When you think of top brands, you probably think of companies like Starbucks and McDonald’s, right? You see them everywhere, and you can plan on a similar experience at every building with golden arches or a green siren.
Stores like this have two things mastered: real estate and exposure. They go hand in hand. Their presence is something you can bank on. The more you see them, the more it reinforces your decision to shop there. And possibly, your loyalty.
And as an indie author, the same is true for your book marketing and your web presence. The more places you show up, the more likely your potential buyers are to find you. So, let’s take a look at your options and some top strategies for maximizing your presence.
You would probably be astonished at how many indie authors don’t have websites, or almost worse, have sites that aren’t updated and are really poorly done. Your website is where readers will go to learn more about you. And it should be your resume, clearly reflecting everything you do. And it needs to support your overall goals, whatever they are. If you want to sell books, your site should reflect that.
If you have a business tied to your book and your book is your business card, then your site goals will be very different. Regardless of your specific book marketing goals, your website should be clean and easy to navigate.
Amazon is king. So it’s surprising how many indie authors don’t put much effort into maximizing it. And although back-end optimization and metadata are important, so is your book page. This means your book description, your author bio, additional reviews, links to your other work, and maybe even an excerpt.
Your Amazon page must draw the reader in and close the sale. This is even more true if you don’t have a website or aren’t successful on social media. The bottom line here is that a top-notch Amazon presence is an absolute must for bare minimum book marketing. Anything less makes you look like you don’t take yourself seriously.
When I recommend book marketing strategies to authors, Goodreads is almost always a given, unless it really doesn’t make sense for your buyer market.
Because it’s the biggest social media site specifically for authors and readers. And it’s owned by Amazon. It’s worth saying that Goodreads is a solid plan C behind a website and Amazon in terms of where you should focus your time and attention. Goodreads is the dictionary definition of target market if you’re an author, even more so if you write fiction or your primary audience is women.
If you aren’t sure where your fans are socially, you’ll want to research where your readers spend their time. Google your genre, and focus on authors who are doing well, but who aren’t household names. Once you have five to ten authors, explore their websites and see where they are in social media. Remember that success leaves clues and you can follow their lead.
Even with the recent algorithm changes, Facebook is still the most used platform. You may hate it. But, remember, it’s not about you, it’s about your buyer market. If they’re on Facebook, you should be too. The trick with Facebook is that you must pay attention. Twitter is quick blips of info and content, you can easily hop on and off all day. Instagram is very visual, and not a place for conversations.
On Facebook though, longer, super personal posts often do very well. People are more likely to comment and share on Facebook. It’s important to be genuine, because if you’re superficial, your readers will catch on fast. So while Facebook is top of the list, it also requires a lot of attention if you want to get the big rewards.
Twitter is great for indie author visibility. And this is really because it’s such a powerful search engine. If you can’t tweet every day, just a few times a week is fine. The key to Twitter success is sharing content and networking. Use it to push out helpful, fun, or inspiring tweets. And re-Tweet: Twitter is all about sharing the love. You’ll see it pay off in terms of exposure.
I really recommend having a presence there if your topic is fun, sexy, sweet, lifestyle-focused, or just plain old warm and fuzzy. Even business authors with tips can do really well there! Instagram loves everything funny, heartwarming, inspirational, educational or pleasurable. It’s not super political or news heavy, which makes it a great escape, and I believe that continues to play a huge role in its growth.
Just remember, Instagram is image driven. So your images need to be sharp, clear, colorful and relevant to whatever it is you’re sharing.
Video, Facebook Live and YouTube
It’s impossible to log onto social media without seeing video feeds. Video is a massive attention-getter. Post a book trailer, a Facebook Live event, or an Instagram Boomerang. Doing something with video should be part of your indie author web presence strategy.
As with anything, quality over quantity. You don’t need to be a pro, but since you’re building your brand, put some time and effort into it.
As an indie author, your web presence is important. Choose strategies that you can manage, and manage well. An abandoned Facebook page where you haven’t posted since Christmas makes it look as though you’ve abandoned your own success as well. As indie authors, it often feels like our homework is never-ending — and that’s the truth.
Penny Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. (AME) and Adjunct Professor at NYU, is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns.