Top Tips for Selling Your Book Online

Champion Assistants author marketing servicesThe hope of becoming a published author springs eternal for many online business owners. Your book could be the next great novel, or a publication aimed at increasing sales for your business.  No matter what the reason for writing the book, though, it takes careful planning to successfully sell it online.

Here are some questions you first need to answer in order to plan your strategy:

  • Who is publishing your book? Unless you’re working with a traditional publisher, you’re probably printing a limited run through a print-on-demand house. If that’s the case, be sure your book’s been issued an ISBN number. Without this number, most outlets won’t let you market your book. Bowker Publishing < http://www.bowker.com/> distributes all ISBN numbers, as well as allowing you to add your book to their Books in Print list and obtain a barcode for international sales.
  • Who is your largest audience? Armed with an ISBN number, it’s time to do some market research. Who is your intended audience? There are few books written that appeal to everyone, so narrow down your potential readers by age, occupation, geographic area, and any other filter that’s logical for your audience.
  • What online resources exist to market your book? This is where your market research becomes important. You must first know where people in your demographic are likely to purchase a book. For example, ninety-year-old great grandmothers probably won’t use Amazon.com http://www.Amazon.com, but most other age groups will. Amazon actually represents a great way for authors to market their writing.

Amazon’s Webstores < http://webstore.amazon.com/Online-Store-FAQ/#What-is-WebStore-by-Amazon> can be created quickly, whether or not you have technical skills. They process credit card and echeck payments for their store owners, so you won’t need separate merchant accounts.

Don’t ignore the possibilities presented by eBay, either; you can list multiple copies at “Buy It Now” prices rather than traditional auctions. Regardless of where you build your store, be sure to link to it from the websites we’re going to discuss next.

  • How many websites should you build to market your book? If you’re actually selling through Amazon, you can create simple “business card” websites that link to your online store. Write compelling copy for search engines to include in your listing. Feel free to purchase multiple domain names and create several sites with different focus by changing your content.

Another idea that sells books is a blog linked to these sites. Post frequently about topics related to your book’s main message, but avoid blatant sales tactics in your blog posts. Since you’ll also be linking to your online store from the blog, your readers will get the message.

  • How can you use online communities to launch your book? Social media sites are a boon to self-publishing authors. Many communities for writers exist, as well as other groups who have common interests. Examples: If you wrote a book on potty-training, join Facebook, MySpace and YahooGroups and look for writers’ communities, mother’s groups, parenting groups and daycare providers’ groups. Join in discussions naturally without a deliberate focus on your book.
  • Who can you talk to about your book? The growth of podcasting makes recording “radio shows” easy and affordable. Be sure your podcasts are being promoted on podcast services like iTunes by creating RSS feeds. Talk about anything related to your book – the main topic or issues that caused you to write the book. Use carefully chosen keywords so podcast subscribers can find your recordings.

And you thought all you had to do was write! Self-publishing authors are responsible, unless they hire an agent, to promote and sell their books once written. Online tools are making those tasks much easier, and can help you become a successful author. Invest in the time to learn to promote yourself well.

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