I’ve lost count of how many books and articles I’ve read on the subject, and how many tools and techniques I’ve tucked away in my mind or archived on my computer.
The fact is:
There is no one way because ultimately what works for you may not work for anyone else. Or, what works for everyone else may not work for you.
The reason for this soon becomes obvious. Each of us is unique. Each of us has a unique way of presenting ourselves and our material.
On the other hand:
Here’s a check-off list of ToDo’s:
- Review the contents of your book.
- Determine your target market. Who is your readership, or who will benefit most from buying and reading this book?
- What is the profile of your target market? For example, are they environmentally conscious? Spiritually oriented? Focused mainly on traditional values? College-age? Teenage? Single? Married? Entrepreneurially inclined? All of these?
The more clearly you can identify your target market, the easier it will be to determine what type of marketing will work best for your book.
For example, if your target market is young people and professionals who may do a lot of text messaging, your book will be a perfect candidate for viral marketing, social networking, blog development, etc.
You CAN do it!
You may always remember the first time someone you don’t know—not your Aunt Susan or your sister or grandmother, but a total stranger—clicks on the “Buy Now” button and orders one of your books. It’s a triumphant moment, and even if you’ve been strategically building a website, sales and promotion pages and doing everything possible to get the traffic snowballing, when it finally happens, you’ll find yourself shaking your head in amazement.
That voice inside yelps excitedly, “Internet marketing actually works!!”
I remember back in the early nineties crowding around a computer while an Internet marketing expert brought up a tiny black and white photo of a wrist watch. Jubilantly he informed us that one day it would be possible to sell almost anything on the Internet.
Who would be the magician, we wondered. At the time there was no way for anyone to find the wrist watch, learn more about it, pay for it, and arrange to have it shipped.
That was only a few years ago.
In the late 90s, I ghostwrote and published a book for a company that was selling rejuvenation products and services. Amazon was so new, most people had never heard of it. When I told my colleagues that I’d placed their newly published book in an online bookstore, they thought I was crazy.
Who would ever go to a website to buy books, they joked. Why should they, when they could drive over to a Barnes & Noble or Borders, pick up whatever they wanted and carry it home with them? Instant gratification versus waiting for a book to be shipped seemed to be a much better option.
How times have changed!
Consider today the cost of gasoline, parking meter or parking lot fees; the time, energy and inconvenience of driving to a shopping mall or plaza to buy a book when you can sit down at your computer and in a matter of minutes order your book and have it drop shipped to your doorstep, often free of charge. (If you want it shipped overnight, you may be happy to pay extra for that service.)
Today most of us are acutely aware that brick & mortar bookstores are having serious financial problems. The large chain establishments have resorted to becoming mini department stores that stock stationary, candles, toys, games, bath salts, aromatherapy, etc., AND books. Most of these stores also sell beverages and pastries.
Online bookselling has become a billion dollar industry. Print on demand digital technologies are rapidly replacing archaic offset printing, warehousing and distribution procedures. Direct marketing delivers most of the profits first to the author and publisher. Cutting out intermediaries has created a much more desirable business model.
We now know the power of the World Wide Web, Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines. We also know that many people have been able to quit their day jobs and make sizable monthly incomes on the Internet.
Hard copy books that are printed “on demand” are an excellent product to sell from your website if you’re willing to stock and ship them yourself.
Advantages: You’ll make more money than selling them through Amazon.com, bn.com, Ebay and other online stores.
Disadvantages: Packing, picking and shipping require person power. At first, if your web traffic is small, this may not be a problem. However, as your business grows, it can be a chore. If you’re selling several books, you will also need storage space.
In addition, you may feel that it’s necessary to get a toll-free ordering number. This requires personnel to answer the phones if the orders start to come in thick and fast.
Another challenge is competition from established online stores. Possibly they offer discounts that you can certainly match, but if they also offer free shipping, after you’ve deducted the printing cost, your own shipping costs from the print on demand company to your office, and cost of both shipping materials and postal fees (plus labor, unless you want to offer your own labor free of charge), whatever’s left may not seem worth it.
An excellent option is to sell your books through online stores such as amazon.com, alibris.com and bn.com. Join their affiliate programs and use your affiliate-embedded link whenever you promote your books from websites, blogs, lenses and other places. The online bookstores will stock your book (charging your print-on-demand company for the printing cost only when a book is sold) and do the picking, packing and shipping. Of course they’ll charge for these services, but it will be worth it in the long run when you get into volume sales.
Experiment with Online Joint Ventures
When you include a joint venture in your book marketing campaign, you add value to the customer’s order without asking them to pay more for your book.
Everyone loves bonuses; the word "free" is magical and can also imply specialness—you the seller are giving us the buyers a special deal. Why? Because we’re smart (and special) enough to be here at the right time and place. And why are we really special? Because we chose to buy your book.
