Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Book Marketing Series 2019

I began promoting authors and their books back in 2001 and then it was all about splashy book launches, press releases and getting local coverage. Indie authors had it tough in those days trying to break into the establishment and get the attention of national press, but could do very well locally.

It is very different today in many respects, but certainly you can still make a big splash in your own local area, especially if our books are relevant to the history of the area. Press releases and going door to door to established businesses such as bookshops, cafes, art galleries and holding book signings can certainly launch a book and possibly get the attention of a wider audience and the national press.

Six years ago I began promoting my own books (particularly Ebooks as I tend to still go local for my print books) and a handful of authors here on Smorgasbord, which over the next two years developed to become The Cafe and Bookstore.  This celebrated three years of book promotions earlier in the year and there are between 150 and 175 active authors with new releases and reviews at any given time.

Taking my experience of the ups and downs of book marketing over the last 18 years I feel that if I can give a helping hand to other authors, it might help them navigate the marketing process a little more effectively. Especially when we have a global marketplace at our fingertips.

I am delighted that I am in a position to showcase authors here on my blog and on social media. And for me it is important to provide this FREE as I know how tough it was back when I started, and even more so now, to get noticed.

However, I have over the years found some stumbling blocks that are common to many authors.

It would be lovely to think that we write a book and readers will then flock through the doors on the online bookstore and grab a copy. Unfortunately today you are in competition with the many thousands of other books that are published that week, particular in a popular genre on a worldwide basis.

So everything you do online has to have one clear goal, and that is to encourage readers to buy your book. But all the promotions in the world with wonderful blurb and reviews are not effective unless they address one very important question.

Where do you want potential readers to end up? 

Somewhere they can buy the book immediately.

Read how to set up your Amazon Author Page with a step by step guide:

In last week’s post I covered the importance of having an Amazon Author Page as a direct selling link to your books.

This week I would like to focus on one of the most important book marketing link to your books which is both FREE and has the added benefit of permitting readers from any country in the world to review your book without having to spend £50 on Amazon products for the privilege. Especially if you are one of the millions of readers around the world who have received your book as a gift. Even more frustrating if the book was purchased for you by someone else, and you still cannot review it on Amazon.

Unfortunately with Amazon being the largest online bookseller in the world most of us do buy our Ebooks from them, as well as print books which unless are part of their KDP print on demand carry a hefty postage and package charge.

In the last 18 months the reviewing policy has changed in a number of ways to combat fraudulent reviewing.These are paid for reviews, offered by some of the book marketing sites that also charge an arm and a leg for services you can get for free on sites such as Goodreads. On Monday I decided to go deep diving into one such company to discover the 200,000 followers they promised to market my books to.. you can read how many they fell short in regard to that number HERE

Also friends were suddenly not allowed to review for each other. Rumour has it that Facebook, before it became holier than thou about privacy, sold our details to Amazon so that they could remove reviews from our friends on that site. This meant that hundreds of thousands of legitimate reviews were removed immediately without recourse. Getting an answer from a real, live person is frustrating and you might as well use the message in a bottle method!

You can now only put a review on the Amazon that sells to your country of origin. In the UK this is somewhat mitigated by the fact that the US Amazon reviews are also shown. However the reverse is not the case and if someone goes to buy your book on Amazon US they won’t see the UK reviews. Which if you are a UK author will usually be more than those on the US site.

The interesting thing is you can review any book you like, even those you have not bought from Amazon if you buy goods from any department on the site for $50 or £50 expenditure during the year!  Unfortunately we have one account for all purchases made through Amazon, but it is in my husband’s name as it is a combined seller account for my books. He formats and uploads them so it makes sense. He buys all my books that I read from Amazon but they have banned me from reviewing since it is not my credit card. It looks like I am going to have to spend £50 to review books that I have already bought.

This ruling also applies to the thousands of books weekly that are sent out as ARC copies before publication to be reviewed, gifts and also another source of reading…library books.

However, if you can encourage your readers to review on Goodreads as well as their Amazon country of origin, their review will be visible globally whatever the source of the book.

Read how to set up your Goodreads Author Page as a marketing platform and a place for all your reviews from around the world in a step by step guide:

Authors are small businesses with a product that needs marketing to obtain sales. Once you start thinking of yourself as a business it tends to focus your mind differently.

One of the jobs that gave me some perspective on marketing and promotion, was the several years I spent as advertising sales manager for a free paper in London and then a holiday publication company.

One of the key elements of marketing and selling is to attract the right customer for your product and in book marketing this is your readers.

Part of my job was writing copy for clients who could not afford to spend a fortune with an agency. This was quite an interesting challenge because most companies, whatever their product wanted to put their name in large letters front and centre. So for example:

Great name, but what does the person who is looking for a new car see when they are skimming the adverts for cars?  Steve Smith and Sons.. but that is not the product for sale and is not going to grab the attention of the person looking to buy a car. If you are looking for a car, you are more likely to be interested in reading the same advert, but arranged very differently.

Read the rest of the post...Attracting your readers – covers, book titles, tag lines and key words: