How to sell your book online
By Tori L. Ridgewood
The challenge of selling your book online is finding great ways to make your work stand out in the crowd. When you’re building the brand and generating buzz, your goal is to reach a tipping point where exponentially greater numbers of people are not only buying the book, they’re talking about it, too. Book talk through social media can make the book go viral, especially if a taste-maker like a talk show host gets hold of it.
But how do you generate enough buzz to attract the attention of a taste-maker? What helps people to talk about your book, to want to buy it, and recommend it others?
1. Giveaways. Readers love them, of course -- who doesn't like to get freebies? Many writers offer free e-books or signed prints, promotional swag such as bookmarks, magnets, pens, t-shirts, and mugs, and other items in return for spreading the word about their novel. Someone who’s won your book will tell his or her friends about it, especially if the swag looks good. And setting up a giveaway is much easier than it used to be, thanks to user-friendly services like Rafflecopter.
2. Develop your brand so it looks good on promotional items -- create a memorable logo and tagline that represents who you are as a writer. Again, there are free services available to help you do this, like the software on VistaPrint.com, although you may have to spend a little to save your final design as a high quality file.
3. Update your blog or website regularly! Provide excerpts to invite reader interest. Provide artwork that connects to your writing, created by yourself, commissioned, or relating to your genre, theme, or topic. Post your writing playlist. The more you share about your book’s concept, your process, and the book itself, the more people will be interested in reading it.
4. Contact bloggers and book review sites! Every blog has a pool of readers from which you can draw interest. You may want or need to hire a publicist to help you do this if you are already working a day job, but I know of dedicated writers who make it their goal to contact one blogger or reviewer every day for a month. The more people you tell about your book, the more people they will tell in turn.
5. Provide specific buy links when you are doing guest posts, so that an interested reader only needs to click once to be taken directly to the ordering page. You’re essentially in business for yourself when you are selling your book online -- make it easy for the purchase to happen.
6. Use social media -- talk about your book on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Shelfari, Manic Readers, etc. Whenever someone posts a comment on your work, tweet it! Provide quotes, both from reviewers and the book. Use your tagline. Be persistent, tweeting or commenting at least once a week.
7. Party online! I know my first experience of setting up a release party on Facebook was a bit daunting, but I followed the examples of others who’d done so successfully, and my learning curve was steep. Online parties can take place over the course of one evening, or be as long as a month. Invitations go out via social media, paper-free, and attendees are able to pop in and out of the event at their leisure. There are terrific, easy game ideas floating around cyberspace to make the events more than Q&A sessions: you can have your virtual guests participate in caption contests, trivia, word games, and scavenger hunts. Similarly, you can set up blog chat events at sites with impressive readership, like Coffee Time Romance. When paired with giveaways, online parties can go a long way toward generating sales.
8. Make your communication memorable, too. If you’re going to do a giveaway, take a picture of the gift and make it look appealing. Add your tagline and buy links for your title(s) to your email signature, and use one or two colours in the font that are easy on the eyes but connect to your book’s cover or theme. Use a flattering, professional headshot on your profile pages. All of these details add to your image as a serious writer -- readers like buying from serious writers. Announce winners of contests quickly, and respond within 24 hours whenever possible. Give your communication a personal touch that your audience will want to tell others about -- for example, when I send a thank-you card to a reviewer or party guest who has won a prize, it not only has a picture of the book cover on it, I also close the envelope with a wax seal. My snail-mail complements my email in being a little different than the rest.
9. Take care of yourself. Selling a book online can be exhausting. A three-month promotional tour is highly involved, taking time away from everyday tasks, family, and leisure activities. There will be days when you just want to throw the computer out the window, forget the whole thing, and just move on with your life. Take breaks, eat properly, get rest, go for walks -- selling a book is a job just like anything else, and therefore you have to take time away from it to refresh your outlook and renew your motivation. Balance your promotional efforts with time on your next work. One of the most frustrating things for a writer selling his/her book online is feeling a lack of time for the current WIP.
What other tips have you heard about selling your book on the Internet?
Thanks so much for having me on Book Flame!
About Wind and Shadow : Book One of The Talbot Trilogy
Rayvin Woods, photographer and natural witch. She just wanted to start her life over again after a series of misadventures. She didn't count on rekindling a lost love when she came home to Talbot...or battling a malevolent vampire and his coven for her life.
Grant Michaels, police officer. He thought Rayvin was a murderer. He will do whatever it takes to protect the community he loves from danger...but will he learn to trust his heart, and the word of a witch, before it's too late?
Malcolm de Sade, cunning vampire, imprisoned underground for a year by Charlotte Fanning and Pike Mahonen ("Mist and Midnight", Midnight Thirsts). His accidental release unleashes his hunger and ambition on a small, sleepy town…
Facing the past can be a nightmare. It's worse when a vampire is stalking you.
One lucky winner will win their choice of ebook or paperback copy of Wind and Shadow
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