Subconsciously, the feeling of obtaining anything "free"—no strings attached—may also give us permission to do or be something or someone more than we would ordinarily be willing to commit to or believe in.
“Free” allows us to take risks. We take off the mufflers of inhibition and blast the world as loudly as we can: "FREE! FREE! FREE! Count me in! Don’t leave me behind!"
Joint ventures have a carnival air about them. Lots of fun and excitement, big crowds and everyone spreading the word ABOUT YOUR BOOK.
For you, the author/entrepreneur/therapist, all this high energy floats upward and outward. Expansion broadens your playing field by adding potential opt-in email subscribers to your list. Several of those lists can total in the tens of thousands and deliver many more sales than anticipated.
Joint ventures build a community of colleagues supporting each other’s endeavors.
How the JV works
Let’s say Sally, a marriage and family counselor, has an ebook on time management for working parents with young children. You are a hypnotherapist and your book is about releasing stress. Your two books are a wonderful match. You suggest to Sally that she offer a free excerpt of her ebook as part of your list of buying incentives.
In your sales sheet or squeeze page, you will include a brief promotion paragraph for Sally’s book, a photo of Sally and a hyperlink for downloading her free ebook excerpt.
Sally’s autoresponder page where your buyers will download her free bonus may contain promotional material about her consulting services. It may also promote her new DVD on parenting, or other books and products she’s developed.
Sally will support your joint venture by sending out a promotional email to her opt-in emailing list. The hidden message is: if these opt-in email subscribers respect Sally, they will trust her judgment in recommending the products and services of her colleagues.
This message is often right on target, and that’s the beauty of joint ventures. Several people on Sally’s list will subscribe to your site and possibly buy your book.
Every time you add other bonus or joint venture partner to your sales campaign, you multiply your potential for shoppers (and buyers).
You agree to support each other’s sales campaigns by offering a free item to each of your squeeze pages. Joint ventures have joint benefits. In addition to boosting the campaign by offering buying incentives, joint ventures also provide free publicity for the generous donor.
Whenever the buyer accepts a joint venture partner's free gift (after making the purchase, of course), they will land on that partner's autoresponder downloading or shopping cart page.
Behind the scenes, you or your webmaster will have worked out the logistics of offering a commission to each of these joint venture partners whenever a sale comes in through one of their opt-in subscribers.
If you need help creating a joint venture, contact one or more of your favorite Internet marketing gurus and they’ll be happy to refer you to the company they use. Or if they’ve developed their own joint venture software, you may be able to purchase it (after you subscribe to their opt-in email list!).
Check out the websites of some of the most successful Internet marketers. If you join their email subscription list and copy their procedures, you will know exactly how to include a joint venture in your book marketing campaign.
You already have a membership site once people have subscribed to your opt-in email. Your site would be considered a public one or open to everyone.
A different type of membership site may charge an entry fee and block off a special section “for members only.” The goal is to create an online “home” for the paying subscribers and to encourage these members to “come home” to this website daily or at least several times a week.
To maintain a private website, the owner makes a commitment to post new articles, blog entries, responses to members’ feedback commentary, and other fresh material almost daily.
Attrition rate tends to be high for sites of this nature; people will join and participate for awhile. Then at a certain point, if the material starts to repeat itself or if it doesn't hold their interest, they'll unsubscribe and look elsewhere.
In some ways, this type of membership site is similar to a group therapy session. It works exceptionally well for people who like to air their problems publicly, and also for those who are looking for online companionship. Free social networking sites often work just as well for these people.
On a much higher level are private member sites run by competent professionals. A typical model is a blog run by a well-known journalist on the Beltway (Washington, D.C. area). He manages to get scoops almost daily, so his material is always juicy. Members are only too happy to pay a fee to read it. This type of blog is also perfect for selling books.
Some private membership sites do not charge a fee. For security or other proprietary reasons, the owners do not wish to welcome the public. Obviously these sites exist for information only, and would be categorized non-commercial.
You now have all the tools you need to write, publish and market your articles and books on the Internet.
If all of this seems like too much trouble…
You don’t have to do any of it. You don’t have to promote your published book at all, if you don’t want to.
If you own a trucking business, a bicycle repair shop, bed and breakfast, organic fruit and veggie store, you don’t have to necessarily build an online business for selling your book. Other online services may be listing your business in their directories and this may be sufficient for you to get noticed.
Remember: your book is ALWAYS important as an introduction to you and your business. How you choose to publish, promote and distribute it is a personal matter.
I feel as though I’ve only started to cover the bases; there’s so much more I could tell you… and by the time you read this section about marketing your book online, much of it may already be out-dated.
I do know, however, that when you decide to write your own book, you will have one of the most exciting and exhilarating rides of your life! In more ways than you can possibly imagine, your book will open doors for you: both inner and outer.
Try it, and see.