So far in this series I have focused on Amazon Author pages, Goodreads and the book marketing potential of your covers, titles, tag lines and key words: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-book-marketing-series-2019/
In the next three posts I am going to look at the online social media platforms that are helpful in your efforts to market your books. None of them are perfect, not least of all because of the amount of personal data that is collected, but you are in business as an author and advertising is a key element of your strategy.
This week I am going to focus on blogging which in my experience over the last seven years is the one that offers the most options when it comes to book marketing, as it is combined with another crucial element… the marketing of you the author.
Blogworld is probably the most effective watering hole for writers.
There are an estimated 60 million bloggers on WordPress alone, and I recognise that it can take time to establish your own community of writers and readers. I started my own blog in 2012 but it was not until September 2013 that I really began building my brand consistently.
I wanted to promote my previous books which were just converted to Ebooks, and this gave them a new lease of life. New covers, updated and previously only sold in print at local outlets, I was finally after 14 years able to take advantage of the global Kindle and Epub market.
Seven years later, this platform and my social media, not only offer me an opportunity to promote my own books but also to promote other authors. Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore has 150 + active authors (recent reviews and releases) at any given time and passed its third year anniversary in June this year.
A blog also offers you an amazing opportunity to show off your writing skills. If a reader likes your post, or short story, they are more inclined to buy your books.
I would like to ask you a series of questions about your blog and if you answer NO to a number of them, you might think about making some adjustments.
- Do you have an ‘About Me’ page with a good quality photograph, enough background to engage the reader (people buy people first) a brief but comprehensive guide to your books as well as what the readers will find on your blog?
- Have you included a link to your Amazon Author Page and social media (the other watering holes) where you would like to connect with your readers?
- Have you included your Goodreads Author Page where readers from all over the world can leave their reviews and read all of your reviews from different countries in one place?
- Do you have a separate ‘My Books’ Page with each book, a blurb or recent review and the links to buy?
- Are your books also available to buy in other formats than Kindle, such as Epub or Audio on another site such as Smashwords?
- Do you have an archive search option in your side bar which allows readers to search by month?
- Do you have a Categories menu in your side bar?
- Do you have directories for regular features in your header menu?
- Do you have all available share icons featured beneath your post such as the Like button, Press This button, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn etc? You may not have an account on social media (more next week on why you should).
- How easy is it for your readers to comment?
- Do you have an invitation to your readers to comment and share at the end of each post?
- Do you have a link to your books page at the bottom of each post that you write?
- Do you have a blog identifier in the title line that builds on your brand? (Smorgasbord Health Column etc)
If you have not answered yes to all those questions about you blog set up, here is the link to my recent post on setting up your blog to be reader friendly with a step by step guide: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/28/new-series-smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-new-blogger-promotionand-setting-up-your-blog-for-accessibility-readability-and-sharing/
Branding your blog to carve out a niche amongst the 60 million other bloggers!
My blog is Smorgasbord Invitation although the primary brand name is Smorgasbord Blog Magazine. I nearly always put Smorgasbord and my full name in the title unless it is the secondary brand name, Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore. When the posts go into the WordPress reader, anyone who follows the blog can immediately see that it is a new post from my blog.
Originally I set up my blog to be a magazine style watering hole, covering a number of subjects such as health, humour, music and posts on general interest, hence the name Smorgasbord. I then began to post book and author promotions and in addition to the Smorgasbord brand, in mid 2016, I added Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore as my second level branding.
And if you would like to see how that works then put Smorgasbord Blog Magazine or Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore into your search engine.
And here are some established blogs that carry a distinctive brand, either for their blogger, a regular series or both, that illustrate how important it is when optimizing your blog visibility.
The Story Reading Ape
Tanka Tuesday poetry challenge (even when you don’t add in Colleen)
If you do not have a consistent name in your post titles such as your blog name or your own name then you will find it hard to establish your brand.
This is important for any blogger, but for an author it is essential if you wish to bring in new and existing readers to your blog and to view your books.
This is your place of business – put a sign over the door – your name or the brand name you have chosen and use it for all your posts – Smorgasbord Health Column, Smorgasbord Music Column, Smorgasbord Laughter Lines, Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore New on the Shelves etc, etc. Keep those readers coming through the doors and once in you must have your mechandise on display My books and Reviews 2019
Self Promotion on your blog.
It is true what they say about readers not liking persistent self promotion on a blog. On an author’s website you can get away with more, as it is expected and you can have a combined Author Website with a Blog attached. The way to encourage readers to buy your books is by letting them get to know you better, engage with you and find out what makes you tick and inspires you. It is equally true what they say ‘People buy People First’.
I have trained hundreds of sales and front of house staff in my career in retail, advertising,hospitality industry and in telecommunications. One of the elements that makes a customer facing staff member excellent, is their interpersonal skills and knowledge of the product. Making that connection with existing and potential customers is crucial during the first few minutes of their interaction.
First impressions do count, so when a new reader hits your home page where all the summaries of your posts are found, and they see post after post about my books, my latest book, my book in progress, my new review, buy my books… they will be off like a shot.
But if they pop in and they see My childhood memories of my Grandmother, My inspiration behind my writing, Guest post by Author Sarah Smith – Editing Your Book, The Story Reading Ape – Monday Funnies, My review of the Jungle Book.…they are more likely to read all the posts that interest them… and at the end of the post take up your invitation to visit your books…..
On some posts that I have written myself, such as in the Smorgasbord Health Column or Smorgasbord Short Stories, I will also had a short biography and the link to my books.
What about the numbers of followers of your blog?
Some people say that you should not worry about how many followers you have for your blog. However, if you are an author, in the business of selling books, then you do need followers, otherwise all the effort you are putting into writing posts that are not read, is a waste of your time and writing skill. Effectively you are talking to yourself.
Certainly I don’t believe you need hundreds of thousands of followers to be successful, because it is about quality not quantity. However, what you do want to attract is readers who buy books and I think we would be all happy to have 1000, 2000, 3,000 followers of our blog who also buy our books!
Not everyone who does visit will buy a book, especially if you don’t write in their genre, but they are likely to click one of the share buttons and send your post to their social media platforms, and that is just as important as it widens your marketing reach.
You need to go out and gather new readers for your blog, and that is accomplished by gathering around one or two of those other watering holes online, and getting to know the readers first in that environment.
And that is where we are going to go next, now that you have checked that your storefront has a book marketing focus, with easy access to your books and the buy links.
Thank you for dropping in and if you are a new visitor you can find out more about the blog, me and my books: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/about-smorgasbord-blog-magazine-and-sally-cronin/