Christian Creative Writers

HomeHome  PortalPortal  PublicationsPublications  FAQFAQ  SearchSearch  RegisterRegister  Log in  SpotlightSpotlight  JesusJesus  
Share | 

 Internet Book Marketing

View previous topic View next topic Go down 

Posts : 5906
Age : 46
Join date : 2011-07-26
Location : Southern CA

PostSubject: Internet Book Marketing   Sat Mar 17, 2012 8:18 pm

Internet Book Marketing

Learn How To Promote And Market Books Online
Web Site where article can be found.

This article is based on fifteen years of personal experience, and rather than simply presenting my conclusions, I'm going to include some of the data they are based on. If you're more interested in what works as opposed to what doesn't work, skip to building a website for authors. A logical starting place is a quick review of non-Internet based costs to market a book, and though I'm writing this primarily for small independent presses or self-publishers, it can also be effective with trade published titles. A book I wrote for McGraw-Hill, "Build Your Own PC," entered a crowded field when it was published in December 1998, yet it went on to sell over 100,000 copies in three editions, and was the bestselling book of it's type for six years. Much of the credit for the original sales impetus belongs to my old content driven website, which attracted over 1,000 individuals a day and sent thousands of shoppers a month to Amazon or to their local retail store to request the book.

The most attractive option to many first-time publishers is passive marketing, paying for an ad or a mailing. After all, it feels serious, committing money to promote your book, it fits nicely into a business plan for those who have one, and most importantly, it's easy. In our experience, it's also been a waste of money. It's not always possible to assess the precise impact of advertising on your sales, particularly if you actively market the book through multiple channels. For example, I've exchanged articles for space in magazines to promote a book published by a major trade, where the success was impossible to track. However, thanks to being a small publisher with a number of active titles and years of experimenting, I can say with some certainty what has and hasn't worked for us.

Here's the quick run down on advertising we've paid for. A cooperative mailing to the 3,000 public libraries in the US with the largest budgets sold three books, two months after the mailing went out. This was a pretty classy mailing, nice envelope, nice stamp, only two other publisher fliers included with ours. The books advertised have both had some success in libraries, were well reviewed, and offered at a 30% discount. People who do a lot of mailings will tell you that repeated exposure is critical, that content must be tuned, that it's been a tough year for libraries. All of these things may be true, but at $600 to participate in the mailing and another $150 for the fliers, we have better uses for our marketing dollars. Displaying two titles in a cooperative booth through a publisher's organization netted zero sales, but at $70 it was a cheap lesson. A small space ad in specialty magazine, following an issue in which the book was reviewed, cost $144 and sold eight books. The only web related advertising expense I've ever made was paying $200 to a Jewish organization's gift shop supplier page to include a link to the Sarah Foner translations on this site. In the first six months, this resulted in zero sales and a bare handful of visitors to the specific page linked. A new Print-On-Demand published author recently wrote to tell me he spent $2300 on a small space ad in the New York Times Book Review to promote his book which resulted in a single sale. The rule of thumb for expensive advertising is it's wasted money unless the author is famous or the ad can quote some superstar saying the book is a must read.

Free advertising has worked much better for us than paid advertising. Every published book review has sold a few books. The sell-through isn't only dependent on the placement and tone of the review, it's also dependent on the availability of your title to the reader. We've been bitten repeatedly by distributors who report to potential customers that our books are out of stock or can't be obtained. Fortunately, some of our customers gone to the effort of contacting us directly when this happens, so we not only get the sale, but we learn something about the distribution channel. Book readings are an effective way to sell books, though the actual sell through is dependent on the particular crowd. An interview on local access television stations produced no noticeable increase in sales. Free advertising also requires a sense of timing. I had a book extract from the Sarah Foner translations published in a Jewish magazine with a circulation of over 100,000. Unfortunately, it was published a year before the book was available!

My best argument for why you should market your book online with a content based website is the fact that you're reading this. It didn't cost me a dime to bring you here and hold your interest down to this point. In fact, the Foner Books website costs me $10/month, and currently averages over 8000 unique visitors per day. The majority of people visiting this site come for the computer or business related material, though come of my publishing articles break into the top 20 pages by drawing over 200 visitors a day. If you've written a new book, you already have the main ingredient needed to build a successful website - content. Nobody will ever give Foner Books an award for artistic excellence, but until the day Google starts taking aesthetics into account in their ranking algorithm, that doesn't matter to me. Take a look at the getting published article if you need to be argued into putting book material online, I'm more concerned with the specifics here.

I had the full draft of my book "Start Your Own Computer Business: The Unembellished Guide" online for a year before I published the book. Sales were pretty sluggish from the start, but I was prepared to ignore it until readers started e-mailing me saying, "I've read the online version. Great book! Am I missing out if I don't buy the published version?" I answered honestly that aside from some editing, proof reading and illustrations, they'd pretty much read the whole thing. Finally, one guy wrote throwing a line from my own book back at me, paraphrased, "Are you running a publishing company or a money losing hobby?"

At that point, I took all but the first three chapters of the book offline, and sales immediately jumped by 200%. The world was right about how to market a book online and I was wrong. You can't give the whole book away for free and not expect it to affect sales. Over three quarters of my Amazon sales for the business book are currently coming through this website, as are around a copy a day in direct sales. The huge surprise to me is that my biggest sales channel for the book has been regular book stores. Even though I only assigned a 35% discount to the title, it's selling by special order through chains like Barnes&Noble, Borders, Daltons, etc... All of these sales are generated through online book promotion, or word-of-mouth from previous website sales.

What are some important factors in a web site to market a book? The only factor that there's no wiggle room for is the site must rank well in Google for relevant searches. Google is currently driving around 75% of the search engine traffic on the web, and I don't know what other sort of traffic there is to be interested in. Millions of words have been written about how to get noticed by Google, most of which depend on underhanded schemes for getting other people to link to your site in exchanges that would make a Wall Street lawyer proud. The simple truth is that Google does such a good job directing web traffic that if you put useful content online, you'll get some of it. About the most important thing you can do is to title your page correctly for the key concept or subject that you're addressing. Take a look at the websites supporting sales of similar books to see what works for those publishers.

We've actually sold books by personal check off our web sites for years, making hundreds of sales that way. Recently, I replaced most of my "Mail a check" text with a link to PayPal to pay by credit card or PayPal account. It certainly can't hurt to accept checks and I've always sold books through Amazon Marketplace, but online direct sales more or less doubled with the addition of the PayPal links. Having all of the sales information at the bottom every page, rather than forcing visitors to click through to a special order page, also seems to help, though I haven't been able to quantify it yet.

"Internet Book Marketing: An Author's Guide To Building An Online Marketing Platform", instant eBook download now available as a printable PDF for $9.95.

God Bless, Lora  Nice Ta Meet Ya
Back to top Go down
Internet Book Marketing
View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Share this topic...
Link this topic
Page 1 of 1

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
Christian Creative Writers :: CHRISTIAN WRITERS' RESOURCES :: Publishing Tips-