As I mentioned in last week’s post, I’m taking Wednesdays back to the B.A.S.I.C.S. of marketing for your self-published book. And step one of every really effective marketing strategy in the silicon age requires us to tackle the “B” in B.A.S.I.C.S.: Building an Online Presence. Given that you’re reading this blog post on the web, I’m going to assume you have already been initiated into the manifold wonders of the internet age, but I’m also going to assume that you’re starting your latest book marketing campaign from the ground up––which is to say, you’re looking to begin with that all-important keystone of any such strategy: motivation.
I’m not going to lie: marketing your self-published book is hard. Really hard. It will requires a lot of time, energy, and trust––trust in yourself and your own capacity to make wise choices that fit your own project. Without this trust, authors risk losing focus as they get sucked into a whirlpool of self-doubt and second-guessing. I recommend skipping this arduous process entirely by embracing your own insight and the sometimes radical notion that you really can make good choices. I know that you can, and I’m a perfect stranger! Just think: you may be fixating at present on some of your own limitations, but you also have a front-row seat to your personal portfolio of strengths and skills! Let’s put them to work in marketing.
BACK TO THE PROGRAM
The real reason to begin your book marketing campaign with a strong web presence is the simple fact that a comprehensive bundle of platforms––such as an author website, a blog site, as well as accounts on Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and even Instagram or Snapchat––is both an effective and inexpensive way to reach new readers. We’ve written about many of these platforms before here on Self Publishing Advisor, in last year’s Social Media Primer and as far back as 2013 with Wendy’s discourse on improving blogs, but the fact remains that authors are presented with something of a moving target.
New platforms are becoming available all of the time, while less popular ones or ones that have outlived their usefulness are archived or excised from the web altogether. This is why I used the key phrase “comprehensive bundle of platforms” above: to indicate that an effective presence requires a flexible, adaptable set of options––and above all, the freedom to experiment with emerging technologies as well as the courage to abandon unhelpful ones. My own recent experiences with Twitter and Snapchat make for a good illustration; I’ve found a healthy and important niche for my Twitter use in broadcasting updates and news about my current work and upcoming publications, but I haven’t quite found a marketable use for Snapchat. I tried, enjoyed it for a spell, and could even see quite a lot of potential there … but I could never quite invest in it the creative energy required to make it a success. So I shut my account down in order to spend that time more effectively on platforms that better fit with my personality and web usage.
- Your websites and blogs should be streamlined and easy to navigate; they must both catch a visitor’s eye and capture a visitor’s interest in regards to content, as well as make it easy for even the most unfamiliar of visitors to learn about and buy your book. In building your websites, you can choose from among a whole host of free services, including WordPress (which is what we use), or Blogspot, or Tumblr, but whatever route you take you ought to consider purchasing your own domain name. Make it something intuitive and easy to remember; many authors choose to use either their pen-names or the titles of their books as domain name inspiration.
- Consistency is key. Whether we’re talking about blog posts or social media updates, creating a sense of routine and reliability is important. It both makes you more findable (especially if you integrate the tricks of SEO or Search Engine Optimization into your postings) and more trustworthy. You might even work up a schedule of what sorts of materials to post on which days of the week, as we do here at Self Publishing Advisor. You know from following this blog in the past that every Monday we run through the major self-publishing related news items of the week, and every Saturday we run a book review compendium of a self-published book. Because you know this, you already know that a) you can trust us to post new material on a regular basis, and b) which days of the week you’re most interested in spending some quality time on our website.
So that’s the “B” in B.A.S.I.C.S. … or at least, that’s a place to start! There’s so much more to come.
Thank you for reading! If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or contributions, please use the comment field below or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. And remember to check back each Wednesday for your weekly dose of marketing musings from one indie, hybrid, and self-published author to another. ♠
|ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.|