Stop the presses! (or, the bytes)
My question is – have you done everything possible to make your print edition as successful as possible? The business of writing is like any other business. You have different streams of sales. Each of those streams has a maximum capacity. By adding an electronic version of your book you are concentrating on adding capacity, but not maximizing capacity in existing streams.
BTW, I have published through large houses and self-published. My last book I sold to two different publishers (one small press and one medium), but I didn’t like the deal – they didn’t share my vision and it was obvious their marketing efforts weren’t going to at least match mine. So, I self-published. The first anniversary of that book past on October 27th. We sold 1400 copies in that first year.
Since you have both a website and an Amazon listing, here are ten things you can do to make those streams work together.
1. Search engine optimize (SEO) your website. Yes, you have written a book that readers will read, but you need to design a website that search engines will find. Many authors have their sites SEO for their own names or the title of their book. Okay, who searches for you? I mean if they already knew about your book or you they would have bought it. You will need to do some research and find out what people are searching for that closely matches what your book is about. As an example, Google “leadership book” and “leadership books.” The site for my leadership book should appear, for “book” on the first page of Google; for “books” the second page; and for the word “leadership” four or five pages back. You can see as a search term becomes more valuable (in terms of potential site visitors) my site (www.pokerleadership.com) descends the list.
a. Make a list of three word, two word and then single words that people search for and when they do would make your book a potential sale.
b. Begin with the three word combinations and adjust your website (title, meta data, content and links, etc) to reflect those words. As time passes, you can work on making the two word, then the single “hot” word push you to the top of the search engines.
2. Sell your book – make the “purchase now” button or whatever super super easy to find. On my home page there are at least five different ways to “click to buy” People simply see things differently.
3. Become an Amazon Affiliate. Make any book purchases through your site go through Amazon.
a. You will pick up, minimally, an addition 6.5% on each sale.
b. You will increase your own Amazon rating.
c. You can now “book bundle” on your own.
4. Add some mechanism for purchasing a signed copy. I use a paypal function.
5. Offer similar books somewhere on your website. First, if you are an affiliate, a sale a is a sale. Second, if someone buys your book and one other that you recommend, Amazon begins to bundle those purchases. They will, in some manner, offer your book as an alternative to the other book. They have some secret formula, but Amazon has actually sent out an email recommending my book, based on purchases of other books – how do I know? Well, a two day spike in sales along with someone forwarding what they received to me.
6. Use Amazon.
a. Ask every reader you know or meet to write an Amazon review. Good, bad or indifferent, reviews create content which is findable by Amazon as well as third party search engines. BTW, everyone you know is everyone who can type – your spouse, children, etc.
b. Tag your book and encourage others to do so.
c. Make an Amazon list, with your book at the top.
7. Set a “Goolge Alert” on your name, book title and the key word phrases you identified when doing your SEO homework. This is really cool.
a. As an example, I set them up. Two months ago Google emails me and tells me that the title of my book has appear on a university website. I click on that and find that the book has been adopted (yes, the self-published book) by the President of the university for use in a course he teaches in the Anderson School of Management. I send him an email thanking him and making myself available for lecture. The result was: 1) a speaking fee 2) firming up the books use in four subsequent years 3) referrals to other professors teaching similar courses 4) the library buying a copy 5) referrals to other people in the industry.
b. Every time my “key words” come up in an alert I go and visit the site. I look for: 1) is this a site that can possibly list my book 2) is this person a potential reviewer 3) should I ask this person for link to my site. You see, the search engine has already identified the site by the alert as being meaningful to you – that means a link, listing, adoption, review, etc by that website owner is pre-qualified as valuable to the search engine and your SEO efforts.
8. Google those key words – look for courses, websites, people, etc. that can potentially use your book. Sometimes, I ask them if I can send them a review copy. Open a dialogue with that person and make them a salesperson of your work.
9. On your website, find a mechanism for “fresh content.”
a. Rotate small excerpts for your book.
b. Make sure you have google ad words, they change and create shifting content.
c. Use some RSS for news feed.
10. Start a “revision” or “new edition” file. On the “contact” page on your website, let readers know you have this file. People love to help, or at least think they are helping. They will find the errors, omissions and suggest new content. Open a real dialogue with your readers by telling them you have this file and are saving their comments for future editions.
Well, that’s a lot of information. If you think my comments are valuable and you want to ‘repay me’ 1) forward this to someone 2) link to my site 3) buy my bookJ