DON’T Do These 6 Things When Marketing Your Books

You wrote, proofread and edited your manuscript. You even formatted it perfectly and had a snazzy cover designed.So now you can sit back and wait for all the admiration, accolades and royalties that will surely pour in as soon as you hit the submit button, right?Not quite!There’s still one minor detail left to attend to, and that’s marketing.Like any other product that’s available for sale, if no one knows your book exists, they can’t buy it.Marketing your book effectively gives you the best chance of moving many copies whether your main goal is profit, exposure or otherwise.With that in mind, here are some of the things you should never do when you’re marketing your books if you want each release to be a success.

Don’t forget to focus on a niche.

There’s an old saying that goes: “If you try to please everyone, you’ll end up pleasing no one.” When it comes to publishing and marketing your book, this saying rings true.A successful marketing strategy always involves targeting a specific audience for your book. When you have a focused niche, you accomplish a couple of things that make selling your books more likely.

Your writing has more appeal. Instead of writing another generic novel or non-fiction guide, you can target a smaller audience and meet their needs more effectively.

Marketing is easier. When you have a focused niche, crafting your marketing message is much simpler and more effective because your offer aligns directly with what your target audience wants.

Instead of going wide and shallow, having a clearly defined niche lets you market narrow and deep, penetrating right down to the core of your target audience.And, another plus for appealing to a very specific audience? Groups of people who have closely related interests tend to share their favorite books and authors with their peers, which boosts your chances of going viral.

Don’t create a boring book cover.

It’s your birthday and you just got presented with two gifts.One is a box enrobed in beautifully embossed gold wrapping paper with a big bright red bow perched perfectly on top.The other?A crudely wrapped object in a brown paper sack.Which gift would you be more excited about if you had no idea what was inside?I think the choice is obvious, and it’s no different when it comes to the way that you present your book to your readers.You can offer your audience a crumpled brown paper sack, so to speak, or you can leave them yearning to tear into your book with a beautifully presented front cover image and compelling description of what your book has to offer on the back.Covers sell books, so a great design is essential to your marketing strategy.

Don’t market your book to just anyone.

It doesn’t really matter how many people you can get to see your book offer if the ones you present with it aren’t interested in what you have to say.That’s like trying to sell your prize winning hamburgers at a vegetarian convention. It’s a total waste of time, energy and resources. Not to mention, very upsetting for you and those poor vegetarians!Instead of wasting your time (and your erroneous prospect’s too), take careful steps to plan out the details of your marketing strategy.Create a persona of the customer most likely to buy your book.

What would compel them to buy it?

Where do they spend most of their time on and offline?

What about your book would resonate with them on such a deep level that they have to have it, and would likely buy future releases as well?

If you can answer similar questions and narrow your focus down to create a marketing plan, you’ll connect with the kind of people who actually want what you have to offer and the selling process becomes much easier.

Don’t avoid outsourcing for help.

When authors decide to publish a book, most of the time they do the actual writing themselves. However, many self-publishers don’t stop there.They try to design the cover, start a guest blogging tour and promote their book via social media, all while networking offline for more publicity.It’s no wonder many would-be publishers end up overwhelmed and never actually gain traction for their books.Instead of trying to take on the world singlehandedly, investigate using one or more of the book marketing services available to self-published authors.These types of services help get books in front of your target audience quickly and with as much exposure as possible, minus all of the stress and stumbling blocks typically associated with trying to go through the entire process alone.

Don’t ignore building a brand.

When you have a brand that connects with your audience, marketing becomes relatively effortless and you build on the success of every new book you publish.When you’re clear on what you stand for and what readers can expect from your books, you can create a consistent stream of marketing messages that resonate with your target audience. Combine that with regular contact with that same audience and you build strong relationships, which is the key to effective long-term marketing.Always remember that you’re never just selling “a book”. You’re selling yourself and what you have to offer that’s special and different from every other writer out there.Yes, building a strong brand takes a lot of time and effort. But having one ultimately gives you a significant amount of leverage when marketing your books.Instead of having to go out and search for people to buy your work every time you release a new book, you develop a loyal following that seeks you out and wants to buy everything you release because they know you deliver.

Don’t rush through the book production process.

When you’ve finished your first draft and you’re chomping at the bit for your book to go out, it can be tempting to rush through the rest of the book production process. However, actually doing that could end up being a fatal mistake.Blazing through the steps that lead up to your final book release increases the chances of mistakes happening exponentially.You only get one chance to make a good first impression, so a book filled with typos that delivers an underwhelming experience will likely leave a bad taste in your reader’s mouth.This means that while it may extent the time it takes to get your book into your reader’s hands, being meticulous during the book production process pays off in the end.Readers are much more likely to spread the word and recommend your book to others when you take the time to ensure that it is spectacular before you release it.The fact is, doing what it takes to get your book into as many hands of your perfect readers as possible is hard work, but it can be done. And if you do it exceptionally well? You may just end up with a bestseller on your hands.As you navigate through the twists and turns that are a normal part of promoting a book, avoid making these marketing mistakes and significantly improve your chances for success!

