Many writers balk at self-promotion, but book marketing expert Paula Krapf says a strong online presence is needed to:
* Create a virtual footprint so you can be discovered in a variety of ways online
* Make a direct connection with readers (via your website, blog, and activity on social media properties such as Facebook and Twitter)
* Take advantage of numerous free promotional opportunities including book giveaways
* Seek reviews/interviews - having an online presence is your resume that others can use to vet you and your book
Krapf suggested these 10 tips to begin building an online presence:
Krapf suggested these 10 tips to begin building an online presence:
1. Get started with a website. Your website is your home base and the one online property you own. You can join Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites, but those sites are controlled/owned by someone else.
What every website needs:
• A way for consumers to buy your book
• Your book synopsis and a book excerpt
• An author bio
• A media room with a downloadable press release, author photo and book cover
• An events page
• A reviews/press coverage page
• Links to interior pages of your site where visitors can learn more (think: online table of contents)
2. Start blogging. Create a blog, preferably as part of your website; this way, every time you update your blog you’ve got new content on your website too. Google will find this immediately and this will keep your site relevant in Google’s algorithm.
Post to your blog at least two to three times a week. You can’t grow your blog and readership without having content that brings people back to your blog. Need content ideas? Blog on your industry, your area of expertise, hot topics, or on writing. Hold contests, post an inspiring, thought-provoking or interesting photo, or invite guest bloggers.
3. Let people know you're online via social bookmarking. Spread the word about your blog (and reviews, giveaways, articles, etc.) by using sites like Twitter and Facebook; in fact, you can set up your blog feed so that new posts are automatically posted to Twitter and Facebook as soon as you hit “publish.” You can also join free sites like http://www.stumbleupon.com, http://digg.com and http://delicious.com – where users share content – and make sure your blog posts (and other content) feed through those sites as well.
4. Join a Blog carnival – http://blogcarnival.com/bc/. The carnivals are a great way to network with other experts and be featured on highly ranked blogs. Each month blogs in a number of categories seek guest posts on topics in their field; the ones chosen are featured for that month and get great exposure.
5. Promote your writing/expertise with article syndication. This is an incredible tool for driving traffic to your website. Well-written, relevant articles can position you as an expert and also drive visitors to your website. Don't forget to add your URL in your byline. Articles should be 500 to 2,000 words in length. You can send articles to sites like articlecity.com, goarticles.com, and ezinearticles.com. Some require previously unpublished content (Ezine) but a month or so after publication on the site you can use the article elsewhere.
6. Become active on other blogs via blog commenting. Build your website's Google rank with good inbound links. Spend your time going after high-traffic, high-quality sites that are relevant to your topic. Good sites should have a PR (page ranking) of 4-6 depending on the market. You can discover a site's page ranking by downloading the Google toolbar which comes with a PR feature built in. Comment on 3-5 blogs per week; offer additional insight, a link to get more information – be helpful and informative. Add your url to the comments you leave; that link drives traffic back to your site, plus you’ll make good connections!
7. Consider doing a virtual (blog) tour. A blog tour is typically coverage of your book by a certain number of bloggers within a given time frame – a week, two weeks, a month. Blog tours can consist of reviews, interviews, guest posts and giveaways – there are many options. But before you seek bloggers to fill your tour dates, figure out in advance what you’d like to do, how long you’d like to do the tour (so you know how many bloggers you’ll need) –-and if you can’t prepare guest posts in advance, at least have some topics ready to present. Some bloggers love blog tours, others don’t want any part of it. Your research will uncover the best prospects to pitch; just give yourself plenty of advance time to set up your tour. While these tours can help build buzz for your book, this is only one strategy in what should be a comprehensive marketing plan.
8. Join the conversation on Twitter. This 5-year-old microblogging site has nearly 400 million users. Manage followers with Twitter lists. Tweet no more than a few times a day. Be sure to Retweet good information to share with your followers and participate in conversations. There are tweet chats too. Find topics using the # symbol: #freebooks, #ebooks, #litchat, for instance.
Be helpful and offer insights, tips, and guidance. By being helpful, you will build trust – and people buy from someone they trust.
9. Use Facebook to find readers. This site has nearly 800 million users worldwide. Founded in 2004, it’s a great way to connect with "Like"-minded people.
Should you have a Facebook Page or a profile? Unlike a profile, which can and should be personal, a Page can be used to promote you and your book since it has fewer restrictions (such as number of followers). You can connect with your audience, conduct promotions and participate in real-time conversations. Pages offer great options such as posting photos and videos from events, creating groups, and publicizing events. Make use of all of the elements available to you (links, photos, video, etc.) to encourage fan interaction; this makes Facebook’s algorithm see your page as active, and it will ensure that your followers see your posts.
10. Don't forget about Goodreads. This social networking site for book lovers has more than 6 million members. Authors who join Goodreads can use the site to post podcast and teleseminar episodes, add videos, conduct book giveaways and hold Q&A discussions. The opportunities for exposure are worth a free membership!
Paula Krapf is COO of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., where she oversees social media marketing for AME and is the managing editor of the company's twice-monthly newsletter, Book Marketing Expert. AME specializes in Internet promotion and conducts campaigns that position the author in his or her market online. AME has helped land 12 books on the New York Times Bestseller list. Get free tips from the AME blog and biweekly newsletter Book Marketing Expert at http://www.amarketingexpert.com. You can follow Paula on twitter at http://twitter.com/PaulaatAME.
Readers, do you have any helpful internet marketing tips or stories? Please feel free to leave a comment.