounts.
1. Make Your Book Social Media Friendly
The most effective way of promoting your book is largely out of your hands. If your marketing goes well, it will be your readers who are talking about you and your book. When other people share your book with their friends, they're doing your marketing for you, and that's far more effective than you talking about your book.
That said, to get people talking, you must lay the right foundations. These start with your book.
Step 1: Promote Your Social Media Accounts
In your ebook include links to your website and social media accounts. Encourage readers to like your book on Facebook and follow you on Twitter. That way, you can build a direct relationship with your fans. The more you interact with your fans, the more they'll be inclined to promote your book.
Encourage readers to like your book on Facebook and follow you on Twitter. That way, you can build a direct relationship with your fans.
I recommend including your social media details together with your author bio at the end of your book.
Step 2: Ask Your Readers to Spread the Word
Immediately when a reader finishes any Amazon ebook, they're asked if they want to share what they've read on social media. This request is automatic, as it's built into Kindle. Because of this automatic request, it's a good idea to point out the sharing options to readers in your book, preferably on the final page.
Simply request that if readers enjoyed the book, could they share it with their social media friends? Explain that they'll be given the option to do this when they turn the page.
2. Get Tweeting!
Twitter is the marketing platform of choice for many self-published authors, mainly because it's a lot of fun.
Here are our top tips for giving your book a healthy dose of Twitter marketing magic.
Step 1: Host a Twitter Launch Party
Launch parties are an old favorite of the publishing industry, and that's because they're perfect for giving books a promotional kick start.
With Twitter, there's no need to hire a venue, arrange catering, or fret about what you'll wear. Instead, all you need is to invite your followers to hang out at a particular time for the Twitter party, set up a hashtag for the event, and give people a reason to come along. A Q&A session is ideal, as it gives people a reason to turn up and it provides ample opportunity to tweet teasers of content from your book.
Talking of tweeting teasers…
Step 2: Tweet Snippets
An easy way to promote your book while providing value is to tweet short quotes from your book.
I've already touched on this, but I'll say it again, because it's so important. The biggest mistake authors make on social media is Tweeting (or posting) "Buy my book!". The only thing you'll achieve with that Tweet is getting your followers to click Unfollow.
Everything you share on Twitter should be valuable to your followers, whether that's making them laugh, making them think, or providing useful information.
An easy way to promote your book while providing value is to tweet short quotes from your book.
When you tweet quotes, remember to include hashtags. Did I say hashtags…?
Step 3: Use Hashtags
Twitter's power lies in its ability to reach a vast audience. If you get retweeted, your message can spread far and wide. Another way to reach a bigger audience is through hashtags. If you're a Twitter veteran, you'll know the hashtags of your industry. Include these in the tweets where you promote your book.
Step 4: Monitor the Conversation
Set up a Twitter search for your book title, and for words related to the topic of your book.
Whenever anyone tweets about your book, follow them and drop them a thank you message. They'll be delighted the author noticed them, and become an even bigger fan.
As for your keyword search, use it to join the conversation. The more you engage in discussion, the quicker your follower count will grow, and the more potential readers you'll have.
Step 5: Just Hang Out
This is the most important step of all. Twitter is meant to be fun, so have fun! Be an enjoyable person to hang out with. Plunge into the conversation, answer questions, ask questions, and be a good listener. You don't need to devote your life to Twitter, but the more you can give, the more you'll get out of it.
As people get to know you, they'll want to know more, and your book gives them that option.
Step 6: Put Your Book in Your Twitter Bio
If you insist on mentioning your book on Twitter, include it in your bio. That way, people who like what you say and check out your profile will discover you have a book.
3. Spread the Word on Facebook
The world's biggest social network and most popular website, no author can ignore Facebook for promoting their book.
Here are our Facebook tips (aside from hashtags, all our Twitter tips can be used on Facebook too).
Step 1: Make a Page for Your Book
If you're serious about giving your book the best shot possible on Facebook, create a Page just for your book. Sure, it means another page to manage, but much of what you post to your business page can also be posted to your book page.
Why create a book page, especially when it has the potential to split your audience? Two reasons:
- First, a book has more potential to go viral than a business. If your book does generate lots of buzz, your book page will become a hive of activity.
- Second, because if anyone adds your book to their list of favorite books on Facebook, they'll automatically like your book page. Win!
Step 2: Host a Contest
Talking of winning, everyone loves a chance to win. Giving away your book as a prize gets people interested and talking about your book.
Remember, if you're giving away your book as a prize in a contest, you can't at the same time have it enrolled in Amazon's KDP Select.
3. Embrace the Niche Networks
LinkedIn is for professionals while Pinterest is 80% female. Both can provide a forum to promote your book. Also, look out for other niche networks relevant to your book's topic.
Promote Your eBook on LinkedIn
Bustling with busy professionals, LinkedIn provides fertile pastures for a business book author.
On LinkedIn, you can:
- Add a publications section to your profile, then add your book to this section.
- Create a readers' discussion group for your book.
- Name your book as part of your LinkedIn summary, so anyone checking out your profile can see you're an expert in your field.
- Post quotes from your book in your LinkedIn updates.
Promote Your eBook on Pinterest
With its focus on pictures, using Pinterest as an author can feel like you're going out of your comfort zone. However, that needn't be so, and there's plenty of visual marketing you can do on a budget. Such as:
- Create a board of books you used for research and inspiration.
- Put together an inspiration board of images that inspire your creativity and writing.
- If your book is graphic rich, you can create a board of images from your book.
- Hire a designer to create an infographic summarising your book (or create one yourself using a free tool such as infogram), and share it on your blog and on Pinterest.
- Put snippets from your book on top of stunning images, and create a board from these.
There are niche social networks online for pretty much everyone, from pet lovers, to moms, to movie buffs, to crafters, to lawyers.
Use Google to find niche networks and forums in the same niche as your book, and join them. Again, avoid shouting about your book. Be helpful, and mention your book when it comes up in conversation.
Best of luck as you reach out to sell your book! It's a great feeling to get your first paying reader.
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