Beware of one-off marketing efforts

As an author there are a lot of things you can do to market your book. Jonathan Fields says that the most important thing you can do is write an absolutely amazing book from the beginning. But once the manuscript is done and the book is launched, what else can you do to sell a lot of copies and ensure sales of future copies as well?

One of the most important things to remember is that your life and career will continue long past the launch of your book. When filtering through the hundreds of things you can do to market your book you should only accept ideas that build your online platform for the future as well. Here are a few things I’ve seen that authors should beware of as they are often a huge waste of money:

  • Book micro sites – These are sites built specifically for a book when it is launched.  While I’ve seen this done well, most of the time it has very little impact and wastes a lot of long term benefits for the author.  All of the incoming links for the book end up going to this micro site instead of the author’s main site which means you do not get any benefit, both of search engine optimization (SEO) and future traffic.  Also, there is rarely an invitation to sign up for an email newsletter or some other means to connect long term.  Lastly, anything that can be accomplished with a book micro site can be accomplished by establishing a book section on the author’s main website.  By doing this, all of the incoming links have long lasting value for SEO and incoming traffic.  It also makes it much easier for people to become more involved with the author long term by digging deeper into the website.  Skip the micro site and always choose to establish your main website.  This will help you out the most now and in the future.
  • Social networking site – This is possibly the worst idea I have seen in an online effort to launch a book.  An author spent tens of thousands building a full social network that ended up having a total of about 100 people sign up.  It is probably not the best idea to directly compete with Facebook, Twitter and the many other options for social networking already available.  You will get much more bang for your buck by participating in these established sites instead of trying to create your own.
  • Renting an email list – This is the one thing on the list that can easily be done correctly.  Unfortunately it happens so rarely that I start off by warning people against it.  First of all, in most cases “renting an email list” and blasting out your own message to them is illegal according to the FTC CAN-SPAM Act.  A good way to go about doing this is paying to advertise or have a “guest email” sent out to an established list.  However, you have to be extremely careful which list you are paying for as it is really easy to get ripped off.  Also, a lot of time needs to be spent on the email content and the landing page.  Make sure you are offering the right thing and inviting them to sign up for your own email list.  Again, in most cases this is hard to do correctly and ends up being a huge waste of money.

The goal of your web marketing efforts should be to spread your message far and invite people to connect with you. Once you have this permission you are then able to connect with them over and over. This will not only help you sell a lot of copies of your next book but will give you a platform to sell your products, speaking engagements and subsequent publications far into the future.

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