Today’s guest post comes from Hope Clark, founder of Funds For Writers and author of the mystery Lowcountry Bribe. Hope’s previous post “Should I Just Do an Ebook?” resonated with many readers and I am very pleased to welcome her back today.
So many fresh-faced writers dream of having their books on Amazon. The thought of a complete book, gorgeous cover, and a storefront on Amazon.com is a dream come true. However, they soon learn that Amazon is no more than a link to a store. And if that store is the main online location for an author and his book, then alas, sales will flounder.
Some naïve, unsuccessful writers may wonder if Amazon is pocketing sales, and not sending the royalty checks, but the truth is Amazon is so huge, that a book cannot be located for purchase without serious nudging and promotion by the author. What’s more important is that you have a landing site for readers to find you, find your wares, and realize you are worth reading.
Let’s say a bookstore opens shop in a strip mall in an average part of town. Not a run down section, mind you, but nothing with high traffic, either. The owner works hard to stock it, set up great posters, and order comfy chairs for readers he hopes will find his store a home away from home. Opening day arrives. Nobody shows up. Second day, one person happens to stumble in. After a week, the owner has made ten sales. He’s frustrated, wanting to blame the economy, the industry, anything but the fact he forgot to advertise, promote, spread the word, and establish an online presence. How do you sell without letting sellers know where you are, who you are, and what the heck you represent?
You need a website or blog to act as your home base. There readers can learn about your book, your history, your expertise, and where your book is located for purchase. One stop shop. If you want to take it further, and attempt to drive more people to your site, Amazon, and other book vendors, then you list on your site where you manage your blog, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Pinterest, Goodreads, and so on. No, you don’t have to do them all; however, you have to do more than throw a book up on Amazon. All your activity is online, at your fingertips. The days of selling from the trunk of your car, and making a serious go of this bookselling gig, are about over.
But your online footprint isn’t just about your book . . . it’s about the reader’s experience. Blog, social network and website all matter, because today’s reader is savvy enough to study the book, the author, and the story behind it before ordering it. The Amazon Buy Now button is the last button they’ll visit, once they’ve learned enough to trust you and what you represent. They’re seeking reasons to invest in your book. Your job is to capture their interest, and prove your worth.
When I speak at conferences, I find that the majority of attendees are scared to death that: 1) they don’t have an online voice, 2) they don’t have the technical skills, and 3) they don’t have the time to manage an online presence. Truth is, a decade ago, they would have drooled over such opportunity to reach so many readers with so little effort, without leaving home.
Let’s cover how you get started:
- Complete your Author Central Profile at Amazon and include your website, blog and any other social media.
- Post on your blog, weekly or more.
- Post comments on other blogs where potential readers can be found.
- Offer to guest post on other blogs, again, where you can find readers.
- Tweet at least twice a day, during the beginning and the end of the average workday, when traffic is at its peak.
- Anything else is extra, as you feel comfortable and find time. Of course, the more you do, the more people see you.
Dare to be quirky, using the very voice that makes your book good. Don’t sell. Converse in a refreshing way. Start with the basics like Blogger.com or Twitter and get your feet wet in social media. Set 25 percent of your writing time for self-promotion.
Amazon is a game-changer when it comes to selling books. As a result, everybody puts his book on it. You, however, know how to be more savvy, so that customers realize you are an author who has it together, with an aim to please readers. And you did it all in about fifteen minutes a day while remaining true to your writing.
C. Hope Clark is editor of FundsforWriters.com, chosen by Writer’s Digest for its 101 Best Websites for Writers for the past twelve years. She is also author of The Carolina Slade Mystery Series with Lowcountry Bribe being the debut release from Bell Bridge Books. Find Hope at the following online locales: Author Site – Blog – Twitter – Facebook – About.Me
Goodreads – Pinterest