Guest-post from Frances Caballo, author and expert on Social Media for writers.
You want to sell more books, right?
We all do. As someone who specializes in social media for authors, I wish there was a simple answer to the question, “How can I sell more books?”
Being active on social media will help to move your books off the predominantly virtual bookshelves. But it’s not the end-all.
A book marketing strategy is far more complex and requires active participation from today’s authors.
Start Your Marketing When You Begin to Write
As soon as you begin your novel, a collection of poetry, or nonfiction book, involve your audience.
Tell your readers that you’re starting a new book. If it’s a novel, ask them to suggest names for the characters.
When your designer sends you a sampling of book covers, let your readers decide which cover to use.
The more you involve your readers in the decisions about your next book, the more interested they will be in reading it.
Build Your Author Website
As you write your book, work with a webmaster on developing an author website.
You also need to start blogging. Don’t use a third-party application such as Blogger or WordPress.com. Those websites enhance the search engine optimization of those applications, not your blog.
It’s always best to host your blog on your website.
Write new posts at least once a week. If you can manage to blog twice a week, that would be even better.
In addition, look for guest blogging opportunities. Contact colleagues and even experts in the field whose blogs you regularly read and where you leave comments. Follow their guest blogging parameters and suggest several topics.
Guest blogging on high-traffic websites will bring you more Twitter followers, Facebook page, likes, email subscriptions and book sales.
Do you have trouble deciding on blog topics? Check out my post 34 Blogging Topics Just for Writers for ideas. I also wrote a post on how to blog like a pro.
Blogging in teams is also another option to consider. There are numerous blogging communities such as BlogHer, which encourages authors to write guest posts on each other’s websites.
Start an Email Marketing Program
Social media is wonderful, but nothing can replace the opportunity to communicate directly with your readers absent a third-party application.
Be sure to sign up for a newsletter program such as MailChimp or AWeber. You will need to include a widget on your website encouraging your readers to sign up in exchange for a gift.
On my website, I created a free e-book titled Twitter Just for Writers. If you write fiction, you can give away your first two chapters.
Once you start to accumulate emails, be sure to communicate with your readers at least once a month. Let your readers know about discounts on your books, contests and events.
As much as you can, build a street team. These are readers who are dedicated to you and who will promote your book on their social media profiles. You can do this both through an email marketing program and through your social media conversations.
10 Strategies for Selling More Books
Here are some additional thoughts on how you can encourage more book sales:
1. Think hard about the audience you’re trying to reach and then find out which social media networks they use. You’ll want to refer to my post How to Target Your Readership.
2. Be consistent in your social media posting. On Twitter, tweet at least four times daily. On your Facebook page, post twice daily. Share information at least once daily on Google+ and several times a week on LinkedIn. Spend a few minutes each day on Pinterest and on Tumblr, post several times a week.
3. Be social; don’t broadcast your messages on social media. Never use social media as an advertising medium. Endeavor to build relationships, share your colleague’s information, and make time to engage with your readers.
4. Rethink how you price your books. Ebooks should be priced no higher than $3.99, and preferably at $2.99.
5. Sign up for Goodreads and initiate giveaways.
6. On Wattpad, Scribd and Goodreads, provide a chapter of your book for free.
7. Ask local bookstores to carry your books.
8. Organize a launch party
9. Schedule a blog tour. Blog tours may not immediately increase sales, but they will increase awareness.
10. Run contests on your Facebook page and Twitter account. Studies indicate that page fans Like pages due to two factors: brand loyalty and wanting to be the first to know about special coupons and deals. So reward your Facebook fans for liking your page by running contests using RaffleCopter. You can also run a contest on Twitter using OneKontest.
What have you done that has successfully increased your book sales?
Frances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. You can receive a free copy of her book Twitter Just for Writers by signing up for her newsletter. Be sure to check out her Social Media for Authors Podcast or look for her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+.