Written by: Lindiwe Zulu
(Figure 1: Heading created with Canva. Image from https://www.pexels.com/photo/writer-working-on-typewriter-in-office-3808904/ )
Do you want to be a writer? Well, there has never been a better time than right now to be a writer or an author. Having a successful, published book can do wonders for your personal brand. It can be used for networking , building relationships and most importantly, attracting clients.
However, whether you publish traditionally – via a publishing company, or independently, the book will not be profitable, you need to dirty your hands a bit and do some marketing to your potential readers. unless you market it to potential readers. You may ask, where do I start?
Fauzia Burke, founder and president of FSB Associates, one of the first firms to specialize in digital branding and online publicity, wrote a book for new authors like you, titled, “Online Marketing for Busy Authors: A Step by Step Guide.
The book is very insightful and presents a good read for new/amateur writers. It provides tips and advice that helps beginning authors or writers journey in the digital world.
Marketing a new book twenty years ago may have included radio interviews, local book signings, and perhaps even talks or festival appearances. The majority of book marketing nowadays takes place online. If you are self-publishing or working with a conventional publisher, you’ll have to do a significant part of the marketing yourself.
If you consider yourself more of a writer than a digital marketer – and almost all writers do! – you could be intimidated by the prospect of promoting your book, especially if you aren’t particularly tech-savvy. You may also be hesitant to promote yourself, fearful of coming across as overbearing or inauthentic.
Worrying about money could add salt to the wound because, after all, things associated with digital marketing can be costly to maintain if outsourced to professionals.
The best part is that marketing your book online does not have to be difficult, but it does require significant investment in time. Like I said, It doesn’t have to be expensive either. You need to balance between the time required and the outsourcing.
We’ll look at some of the most important digital marketing tools in this article, many of which are free to help authors build a long term marketing plan for their newly published book.
- Know your audience
Customized and personalized online marketing is the standard. You must understand your target audience so that you can customize your marketing plan to plan to target them effectively.
Your audience can be defined by their age group, gender, interests, social media sites, and online hangouts. When you know your audience, it becomes easier to create an efficient plan and better to do your marketing.
- Get a professional website or create your website with WordPress.
Your website is the only online platform where you can have full control. Unlike social networking platforms, they still have the power to amend the rules and you have to comply with their terms and conditions.
No one can change the ideas on your website unlike social media sites,where people can send a complaint which may result in your ideas being removed and account suspended.
WordPress is the most popular website-building program and has been used by dozens of brands. The advantage of WordPress is you don’t need to know coding or HTML, CSS, or any other programming language.
How to start?
Simply create an account. Choose a template and then customize it to your liking. Though WordPress still provides hosting, you’ll need an external hosting provider. Buying a domain name and hosting plan could cost you around $5 – $10 monthly
It is really up to you on which route you take, but because this will be your first site, it would be good to do your research and look at other writers/authors websites to get an idea once you begin your website.
Some good pages to add to your site after you’ve built it is:
- Home Page – This is where you can introduce yourself and your writing and display other writing resources you have done previously. You can list all of your books on your home page as well with a review.
- Books Page – If you have more than a few books, you can create a page that lists them all and reviews of each book, most importantly, includes links to where readers can purchase them online and make them available for purchase on your website.
- About Page – This section will tell people who you are, where you come from, describe your passion for writing and what your books are about.
- Contact Page – Make it easy for your readers to contact you (a contact form, your email address, or both).
- Blog – A blog page is not mandatory, but you can use it to update your books and writings. This is a perfect way to advertise your material. You can post daily to weekly articles on your blog about topics related to your books or writings.
- Creating an Email Database
As an author or writer, you should know how important an email list is. Look at it as building your own village or community of followers.
(Figure 3: Email list from Canva)
So how is having an email list important? It is different from Facebook and Twitter. Facebook gives you a limited number of people to see your posts on pages, and Twitter moves swiftly that people who are not online will not see your posts on their Twitter feeds.
Although there’s no guarantee that your email subscribers will open and read your message, it will likely hit their inbox. However, here is what you should do and don’t do once your email list is set up.
