Importance of Book Contests For Self-Published Authors

A.S ChungPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

IMPORTANCE OF BOOK CONTESTS FOR SELF-PUBLISHED AUTHORS
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The Polar Express

5 Star Trip (Caldecott Medal) – Worth the Travel! by Carol VanHook.

I don’t believe that self-published authors understand the true benefits of winning a book contest. Apart from the fact that someone is telling you that you have written a great book, the knock on effect from a marketing point of view is substantial. Let’s explore some of these advantages.

RECOGNITION AND CREDIBILITY
It is an excellent medium to gain some recognition for your work. Being an award winning author immediately improves the perception of you as an author and a reader’s willingness to read your book. Continual accolades lend credibility that can be hard to ignore. It naturally spikes curiosity and could lead to increase in sales.

A WELL WRITTEN BOOK
In the first instance, getting good reviews from family and friends about your book isn’t necessarily unbiased or valuable. Entering a book competition means you are confident your book is worthy of the contest whilst winning an award cements what you had always thought along, you’re a great writer! It is important to know you have in fact written a good book.

RE-VISITING REVIEW REQUESTS
With your increased credibility, it may assist you in gaining more reviews about your book. Requests which may have been ignored previously may be worthwhile exploring again. Reviewers may re-consider reading your award winning book.

CREATES PROMOTIONAL MATERIAL
Winning a contest gives you something to talk about and enables you to create promotional material for marketing purposes. You can send out press releases to various different mediums and also have fodder for your blogging, website and social media.

The creators of the competition would also be sending out their press releases and creating a marketing buzz on your behalf. A renowned competition can command a large audience that matters to you and your book. Award seals are also a great promotional tool for your books at the point of sale.

PRIZES AND CONTRACTS
Most book contests offer some lucrative prizes. Monetary rewards, no matter the amount, would at least cover the costs of the entering the competition in the first place. Additional funds may be utilised to enter further contests for newly published books for the following year or ease any other expenses you may incur in the future.

Some contests offer audience with literary agents or traditional publishing houses. This poses a great opportunity for all indie authors trying to get that publishing contract.

FEEDBACK
Some book competitions offer feedback. This is a most useful service that should be embraced. You would gain unbiased and productive comments about how to improve your book.

The next important step is to identify which book competitions are worth entering. There are many out there in the marketplace but only really a handful which will bring you good marketing dollars and wide spread recognition. Find ones that suit you best and be strategic about your selections. Competitions are spread out throughout the year so make a comprehensive list as you will no doubt need it all again for the next book. Good luck with your entries!

10 Ways To Improve SEO Ranking

A.S. ChungPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

10 WAYS TO IMPROVE SEO RANKINGS
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SEO Keyboard

How to Search Engine Optimization by SEOPlanter

In yesterday’s blog post, I defined what a search engine was and the importance of Search Engine Optimisation. Today, I would like to highlight how we, as indie authors, can improve our SEO ranking.

1) CONTENT
Content is key. This does not mean however that mentioning the words “children’s picture book” a million times is enough to get to page 1. I can assure you, that is not the case. New, relevant and fresh content on a regular basis is the key driver. Ensure the content is original, free of errors and well organised.

2) URL
Ensure your prime product or keyword is in your URL. E.g. http://www.books.com/childrens-picture-books.

3) SOCIAL MEDIA
Ensure you have social media sharing buttons on your website or blog. The more places the book you have written appears on the Internet, the better. Sharing also means you and those kind enough to share, are spruiking the same message and thus inevitably using the same keywords.

4) TITLE TAGS
Create effective title tags that include your keywords. Hence all of my posting begin with “Online Book Marketing Tips”. These words will consistently appear on URLs.

5) CORRECT TARGET
When creating new content, write for your followers and readers, not for search engines. Otherwise, you won’t be naturally creating the kind of content search engines are looking for.

6) JOIN GOOGLE
Google rewards those who are part of the family. Join Google+ to get a shot at improving your rankings. Listing your business on Google Maps makes a difference too!

7) SITE MAPS
Create a site map for your website so one can see where everything on your website is located. You would be surprised how many people actually use site maps and search engines seem to like this extra piece of information.

8) HEADERS
Use your headers! Write a description under your website name.

9) BACKLINKS
Getting other websites or blogs to produce a link back to your own website is one of the best ways to increase ranking. It shows credibility and is to be encouraged. Be careful however not to spam other blogs by providing your own back link through comments. Google frowns upon this and can be more detrimental than anything else.

10) RESEARCH
Google autofills the most popular search terms. Find out what they are and incorporate those phrases onto your pages. Do it every so often to see what is trending.

Don’t underestimate what SEO can do for you! Its an imperative part of online marketing for any product or service. Some of the strategies above are not to difficult execute and with enough practise, will become a natural part of your work. Now, go get ’em!

How Do Search Engines Work And What Is SEO?

A.S. ChungPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

HOW DO SEARCH ENGINES WORK AND WHAT IS SEO?
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SEO Scrabble

SEO Scrabble by Jonathan Rolande

HOW DO SEARCH ENGINES WORK?
A search engine is a system that indexes information on the World Wide Web to allow everyday users find the data they are looking for.

Let’s think about this for a minute. Imagine the amount of information available on the Internet. If you were charged with the task of producing the most accurate data whenever anybody is looking for something, how would you do it? Where would you start? Which article, document or page would you grab first and why would you do that?

If I were the gate-keeper and you were looking for 4 inch stiletto heels made of patent leather, I wouldn’t be retrieving contact details for a plumber. For this not to happen however, some very clever people created algorithms that help to succinctly compartmentalise information. Common sense would prevail that these search engines would be looking for key words such as stiletto heels or patent leather. The next task they have to do is filter which pieces of information containing those keywords they should show you first. I would imagine that the one page that mentions stiletto heels 50 times would appear before the page that only mentions it 5 times. I just typed in stiletto heels and Google returned approximately 2,450,000 returns. Where would you be amongst that massive amount of data?

We take search engines for granted. You don’t even have to type your query into Google anymore! Just ask, literally! Google is as synonymous with search engines as Coca Cola is with soda. If I don’t know the answer to something, my 7 year old daughter tells me to “Google it”. The Internet and search engines have made our world so much smaller and if you want people to buy your books, you have capitalise on this online phenomenon.

WHAT IS SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It refers to the activity in which we engage in to try and organically improve our page rankings. How do I move from page 125 to page 1?

SEO is an essential part of ensuring your book is duly ranked when readers are looking to buy. It is about how we communicate to the web so that they can recommend you. The key word here is relevance. How relevant is your website/blog to the end user and what they are searching for?

Relevance is determined by the content of your website and search engines decide if it has suitable pages, titles and descriptions. It also looks at the performance of your website in terms of speed and ease of navigation. The number of link backs or citations is another big contributing factor to relevance, whilst retention rate of readers certainly also improves page rank.

SEO is highly complex and indie authors like you and me will never understand its full potential. We do however at a minimum need to understand what it means and how it works so that we can at least try to produce information that is SEO friendly.

In the next instalment, I will talk about how to improve your SEO.

12 Reasons Every Author Should Consider Using Hootsuite

A.S. ChungPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

12 REASONS EVERY AUTHOR SHOULD CONSIDER USING HOOTSUITE
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Wooden Owls

Wooden Owls Jodel Cuasay

As we become heavier and bigger users of our social media platforms as part of our book marketing strategy, we are also becoming busier and more consumed by them! As I flit between Facebook, Twitter, my blog and other platforms plus the need to try and engage throughout the day, I am sometimes left with very little time to do much else. And I thought I was here to write children’s books ….. right …. somehow that seems to have been pushed aside for the time being. I am too busy trying to sell the books I currently have in the marketplace.

Therefore, its time to take action and consider using Hootsuite to consolidate my extracurricular activities I perform online!

WHAT IS HOOTSUITE?
Hootsuite is a social media management tool.

