For many indie authors, and even new authors offered contracts by traditional publishing houses, the rush of impending fame collides head-on with the harsh reality of book marketing. Your book marketing and promotion success will depend on your own networking efforts, even if you’re cruising on an advance from a big NY publisher. While HyperEdits cannot walk you through the book promotion mine fields (or strawberry fields, depending on your personal inclination to network and sell), I will outline here the main elements contributing to a successful book launch.
Author Website or Blog
The core of your author platform is your author website or blog. This can be as simple as an Amazon Author Page or Facebook Page (as distinguished from your personal Facebook page), or a free blog hosted at Blogger.
The next step up is to register your custom domain name and set up a hosting account for your own website. You can do this yourself with minimal hassle at a site such as Hostgator. You will have access to a self-service control panel and even some free tools for basic page design.
Website design can be simplified with ready-made templates you can customize with your own content and style choices. WordPress offers many such templates. For more creative designs and flexibility, you can hire a web designer or choose a self-service platform such as Wix, Zoho, Weebly, or Squarespace, that allows you to customize standard design elements.
“Build it and they will come.” Such was the promise, and even the reality of the Internet a few years ago. But those days are gone, as Google has applied ever more sophisticated criteria to rank websites and direct traffic. Today you have to be both savvy and active in creating fresh, original content. Social media reputation plays an increasing role in bringing more visitors to your site. The new motto is more like, “The rich get richer,” if wealth is measured in numbers and social clout.
Title, Headings, Keywords. For search engine rankings, the most important ingredient by far is the title tag – which may or not be the same as the visible title of your page. If you click Ctrl-U from the browser page, you can see the HTML code and look for <title> (a few lines in). This is also what appears on the browser tab. Depending on your website design interface, you can customize the title tag; in many WordPress themes by default your pages make the coded title the same as the visible title. Just make sure you make that title contain the keywords you most want. Then include these keywords again in your first paragraph, a few times (but not too many to appear spammy). Include perhaps some variations of phrasing and spelling. You can also use keywords in additional headings, bold text, image “alt” text, and links to other pages on your site or elsewhere.
Description. It helps to craft a short paragraph to attract visitors to your site when it does come up on Google. This is the “description” tag which will appear in the page code after the <title> tag. If you notice (via Ctrl-U) that your current pages don’t have them, look in your website interface for a way to add such a description tag to each page, specific to that page.
Original, fresh, reputable content. Google rewards sites with regular blog updates, as it reinforces your reputation as a site offering fresh, engaging content. Static or copycat pages, by contrast, are penalized.
Links from other sites and social media. The other strategy important to Google is to get other sites and social media outlets (the more popular the better) to link to you using those same keyword phrases you are targeting.
No matter how good your book is, or how extensive your marketing campaign, the crux of the transaction is the book description. This crucial paragraph or two appears online with your book cover or in print on the back cover. On the strength of this humble blurb rests the whole enterprise of writing, publishing and promoting your book. So work it like the precious metal it is. And if you need a second opinion, give me a shout. You can read more about crafting an effective query and book description here.
More Advice and Resources on Ebook and Book Promotion