80-20 Marketing Tips for Your Books

This is a follow up of the post I did recently about the abundant author resources available through Smashwords.  In that post I summarized key points from several of Mark Coker’s (founder of Smashwords.com) books.  Three of his ebooks are free, by the way, and so is publishing and distributing your book through Smashwords.

cure for writers blockIn this article, I’ve extracted those things which “spoke to me” regarding marketing your books.  These items are from two of Mark Coker’s books, referenced below.  At first glance, it may seem a bit overwhelming to try to implement all these recommendations.  There is only so much time to work on them.  Where to start!

In Mark’s book, The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success, he discusses the Pareto Principle, known as the 80-20 Rule.  This principle is a useful time management and business tool.  Simply stated, you have to figure out which activities give you the most bang for the buck.  The 80-20 Rule basically means you need to concentrate your efforts on the 20% of activities that will give you 80% return.  So with this in mind, I’ve arranged the book marketing “to-do” list below in terms of what I think will give the best bang for the buck (at the top of list).  Of course, if it is possible to do them all, go for it!

Have fun and, “Remember why you’re a writer. If you write simply to make money, odds are you’ll probably make more if you get a part-time job at McDonalds.” [Mark Coker, The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success]

My 80-20 To-Do List

Start your marketing hype long before you ever finish your book.

Make your book the best it can be (story, editing, format, cover, COVER) and it will sell itself by word of mouth (oh, if it could just go viral!).

Have experts help you make your book the best it can be (editing, formatting, cover), but be frugal with how much you spend to produce/promote your books.

You (the author) are the “brand.”  Have integrity in all your online rants.  And don’t spam.

Don’t give up or be discouraged by negative reviews.

Keep writing more books.

Diversify your book distribution just as you would your monetary investments.  field of dreamsSmashwords automatically does this for you.

Get your book titles in online book listings.  In all your listings, use metadata to your advantage.

Give some books away for free.  Use coupons for creative promotions from your blog or other social media.

Create digital paths (hyperlinks) to your books from everywhere (your blogs, social media sites, email signatures, message board signatures, and press releases) that connect to your Smashwords author page or book page.

Specifically post notices on your various websites that your books can be found at Smashwords.

Be sure to link back to your personal websites from Smashwords as well.

Issue Press Releases about publishing your book on Smashwords.  Consider including limited free downloads (using Smashwords coupon code).

Print business cards with links to your books and hand them out like candy and post them on every bulletin board you can find.

Make a YouTube video about you and/or your book and put it on your Smashwords book page.

Use Twitter as described in The Smashwords Book Marketing Guide and you’ll be added to a Smashwords author listing on Twitter, and your tweets about Smashwords will be promoted on Smashwords Twitterbuzz.

From Tip #22 in The Smashwords Book Marketing Guide, “Create multiple Google Alerts at http://www.google.com/alerts, and Google will email you whenever a new conversation, or a new news story or blog post on a given subject, appears.”  This will help you connect with others who are already interested in the topic(s) of your book.

easy rideOnce you find the right audience/author forum/reader forum/blog, get involved (do not spam). Here are a few ways:  Write thoughtful reviews of others’ books.  Leave thoughtful comments on others’ blogs.  Guest post on others’ blogs.  Invite other authors to guest post on your blog.  Do interviews of authors on your blog.  Share information and help other authors and readers.

Source of information for this article:

The Smashwords Book Marketing Guide, by Mark Coker, http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/305

The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success, by Mark Coker, http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/145431

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