- Your emails can be lengthy and can be formatted in almost any way you like and not constrained to be characters like social media.
- Don’t use your regular email account to contact people. Preferable use a business email with the same domain name as your website.
There are numerous options available like Mailchimp, CovertKit and Aweber, which are good email service providers. It’s pretty simple to set up and very dependable. Conduct some research and choose the option that best suits your requirements.
- Be Selective and develop a Social Media Presence.
To begin, pick one or two social media channels. Don’t feel obligated to do the latest and greatest online or stay up to date on all social media sites. Simply begin conversing with your viewers by choosing a platform where you believe your readers will be. As society grows, you will still make adjustments.
But as we all know, social networking may be a valuable tool for connecting with other writers and authors in your profession or genre, as well as connecting with your fans.
An excellent social media platform to access is Twitter, which is home to many authors and journalists.
The positive news is that social media platforms are free to access and use, and they’re built to be easy to navigate. You have nothing to lose by trying them out.
Creating a Facebook account is also a great start and makes it a great social platform because everyone has access to it.
You can still use Facebook to promote your novels, but you’ll have to pay to do so. If you have the budget and are a competent copywriter, this will be a perfect way to increase your revenue significantly.
Naturally, Facebook isn’t the only social media platform available. Another excellent social media platform to access is Twitter, which is home to many authors and journalists. It’s still a lot better to understand than Facebook.
LinkedIn (if you write nonfiction for a professional audience), Pinterest, and Instagram are excellent to provide visual aid to the content to your books and adding snippets of each image from the content.
Regardless of the social media pages you use, make an effort to:
-Concentrate your efforts on one or two pages rather than spreading yourself too much.
-Don’t just chat about your books; post (or tweet, pin, etc.) exciting material that your readers will appreciate.
-Respond to notifications as soon as possible (not weeks later) – one of the best aspects of social media is that it allows for two-way communication.
4.Engage and Have Your Work Featured on Other People’s Blogs
Engagement is imperative. Consider how to engage the audience you already have. Communicate with the audience and other people within your space. Collaborate to reach a wider audience and to increase credibility.
Be more visible through collaboration and identify platforms that your audience also engages in. How to go about it?
- Guest Posting – Guest blogging to other people’s sites can be a perfect way to get your ideas in front of an audience if you’re a nonfiction author. If you’re a fiction author, it will be more difficult to gain attention for guest blogging because you can locate blogs where your target audience reads.
- Interviews – An interview is a perfect way to introduce yourself to new and wider audiences. It is an ideal opportunity to speak about your book and promote your website and social media platforms.
- Book Reviews – If you write fiction books, several websites will review your book for free if you can supply a copy. If you write nonfiction, there are plenty of book reviewers that would gladly critique your work – just don’t go for those who usually review fiction. You might also consider contacting bloggers who write about your subject who may be interested in reading, featuring, recommending, or at the very least referencing your novel.
- It is a marathon, not a sprint: organic results from digital marketing will take a longer time.
It’s okay if the marketing campaigns don’t go viral right away. By regularly engaging on your social media pages, you can consistently create hype about your brand and book. Consider the larger picture because carving out a niche, establishing a footprint, and growing a following requires time. Write down your book’s target and refer to it for inspiration as things get tough.
Focus on consistent actions such as:
-Every week, write an article on your website or guest article.
-Once a month, send an update to your newsletter list.
-Four times a day, tweet on what you are reading, what interests you, and so on, not just about your novel.
-Every two weeks, update your blog.
For more digital marketing strategies, click here: Digital Marketing Strategies – A Step by Step Guide
Or you can simply watch this youtube video to learn more:
Remember to be accurate, brave and don’t hesitate to try new things—all the best in your writing journey.
About the author
Lindiwe Zulu is an avid reader, an upcoming screenwriter and has a great desire for sharing information. She has a knack for getting my point across very well, communicating with people, understanding their needs and providing them with a value proposition that is truly hard to resist. She lives her life as a creative, with passion and tenacity, always look forward to something new, dedicated and work smart, which makes her believe that she has a lot to offer in the digital world.