Build your readership with a powerful author platform
Your author or book website (author platform) should clearly explain who you are and demonstrate your authority by sharing your press coverage and positive reviews. Remember to write a biography about yourself. An author biography would help your readers get to know a little bit about you and your personality. This would help in making readers feel closer to you, creating loyal fans who would be looking forward to this book and the next books you’re going to release. Most authors introduce a beginners guide book first, which naturally flow onto more in-depth publications for intermediate and advanced readers.
Your author platform, your online presence where you connect with your audience and influencers, is made on up of 3 components:
In the short run, buy your domain and redirect it to your regular website until the author platform site is built. It’s easier for readers to remember.
You can add the URL to your book sales page on your existing site before the main site is ready, rather than missing the link out of your book or having a less specific link to your home page and leaving readers to click about to find the book information.
Another option is to have a redirect on your personal brand website, for example, www.joebloggs.com/book which redirects to your Amazon page. You can get clever with this and redirect people to the right Amazon store based on their location.
How to structure your author website
Create your author website and make sure that it is SEO ready in order to attract more site visitors and potential book buyers, clients and business partners.
You will need the following pages
- home page – to explain the benefits of your book and where to get it
- resources – a place to store the downloadable information in your book
- about me – a place to publish your bio and boost your credibility
- press – a place to store your press pack and publish your media appearances
- reviews – a selection of reviews from Amazon and thought leaders. gallery of people holding your book also helps generate credibility
- work with me – a place to describe services your readers will be interested in
- events – share your schedule of appearances, including bookstores, speaking engagements and conferences, past and future
- blog – a place to add fresh content to build and maintain buzz
- other books – a place to store your other titles
- contact – a selection of ways to get in touch with you, so the person can pick their favourite
Your author website should also be easy to navigate, making your books easy to find and easy to buy.
Make sure the professional photo you have included in your book is also included on your website on the about me and home pages, this helps people know they are in the right place.
Include your social media links to platforms such as Twitter and Instagram for short tips and soundbites, Facebook, LinkedIn, medium and Google+ for longer text based features, YouTube and Vimeo for video, Pinterest for infographics. You can also share your blog content on your social media channels as well.
Avoid the temptation to sell your book directly on your website.
Well, look at Amazon’s daily website visits versus your own. Amazon is winning that contest hands down, right? Plus there is all the hassle that comes with self-fulfilment, like storing your books in a clean, dry, secure location, packing and posting, getting the parcels to the courier, checking every parcel gets there safely and dealing with returns! You can hire a company to do this for you, but why not just use Amazon – they are the experts at online book sales. You’ll need to use Amazon to sell your Kindle version, so there’s no escape.
Keep your website clean and easy to navigate; bells and whistles are distracting.
There are so many options here – the world’s your oyster! The key thing is to use persuasive, entertaining updates, over time not thinly veiled pitches.
Also, don’t spread yourself too thin. Choose your favourite channels and make a good job with those, rather than set and forget syndication. You are doing this to build a loyal tribe not just “numbers”
Remember, when people write a great book, it naturally creates word-of-mouth publicity. One person will read it, and recommend it to their friends. They will recommend it to their friends, and quickly your book starts to gain momentum. This is the best publicity you can get. People trust their friend’s opinions and are happy to invest the small sum needed to get their own copy.
Here’s a quick fire list of techniques to get you inspired
- create an FB event where you can set up online giveaways people have to register for
- pre-publicise your FB lives, and run them at a regular time slot so people can ask questions about the book and the ideas in it
- run a contest on Facebook using an app to make sure you stay within the terms and conditions – http://www.rafflecopter.com is a popular one (check your publisher lets you give away promotional book copies before setting up your contest)
- create a book trailer with you talking about the book – no not have a bland one slide presentation with a picture of the book cover – remember personality and story help keep people’s interest
- get as many video testimonials as you can post these on Facebook and YouTube. Embed your YouTube Videos in LinkedIn posts and on your reviews page. Include a URL to where people can buy your book. On some Amazon sites, you can add video to your author profile
- compile a series of short videos of you discussing topics related to your book, remembering to keep them informational, not promotional
- create an author page on Facebook if you plan to write a series of books
- create a page for your book (remember the more pages you have the more you split the traffic so start new pages with caution)
- add your book to LinkedIn as a publication and offer a free sample for download as a project
- create a post about your book on your Facebook group and pin it to the top
- if you don’t have a Facebook or LinkedIn group, start one for your book or your topic – it’s a great way to generate publicity and to build a strong relationship with your audience
- get influencers to read a pre-release copy of your book and talk about it on their blog/podcast
- get influencers photographed holding a copy of the book
- contribute advice and ideas to LinkedIn groups and make sure you have a section of your profile that talks about your book (and tells people where to buy it)
- read small sections of the book out on video and add the text below as the transcript to help boost the searchability of your content (this is a good way of getting taster content out)
- ask your audience to read out their favourite snippet and post it on their social media channels or in your group, profiles or page
- search for useful connections and start nurturing the relationship. Track down local media contacts like radio presenters, newspaper journalists, podcasters and high profile bloggers and speakers. Search for editors and submissions staff for publications that will appeal to your audience.
- share reviews on your social media profiles Encourage people to give you a good star rating.
- share a webinar about your book on YouTube.
- create a hashtag for your book.
- include slides that talk about the information in your book on Slideshare, with links to your author platform and the book sales page.
- post some free content or excerpts from your book on http://scribd.com. You can also sell your book directly from Scribd.
- provide tweetables – short pre-written tweets that are easy for people to retweet
- make a few 5-minute videos ideally in a short series of yourself talking about key issues in your field. (put the book title and URL on the bottom of the video screen and in the credits in a “lower third” style like you see on news broadcasts)
- get all your videos transcribed on www.rev.com to turn onto text-based content
- post your videos on several of the many video sharing sites including sites like Vimeo, Facebook and YouTube, embed the video clips on your website, share them on social media.
- be consistent – don’t do your promotions in fits and starts – keep on at it to keep the momentum going
- create a Pinterest board of people holding your book so that your audience can see a real human connection forming, plus social proof that people are buying your book
- ask your friends and readers to upload pictures of them with your book and tag you and try to spread them out over time, rather than a short flurry so more people see them
- take the audio from your videos and share it as your podcast
Third-party book promotion websites
I’ll cover third-party websites in a separate post as there are a lot of options to consider.
See you then!