It is a website where you can manage all your social media in one place without having to log into several platforms and go back and forth between them on your screen. It is a tool which allows you to amalgamate your platforms in one space. So for example, you can use Twitter, Facebook, Google+, WordPress and LinkedIn all at the same time.

Hootsuite does offer a FREE plan. This is however limited to 3 platforms but for most indie authors, this is probably enough. You can pay for upgrades should you think this is warranted.

WHY SHOULD YOU GET HOOTSUITE?

1) TIME SAVING
This is by far the greatest advantage of Hootsuite. You can post one update that will automatically autofill across your social media platforms.

2) SCHEDULING
You are able to schedule your updates. This is particularly helpful if Your target market is in a different time zone. This way, you can appear on their news feed at peak times. This is also useful should you wish to update your status on a regular basis e.g. every 2 hours. So instead of logging on every 2 hours, you schedule it do so on your behalf.

3) MULTIPLE PROFILE MANAGEMENT
If you upgrade to the pro plan, you can manage multiple profiles. Therefore if you have 5 Twitter profiles and 5 Facebook profiles, you can manage all of them from one dashboard.

4) REPORTS AND ANALYTICS
Hootsuite provides comprehensive analytics across all platforms selected. This is a great way to see how you’re tracking all in one space.

Hootsuite Analysis

Hootsuite Analysis

5) ADDITIONAL APPLICATIONS
There are some other social media platforms that are not offered in Hootsuite however you are able to download apps so that you are able to manage those as well and this includes the likes of Tumblr, Instagram, YouTube and many others. Currently, there are 141 additional apps one can get, of which 75 of them are free. So don’t fret if you don’t see your most important medium!

6) MESSAGING
You can send out specific messages to targeted groups via your dashboard. This is a great tool as sometimes, some updates may not be so suited for all platforms.

7) CONTACTS
Hootsuite enables you to look at your contacts via your different platforms. E.g. if you select Twitter, it brings up all your followers of which you can see information about them. I was particularly interested to see how many tweets they posted a day and how that correlated to their number of followers.

Hootsuite Twitter Feed

Hootsuite Twitter Feed

8) WEB-BASED
This tool is web-based so you don’t have to download software or programmes and you can login anywhere.

9) URL SHORTERNER
They have their own URL shorterner, Ow.ly so you don’t have to worry about getting preferences for that. All ready to go!

10) HOOTLET
Hootlet is the little browser plugin that adds a button to your bookmark toolbar. This will enable you to share content from anywhere on the web which also means you don’t have to even go to the website.

11) CUSTOMISATION
You can customize your dashboard to suit your needs. This was you can get yourself organized and prioritise your platforms.

Hootsuite

Hootsuite Home Page

12) ADDITIONAL USERS
Should you be fortunate enough to have someone that helps you with your book marketing promotions, you can add them as a team member so they have access to your dashboard and do some of the work for you.

There are several other social media management tools you can select from but this is by far the biggest player in the market. You can sign up for free and give it a go. This may suit your needs and reduce the amount of time you spend online.

Book Review Requests: Checklist Of What You Will Need

A.S. ChungPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

BOOK REVIEW REQUESTS: CHECKLIST OF WHAT YOU WILL NEED
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Good Reviews = Sales.

So how do we go about getting them? In my short experience so far, I can attest to the fact that it’s very hard work and requires some back bone in soliciting them. I am not great at this process and I still continuously trawl through the internet requesting for them. This is not to say that I haven’t received any and am proud to say the reviews have been flattering. I have also learnt a thing or two about requesting for reviews and wished I had a simple checklist of what I would need to get me started.

When requesting for a review, you will come across reviewers of all shapes and sizes. They all have different requirements and it is much easier to have everything ready prior to starting the process. Typically, these are some of the recurring requirements I have encountered so far.

Reading with books on head

Reading Can Be Difficult by Alexandre Dulaunoy

BOOK INFORMATION
Title of the book
Name of the series (if applicable)
ISBN
ASIN
Number of pages
Word count
Synopsis of the book

AUTHOR INFORMATION
Author bio – have a short and long version. Some have character restrictions
Illustrator bio – have a short and long version

WEBSITES
Author/book website/blog address
Website links of where to purchase your book – have at least 3 of the main players
Social media links

ATTACHMENTS
Book in PDF, ePub and mobi formats
Image of the book cover
Images of a couple of pieces of artwork from the book if it’s a picture book
Images of some extracts from the book if it’s a picture book
Sample chapter or extracts
Professional image of yourself

TEMPLATES
Cover letter to accompany print edition reviews
Cover email for all online requests
Create a follow up email template.
Create a thank you email template should you receive a review

I cannot stress enough the importance of ensuring you read all submission guidelines properly. Every reviewer has different requirements, down to the heading of the email you are sending. If you must, print the requirements and check each one off one by one. All it takes is one small deviation and you end up in the trash folder. These reviewers literally get hundreds or thousands of requests. This is their way of filtering through the slush pile and deciding what they wish to read. They don’t have the time to be chasing for the information they need from you.

And my last piece of advice is, don’t underestimate how much time and effort this will take. Be organised and pay attention! Good luck!

Should Every Author Blog As Part of Book Marketing?

A.S. ChungPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

SHOULD EVERY AUTHOR BLOG AS PART OF BOOK MARKETING?
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Blogging Dice

Blogging by Literatis.net

I just entered “why blogging is important to your book” in Google and I got 9,850,000 results in 0.25 seconds.  I then typed “why blogging your book is a waste of time” and I got 1,760,000 results in 0.37 seconds. Common sense would prevail from this simplistic experiment that perhaps all indie authors should at some point think about blogging as part of their book marketing plan.

Having read a myriad of pros and cons of blogging, I don’t believe it adequately helps you, as a self-publishing author, decide if you should blog or not. It is important to decide if this is something that is viable for you and if it is platform that you believe will yield positive results and eventually translate to book sales.

I would therefore like to share some of my personal view points that may help you in making this decision.

OPPORTUNITY COST
Blogging is an opportunity cost to your writing. The more you blog, the less time you have to write. It can also be all consuming and you may continually feel pressured to create regular posts. I think it is extremely important to set a target you can work with. Don’t place unnecessary goals for yourself or you will just stop blogging all together. It is also important to be organised. For all my different segments on my blog, I have draft posts ready to go for the next couple of weeks. So I am always ahead of the game.

TWO BIRDS WITH ONE STONE
I believe that all self-publishing authors MUST have a website. The market needs to be able to find you. I didn’t want to pay for a website and also maintain it so I chose the blogging route and killed two birds with one stone.

ONE STOP SHOP
My blogging provides me with a one stop shop for all things related to me and my books. I have my reviews, press, Q&As and feature posts, all in one space.

CHEAP
Blogging is cheap.   My WordPress.com blog and personalised domain name costed me USD$34.00. It has given me a level of exposure that far exceeds the monetary expense.

CREATIVITY AND STYLE
You must be creative in your blogging and you must have a style that can attract a market that is important to you. I am no professional but I am very happy with my blog and how it has grown over time. I believe sometimes we over think things. I certainly didn’t have in my mind some of the things that I currently blog about over a year ago when I started. It has naturally evolved over time and I ensure it blends in with the overall theme well.

SOCIAL MEDIA
It gives me fodder for my social media. I need something to talk about!

LOVE
I naturally love blogging. If you don’t, please don’t start. It truly will be a complete waste of time.

DON’T WORRY TOO MUCH
Don’t worry too much about the aesthetics and the back end requirements of a blog. If you spend too much time worrying about how it should look and worry about HTML coding, plugins, CSS, RSS etc… it will put you off blogging entirely. Start nice and easy. I knew nothing about blogging when I started and am amazed how much I have learnt over time.

GOAL
Before you start your blog, have a very clear vision of what you wish to gain from it. If you don’t, it will just be a mishmash of information and you won’t be able to retain followers. I am not blogging for blogging sake. I am blogging to create exposure and for SEO optimisation. Therefore I have to create information that is worth reading whilst also trying to gain readership of my children’s books.

I hope my blogging experience, albeit still in its infancy compared to the big players in the market, is helpful. So far, I have enjoyed the process and find it useful for me. The important thing to note here is that you don’t have to blog if you know for a fact you can’t maintain it. If it’s just an information page, just get a simple, user-friendly website to house pertinent information and that should suffice. Don’t feel pressured into creating something that is doomed to fail anyway!

How To Use Amazon Giveaways

A.S. ChungPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

HOW TO USE AMAZON GIVEAWAYS
ONLINE BOOK MARKETING TIP
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Amazon Warehouse

Amazon Warehouse by Scott Lewis

In February 2015, Amazon introduced Amazon Giveaway, giving indie authors yet another means of promoting their books.

WHAT IS AMAZON GIVEAWAY?
Amazon Giveaway is a self-service tool available via Amazon.com to host a giveaway of any product available on the website. Hence, it is a great opportunity to run a sweepstake on your self-published book that is available on Amazon. Currently, this tool is solely accessible for print editions of your book and is only applicable in the US.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
The giveaway is at the retail cost of your book on Amazon, including postage and handling. The actual set up and running of the giveaway is free. You will have to pre-pay the cost of your giveaway. Any unused giveaways when the competition concludes, you will be given a refund.

HOW DOES IT WORK?
The process is actually quite simply and only takes a couple of minutes of your time.

Step One – Select Your Book

  • Go to your book on Amazon. Make sure it’s the print edition
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on “Set Up Giveaway”
Amazon Giveaway Set Up

Amazon Giveaway Set Up

Step Two – Select Your Giveaway Type

  • You have 2 options to select from
  • “Lucky Number” option. Example, every 100th person wins a book. This is perhaps the better option for authors as it enables the giveaway to last longer and also you are able to gain more followers. Don’t underestimate how many people will enter so stretch it out. I did every 75 entrants for 10 books and it only took a couple of days!
  • “First Come, First Served” option. This creates a greater sense of urgency but it would mean your giveaway would end extremely quickly!
  • Once you have decided which type, decide how many giveaways you are putting up for the sweepstake. So, if you select every 100th entrant for 10 books, you would attract 1000 entrants in total
Amazon Giveaway Type

Amazon Giveaway Type

Amazon Giveaway Rules

Amazon Giveaway Rules

Step Three – Grow Your Audience
This was the clincher for me when deciding if I should spend money on this giveaway. Every entrant must follow you on Twitter before they are permitted to enter the competition.  My Twitter account made excellent headway and I gained a few hundred followers in a couple of days.

Important to note however that followers DO NOT translate to an audience. It is merely a prerequisite for the entrants so expect at least a 25% drop off in the subsequent days. It did however increase my follower count and I don’t care what anyone says but it creates the perception of a valuable Twitter account. 1000 followers sure looks better than 56!

Make sure your Amazon account has your right Twitter handle.

Step Four – Design Your Giveaway Page

  • Here you get to design a simplistic giveaway page
  • Add a giveaway title
  • Add a welcome page when users are contemplating entry
  • Create a win message for the lucky winners
  • Create a lose message for unlucky entrants
Amazon Giveaway Welcome Page

Amazon Giveaway Welcome Page

Step Five – What Happens Next

  • Once the above is completed, proceed to checkout
  • You will receive an email stating that your giveaway is now live
  • You will receive a link to your giveaway
  • The email also contains pre-written share options on Twitter, Facebook and via email. Just click the large icon and it automatically goes to your social media
  • The email also gives you a suggestion of what exactly to write for marketing purposes
  • The email also comes with a “View Giveaway” button where you will be taken to the page to see how your giveaway is tracking
Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway is Now Live!

Step Six – Market Your Giveaway
#AmazonGiveaway is all you need on Twitter. Check it out for yourself and see how many competitions are running at one single time! As you only have a short period of time, make sure you marketing it consistently to capitalise on the competition.

