Please welcome my guest, Jim Magwood, author of The Lesser Evil, who”s talking about INTERNET MARKETING IDEAS .
You’ve written a book. Now your publisher says you need to get out there and sell. But you thought they would do that, right? Guess again. It’s basically now all in your hands, whether published traditionally or by yourself.
You can drive down the street with a trunk load of books, trying to get anyone to be interested enough to let you in the door. Or, you can start getting involved in Internet marketing, which is rapidly becoming THE place to be. So let’s take a look at some ideas that might help you.
To start with, I am not a great fan of social networking. Not to say you shouldn’t be involved, but that you should do it in a reasonable and planned manner. If you pick up the keypad every waking moment just because you think it’s fun to “tweet”, you’re going to waste an awful lot of time doing nothing productive. If you spend two or three hours every day sending out “social” messages, and don’t get any sales from it, count the time you’re wasting.
I’ve seen far too many ads saying you should “tweet” 10-20 times each day, or should “friend” everyone on Facebook. I, personally, get tired of having to scroll through message after message about someone’s dog, or what they had for breakfast, or how boring the taxi ride was. I get tired of people who think their sole purpose in my life is to send out more junk for me to read, stuff I have no interest in, just to get their name known. Don’t bother.
If you have some good quotes, or how-to’s, or a special ad for your book, then go ahead and tweet. But, not many people (certainly not me) are going to buy your book just because they now know that you change your child’s diaper three times a day.
That said, what are realistic ways you can make your presence known on the Internet and sell some books? There are some—but they all come under the heading of having a PLAN. Any businessperson will tell you if you just run out there and shout out your product’s name, very few people will respond. But if you have a structured PLAN, and go about working it in a disciplined way, you will get results. Here are some ideas.
First, what is your PLAN?
1. Is it something you’ve actually sat down and put on paper? If you just dream it up moment by moment, you will flounder. At least, as you dream, put those ideas down on paper and incorporate them in your PLAN.
2. Do you have the PLAN laid out in a daily, hour by hour manner, so you have very definite steps to take every time you get up in the morning? What are you doing from 8 – 11 a.m.? How about Tuesday afternoon? What about at night from 7 – 11? Television, or working your PLAN? If you are really trying to sell your books, you have to work a PLAN like a business, not a game. A game you can pick up and play any day, any time, and toss it aside just as easily. A business you work diligently at Monday through Friday from 9 –5, or in some other structured way.
3. What should your PLAN include? Again, ask yourself if you are really trying to sell some books. Many writers think they want to but simply don’t have the discipline to work at it. I’ve known many businesses, and authors, who think all they have to do is wake up each morning and the sales will roll in. Think of businesses around you who have closed their doors after several years of operations. Were they working a PLAN, or just opening the doors.
Some thoughts for your daily PLAN:
What are you trying to do? If you are just trying to have fun, or participate in a political discussion, then have fun. But don’t expect sales to come in. Keep this in mind.
Set out a definite time to do research for where you can get noticed in the Internet. Keep the proverbial yellow writing pad by your side at all times. As you research a certain topic, don’t get sidetracked into clicking every ad or article that pops up. Write the addresses down on the pad and keep on with the original research you were doing. Come back later and pick up the new topics. On the computer, copy the article or address from the ‘net, then jump into your Word program and paste it as “things to do.” Save the list forever as “Marketing Things To Do” so you can always come back to do the next thing and remember what you’ve already done. Put simple notes with each idea saying what you did and what the results were.
What should you be researching? For us poor, or cheapskate, authors, anything FREE where you can get noticed is where you need to be. Can you find a listing of reading clubs that you can send announcements of your book to? How about finding every bookstore of any size at all in your immediate area? Perhaps other places you might drop off a flyer or a free book – car washes with book racks, small grocery stores that will let you put a couple of books on their counter, dentist offices and hair dressers where you can leave a dozen simple flyers or bookmarks. And leave bookmarks at every restaurant you can find.
