When it comes to Internet marketing, if you’re an independent author striving to sell your book, I’d imagine that your best talent would be writing, correct?
Assuming that you already have a website of your own name (like “YourNameHere.com” for example), you’re going to need content to put on that website. The next logical (and probably easiest, considering your most developed talent) marketing step would be to start writing articles that pertain to your book, that you can link build with in order to boost your rankings in the search engines, promote with social media, and thus draw targeted traffic that will likely follow you and subsequently buy your work. This is when you’ll realize, if you already haven’t, that there’s a difference between writing a book…and selling one.
Stop Trying To Sell Your Book
When you write articles for your website and book marketing, you shouldn’t write articles to sell your book, no.
I know. I know. You’re probably thinking, “Well, isn’t that the point?”
No, it’s not.
“Then why waste time writing the articles if they’re not meant to sell my work?”
You could write articles that are basically advertorials, but the majority of your audience is going to be turned off by this. Trust me, I once tried the same strategy and winded up burning through nearly $2,000 in pay-per-click ads that earned literally 0 sales. That was a major, embarrassing, and expensive failure that I beseech you not to repeat.
Heed my wisdom.
The point of the articles is not to make a sale; the point of the article is to win the trust and interest of your audience and get them to generate conversation about what you’ve written…so that you make a sale.
There’s a difference.
Choose Abstract Content Indirectly Related To Your Work
You could write directly about the characters of your book, but that would serve best the fans that you’ve already accrued. If you write articles that talk about specific characters, and market them to new people who’ve never heard of you or your writing before, your content may come off as a bit esoteric, meaning that they’re not entirely getting what’s going on because they feel like they’re on the outside looking in, instead of actually being a part of the in-crowd. If you write about characters they’ve never read about or heard of before, it will seem to them as foreign as doctor’s jargon.
There are exceptions to every rule of course, but the general guideline you should follow here is that when you want to stir the pot of the fans you already have, write articles about concepts directly relevant to the story, involving the actual characters’ names and story situations, etc.
On the other hand, however, when you’re looking to expand your audience, then it’s best if you choose to write about abstract concepts (like philosophical themes) that are present in your work, but that people who’ve yet to encounter your work can relate to. This will increase their chances of following you on your social media account(s) if they like the material, whereafter you can then tell them about your book after they’ve converted into your follower, which eases the resistance they may have in buying from you.
Fiction Book Marketing Example
Jane Doe wrote a story about a strong female protagonist named Sarah. Sarah’s story begins while she is a child, being molested by her father. The story ends with Sarah breaking free from the abuse.
Jane Doe wants to market her book, but she doesn’t know how. If she writes articles about Sarah and posts them on social media, few people outside of her immediate and biased social circle are going to care. There are no social media groups that she can join dedicated to her character yet, because no one knows that the book even exists.
Therefore, if she doesn’t write about Sarah, but instead pumps out 24 different general articles about overcoming abuse, women’s rights, the importance of good parenting, etc.
…all of a sudden, now she has an audience. There are potentially hundreds of thousands (even millions of people) who care about these deep controversial issues. By making either her entire blog or a section of it dedicated to these intense topics, Jane can then join relevant social media groups and share her articles around.
At the end of every article, she can entice her audience into following her on Facebook in order to stay up to date on more editorials on these issues. After reading several of these articles, her audience begins to trust her and enjoy her writing style.
…then one day, Jane makes a single Facebook post to her following about a book she’s written featuring a character named Sarah who experiences the issues that she’s written about in her articles that her audience has hitherto loved so much.
Bam, instant sales.
That’s a strategy called warm selling, which always yields a higher percentage rate of return than cold selling which is just basically walking right up to people who don’t know you and trying to sell them something. Warm selling is the method of making money by first building trust in those of whom you’d wish to sell to; cold selling is when there is no prior trust or liking established.
Think about it. I said earlier in this article that Jane’s nearest friends would be willing to buy her work, correct? But only few other people outside of her social circle (in contrast with social media)? Analyze the connection between Jane and her nearest friends, juxtaposed with Jane and new unbiased potential buyers.
What’s the difference?
…Jane’s friends know her, like her, and will buy her work simply because they wish to support her, even if they may not like her work in itself, themselves.
How can Jane create the nearest psychological effect in the people who don’t know her, and get them to want to buy her work like her closest friends would?
…through providing content that unites her with the desired audience on topics that the following she wants can agree on, henceforth the need for article marketing.
Nonfiction Book Marketing Example
In my experiences, nonfiction is a lot easier to warm sell than fiction; all one has to worry about is one’s own credibility while providing something relatively new that hasn’t already been written before (which sometimes can be more difficult than it seems at first glance, I admit).
Let’s say that John Doe has written a nonfictional history book about the Vikings that he wishes to build an audience for. With nonfictional work, there are already social media groups for pretty much anything he can imagine (Facebook groups for the modern religious followers of Odin, called Neo-Pagans, for example).
What he can do is create his website (JohnDoe.com), and then write articles featuring interesting little tidbits of the history connected to the book, and then share these articles around in those social media groups (the same way Jane would to build her audience).
Then, at the end of each article, the reader would be encouraged to follow John Doe’s social media page. After John has accrued enough fans, he then tells them all that he’s releasing a book about the Vikings.
Because the audience he’s built was from social media groups already dedicated to Norse history, and the people of those groups are already familiar with him through his other relevant online content…
…of course, they’d be much more willing to buy his work.
Why Article Marketing Is Important
In conclusion, article writing is vital to a deliberate Internet marketing plan for selling books for several reasons:
It familiarizes people who are unfamiliar with you, builds trust in your name/brand name establishing a connection that gets them used to your writing style, and unites you with them on issues worth talking about (which generates buzz).
If you put your calls-to-action at the end of each article, enticing people to follow you on social media if they’d like more of your content, then, primarily, the people who actually read will know how to follow you. The people who actually read your articles are the ones who will actually read your book, thus making your following very targeted which dramatically increases your chances of making sales when you finally let the word out to your audience that you’ve established that you’re publishing a book relevant to their interests.
And check this out, I have so much faith in my own advice…that I’m using it on you…right now.
If you’ve liked what you’ve read here, you’re likely an author looking to market their book (or know someone who is); follow me by clicking here for my Facebook page, or here for my Twitter page, if you’d like to read more articles like this over time (like this one: Article Marketing for Stories), educating you on how to effectively take control of your independent writing career.
You see what I did there? You were under my control the entire time.
Don’t hate. Learn. That’s what I’m here for: to teach you.
Other than that, I recommend that you also read:
…read both of them, because they each have principles that affect the other.