Well, there you have it. This is a very simplistic look of what it is and how to use this tool. If you have entered an Amazon Giveaway, I would love to hear your experiences! I am sure it warrants further analysis and discussion but that’s a post for another time!

How To Use Listopia On Goodreads

A.S. ChungPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

Shopping List

Shopping List by Hobvias Sudoneighm

HOW TO USE LISTOPIA ON GOODREADS
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WHAT IS LISTOPIA?
Listopia is a book list function created by Goodreads. Here you are able to find endless lists of books by genre or topics to suit your personal preferences. It enables readers to find specific books they may be looking for or recommendations of what to read next based on their requirements.

Examples:
Interracial YA Novels
Best Children’s Books authored by Women
Boarding School Stories

The possibilities are endless!

HOW DOES IT BENEFIT AUTHORS?
As an author, you can list your book onto any list that fits your category or genre. You will however appear as the last listing. You then need to rally for readers to vote for your book and the more votes you get, the higher in rank you will appear on the list. Like anything, most people will not trawl through page after page so it is important to appear at least on the first 2 pages of the list.

Goodreads Listopia

Maurice Sendak On Top of The Best Children’s Books List

Example: In the Best Children’s Book list, Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak is ranked no. #1 with 1014 readers voting for that book.

The best part about Listopia is that you can create a new list! You can make it as specific or as generic as you wish. Just a note however that it does require other books to be on the list for it to have any credibility and for readers to take the list seriously. No use having a list entitled Best Middle Grade Book Written in Rhyme with a Yellow Cover, and you are the only contender!

SOME INTERESTING FUNCTIONS
The search mechanism spans over 1000 possible tags! No excuses for not being able to find a list that suits you.

Goodreads Listopia Feature List

Goodreads Listopia Feature List

You can look at Featured Lists, Lists with Recent Activities and Lists Your Friends Have Viewed. This way you can see for yourself the popular lists to try and tag your book/s in.

The bottom right hand page also has a Brand New List section so you are constantly being updated on newly created lists which may assist your book marketing goals.

As an author, you can also help out fellow indie authors by voting for their books

It pays to be on these lists as readers may stumble upon your book when they otherwise wouldn’t have.  Coupled by the fact that it’s a simple process and is completely free, it is well worth the effort.

4 Social Media Platforms Every Author Must Have

A.S. ChungPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

4 SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS EVERY AUTHOR MUST HAVE
ONLINE BOOK MARKETING TIP 
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Picture1Did you know that there are over 200 social media platforms? 200!

It is impossible to be consistently active on even 10% of what is available. I am sure I don’t need to tell you that marketing your indie book without social media is online suicide. Whether you are savvy with the computer or not, it is a necessary evil. I am also sure most of you know which are the top players in the market and would presume that most indie authors are already participating in some of these platforms.

If however you are not and wish to start, or perhaps only use 1 or 2, I would like to highlight, what I believe to be the big 4 social media platform must haves for all indie authors. To make the offer even more enticing, they are all FREE.

FACEBOOK PAGE
I have come across many indie authors who don’t have a Facebook page. When asked for their Facebook link, more often than not, I get a link to their personal Facebook profile. I don’t want to be their friend for social purposes. I am not interested in what they ate for lunch. I want to connect with them as an esteemed colleague and to be informed about their book ventures.

Facebook is still by far, the most popular means for connecting people. Facebook pages are specifically designed for businesses, brands and authors to share their stories and connect with people. These pages may be customised to suit your needs and you get to control the content. People who like your page and their friends can get updates in news feed and more importantly, they can share news worthy posts and help you spread the word.

TWITTER
Welcome to the world of microblogging!  This is a platform where you only have 140 characters to convey your message. I am sure for most writers; this is a nightmare but nonetheless a brilliant exercise in using your words effectively. All good things come in small packages.

