Since publishing my memoir, Hippie Boy: A Girl’s Story as an eBook and paperback in October 2011, I’ve been exploring every avenue possible to drive exposure for my book. I’ve still got a long way to go, but my efforts are definitely paying off and I wanted to share what I’ve learned.
1. Put out a Quality Product. Don’t rush it! Make sure your book is the best it can be BEFORE you publish it.
2. Establish an Online Presence and Stay Active. This is so critical in today’s online world. Here’s a laundry list to consider:
3. Seek Out Reviews. Reviews are CRITICAL to your book’s success. As soon as your book is launched, seek out reviews from as many friends and readers in your social networks as you can. But along with reader reviews, reviews from credible reviewers ARE really important to your book’s success. Some of the big reviewers still won’t touch indie books, but the tide is changing and you need to seek them out. My new goal? Pitch at least two book blog sites EVERY day. Here are a few review sites to get you started:
4. Offer Paperback/eBook Giveaways. Lots of blogs offer book giveaways that can help drive exposure. But there are two key sites where you can give away books with the specific purpose of requesting a review.
5. Get involved with Pixel of Ink and EReader News Today. Pixel of Ink and eReader News Today are online web sites/eNewsletters that focus on quality bargain and free eBooks. Both sites have more than 200,000 followers (growing daily). If you are lucky enough to have your eBook featured in either publication, the upside is huge (I know…I’ve been lucky enough). The key to getting featured in these publications is to have a quality book that people want to read, and have great ratings/reviews on Amazon– the more the better.
6. Sign up for Amazon’s KDP Select Program. In December, Amazon launched its KDP Select program, a new library-lending program that enables people with Amazon prime memberships to loan one eBook each month. To entice authors to participate in the program, Amazon puts up a minimum of $500,000 each month – to be divvied out based on the number of loans a books has. As further enticement, authors who participate in the KDP Select Program can give away their eBook for free on the Amazon platform for up to five days during each 90-day lock-in period. The downside? The KDP Select Program requires exclusivity for each 90 day period, which means you can’t sell your eBook anywhere else during that three month period. I jumped at the opportunity to give away my eBook and drive exposure, and thanks to spotlights in both Pixel of Ink and eReader News Today, my promotions were a HUGE success.
7. Seek Out Media Exposure. This is can be as simple as writing guest posts for blogs, or seeking out radio, TV and print interviews. The key? Find an angle for your story. Example: I did a story interview with KUOW Presents, our local NPR affiliate, about the Hippie Boy story and the moment I found my voice and claimed my power. I’m also now using Hippie Boy as a reading guide to help at-risk teens claim their power by finding their voice and sharing their stories. Finding your platform/niche market really helping in generating media exposure.
8. Explore Pay-Per-Click Advertising: I’ve explored several online advertising options to help drive exposure for Hippie Boy. I think they were all beneficial in driving awareness, but the pay-per-click ad I purchased on GoodReads was particularly worthwhile. The reason? I was only charged when people actually clicked on my ad so it was easy to track results. And even on days when I had only a few clicks, I noticed that people were adding Hippie Boy to their TO READ list, which is key. I’ve not explored Facebook or Google click ads, but I may in the future. Other worthwhile advertising options? Kindle Nation Daily (KND), IndieReader.com and eReaderNews Today (though advertising opportunities on ENT are so popular that they are currently book up more than a year in advance, and KND is starting to fill up quickly too.)
9. Maximize Your Amazon and BN.com Pages. Amazon’s Author Central platform offers a way for authors to add editorial reviews, book extra info and other key elements to your Amazon book page that helps boost sales. Take advantage of this and make sure your Amazon page presentation is the best it can be. Also pay attention to the tags at the bottom of your Amazon page. Add the tags/words you envision people would use to get to your book and then ask friends to click on those tags. The more tag “likes” you have, the more likely your book will pop up on an Amazon book search. You can also add editorial reviews and author bio info on your BN.com page, so make sure that page is the best it can be as well
10. Help Each Other: There are a lot of indie author Facebook groups and web sites emerging where indie authors band together to help promote each other’s books and drive awareness. Get involved and do your part to help other authors. Marketing a book is A LOT of work and the more we help each other, the more we all succeed in this new world of publishing.
About the Author
Ingrid Ricks is a Seattle-based writer and speaker who focuses on overcoming adversity, embracing life and turning dreams into reality. She is currently partnering with Scriber Lake High School in Edmonds, Washington to help at-risk teens claim their power by finding their voice and writing their stories. She is also collaborating on the development of an ongoing writing/empowerment workshop to help at-risk teens. Ingrid’s stories have been published in Salon, Ladies’ Home Journal, The Seattle Times and a variety of other publications. Ingrid also has a background as a marketing consultant and speaks regularly about how writers can leverage today’s social media and online marketing tools to reach readers and build their platform. Hippie Boy: A Girl’s Story is her first book. Find Hippie Boy at Amazon or BN.com or order from your local bookstore.