Monday, December 13, 2010

Going Beyond Online Recognition to Selling Your Book

By Yvonne Perry

Suppose you have a Web presence, but people aren’t buying your book. There could be several reasons why, but the first place to look for the problem is at your own Web site or blog where you sell your book. Having a well-functioning point of purchase is a must.

WITS works with authors to help them promote their books online. One author who came to me for marketing assistance asked me to visit his site. What I found surprised me. It was so disorganized that I felt overwhelmed and didn’t know what to read first. There were Google ads, video clips, and all kinds of things not related to the author’s book, but there was not even a “buy now” button or a “click here to purchase” link! As simple as it may sound, some authors do not know how to create a site where a book can sell itself. Let’s look at some of the components that make a Web site work.

1. Don’t put everything on the front page. The landing page should have a welcoming message and a lot of “white” space without a bunch of text or graphics. Include a cover photo of your book so people know they are in the right place to learn more. Set up links or navigation tabs that invite your visitor to view different pages on your site.

2. Make a separate page for each thing you have to offer. For example, your book may have a companion CD, DVD, teaching guide, testimonials, reviews, or other things related to your book, but each page of your Web site should deal with only one aspect of what you have to offer. Use keywords, labels, and meta tags that are relevant to the items and text on that page.

3. Be specific about what you offer. Tell how your particular product, book, or service helps the user. Give people a reason to buy. Tell what’s in it for them, how it benefits them, or makes their life better/easier. Extend an invitation to take action, and provide an easy way to buy your book.

4. Cross promote all your pages to drive traffic further into your site. Not all your pages have to be listed in your navigation tabs. Some may be back pages that are reached by clicking on cross promotion links. Let each page promote other products or services without distracting from the primary purpose of the page containing the link. Make sure the text you use as the link or anchor text contains keywords.

5. Make it easy for someone to buy your book. Make sure your marketing efforts include links that go directly to the page where your book is mentioned. Many authors have sent me a link to Amazon.com’s home page where I had to type in the name of their book to find it. Copy the URL or Web address (starts with http://) of the exact page where your book is listed on Amazon. This may be a very long link that will separate or break during email transition. It will have too many characters to use on social networking sites, so shorten the link using budurl.com, tinyurl.com, socialoomph.com, hootsuite.com, or some other program before sending.

6. Promote your Web site online. Once you have your Web pages ready for visitors, start building your network and inviting people to come to your Web site and take a look around. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social networking sites are great places to meet potential buyers for your book, but remember, those are “social” networking sites. The social activity should be focused on friendship rather than sales.

Once you’ve created a buzz, got your followers and network established, people will see you as an expert on the topic of your book, and they will want to learn more. This should intrigue them enough to purchase your book.
Yvonne Perry is a freelance writer, author and keynote speaker who enjoys assisting people on a spiritual path by writing about topics that inspire excellence and uplift the spirit. She is a graduate of American Institute of Holistic Theology where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Metaphysics. As a ghostwriter, Yvonne helps people get their message into a well-written book or article. She is the owner of Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services, a team of full-time writers offering ghostwriting and editing for books, articles, Web text, resumes, and business documents.


1 comment:

Cozy in Texas said...

Thanks for this post. Great advice.
Ann