Late last year, Facebook rolled out a big algorithm change, which scared a lot of authors. It sank a lot of pages in terms of visibility, changed how authors sell more books and book marketing goals in general.
The thing is, while social media sites like Facebook are great, to use them exclusively in your promotion is never a good idea. Because if you lose the page, or if Facebook changes this or that, or whatever social media site you’re on, you’ve now lost a big share of your market.
Never put your success in someone else’s hands. Even when you hire a book marketing company to help, you should be actively involved in the efforts.
The Bottom Line
You need to own your own tools and one of those is your website. And, let’s face it, when was the last time you could actually track a book sale to Facebook? Yes, we all know that Facebook is great for exposure, but does it sell books? That’s often debatable. The things that do sell books is a direct author/reader connection, that’s the thing that makes the biggest difference and can actually move the needle and help you sell more books.
As we explore better, more secure ways to gather readers, build your tribe and gain more momentum for your markets, we’ll still consider social media because it’s not going away, per se. But when it comes to book marketing of any kind, especially marketing for indie authors, you’ve got to own your marketing real estate.
In this article, and over the next few weeks, we’re going to explore good ways to own your own real estate.
But first, let’s have a look at your options:
Build your mailing list
If you don’t have a mailing list, never considered starting one or have no idea what you’d even do with one if you created it, then now if the time to figure it out. One of the best ways to sell more books is by having that direct author/reader connection as I mentioned earlier on in this piece.
A mailing list is not only an excellent and strategic book marketing tool, but it’s a way to directly communication to your market, it’s a one-on-one way to get in front of your audience without having to worry about what Facebook is doing or if someone has seen your feed.
So where do you start?
Well, that’s easy, the first piece of this to add a newsletter sign up box to your website. That’s a start. Don’t worry about what you’ll write or how often or when you’ll update folks, just get the box up there and start collecting emails.
I’ve got an in-depth piece on newsletters coming up shortly, so be on the lookout for it!
Be on your blog
If the first thing you thought of when you read this is: “I don’t have a blog” then you need to start there. Add a blog to your website.
Have a blog somewhere else and have a website, too? You want them connected.
Why? Because a blog on your site greatly helps with search value, meaning: you’ll show up in Google more. Also, as a book marketing tool – it’s a great addition to whatever else you’re doing to market your book.
So if you don’t currently have a blog, or if you have one that isn’t connected to your site, ask a good web person to help you (I’ll list someone below who we love).
They can easily either add the blog to your existing site, or add a new blog or whatever. It’s like magic and it will greatly help with your SEO (search engine optimization).
Why Should I Care?
So why on earth would you care about this? Well, you’ve heard of Google, right? And you know that over 68% of us default to Google for our online searches, so why aren’t you showing up there?
You may say: I’m showing up but I’m on page five. Well, then you may as well be on page fifty because few, if any, online searches get past page two.
A blog, if done correctly, will greatly help to enhance your online visibility in terms of reaching new readers. But you need to do more than add the blog, you actually have to write in it, too.
So how often should you blog?
Well once a week at a bare minimum, three times if you want to be a rock star. Keeping mind that not all blog posts have to be tomes. You can easily create shorter posts, maybe two shorter ones and one longer.
If the idea of doing three posts a week makes your head spin, then start with just one. Remember: quality over quantity. If you can’t muster great content in three posts, start with one, or two. But write stuff your readers want to read about.
Optimize the heck out of your blog posts
This goes to keywords, keywords, keywords. Check your Google Analytics stats.
Ask your web person, if you don’t know where to find these. If you don’t have Google Analytics, they’re super easy to add.
Open up a Google AdWords account if you want to dig further into keywords. You don’t have to place any ads, but this will give you access to the Google keyword tool that can also be really helpful.
Consumers (readers!) use keywords to find a new read, or to find something that will help them gain more information on a topic they want to learn more about. Keywords and getting some basic knowledge of how they work is a great way to build your audience and sell more books.
