Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Going Beyond Online Recognition to Selling Your Book

Suppose you have a Web presence, but people aren’t buying your book. There could be several reasons why people aren’t buying, but the first place to look for the problem is at your own Web site where you sell your book. Having a well-functioning Web site as a point of purchase is a must.

I work with authors to help them promote their books online. One author who came to me for marketing assistance asked me to visit his site. What I found surprised me. It was so disorganized that I felt overwhelmed and didn’t know what to look at first. There were Google ads, video clips, and all kinds of things not related to the author’s book, but there was not even a “buy now” button or a “click here to purchase” link! As simple as it may sound, some authors do not know how to create a site where a book can sell itself. That is why an entire chapter in my e-book Book Promotion in the Digital Age, Online Promotion Made Easy, is devoted to how to set up a site to market a book.

Let’s look at some of those things.

1. Don’t put everything on the front page. The landing page should have a welcoming message and a lot of “white” space without text or graphics. Include a cover photo of your book so people know they are in the right place to learn more. Set up links or navigation tabs that invite your visitor to different pages on your site.

2. Make a separate page for each thing you have to offer. For example, your book may have a companion CD, DVD, teaching guide, testimonials, reviews, or other things related to your book, but each page of your Web site should deal with only one aspect of what you have to offer. Use keywords, labels, and meta tags that are relevant to the items and text on that page.

3. Be specific about what you offer. Tell how your particular product, book, or service helps the user. Give people a reason to buy. Tell what’s in it for them, how it benefits them, or makes their life better/easier. Extend an invitation to take action, and provide an easy way to buy your book.

4. Cross promote all your pages to drive traffic further into your site. Not all your pages have to be listed in your navigation tabs. Some may be back pages that are reached by clicking on cross promotion links. Let each page promote other products or services without distracting from the primary purpose of the page containing the link. Make sure the text you use as the link or anchor text contains keywords.

5. Promote your Web site online. Once you have your Web pages ready for visitors, start building your network and inviting people to come to your Web site and take a look around. Make sure your off-site marketing includes links that go directly to the page where the reader may find more about that particular topic or product. Don’t make your visitor search for what they are trying to find. Make it easy for someone to buy your book.

Once you’ve created a buzz, got your followers and network established, people will see you as somewhat of an expert on the topic of your book, and they will want to learn more.

Yvonne Perry, is the owner of Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services—a team of highly qualified writers and editors with many years of experience in writing for articles, books, ad copy, media releases, PR kits, Web text, biographical sketches, and newsletters. Editing, proofreading, book review, and book evaluation services offered individually and as packages. Find us online at

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