How to Boost the Search Engine Visibility of Your Books

Whether you plan to put your self-published books up for sale on your own website or on a popular book-selling platform like Kindle or Kobo, one of the most important things you can do is boost the visibility, also known as the discoverability, of your books online.While there’s no way to optimize your actual book for search engines, you can optimize the pages that your books are posted on and the links that point to those pages in order to funnel more prospective buyers and increase their exposure.Before we get into specifics, think about this simple truth…The Way We Discover Books Has Changed ForeverImagine walking into a book store and browsing for a book on a specific topic.You’ll most likely walk to the section of the store that has the type of book you are looking for. For example a cook book, a science book or a literature book.From there you would peruse the book shelf until you come across a topic that most closely matches the information you’re looking for. It may be a cook book about baking cakes, a science book about geology or a literature book based on space age science fiction.For all of your time and effort, you would most likely end up with a book that closely meets your needs.Now come back to reality for a moment and think about the way you would use the internet to conduct the same kind of book search.Without an actual title already in mind, it is often very difficult to hone in on the perfect book that falls in line with the information you want.On the other hand, if you learn and use the language of the internet and combine it with the way that the average internet user searches for information, you can position every book that you release prominently in front of an audience that is most likely to be interested in its content.This language is known as Search Engine Optimization.What is Search Engine Optimization?Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the practice of altering a website or single web page so that it is naturally more visible in a search engine’s results. These non-paid-for positions in the search engine are also known as ‘organic’ search results.The goal of every Search Engine Optimization endeavor should be to get the pages that list your books and their buy links to appear as high up in the search engines as possible for certain keywords and phrases.Accomplish this, and the result is a gradual increase in exposure, interest and eventually sales of your books.How to Use Keywords to Optimize Book SearchIf your goal is to optimize your book listings in order to get attention in the search engine result pages, it’s best that you start to think of keywords as the currency of the internet.A keyword or a keyword phrase is any term that a searcher, or in your case a potential reader types into the search box in order to find the information they are looking for.Let’s suppose you are a self-published author who focuses on creating specialty cook books and your latest title is all about creating flourless chocolate cakes and other gluten free desserts.Someone searching for your book may not have any clue who you are or that you even have that cook book available for purchase online. What they do know is what kind information they’re looking for.If this individual uses Google’s search bar, they may type in any one of the following terms:

Flourless chocolate cake recipe

Gluten free desserts

No flour dessert recipes

Flour free cake

Books about gluten free baking

Flourless cake cookbooks

Google then uses these keywords to find related websites, books and videos before returning web pages that deliver information that most closely matches what the searcher is looking for.If you aren’t sure what kinds of keywords to include in your pages, try using a keyword tool like the free one provided by Google or one of the many other options available.This gives you insight into the types of words searchers may input in order to find information related to the areas of interest you cover in your books.The Power of BacklinksAlong with doing on-page optimization with specific keywords and keyword phrases, getting backlinks from relevant and related websites is another key to boosting your book’s visibility in the search engine results.This is because Google and other search engines view them as a kind of thumbs up of approval from other websites.With that said, it’s important to remember is quality is much more important than quantity.Having one link from a highly reputable and relevant website is worth a thousand links from a spammy website.Legitimate ways to get backlinks include:

Going on blog tours

Writing articles for websites

Social media sharing

Blogging to attract new readers

Simply creating relevant and valuable content attracts links because it gets shared by your fans and picked up by various media outlets.The key is not to force things and create a bunch of artificial backlinks, but to make your content so interesting that links come naturally. Over time you see a boost in your book page’s search engine rankings and a subsequent uptick in sales.While doing things the organic way does take time and effort, the long-lasting results are more than worth it.Blogging and Search Engine OptimizationAs far as SEO goes, blogging can be one of the most productive activities you can do to increase the amount of natural search engine traffic that lands on your author website or on pages that feature your book titles.Earlier, we mentioned the way that the average internet user searches for the information they want to find online.They type a search term or phrase into the search bar and scroll through the results to see if they find a page that seems to reflect the type of content they want to read.Posting to your blog on a regular basis is a simple and easy way to keep your website fresh and up-to-date with relevant information that your fans and readers want to know, as well as provide the search engines with pages of keywords that they can use to index your pages and direct web searchers to your website and book titles when they indicate an interest in certain topics.Along with naturally occurring keywords and keyword phrases, blogs tend to attract attention from interested visitors, which leads to social sharing and SEO-boosting backlinks when the pages are shared with others.Blogging is also a great way to bridge the gap for a complete stranger who lands on your sales page but isn’t sure whether or not they want to take the leap of faith and actually buy your book.By giving them a taste of what you have to offer with review snippets, manuscript excerpts and by sprinkling a generous dash of your true personality throughout your blog, your prospect gets to know you and your work better which makes moving your book in their mind from a maybe to a must-have, that much easier.The Bottom LineOnce you’ve written your manuscripts, you should never allow them to get lost in the vast ocean of the World Wide Web. By harnessing the power of Search Engine Optimization, you can position your book titles and brand prominently in internet users minds, by making them highly visibly and easy to discover!