The point is: keywords matter – a lot. So you’ll want to know what these are.
Keywords vs. keyword strings
It’s worth mentioning here that keywords and keyword strings are not created equal.
Most consumers do not search on a single keyword, they search on a string of them.
Think of your last Google search.
If you were looking for a new car did you pop into the search bar: car? Or did you write: Toyota, SUV, hybrid. It’s more than likely the latter. And let’s say you’re trying to market your book, or interested in finding companies who will do that for you. You probably won’t pop the term “marketing” into your search bar, but rather: book marketing OR book marketing companies or whatever. You get the idea. More words are better, consumers search using strings. So be sure that you’re looking at keyword strings and not singular words. Even two words is fine, sometimes that’s all you’ll fine. But one word isn’t as great and often too nebulous to get ranking on.
Overall, your website should be ranking in Google. If you have a blog and you’re using keywords on that blog, then you should be in good shape.
But it’s also helpful to use those same keywords in pages on your website.
For example, if your keywords are: mystery and suspense author or contemporary romance author or small business expertise or small business success, you’ll want to spring that keyword string around your website in a thoughtful, non-keyword stuffing way.
What’s keyword stuffing?
Well, it’s when you use a keyword so much in your website that the sentences no longer make sense, meaning it’s just a string of keywords. Maybe this sounds crazy to you. I mean who would do that, right? Well, a lot of people as it turns out – so don’t be one of them.
You can trick Google only once, and once they figure out what you’re up to, your site will tank and you’ll wind up on page fifty of Google search results. In other words: no man’s land.
Once you identify your keywords, be sure to sprinkle them around your website and use them in your blog posts, too!
I know. We started this article talking about ways to circumvent social media changes and now we’re back talking about social media.
But the point is that social media isn’t going away, you’ve got to incorporate it, just be thoughtful in how you do so.
A few things to consider with regards to social media posting is this: you’ll want to post thoughtful, helpful content that people respond to. While this is about book marketing and selling more books, your posts shouldn’t reflect that. So it’s ok to mention you have a book, but not in every single post.
You want to post consistently, but not so much that you’re overwhelming your tribe.
And you want to post content that’s appropriate to the platform itself.
So yes, you can recycle things across platforms, just remember that it will likely do better on one than the others. You’re actually better off focusing your energy on one platform, rather than trying to be everywhere.
So your job will be to post great content that gets responses, because what Facebook did is going to get replicated to other platforms as well.
Social media sites want to see that you’re putting up great, helpful, engaging content. And this is much easier to do if you’re on one social media platform, vs. having to manage many different sites.
These days, it’s hard to escape the lure of a good video. So consider doing video on one of your sites.
Live video on Facebook is great, but it’s tricky. Unless you have an audience waiting to see you, you may be on your video just talking till folks show up and that’s not good.
So, record your video and pop it up on your blog, Facebook, YouTube or wherever you’re putting it.
Your video can be a snippet from a book event, a talk you gave, a weekly update, or some advice taken from your book. Remember when it comes to book marketing: it just needs to matter to your reader. And the best part is it doesn’t have to be long. Take a three to five-minute video and see how well it does on any of these portals. I think you’ll be surprised.
The other thing is that if video is done right, it can really help to build your audience. That’s how The Fault in our Stars became a huge hit; the author had a YouTube channel and used it as a direct link to his fans. You can, too!
The key really is to own and control more of your author real estate.
You never know when a social media site is going to implement changes. Don’t be caught off guard when they do.
Make sure your website is strong and gather fans, using tools you control.
Check this previous post where I revealed some exciting book marketing predictions for 2018.
When it comes to book marketing, or anything else you’re doing to sell more books – remember: Don’t put your key to success in someone else’s pocket, because you never know what could happen. Starting today own your success! Let me take you to the next level with a personalized assessment.