In this episode I talk to Lindsay Buroker about building an online presence with a website as well as using social media to your advantage. Lindsay has been doing this sort of marketing before she was even a writer so she knows her stuff. It’s a value packed episode and there’s plenty to implement to improve your book sales!
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JA Konrath’s blog – How Lindsay found out about self publishing.
Couple of great posts by Lindsay on her blog:
Tracy Falbe – Excellent example of selling on site books herself.
Lindsay has a background in blogging (before blogging was cool!). She made websites and wrote non-fiction articles on them – required a lot of marketing and this is where she learned about how to make a website visible and get people to visit it.
She started her blog to share what she was learning and promote her books. Many people came to check out her writing advice and then moved onto her fiction.
Having your own hosted site can be a good idea ($50-60 per year) as then you own it. Lindsay says this will be more professional and removes the risk of your site being shut down by Blogger (might be a potential issue for erotic authors). She uses BlueHost, RSP is on Hostgator, both are excellent.
You then need to add the WordPress system to your site, with that installed it’s quite easy to put a site together. If you are not a techie, go to Craigslist, Elance or the kid next door and get someone to do it for you. I found this gig on Fiverr where someone will do it for you for $5!
Building a mailing list is essential – a website allows you to do this! If you have a good subscriber list you can email those people when you launch a book and it will get a lot of early sales and jump to the top of the lists from there you will get a whole number of other sales.
Blogging and newsletters are a great way to keep your name in your readers minds.
Downsides of Blogging
- Despite having a very popular blog, most of Lindsay’s sales do come from Amazon.
- You have to find something you are passionate to write about outside of your books which can be challenging.
- A blog can take 6-12 months to get off the ground – it is not a quick fix.
Rule: Do something for people before you ask them for something. Retweet their stuff, comment on their blogs etc.
Two great options for getting mentioned on big blogs:
1. Find people who are blogging in your genre and contact them (easy through their website) and say “Hey, I’d love to write a post for your blog on X topic.” If they say yes you’ll get exposure to their audience.
2. Contact a book review website saying “I just read XYZ book, I’d love to write a review for it for your site.”
In both of these cases you’ll get a small area to mention your book after the article.
Diversify your income streams – don’t just rely on Amazon for your income. Sell your books everywhere because if it drops off Amazon for whatever reason you want to have a backup.
In the back of her books Lindsay has a note saying you can buy the next book in the series on her site so she will take a higher percentage. Tracy Falbe does this very well.
Lindsay uses the Amazon affiliate program to see whether the sales of the books are coming from her website or not. By placing these affiliate adverts on her website she knows in Amazon what percentage of her sales are from her website visitors. Many authors would like to be able to track where there sales are coming from but it is largely impossible – this is a small way of doing it.
Free Books as a Lead In
Give away the first book in the series for free. If you don’t have many books, writes a novella prequel and give that away. You could also include a free excerpt in the end of the novella of the main book. Remember to tell people they can buy the next book in the series! You can also include your website and social links at the end of the free book.
Tip for new writers:
Self publishing is easy but that doesn’t mean you should rush out a book before it is ready. Make sure you’ve got advice from others (not just your family and friends) before you go ahead and publish.
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