Promoting books online is one of the most stressful tasks for authors. At its core, it’s about informing people why they should buy your book, and giving them an easy way to do so. When put that way, online memoir promotion doesn’t sound so scary. As with anything else, the complexity is in the details. If you ever find yourself feeling overwhelmed by all there is to do, take a breath and focus on the following fundamental steps of advertising a book online.
1. Determine where your audience resides online.
Rather than try to promote your book to every conceivable audience, it makes sense to focus on readers who already share an interest with you and your story. Try finding such people on Wattpad, Commaful or other free publishing platforms. You may also see them on social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram or Tumblr.
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If you already have an audience, start there and figure out where they currently go to read. That will help you identify where you can go to share your work. If you don’t already have fans, think about an already famous author that has a memoir similar to yours. Find them on social media. Figure out where they go and what sites to visit. That will help you understand how to reach them.
2. Develop deep relationships with your fans.
Engage your readers in ways that focus their attention on your process, not on the product itself. Try having monthly Q&A sessions where fans can ask you about your upcoming projects or dive into the less chummy stuff, like imagining your characters’ memories and personality traits.
If you make it easier to find you and connect with you, you learn enough about what interests your fans about your work. From there, you’ll know which ideas to pursue, how to pitch your book to your target audience, and how to monetize. The cocktail of these strategies makes a potent elixir for sales and brand loyalty.
While this is true for almost any book, this is especially true for memoirs, where the readers will feel a direct connection to you because they are reading your story. Not only do they want to know the story is interesting, they want to like you. By building community, hosting Q & As, and more, you can build that type of relationship that your memoir can’t do on its own, leading to even more growth.
People share public Q&As and people who are on the fence about buying your book will take action because they love you!
3. Start a blog.
Writing your book is a significant investment. As such, you should have a plan in place that will allow people who are discovering you for the first time to “discover you” at other times as well. Blogging sounds like the right answer.
A blog makes it easy to showcase your main skill on a consistent basis. At the same time, it lets you interact with your existing audience.
Almost every author has something to share about their work and writing process. To that end, don’t focus on how valuable your blog might be for your career in the future. Instead, think of how significant it might be for your fans and friends right now.
There’s no shortcut when it comes to starting any blog, so consider taking an online blogging course if you’re nervous about managing such a platform. You can also check out Reedsy and Wired for Youth for blogpost samples and ideas.
While you can blog about anything, for the best result, blog about things that you think people who would want to read your book would like. For example, if your audience loves drama and your memoir is filled with drama, your blog probably shouldn’t just be all your favorite cooking recipes. Instead, blog about your analysis of drama in today’s world. Share some of your stories in a different light. Get creative. If your content is interesting, people who want to read more will buy your book.
4. Leverage your email list for pre-orders.
Email marketing remains effective up to this day. It makes sense to build, maintain and maximize your mailing list for better online memoir promotion.
To build your list, offer something of value to readers in exchange for their email addresses. This could be a free eBook or a chance to get exclusive updates via email. Sending short stories, novellas or book previews is also a popular option. You can continue doing these as your email list grows bigger.
A book preview or sneak peek signals your readers that you’re working on your book. Then, it helps build hype which could prompt your readers to pre-order. With more preorders, your work will get more exposure from Amazon, Goodreads and other sites.
In addition to getting attention early on, email marketing helps demonstrate your genre and content. Thus, you should make it cool, contemporary and cohesive so your author brand becomes recognizable over time. This is essential in maintaining a loyal reader base.
5. Use your podcast as an anchor.
Do you love writing and speaking? Consider launching your own podcast! This is an even better way than blogging to make your relationship with your fans feel personal. If people are used to hearing your voice every week and hear teasers about who you are in a podcast, they’ll buy your memoir to hear your story.
Podcasts are a great way to showcase your personality, reflect on your creative process and develop your brand as an author. They’re also a window into your personal world, and they help you engage with your fans in an interesting way. The format of a podcast is a natural fit for readers in all fields, but like any collaborative medium, recording a podcast is a highly specific and skilled art.
Sticking to a schedule is important in podcasting. As much as possible, dedicate at least five days for your pre-production. Work for a couple of hours on each day. Then do your best on the recording day.
Keep doing the fundamental steps in online memoir promotions. Eventually, if all goes well, you may find yourself too successful—with more promoting work to do, and not enough time to do it, but you can hire professionals by then.
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