As a writer, you know all too well how much work is required to complete an entire book. Once you have finished your book, you may be tempted to think that the hardest part is behind you. As many authors discover, however, the book marketing process is arduous and requires a skill set very different from the creative energy that produced your book in the first place. In particular, online book marketing demands targeted and thorough research if you want your book to have a fighting chance against the countless other titles flooding the market. Here is your guide to researching and executing your online marketing strategy.
Know Your Audience
The single most important aspect of your marketing research involves getting to know your target audience. You probably already have some idea of who your audience is; the next step is determining where your audience is on the web. As a starting point, you can check sales data from big online vendors such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The key here is to look for similar titles and determine general interest level in a book like yours. You can also do much more targeted research based on the topic of your book. Are your target readers part of an online community like Reddit, YouTube, or Yahoo? Are there any major blogs that your readers are most likely to follow? If you understand how your audience interacts on the web, you will begin to assemble a plan for how and where to market your book.
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Building Your Author Platform
Sometimes it’s called an author platform, writing platform, branding, social media presence, or what have you, but essentially, all these things are based on the same principle: you need to create a solid foundation for your writing business in order to build awareness, sustain it, and sell more books.
The word “platform’ might seem terrifying, but if you know all the variables involved ahead of time, and break them down into actionable goals, building your author platform is easier than you thought. In this article, we will set you up with a plan on how to build up and maintain your author platform and connect everything, with small steps, so you can experience a gradual, steady increase in your visibility and reputation. So, let’s get to it!
- Author Websites: Yes, you might think that in 2015 a website is not quintessential anymore because of other existing platforms – but it is. In fact, most book marketers believe, next to email marketing, your website is the most important entity of your Author Platform. You need a stable foundation for your online presence, one that you have complete and unlimited control of. Building a solid author website is not necessarily a huge burden on your time if you have great author website designer, but there are other options as well. You can hire professional designers, or create one yourself using Wix or Grid, without having to write a single line of code. Blog engines like WordPress or Blogger also offer beautiful templates, but a blog template site may not have all the features you want. In this case, you can hire a Virtual Assistant Company that specializes in WordPress to enhance your site and make it complete. Alternatively, you can register on a personal branding site network like me. These are not the same as completely functional websites, but it can do the trick until you have a real site up and running. As an Author, it is important that you buy a personal URL or domain under your author or pen name.
- Contacts and List Building: Digital media offers a wide selection of tools to boost you author platform. But first, make certain to utilize your your personal and professional contacts, who can help you grow, give you feedback and spread the word, and create an opt-in list for them to join or for you to add contacts manually. This is referred to as your “Core Fan Base”. Next, make a list of people outside your network. This list should include your favorite authors (who write the same genre as your books), experts on the subjects you write about, and other stakeholders and media professionals. Now you can start looking for ways to use the first group to give the second group access to your author platform. Continue to build your lists by continuously sharing your opt-in list signup and by manually adding new contacts you meet.