Carol Vorvain (@writersboon) is an Australian international lawyer, mediator, author and founder of Writers Boon. Her books, When Dreams are Calling, Why not? - The island where happiness starts with a question and A Fool in Istanbul - The adventures of a self-denying workaholic have been featured in a number of travel magazines including the International Traveller magazine and can be found in libraries, bookstores and on Amazon.
Treating your writing as a hobby, not as a business
You have to spend money to make money. We all know that. We all agree to that. It’s not a sales tactic, it’s the truth. And it applies to every single business. Including writing. If you want to succeed as an author, you must invest in publishing and marketing your books.
Money spent on writing courses, editing, formatting, cover design, web design, online promotion are money well-invested. Only if you treat your writing as a business, not as a hobby, self-publishing success is possible!
Remember, 300,000 new books get published each year in the United States alone.
Those books are your competition. For readers to choose your book over the others you must try to present it in the best possible light. After all, isn’t that what the Big 5 do?
No mailing list
To promote your brand, sell your books, you need a mailing list.
According to Jeff Going, an author mailing list is the single-most important tool to your success.
With a mailing list you can reach out to your readers directly and start a conversation. Just like this. Your message doesn’t get lost between cooking recipes or photos of kitties and puppies. For a few minutes, your fans are all yours and all ears. You can tell them about your book promotion, book launch or silly facts about misbehaving characters. And if they like it, they will click on that big red “Buy my book” button and make you happy.
Set up your mailing list and start growing it. With love and patience.
Take a look at Writers Boon email marketing tools & apps. They can help you build, grow and manage your email list, schedule emails or track email campaigns.
SEO, a word that many authors think it only applies to big online businesses.
If you are one of them, I am sorry to say, but you are wrong, very wrong.
SEO applies to your book as much as it applies to Writers Boon website.
If you don’t understand it, your books won’t get discovered and won’t become bestseller.
If you do understand it, it might surprise you how well they will start selling without you having to lift a finger.
So, what does SEO mean for authors?
It mostly means that you need to learn how to:
- Write SEO friendly blog posts
- Build and track quality backlinks
- Pick the keywords to use in the key metadata elements of a book (title, subtitle, the book description) and in your blog posts. You can add up to 7 keywords to your book page, so don’t waste any.
- Choose the right Amazon category for your book. Don’t go for broad categories such as “romance.” Go for the ones that reflect what your book is all about. Is it contemporary romance? Is it historical romance? What is it?
- Ensure you do not have any broken links on your author website.
If you want to learn more about SEO or discover new SEO tools, on Writers Boon we have an entire resource section dedicated only to SEO. You can find there experts, keywords research tools, link building tools and lots and lots of information.
Promoting a free ebook
What? Are you telling me not to offer my book for free? But I thought this is the best way, the only way to make myself noticed.
Sorry, but at Writers Boon we believe that authors deserve to get paid for their work, same as everyone else.
We are not in the business of convincing you that is worthwhile giving your book away for free.
Why waste your money on promoting something that will not make you money?
You might think that it’s all for the greater good, that you will gain readership and with the next book, you will make money.
But, have you considered for a minute what would happen if all the authors would start offering their book for free? What would readers start thinking? I know what I would think: why pay for a book if I can read another one, as good as the first one, for free? And don’t forget, I am an author. I love authors. I built Writers Boon for authors.
Don’t fool yourself. Gone are the times when people will remember you as an author and we’ll be prepared to pay a decent price for your next book.
You won’t convert readers who downloaded your free book into paying customers.
Short term, you will lose money.
Long term, you will lose hope in ever becoming a well-paid author.
If you agree with me, please contact us. I’d love to know your opinion.
Everyone knows spamming is bad, that it doesn’t get you anywhere. Unfortunately, many authors still make this mistake. They consider words and phrases such as: buy my book, check out my book, get my book for free, free only today are the push readers need to actually buy their book.
At best, you will sound desperate.
At worst, you will get blocked.
Those “call to action” might work in the grocery store or at Walmart, but please, try to accept: they do not work for books.
For tips and tricks on how you can attract more readers on social media you might want to read our articles:
Not reading advice articles such as this
If you want to learn more about book marketing and sell more books, you need to read articles such as this one. You need to be on the watch for promotional opportunities. You need to keep up to date on current publishing events. A calendar of publishing events is great for keeping up on the news without spending a lot of time looking for them.
To summarize it, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to marketing books. You need to keep trying until something works. However, there are mistakes such as these ones that you should avoid making.