What is a targeted audience? The people you’ve written your book for – the ones who will benefit or enjoy it the most. Get your book in front of these people and if they enjoy it, they’ll talk about it their own “circle of influence.”
Know where your targeted audience “hangs out.”
Are they on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest or MySpace? Search within each platform for groups, keywords and profiles that match your target audience.
Start making connections NOW.
Whether your book is done or not, get to know the people within the groups by involving yourself in the ongoing conversations. Ask and answer questions, like and share their posts and comments.
You still need an editor.
Just because you’ve gone the self-publishing route or your publisher has “taken a look” at your work, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s ready for print. Hire an editor (not a family member) to make sure your work is ready for it’s moment in the spotlight. Putting out an unedited manuscript will scar you and your reputation for a long time.
Make sure your website is professional looking.
This is how the world will see you. Your website should reflect who you are as an author and represent your work in a professional manner. Offer links to purchase your work directly from your site – don’t make visitors leave to buy! Distractions are everywhere and once they’re checking out blenders on Amazon, they’re lost to you and your book. Make sure to include a blog* and respond to comments!
Compile work for Guest Postings and Interviews.
Keep a file or document of questions and answers you’ve come across during your time spent with your groups. Follow other author tours along blogs, see what kinds of questions they’re being asked. Ask your own – this gives you the opportunity to talk about key points within your own work. Offer blog hosts five or six questions and answers for their audience, and be sure to mix it up. No one wants to jump from blog to blog, just to see you answering the same questions over and over.
For guest postings (articles), start writing them now. Keep your articles short and to the point (around 500 words). Format it for computer reading, use bullet points and images. If you find yourself straying off into another subject, stop and make that new post. If you start creating these posts long before you set up a tour, you’ll spend less time writing and more time engaging the audience on each blog tour stop.
Line up Reviews.
There are different ways to get reviews for your work, paid and unpaid reviews. Of course, we all want to get the freebie version, but there’s a risk involved here. Reviewers who offer free reviews are not necessarily held accountable to follow through once they receive your book. They also might only post their review to their own site, which might not have a lot of traffic, and skip posting to the bigger sites like Amazon, GoodReads or even sharing it to their social media audience.
Paid reviews can carry a certain stigma and are currently barred from posting to Amazon. But, the paid reviewer is more likely to read your book, write the review and then post it to more than their own website. While most authors want to see the 5-star reviews pile up on Amazon, and I agree this is important, sometimes having a great review posted on 5 – 10 other sites will do more than a 2 star review posted to Amazon.
Don’t argue with reviewers – paid or unpaid!
While I’ve seen authors argue with reviewers and cause a stir around their work – in the end the author looses. Those reviews will stand, along with the comments. People will find them, they will read them, and in the end will more than likely pass on buying your book, especially if you’ve come across as rude, arrogant and just plain wrong. If a reviewer says your book stinks, ask them for a private, in-depth explanation – and thank them for it! Their insight may help you turn your beloved book into the best seller you’re dreaming about.
If your book is going to be listed on Amazon, make sure you’ve selected the proper categories and tags for your work. Amazon has incredible marketing algorithms set up to help authors get their books in front of the appropriate audience. But it’s up to you (or your publisher) to make sure the right categories and tags have been chosen. Do your research!
Keep Track of Stats
There are many ways to keep track of where traffic is coming from on the Internet. Google Analytics is probably the easiest and for the money (free) offers decent feedback. Using Bitly will also let you see what links are working to drive traffic to your sites. Both have mobile apps so you can check your stats at any time. Learn to read the reports and use the information to keep doing what is working and stop doing what isn’t working.
Build your list
On you website offer visitors ways to subscribe to your blog or be informed of upcoming events, like release dates and appearances around the web. There are free and paid programs out there that are easy to use. Again, do your research!
When you feel the marketing hat sucking the life out of you and your time (which means you’re spending more time promoting than writing) it may be time to hire someone to help. Make sure to do your research when hiring a promotional team! You want someone who knows what they’re doing but is flexible enough to understand that marketing has changed, and continues to change, with every new social media tool and platform – it’s just a matter of trying them out along the way.
Don’t give up.
Just because your book hasn’t made the evening news and the movie producers aren’t calling doesn’t mean your book is a failure and you should give up. You’ve worked hard to write the book, and your dreams of being a successful author are coming together. It just takes time. It also takes all those connections you’re making on social media to get the ball rolling on it’s own. If your book is good – hits a nerve, shares a good message and is well written and edited – eventually the public will catch on.
Another good thing about the Internet, is that while you may become discouraged and decide to take some time off from pushing your book, the content you’ve created and posted will still be out there working for you. So if you’re thinking you need a break, take it. But don’t delete anything!
Of course, the above points are just the tip of the ice berg when it comes to promoting your book. Leave a comment to let us know what’s working and not working for you!