Friday, April 22, 2011
Blogging to Promote Your Books
Whenever I begin to write a book and have decided upon its title, one of the first things I do is get a domain name or URL that will serve as the online home address where I will promote the book. I typically chose the title of my book as the URL. For example, my children’s book, The Sid Series ~ A Collection of Holistic Stories for Children, has the domain name: TheSidSeries.com. My latest book, Whose Stuff Is This? Finding Freedom from the Thoughts, Feelings, and Energy of Those Around You, has the domain name: WhoseStuffIsThis.com. I create a blog to promote and offer content about each book I write. The domain names I own are forwarded to my blogs, which shortens the URL considerably. Compare http://whosestuffisthis.blogspot.com/ to http://whosestuffisthis.com/. Which is easier to say and remember?
The domain name is the first thing search engines scope out when someone types in a keyword. So, why would I use the title of my book as the URL for my blog? Because my promotion of the book is putting the title in the heads of people who are reading my blog posts, finding my articles in directories, and listening to my radio interviews. If they Google my book title, it will come up on the first page of the search. Example: http://dld.bz/S7gy. Notice that my blog is not on that page, probably because it is new and doesn’t yet have the traffic that the others do. That’s why I did a blog tour for my book. It put my book on blogs that are more established, have more followers, and rank higher in search engines, plus it gave me all kinds of links back to my blog. So, virtual blog tours are effective for bringing traffic to your site regardless of how many books you sell.
The second thing search engines look for is the title or header of the Web page. For my Sid Series book I use “Intuitive and Spiritually-gifted Children” as the title of the blog. For Whose Stuff Is This? I use “Empathy and Intuition.” If you Google empathy and intuition (even without the quotation marks) my blog comes up on the first page of the search. That’s because there are a lot of people searching for this type of information and not many pages that fit the criterion. How do I know this? I researched keywords using Google Keyword Tool located at http://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal. This is a free service to show you how people are searching the Web for your product.
Next comes labels/categories and keywords in the text.
Blogger.com has a relatively new feature known as “pages.” These function similar to navigational tabs on a Web site and make locating information easier—especially info you need to access frequently or your visitors may need such as your purchase page. For example, if you hope to get speaking engagements from your book marketing efforts, I suggest creating separate pages for your media kit, contact info, testimonials, articles, audios, videos, etc.
Take a look at the pages or nav tabs on the blogs I listed below. I have a page just for those who want to follow the blog. This takes the clutter out of the sidebar and makes it unnecessary to scroll down the page to find a way to subscribe.
There is a limit of ten pages, but if you need more, you can create a list of links and put them at the top of your sidebar. These might include “read an excerpt from my book” or “see reviews for this book.” To me, these are better than widgets that cause your page to load slower and look cluttered.
Must have items on your blog include:
• About the book facts (ISBN, price, page count, genre, pub date, etc.)
• Purchase link directly to your book’s page, not Amazon’s home page
• Book cover
• Book synopsis
Use my blogs as an example of what you might add to your blog to help your book sell:
http://deathdyingafterlife.blogspot.com/ – this blog features a stationary video in the header of the navbar. Anything you put in the upper portion above the blog posts will stay at the top as you publish new posts.
http://whosestuffisthis.blogspot.com/ – has more nav tabs across the top because I am offering a lot of supportive resources to my visitors. Many are coming to this site for more information after they purchase my book. The blog is conducive to sales, invites the media to snoop around, and gives enough information for anyone to make a decision about asking me to speak for their event.
http://thesidseries.blogspot.com/ – promotes twelve stories in a series. Since the stories are for sale as e-books, they are listed and linked in the sidebar as well as in the About the Book tab.
http://weareoneinspirit.blogspot.com/ – this one is not for a book, but I’ve included it because it has a podcast associated with it. Some of you may want to do a podcast on the topic of your non-fiction book. I use Audio Acrobat (http://nashvillewriter.audioacrobat.com/) for both of my podcasts.