What is a tweet anyway? According to Twitter it is “an expression of a moment or idea. It can contain text, photos, and videos. Millions of Tweets are shared in real time, every day.” This is particularly prevalent in a society where our attention spans are dwindling. It is quite the art form to be able to express your message with so few words. Twitter enables you to be as candid or as business like as you wish and with full accessibility on our smart phones, you can tweet on the run!

LINKEDIN
LinkedIn is a social media website that specifically targets the professional business community. It is an excellent online networking platform. Through LinkedIn, you can chronologically list your books, list your qualifications and/or experience as an indie author and also send through professional updates pertaining to your writing.

No, you won’t get readers to buy your books but you will gain industry peers and business insights. You will also get some great ideas and strategies of how to market your book and learn any new trends in the world of self-publishing.

GOODREADS
An entire website dedicated to book lovers! It is a site whereby you can connect socially with readers and authors, look at what everyone is reading, read their reviews and look at their book ratings. Goodreads also has a comprehensive author program dedicated to people like you and me.

They also have a very active group discussion format as well as giveaway options and the ability to include your books on Listopia.

This is a site where people are genuinely interested in books and the authors who wrote them. It is also a great way to meet other authors and writers who can help you with anything from writing conundrums to communication strategies. Well worth considering if you haven’t already joined.

I have no doubt there are many others to explore, which have worked well for many indie authors. If you are about to embark on your social media journey and find this overwhelming, you are not alone. At a minimum, get your Facebook page up and running and once you get the hang of it and can navigate through it comfortably, move onto the next platform. You will at some point have to learn to juggle them all but I promise that it gets easier and before you know it, it will become a natural extension of your work. Besides, it’s all about writing!

Mid Year Resolution: Online Book Marketing Tips!

A.S. ChungPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

Old Typerwiter

Just My Type – A Word or Two to Writers by Lex McKee

As I fumble my way across the big bad world of self-publishing, I am constantly looking for ideas and tips for online book marketing. Like most self-publishers, I have a tight leash on my purse strings and don’t have 24 hours in a day to avail myself personally to market my books. I do however know that the internet is powerful and I can hone in on a myriad of different strategies to suit my needs and propel my books towards increased sales and recognition.

The greatest challenge I face with online marketing is simply that there is too much information! How could I possibly activate every strategy I come across and to be honest, not all mediums suit me personally, as a writer and marketer. Filtering the gathered information is in itself, a time consuming task. Therefore, I have decided to create a new segment for this blog:

ONLINE BOOK MARKETING TIPS!

Why?

  • Writing a book is the easiest part of self-publishing. Marketing a book on the other hand, is a beast we all have to conquer. It takes tenacity and commitment. I want to help you as I learn along the way.
  • This will help me gather my thoughts and instead of creating external documents and diary notes to capture all the points I have in my head, blog posts will not only help me retain that information but will do so in a succinct manner.
  • This is my mid-year resolution. I think it’s too hard commencing a new goal or objective at the start of the year after a period of festivities and holidays. We need to start resolutions when we have the momentum to move forward. Also, the end of the year allows us to rest, which is the perfect half way mark for any venture. So July 1, here I come!
  • This challenge will help me filter information and select the tactics that I can work with. This will also include some basic dos and don’ts as well as strategies I believe will work but don’t have the time or courage to go for it.
  • For the love of blogging! This makes for the perfect excuse to satisfy my cravings…
  • To help other indie authors out there that is instigating their journey of self-publishing and to give them easy and workable tips to get them started or to help them discover new strategies that they may work for them.
  • This is one form of online book marketing – blogging!

I am certainly no expert and I continue to learn each and every day. However I am enjoying the journey immensely and it would be best to capitalise on that energy whilst it’s still there! The world of online marketing is ever changing and unless we continue to keep up with the times, we will be left behind. I will not be imparting statistical information but rather simple pieces of information, just to plant that seed in your head. I am not about bombarding you with industry jargon which frankly only makes me stop reading potentially valuable information.

You can then decide for yourself if it’s an avenue you wish to pursue and if it would be beneficial to you and your end goals.