6 Aug 2015

This is the first in a series of articles covering these 4 important marketing tasks. Over the next 4 weeks on Friday, we will cover one in depth.

Before you publish your first book, it's important to begin building your audience with one goal in mind: gaining exposure to your target market.

Why is this critical? Marketing your first book with no audience is extremely difficult and costly. No one has been exposed to your brand (you), your book, or relevant content, and you are starting from scratch. If, however, you have built an audience before you published your first work, you will be able to promote months in advance, hold an online publication celebration event, publicise through your peers, reduce online promotion costs, and compound the growth of your existing online community.

There are four important components of creating exposure to your brand and building your potential readership prior to publishing your first book. If you haven't taken these steps and have already published, don't despair; take these steps now and you will see progress.

Web Page

Imagine a hub with spokes. Your website is the hub. This is where you will keep your important content. Your goal is to bring potential readers here.

This is where you keep your:

  • Blog for readers (start with 1 post every other week.)
  • Book information
  • Links to purchase books at various vendor sites
  • Your "about" page
  • Press kit (this can come later)
  • Contact form
  • Social media links

Why do you keep all of your important content on your website? 

Because you want to "own" your content. You lose ownership of your content when you post it on any other site. Always bring potential readers back to your site for important content unless you are advertising for book sales or promoting your Facebook page.

The rest of the pieces are the spokes where you will promote your important website content and other content directly.

4 Important Online Marketing Tasks for Authors


Facebook Page

A Facebook page will, in almost all cases for published and pre-published authors, play a critical role in reaching their target audience. Facebook is primarily used as an entertainment venue so it is perfect for authors as most people enjoy reading, and share and talk about books with their friends and family.

After creating your website, this is the second-most important task for an unpublished (and published) author. You will promote every blog article, fun images and quotes, videos and other types of content on your page so that it has activity while you build your readership.


Twitter Account

Creating a Twitter account is important--but not for sales. There are two camps on this, but there is an incredible amount of white noise streaming daily for book sales and free books.

The recommended tweet percentage is 80/20: 80% helpful/informative, and 20% promotional. If you only tweet promotional posts 5-6 times per day, you risk becoming white noise and will most likely be ignored.

It won't hurt to set up automation after publication (2 promotional tweets per day max), but consider your available time for managing social media and the return on investment you get from each social media channel.

Twitter is best used for connecting with other authors, finding resources, having real-time conversations with peers and readers, and attending Twitter chats.

You can use it to:

  • Tweet your and other's blog articles to potential readers
  • Direct readers to your Facebook page, Pinterest boards/pins, and website
  • Promote your potential book no more than 2x per day for upcoming sales
  • Provide helpful information to potential readers
  • Engage in conversations with potential readers and your peers

The last two, statistically, provide the most return on investment over all industries, but may not be the best for authors because it is time consuming.


Pinterest Business Account

Pinterest is almost more important to authors than Twitter. Why? Because pins are evergreen and are indexed. Additionally, the lifespan of a tweet is about 2.5 hours, whereas the lifespan of a pin is evergreen. The more people who repin your pin, the more people see your pin and repin it. In addition, it can show in Google search.

Also, as a business account, you can create rich pins and promote them for sales or exposure post publication. Right now, book promotion businesses are taking advantage of this almost exclusively--so it's a great time for authors to take advantage of rich pins.

You can get together with other authors and cross-promote each other's books to increase the chance of repins. You can also do this pre-publication as you increase your sphere of peers to reach potential readers. Make sure to follow any readers who follow you, and be sure to follow as many readers, book publishers and book promoters as possible.

Bottom line

Before you publish your first book, you want to begin building your audience. In order to do this, create and use four online marketing tools. You need not be complex. Start simply, get used to the tools (if unfamiliar), and build from there.

Next: How to Create Website Content That Will Delight Your Readers!

Your turn

  • Have you used any of these marketing tools before or after publication? 
  • What were/are your experiences?
  •  If they aren't working for you, what questions do you have?
  • What topics would you like us to cover that may help you or other authors?

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