Self-Published Authors: You are thinking about Book Promotion all wrong
Book promotion can be a daunting task for even the most seasoned authors and for self-published authors it is downright overwhelming. The instinct is to aim for maximum exposure. Most authors try to get exposure by doing a bunch of free book giveaways, posting links on social media, and recruiting friends and family to spread word of mouth about their book. The problem with this method is that it keeps you on a hamster wheel of promotion in order to drive book sales. You should be thinking of book promotion as doing SEO for your book. The largest companies in the world rely on some level of organic traffic to sell their products and be in the conversation. Self-Published authors should do the same. You want to set up a system to get consistent, organic traffic to your book so that you have steady sales even if you aren’t out there posting on social media 5 times a day.
How do I set my book promotion on Auto-pilot?
There are 3 main things you need to do in order for this to work:
- Design your Amazon book page to sell
It seems so simple, and yet it is often overlooked by many authors. Your Amazon book page is a SALES PAGE. You can send all the traffic in the world to your book page on Amazon but if you got the basics wrong then you still aren’t going to sell any books. Does your book cover look homemade or otherwise unprofessional? Unfortunately, people do judge a book by its cover. I always advocate paying for a professional cover design, it will absolutely pay for itself and you can get a great one on Fiverr for as little as $35. Is your book description optimized to sell? When people land on your book page and read the description does it accurately tell them what the book is about? Does it sound in line with what they saw on the cover? Does it highlight where your book fills a gap in the market (non-fiction) or show the reader how they will be transformed by reading your book (non-fiction)? For fiction writers does your description hook a reader with an exciting plot point and tell them they will like your book if they like certain authors that are popular in the genre? Your description should take the reader on a journey and make them excited to click the buy button.
2. Take advantage of Amazon’s Algorithm
Amazon is a search engine. Let me say that again, Amazon is a search engine! Your book needs to be optimized to get as much free traffic from Amazon’s search engine as possible. In order to do this you need to have the correct keywords for your book. Why are keywords important? Because having the right keywords can mean the difference between your book struggling to make sales and your book being a cash machine. Look at the example below:
As you can see in the above photo an author who chose the keywords productivity books would have a wildly different experience than one who chose productivity books best sellers. The second keyword choice has half the amount of competitors and garners a whopping 28X the sales as the first keyword. You need to make sure that you include your main keyword in the title or the subtitle of the book. If you have a fiction book you obviously want to include it in the subtitle, remember that the subtitle does not need to appear on the cover of your book. It will just appear in the search, see example below, the subtitle will appear in Amazon’s search results alongside your title.
Another way you can take advantage of Amazon’s algorithm is to make sure you setup your author profile in Author Central. This is a separate website from where you published your book, you are able to create your author profile and link your books to it. Why is it important? Because Amazon will suggest you as author to follow if a customer looks up a similar author in that genre. You want to make sure that you have a picture and a bio setup so that when you are suggested as an author your profile helps to sell your books.
Amazon will also let customers “Follow” an author which means everytime you publish a new book or blog post (we’ll talk more about that in the next section) that customer will get a notification from Amazon. These things all happen on auto-pilot as long as you have built the foundation and set everything up.
3. Post the right kind of content in the right places
Since most self-published authors are of the mindset that they should be getting maximum exposure above all else the tendency is to post alot of book links on social media. However as mentioned before that sets you up to be doing endless promotion for a book because the lifespan of a social media post is so short. Check out the chart below:
In order to give our content a longer lifespan we want to focus on platforms where content stays relevant for a long period of time. Creating Pintrest pins for your book cover, book trailer and any blog posts you write will be a great way to drive consistent views to your book without having to constantly update content. For blogging I recommend posting content on Medium because it gets high ranking in search engines, has a built in audience and most importantly you can link your medium RSS feed directly to your Amazon author profile which makes it look active. For a more in depth tutorials on where to post and the right kinds of content to create for consistent views and sales you can check out my free guide Secret Book Promotion Strategies That Actually Work.