SideStepping Traditional Publishers: Successful Online Book Marketing – Part II of II By Angela Hoy

Last week, I discussed why so many authors choose to self-publish. This week, we’re going to discuss how successful, self-published authors market their books online. I’ve enlisted the help of some of BookLocker’s top-selling authors.

For me, publishing an ezine is the most effective forms of online advertising. You invite people to subscribe to your list and you, in turn, provide them with quality editorial, along with plenty of ads for your own books (or other products and services) in each issue of your ezine. Everybody knows it almost always takes multiple exposures to a product for a customer to finally decide to buy. Rather than running one-time ads or publishing a one-shot article, you’re reminding your readers of your books on a regular basis. Our ezine, WritersWeekly.com, has been the best marketing tool we’ve ever used and it just keeps on working, year after year. We also provide a free ebook, How to Be a Freelance Writer, as an incentive to attract new subscribers.

Ezine And A Freebie

Julie Hood, author of The Organized Writer and publisher of the website by the same name, uses one of the same tools we use – a freebie giveaway to attract new subscribers to her ezine. She said, “What worked really well was putting together a stop-the-presses, I-need-to-tell-every-writer-I-know bonus for signing up for my newsletter. Subscribers get to sample the book, solve some of their biggest problems, and then come looking for MORE in the book. Then they tell all their writer friends and groups about it.”

Posting Your Book For Sale On Other Websites

Julie also lists her ebook for sale on WritersWeekly.com. She adds, “One thing I’m grateful for is partnering with someone who has a big list that targets my same market (WritersWeekly.com, of course!).” WritersWeekly pays her 70% royalties on the sale of each copy of her ebook, The Organized Writer.

Website And Blog

Tim Leffel, author of The World’s Cheapest Destinations, credits his website and his popular blog with his success. He said, “The most successful marketing effort for me has been the combination of my website and my blog. The two are connected and both drive a lot of book sales – more than big press appearances, radio interviews, or anything else. The two also bring a lot of journalists my way. I don’t do much active press promotion of my books – I don’t really have the time to chase people down. Probably 95% of the press coverage I’ve gotten has come from journalists calling me for an interview or a quote, not from me contacting them.”

Website And Email Alerts

Karen Bishop is a well-known online personality and the author of Remembering Your Soul Purpose: A Part of Ascension, The Ascension Primer: Life in the Higher Realms, and The Ascension Companion: A Book of Comfort for Challenging Times. What is Karen’s most successful marketing tactic? She said, “My website because of the visitors it draws due to the weekly spiritual messages I post.”

Karen has been been distributing What’s Up On Planet Earth? energy alerts via email since 2002. Like an ezine, these alerts point those on her mailing list to her website where they can purchase her books.

Karen’s three books above are currently the top three best-selling print books on Booklocker.com. Our office has been a flurry of activity since she moved her first book to us from another POD publisher who had treated her poorly, and since her two new books were published earlier this year. So, we can attest to the fact that her online marketing techniques are working GREAT!

Online Forums, Email Signature

I use an extensive email signature (some would say too extensive) not only to market WritersWeekly and my classes, but also to let people know where I am on any given day or where I’m planning to be. Having an email signature is a perfectly acceptable, yet not too subtle, way to advertise your books to everyone you email. Many online forums allow users to create a unique signature that appears under all their posts and these forums usually allow brief marketing messages to appear in those signature. Heidi Gonzales, the author of 150 Ways to Creatively Announce Your Pregnancy, said, “My two most successful online marketing methods are using my signature line in all emails and participation in online forums.”

Google Ads, Your Own Forum, And Search Engine Optimization

Jhershierra, author of The Resurrected Dead, Now Immortal, Live Among Us, didn’t have any luck with her ezine, but swears by Google ads. She said, “(They are) well worth the money I spend.” She also suggests creating your own online forum (message board) and focusing on search engine optimization. She adds, (Having a) message board is good as that leads to customers buying the book, which leads to them enrolling in my school.” But to bring them in, make your website as search-engine-friendly as possible. I have a good PR ranking and am on the first page (of results) for my keywords. This helps a lot. Search engine optimization and google ads….those have worked for me.”

Websites And Message Boards Related To A Book’s Content And Search Engine Optimization

Alan Roger Currie, author of Mode One: Let The Women Know What You’re REALLY Thinking, said, “Given my particular subject matter/genre, what’s been most helpful for the marketing and promotion of my book has been websites and/or message boards that have to do with dating, relationships, and/or seduction. For example, two or three men gave my book a good recommendation on one of the AskMen.com’s message boards. When they did, I noticed a spike in ebook and paperback sales. Also, register with search engines using the proper keywords (i.e., Google, Yahoo!, etc.).”

All Of The Above

Jim Novo’s paperback book, Drilling Down: Turning Customer Data into Profits with a Spreadsheet, sells for $99.20. Despite the price, his book has sold very well over the years. Jim suggests playing multiple marketing cards consecutively to get the most out of your online marketing efforts. Since Jim is far more of a marketing expert than I, I’m giving him the last word. He said, “I don’t really look at it from the perspective of which online method works better than another, but that online works much better than offline. Without a search-driven online channel to market through, my book would never have been published in the first place. That said, a website without all that goes with it – an ezine, swapping links, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads, participating in online forums, etc. – is simply not a proper online marketing effort.

“If I had to choose, since none of these techniques works without a website to anchor them, I would choose the website as most important. But I would never put up a website and expect it to ‘work’ for me without all the other online marketing techniques that are part of a successful website.”

Angela Hoy is the co-owner of WritersWeekly.com and BookLocker. WritersWeekly.com is the free marketing emag for writers that features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday. Attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print, rates BookLocker as one of the top POD publishers in the industry.