Business, Marketing

The Argument for Spending Money Part 6: Book Marketing

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Marketing is a subject so misunderstood that many authors find themselves demoralized when they post a Facebook ad and don’t magically wind up on the bestseller’s list.  Little do they know, marketing is a layered and complex process, I mean, people go to college to learn this stuff!

Case in point, author James Patterson, one of Forbes highest paid authors, was the vice president of a marketing firm before becoming an author.  Do you think this multi-time bestselling author’s success was a fluke?  Hardly!

Now despite what you may have heard, advertising and book reviews alone are not marketing.  Marketing consists of production, distribution and sales.  Let’s break this down:

  • Book marketing actually begins when an author chooses a genre or topic to write about.  The more popular the genre, the better your chances of selling well.
  • Another important aspect is packaging, by creating a book cover and interior that is competitive with what’s on the market, you increase your odds of success.
  • Distribution: you need to get your book to as many people as possible to get lots of sales.  Many authors are going to Amazon, the largest online retailer to give their book the best shot at reaching as many readers as possible.
  • Sales: You need to generate buzz via advertising, reviews, media (both off and online) or by holding giveaways and contests.

Looks like there’s nothing to it huh?  Sadly, none of that is true.  This is a complicated project to manage.  It takes time management skills, coordination (team building) and business communication skills to succeed.

So how does an indie author succeed?  We study the big publishers and learn from their mistakes and adopt what works for them.

Secrets of the Big Six:  The Soft Launch

For those of you not familiar, a soft launch is where you put your book on sale, but tell only a select few like; reviewers, members of the media, and even newsletter subscribers.  Some authors suggest taking a few months before doing an official push just so you can get your ducks in a row.  Here’s what an author generally does during a soft launch:

Look for Annoying Mistakes and Formatting Issues

When I published my YA novel, I found a grammatical error on the first page.  Needless to say, I was very upset.  I worked so hard on that darn thing and still I missed things.  Obvious things.  If I had done a soft launch this wouldn’t have happened.

Start Collecting Reviews

Ever wonder why when a famous author releases a book, there are already 200 glowing reviews on Amazon?  It’s because the book was already available for sometime but kept on the down low.  A release date doesn’t really mean, a book was actually published that day.  A release date is more like a push date, where the author and or publishing house are starting their marketing bonanza.

Score Blurbs

Blurbs are different from reviews, blurbs are a seal of approval from someone significant in your genre or within the publishing industry.  Blurbs almost legitimize your book if you’re an unknown.  This is important for indie authors since the self-publishing stigma is alive and well.  Finding a big name who is willing to give an opinion on your book is hard but worth it.  Check out this post written by Marcia Yudkin on how to get started.

Create Media Kits

Creating a media kit would have helped me and those curious about who I was.  If you’re going to query book bloggers, journalists, or podcasters it would help if you gave them a link to your media kit.  Here’s a good article from the gals at Duolit on how to create a sweet media kit for your website.

Schedule Social Media Posts

If you don’t have Hootsuite or Buffer I don’t know what you’re doing with your life.  These two free services offer the ability to auto post during peek hours on your social media accounts.  This way you can schedule posts telling your followers about sales, interviews or giveaways you’ll be doing.  Priceless, for the author who is short on time and energy.

Hopefully you got something out of that, next week, I’ll be addressing paid marketing services and book PR.  If you have questions or comments post them below.

Blogging, SEO

SEO Keywords For Fiction Authors

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Update: I did a more recent version of this article called: SEO Keywords for Self-Published Books in 2016, so go check it out.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t enthusiastic about writing this post because it was so technical and to be real, I usually ignore posts about SEO and keyword research.  That’s mainly, because the subject is so boring.  But after seeing the comment section in my last post, I realized I had to face an old demon.  Yes, I do read the comments and I often feel your pain.

Not only did I find SEO boring, I didn’t realize the correlation between it and book marketing.  But there is, keywords are an intricate part of online marketing and most of us are selling our books online so wouldn’t it be nice if we understood this mysterious creature called SEO?

Anyone can rank high in the search engines just by inserting popular words and riding on the coattails of controversy or news headlines but that easily backfire.  In my own experience I’ve used the wrong keywords on this blog and ended up with a ton of bounce traffic.

In most cases, author blogs and websites need to be tagged with keywords that include:

  1. Title of your book
  2. Author Name
  3. Genre of your book

But you can’t just let it end there, you have to insert commonly searched terms.  This is where the Google adwords search toolbar comes into play.  In less than a half-hour, I was armed with the most searched terms related to fiction books.

Top search results on the word: “Books”

Keyword Ideas

Number of Global Monthly Searches

E books 4,090,000
Online books 2,740,000
On line books 2,240,00
Books online 2,740,000
New books 1,000,000
Google books 2,740,000
Children’s Books 823,000
Kindle Book 1,220,000

Top results for the term: “Fiction”

Keyword Ideas

Number of Global Monthly Searches

Fiction Books 673,00
Adult Fiction 201,000
Historical Fiction 135,000
Top Fiction Books 110,000
Free Fiction 90,500
New Fiction 90,500
Fiction Series 74,000
Good Fiction 60,500
Romantic Fiction 49,500
Adult Fiction Novels 40,500
Gay Fiction 40,500
Flash Fiction 33,100
Horror Fiction 22,200
Christian Fiction 27,100
Contemporary Fiction 18,100

Top Results for “Novel”

Keyword Ideas

Number of Global Monthly Searches

A novel 13,600,000
The Novel 13,600,000
Novel Books 1,220,000
American Novel 1,220,000
Online Novel 550,000
Romance Novel 368,000
Fiction Novel 368,000
Best Novel 301,000
Free Novel 368,000
Romantic Novel 165,000
Novel Writing 135,000
Pandigital Novel (An iPad like eReader) 90,500
Fantasy Novel 40,500
Novel Reviews 40,500
Historical Novel 40,500
Vampire Novel 33,100

Top Results for the word, “Adult Readers”

Keyword Ideas

Number of Global Monthly Searches

Book Club 1,220,000
Books for Young Adults 135,000
Books for Girls 368,000
Books for Teens 110,000
Adult Novels 110,000

Top Search Results for “Reading Books”

Keyword Ideas

Number of Global Monthly Searches

How to read a book 1,220,000
Reading Books on line 201,000
Reading Books for Free 135,000
Where to read books online 450,000
Online Reading Books 246,000
Read Books 1,220,000


Pick out your keywords or look some up on the Google Tools page and find some unique to your book.  Look up things like Science Fiction or Chick-Lit and see what you get.  This will take awhile since you’ll be trying different words and combinations of phrases.  That’s fine, take your time and next week, we’ll put those keywords to use.