What about places throughout the Internet where you can get a free listing (or at least cheap—the next best word to FREE.) There are places like Isnare (http://www.isnare.com/) where you can pay to send out a series of articles for $1-2 each, which then get syndicated out for others to use. You can’t specifically solicit for your book, but you can write articles on areas of your expertise. Then they will give you a small space on the bottom of each article to put your bio and book information with live links for people to click on. Another is MediaSyndicate Press Releases (http://www.mediasyndicate.com/) where you can write actual news releases, pay as little as $5 for them, and they get sent out to potentially thousands of places that re-use them. You can find many more like these.
Another thing you should research is any author/writing website you can join and use, either for FREE or for a very low price. But, look before you leap. Many sites will seem to give you exposure but end up being so limited it’s not worth it. They may give you a page and the ability to write a lot of material within your page, but the page doesn’t get posted or rotated so anyone gets to see it. People have to be actually looking for YOU before they find your page. Or, they give you a fairly good price to get in, but then anything you want to do costs more, or the annual renewal fee gets you. If you are able to spend $500-600 for a yearly site fee, plus several hundreds to renew it each year, how many books are you going to sell to pay for that?
There are sites such as Pat Bertram’s (Pat Bertram Introduces and Dragon My Feet) that will interview you and/or give you the ability to talk about your book. There are sites such as The Author’s Inn where they have a one-time very low fee to get a 24/7 exposure page with no annual renewal. In general, every site ad you see anywhere should be looked up to see what it offers. This takes time and dedication, but can bring great rewards. However, always research each ad carefully.
What sites are out there who are looking for articles to post on their site where you can get a small byline and possibly a live-link to your own site? Google topics such as “articles” and “article syndication,” then keep on looking for those sites as new words come to you. Take a look at Bauu Institute’s listing of sites where you can post your materials (http://www.bauuinstitute.com/Marketing/).
One more thought for now. Where are places you can give something away FREE that will raise interest in you and your book? Consider this: If you have created an e-book, once the basic production cost has been paid, it costs basically nothing to send out beyond a little computer time. Think about finding places you could offer your e-book FREE to anyone who writes to request it. Consider law enforcement people and other first-responders; how about a gift for any and every military service person; missionaries and helps missions around the world? How many might love to read a free e-book, then tell a friend or buy your hardback? Consider clubs, companies and organizations that might offer your e-book at their next annual meeting or corporate fundraiser. If you’re going to pay for some kind of advertising, why not “pay” by sending out a FREE copy of your e-book so the word will spread?
These have just been a sampling of ways to market your works through the Internet. The main idea: Be Creative. You are, I assume, trying to sell your books, so how do you start that process? The Internet is a great sales resource, but get away from the over-used “social networking” scene and do some different things. Research; try things; keep good records of what happens (or doesn’t); then do more research and try again. And make a disciplined PLAN for what you are doing. Then, work your PLAN.
Click here to download my free mini e-book: “So You’ve Written A Book. Now What?”
Best to you all, and Keep On Writing.
I would love to hear your responses if you try anything here, or have questions or suggestions. Comment here, write me at JimMagwood@aol.com, or go through my site at http://www.JimMagwood.com.
September 16, 2011 at 7:05 am
It’s all about socials nowadays. You can basically promote anything through facebook, twitter or any other social platform you can think of. The main reason why this is successful is because people want to interact with the people behind the product. They may have questions or even suggestions, and you’ll never know where inspiration for your business might come from, and revolutionize your business overnight.
Getting out there, being social, interacting with your readers/followers/clients has amazing potential to help you be self-published (in this case, selling a book). If people like it, they’ll start and promote it themselves, for you, and what can be better than that.
Awesome article and good luck with your book.
Paul Jenkins, marketing toronto adviser
September 19, 2011 at 11:52 pm
A daily plan for selling–sounds interesting. At the moment trying to sell my books comes after washing, shopping, cleaning, pulling weeds… And writing them is the chocolate treat that makes it all worthwhile.
September 20, 2011 at 8:31 am
Thank you for the tips. Like you, I had no idea of all the work that would go into promoting my books. You are certainly correct about how much time I am wasting by not having a plan. I’m looking forward to reading SO YOU’VE WRITTEN A BOOK. NOW WHAT? I shared this article on Digg.
October 9, 2011 at 10:49 am
Great article and great suggestions–now to incorporate some of them into my marketing plan.
Thanks so much!