Is one of your business goals to publish an ebook (or physical book)?
Seems like a lot of my clients and colleagues are writing and publishing ebooks right now. You may also be in the process or about to start and I congratulate you for making the decision and taking action.
I’ve had quite a few conversations with entrepreneurs in various stages of writing a book, and I found most of them have one frustrating thing in common.
These smart, successful entrepreneurs are struggling to sell more books.
After doing a couple of brief audits of their online presence, I discovered why...
Most author entrepreneurs do not take the time, or know how to, create a solid online foundation before they write, publish, and sell their books.
These smart professionals are focused entirely on writing their book and frankly, don’t want to think about the marketing part of their author journey. They believe they can start the visibility and marketing tactics after their book is complete. But, that is too late to make a significant impact on sales.
You need to set the stage and begin your visibility campaign well in advance of publication if you really want to reach a bigger audience and sell more books. As the Chinese proverb goes, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
If you’re at the beginning of your book book journey, start now. If you’re in the middle of your manuscript, start now.
Without a foundation (also known as your “platform”) on which to build a visible presence on the Web, it’s going to be difficult to attract attention and get connected with enough potential readers to make a significant number of book sales. Period.
A traditional publisher is not even going to look at you unless you have your own platform, which means a Twitter following, Facebook following and/or a significant blog following. ~ John Altucher
Before you can initiate an active visibility campaign, there are five foundational elements you must have in place.
5 Essential Elements for Your Visibility Plan
- Blog – this is a no-brainer. You absolutely must have a piece of digital real estate you own and control. This is where all traffic is directed as you build your audience. This where you post the search-engine friendly content that helps you get found by those searching for the solution you and you book offer.
- Email management service – this is also non-negotiable. Without an email list of qualified prospects and customers, you will always struggle to sell your book. The people who give you their email address are telling you they value what you offer and want to hear from you. Do your research and find the best email service that meets your needs and your budget. The most widely used are Aweber, Mailchimp, Constant Contact, InfusionSoft and KickStartCart (1ShoppingCart private label and the one I use).
- Optin/Landing page – you need a blogsite (#1) and an email service (#2) to set this up. Create a simple page inviting people to get free updates about your book. Offer a gift like a free chapter in exchange for their email address. This is list building 101. (Sample optin page)
- Know your audience. Maybe this should be #1 since it dictates everything you do, from the topic of your book to the content you publish on your blogsite. Where does your ideal reader hangout? Use Quantcast to check out demographics on the sites your audience frequents. Use your Facebook Page Insights to learn more about the demographics of your followers. Use Google Analytics to find out how your blog readers are finding you.
- Set up and complete your social profiles. Make sure you are using the social networks your ideal readers’ are using (#4). If they are on Twitter, you better be using Twitter as well. It should go without saying, but I see this mistake all the time… make sure your social profiles are COMPLETE. Include your headshot, cover image, bio, and links to your site and other social networks. Your social networks are where you will be posting microcontent to entice your readers back to your blog.
Know Your Why
I recently read an article by Kimberley Grabbas about the two things that will make your book marketing easier: know your why (based on Simon Sinek’s work) and know your audience. It’s the perfect fit and pre-work for building your foundation.
Here’s your Action Plan:
- Watch Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk on how great leaders inspire action
- Read Kimberley Grabbas’ article on two things that will make your book marketing easier
- Review the five foundational elements listed above. What do you have in place now? What do you need to add?
- Fill in the missing pieces.
When you commit to and implement these early steps in your book marketing strategy, you’ll be well on your way to creating a highly visible presence on the Web and set yourself up to sell more ebooks and books.
I’m curious, what’s your experience been with building your author platform? Did you start early or after your book was finished? What would you do differently now? We’d love to hear your experience with building an author platform and invite you share with us in the comments below.
This article was originally published on The Future of Ink and is reprinted here in its entirety for our Magnolia Media Network readers.