In our second guest article, self-published author Scott Gilmore shares his personal tips and tricks to help you promote your book online. You can read more about Scott and his book at the end of the article.
How to Promote Your Book Online
As an independently published author, the notion of having to promote your book online can be quite daunting.
When you launch your book online, you should shout about it from every rooftop. But, which rooftop, in which direction, and in which language?
Here are some techniques I used when promoting my novel online. Now, you can use them to give your self-published book a boost.
A self-published writer’s toolkit
Before you set off on your publishing journey, you need to get your toolkit in order. This is often the most overlooked part of any self-published writer’s book promotion strategy. But, without the right tools, no professional can do a good job. So what do you need before you set off?
- A plan! Consider your audience. Who they are. Where they are. How you will reach them. Sketch it out and refer to it regularly.
- A few bits of gripping copy about your novel, including a concise and intriguing blurb.
- An inspiring and memorable author biography. Remember, you’re selling yourself as a writer as much as you are your book. People will want to know who you are!
Now that we have the map, let’s get going.
Know your keywords
SEO might not be top of a typical writer’s skills list, but it is an essential aspect of getting seen online. Put simply, SEO determines how search engines like Google rank your online material in their search results. Do it well and you’ll be on page one. Do it badly and you’ll pale into online obscurity.
You don’t need to go pro, but you do need to understand how to find and deploy keywords. Here’s my four-step quick-tip:
- Use Google Ads Keyword Planner to find words people might use to find your book online
- Make a list and rank them from most important to least
- Include as many as you can in the text of your online promotion material
- Search for your own key terms and see wherein the search results you pop up
- Use a tool like SEMrush or MOZ to improve your status
Build an online base
When building an online presence, a website is a good place to start. It is your base, your hub, and it is where all your other advertising efforts will lead to. Your website is where potential readers will go to learn about your novel and meet the writer behind the book.
Many individuals use simple drag-and-drop approaches to building a website. Any author with intermediate computer knowledge can set up a basic website in a matter of hours.
Here are some points to consider when building your online base:
- Your domain name offers you the chance to plant a flag for your book online. There are sites that offer free domain names. having your own, tailored domain name will look more professional.
- Build a Home page that is easy to navigate. It should be clean and free from clutter. This will save people the confusion or frustration of hunting for hidden information when they stake out your site.
- Remember, your website exists to generate interest in your novel. So, including a link to the page your book can be purchased from is vital to generating sales.
There are many other ways to maximise the potential of your website and help promote your book, but the above is a good place to start.
Read All About It!
Positive book reviews are like gold to a self-published author looking to promote their book online. Here are some key reasons why:
- Customers trust reviews! They’re a type of social capital and the vast majority of people will read them before deciding whether to purchase anything online.
- Reviews are good for SEO, so having a few of them on your website, or hosted in other places like Amazon and Google but linked to your site, will make it more visible to internet searchers.
When you do get positive praise, make sure you share it far and wide, including across your social media channels. Remember to get permission from the people who wrote them.
If you already have a good network of people around you, why not ask them if they’d be happy to read and honestly review your book? It will give your site the traction it needs to get going.
Speaking of your social media channels… you do have them, don’t you? Social media is essential to online success. It’s a vital source of interaction between you and the writing community, as well as your potential readers. Here are a few ways a solid social media presence will help you promote your book online:
- Fellow independent writers are mostly very supportive and can help you spread the word about your book through retweets, shares, and likes.
- Your profiles give you the opportunity to connect with fans and potential readers. Be yourself, be positive and remember to interact with them, rather than just preach at them.
- Having active and popular social media profiles builds domain/online authority. This is the name SEO-types give to the way search engines use off-site mentions of you and your products/services to decide how high to rank your website in search results.
Clearly, social media is a useful tool. Don’t forget to analyse how best to use specific channels. Find out what type of media is best (pictures, text, video), how often to post and what tone of voice to use with your followers. You can take a look at Bookmundo’s article on social media marketing for authors if you want to learn more about specific social media channels.
Get on YouTube
YouTube is a mammoth vehicle for promotion and marketing of all kinds. Once you set up a YouTube channel, there are a number of points to consider:
- Make a plan before you set out bombarding viewers with a blunderbuss of aimless content. What do you want this channel to achieve?
- Look at the video descriptions of authors who have a lot of subscribers. This will guide your own descriptions for content.
- Include links to previous videos and other profiles you have online (Facebook, Instagram, your website, etc.). This will keep your viewers interested and direct them towards make the decision to purchase your book.
YouTube is the perfect opportunity to let the world see you – the author and the brand.
Promoting your own book can be a challenge. Potential readers have so much choice over where to spend their money on a Kindle, e-reader or paperback. Remember to stay positive and believe in what you have to offer. Be energetic in your approach and proud that you’ve put your own novel out into the world.
By being prepared before you start, learning a bit about SEO, and taking advantage of all the channels available to you online, you’ll have the best chance of getting your book into the right hands. If you want to learn more about promoting a self-published book, check out Bookmundo’s introduction to book marketing!
Scott Gilmore is an author from Bangor, Northern Ireland. He was a teacher for over ten years and used his passion for working with children to inspire him to write his debut novel, Inside Iris. Scott studied English Literature (B.A.) and Creative Writing (M.A.) at university and is an author, blogger, and online content creator.