A while ago, I wrote a post, titled Book promotion on the web, which was a collection of thoughts about how Authors best promote their book(s) online.
I’ve had a few people ask me for more details on this subject, so here are s a few steps you can take when your book is being released (these concepts work just as well for other products as well – don’t just think books).
Start a blog
Ideally, you should buy a domain name, organise some website hosting and install (my favourite) blogging software, WordPress. Then, choose one of the pre-existing free wordpress themes you can download, or organise a web designer to create your own individual design.
If you aren’t going to go to all of that trouble (remember, you can pay someone to do all of it for you), you can always fall back on wordpress.com, which is free WordPress hosting, however you won’t have the same control over the back end and design templates of the blog using the latter option.
See my book’s blog as an example of the former, at The Principles of Successful Freelancing Blog
In either situation, it is important that you keep up a frequency that your readers will appreciate, and add real value content (such as excerpts, book signing dates, etc), not just a sales pitch rehashed over and over. Make sure you encourage people to subscribe to your feed, and encourage comments on your posts.
Create a Facebook page
Facebook is much more than individuals – it can be a great place to promote your product or business. Facebook marketing ideas can be found all over the web, however as a start, make sure that you have your own Facebook account, and then visit their Facebook Pages for Business page, which will get you set up with your own book’s Facebook page.
Once you’ve created the page, make sure you upload an image of the cover, and completed as much of the information fields as you can. Add your blog URL, along with any publisher contact detail and the like.
Once you’ve done that, go to ‘Applications’ in Facebook, and install Simply RSS. Once you’ve entered your RSS feed address into this application, it will display your blog post headlines on your Facebook page, increasing the frequency the page is updated, without any additional work for yourself.
Once the page is all polished and ready to promote, politely invite all of your Facebook friends to ‘fan the page’ and consider adding a link from your blog to this page, and encourage people to fan the page. Share the link using the Facebook ‘Share’ button, as well as send individual messages to friends you know who would be interested in the book.
You can see an example of a book Facebook page, at my book’s page: The Principles of Successful Freelancing on Facebook.
Remember to visit the page often, and add new content where you can. There are great stats available to you, which give you a greater insight into who is visiting the page. See the ‘Ads and Pages’ link in your Facebook homepage.
Create a Twitter account
If you haven’t already got a Twitter account, go and grab one. Twitter is a micro-blogging system which allows you to interact in real time with your readers and friends. Search Twitter for existing friends, and don’t hesitate to look for other Authors to connect with.
A handy tool available for WordPress is Twitter Tools. This Plugin will allow you to notify your twitter followers every time you publish a new post on your blog, and you can even set it up to post your tweets back as blog posts.
Then add further value by joining in the conversation with others on Twitter, however remember the golden rule is be authentic – if you barge into conversations (both online and offline) for the pure purpose of selling copies of your book, you aren’t going to be very well received.
You can see an example of how I use this at The Principles of Successful Freelancing on Twitter. I have a personal Twitter account as well, which I have been using way before the book, which is here: @milesb (feel free to start following me!).
These tips should get you started promoting your book online – there are plenty of other ways to use online social media to market your book, if you’re interested in more, comment below!