I recently spoke to a group of fellow struggling authors and just adapted my notes to respond to a friends question about how to market his forthcoming book. Here is a summary of my notes:
Overall Strategy: Focus on Amazon, blogging and social networking.
1. Reviews – find 2-3 mid-level authors in your genre and ask them for reviews. Also find on local TV or radio people who have book or culture shows. Their names might not be recognizable, but their station is. These are future blurbs and important.
Find 10 people who will enjoy reading your book (not with your family name) and give them copies asking them to write on Amazon. Also once the book is up, you will hear from people who enjoyed it – ask them to review on Amazon. If you have trouble finding people, Amazon has a reviewer’s program – this doesn’t guarantee a good review, but guarantees that someone will read and post.
2. Get hold of The Author’s Guide to Building an Online Platform – Stephanie Chandler. Main thrust – a website and blog. Check out my website – I researched about 20 author websites before deciding on the website’s structure.
3. Online Forums: Have a signature (see mine at bottom of post – with link to Amazon pages). Participate in online forums and every time you post, add your signature at bottom. Don’t plug your book in the text, it is annoying and turns people off, but if you write an intelligent comment in a post, people will check you out. I have made a mistake of participating in too many forums for writers – my new publisher is pushing me to focus on groups that are relevant to the theme of my book – political activism for me).
4. Blog – this is very effective and requires more than a blog post to discuss it. I know an author, Lloyd Lofthouse, who has a specific and exhausting strategy and is succeeding to sell his e-books through his blog.
5. Kindle – yes you should have your book in e-book form. The topic of yes/no is exhausted and history. It costs about $200 to convert to Kindle, but is worth it. I have my book at Smashwords, which is free, and can d/load to every device out there now including iPad. I have not seen many sales there, but this might be my fault. Also, Kemble Scott swears by Scribd – I put my book up there, but also haven’t seen much – again probably my fault.
You only have a certain amount of time during the day to promote your books. Decide on one strategy and stick to it. Kemble Scott and the guy who is blogging like crazy are good examples. I am not.
My new publisher is pressing me to:
1. Blog like crazy
2. Focus on Amazon and leave bookstores etc.
3. Comment on online forums about political advocacy on Amazon and kindle boards.
This will be my focus since he is kind of my boss now. There are 2 books about Amazon.
Sell Your Book on Amazon – Brent Sampson
Another by a guy called Shepherd that I can’t find (if you know the book, please leave the title in comments). In searching for this, I just d/loaded another ( for .99cents on kindle) and will let you know if it is any good.
Also as a general resource book:
1001 Ways to Market Your Books, Sixth Edition (1001 Ways to Market Your Books: For Authors and Publishers) – John Kramer.