Over the last seventeen years (six years after the advent of the internet), I began my career as an author and launched a website.
As a non-technical person, I have learned a few things about running a digital book business that I would like to share with you. I’ve developed this short list from my personal experience. What I mean is that, I’m not just regurgitating information that is already out there. And, although it may already be out there, I’m including it on my list because it works and has been an integral part of my success as an author.
Here you go, 10 suggestions to Help You Build a Wider Reading Audience:
- Develop your social contacts. Nurture your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and on LinkedIn in order to build your friend count, your likes, comments/replies, and your retweets.
- Be present on your social sites a few times throughout the day. This doesn’t mean you have to stay online all day long. Please do not. I typically “pop” in to each site for a few minutes three or four times per day (morning, noon, evening, and before I go to sleep). I try not to stay on any site longer than 5 minutes at any given time. This equates to about 1 total hour of online socializing.
- Answer difficult questions. When you post to your social sites, answer truthfully those questions that other authors might be afraid to answer. Are eBooks going to make print books obsolete? If you know the trends, you can answer with authority. If you answer yes, brick-and-mortar bookstores might have an opinion. And you better be able to back up your answer. If you answer no, well, you still better be able to back up your answer. Knowing your industry will offer you a plethora of material to blog about.
- Blog regularly. I typically throw out a blog post two to three times per week. More often than that clutters people’s inbox and they start to delete your posts automatically. (Don’t yet have a blog? Get one. They can drive traffic to your social sites and link back to your blog and your books.)
- Blog about other authors, their books, and their brands. Sometimes our blogs can seem all about “me, me, me.” I’m guilty of it. I guess this is because time is limited and writing a blog post can take up to a good hour to write well. It’s easy to throw something out to the blogosphere about, say, the same book you’ve been talking about for weeks. But fresh is key, here. Your readers won’t leave you. They will be grateful for your well thought out take on someone else. And you might even help out another author.
- Join sites of common interest. Do you know other authors, agents, publishers, editors, book reviewers, bookstores, or librarians? Of course you do and they all have sites you can either join, sign up for their newsletter, or link to and from. I don’t know about you but whenever someone likes, comments or follows my blog, I become giddy. So, guess what I do? I follow them back! Doing so builds traffic between sites and traffic equates to book sales.
- Send out a press release for your book. When you have a new book release, make sure a wider audience gets a chance to view your news. With press release sites offering distribution services such as PRWeb.com, Free-Press-Releases.com, and PRLeap, writing a press release and having it broadcast to specific regions and demographics is made simple. You can even do a press release for no cost on some of these sites.
- List your books. Make sure you have a book page on your site. This may seem like a no-brainer but I’ve seen author pages with only their bio and contact pages. You need to establish credibility and sell your books, even it that means embedding code for an Amazon Author page that lists your books. But taking the time to build your book page, without making it look like a link to Amazon, will encourage your visitors to click-thru to the links and will not appear pushy. I don’t know about you but when I click on an author’s “Bookstore” and I’m zoomed over to Amazon, I feel sort of cheated. Embed your links by stating they are links. Your visitors can then choose to click-thru to your books online bookstore (such as Amazon.com) or not.
- Send out occasional newsletters. Lately, my newsletters have been published about twice a month. Monthly newsletters are great. You’ll notice, however, that the busier you are, the more you will want to push your books through your newsletter. I’ve seen authors send out weekly newsletters. But building a newsletter is more time-consuming than writing a blog post. So, use your time wisely here and only send your newsletter when you must. I use Constant Contact but there are many other great online newsletter building sites.
- Talk about your books. It’s okay to promote your work–to blog about it, to post about it on your social sites, to send out your newsletter about it. In fact, it’s crucial you do for your business which is to sell books. But when you do talk about your books, tell people why they should read your stories. Will they feel inspired? Will they come to understand an ongoing universal problem just a little bit better? Will they turn their attention to God? Will they want to be a better person? If you can instill in people a good reason to buy your books then they will.
There you have it. 10 easy to follow tips and tactics to build a wider reading audience for your books. I hope you implement some of the items on this list. But, mostly, I hope you sell more books.