Basic Online Bookselling Tips for the Overwhelmed New Writer

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When you self-published your book, did you have any idea of how TECHNICAL everything is to the non-technical person who is trying to market their online book? Especially (but not exclusively) if you grew up in the last century..?! Well, if you are floundering around, join the gang of new writers, indie publishers or newbie authors who are overwhelmed by how much there is to learn and do in order to actually sell your book. My heart goes out to you.

Just to let you know, I self-published my first book, How to Love Yourself in Less Than 50 Years, in ebook and paperback format earlier this year. Well, I thought I was the Bees Knees and the Cats Pyjamas for doing it, because it took me two and a half years to write. And indeed, I am very proud of myself. But I have been (and continue to be) on a very steep learning curve ever since. I always want to pass on anything that might help someone else in the same position. We’re all in this together, right? So take heart. Here’s a distillation of my top five tips for maintaining your Sanity Claws in the face of recalcitrant computers and information overload when trying to learn how to sell your book online.

  1. Manage Your Efforts. The amount of information available is overwhelming, so make it manageable by chunking. It reduces your stress levels. For example, divide your work into two projects such as Marketing Existing Book, and Writing Next Book. Under each project, plan three activities to move it forward. Carry them out, then reward yourself in a healthy way. Believe me, writing and marketing can be a lonely process. So you have to be your own best cheerleader and celebrate every step forward you take.
  2. Keywords. Go to Amazon and type in your genre, e.g. self help. See what words and descriptions come up. Use the Google Adwords tool (as if you were going to create and ad) and type in the same phrase. Identify words that are on both lists. Use them in your title, subtitle and book description. (This is a very simplified approach to an extremely technical area but it’s a good place to start.)
  3. Build an Email Marketing List. This is a long-term strategy. Check out Nick Stephenson’s free online course
  4. Rework Your Book Description. Go to Amazon. Look up the top ten bestsellers in your genre. Copy and paste the book descriptions. Identify words or phrases that you would feel comfortable using yourself. Then spend at least seven hours crafting and recrafting, editing and re-editing your new book description. Ask friends to give you feedback on the revised version. Take their edits on board if they sound right to you. Upload your new description. It may help boost your sales significantly because copywriting is a completely different ball game than book writing.
  5. Get Reviews. Amazon is not a book/product seller. It is a search engine. One of the things that significantly boosts your ranking and therefore your sales are good book reviews. But not just good book reviews. RECENT good book reviews. Do your research by googling “How to get Amazon book reviews” and you will see millions of entries and ideas. Sift through and choose three strategies. If they work, great. If not, try three more strategies. Channel your inner Bruce Willis and just keep going. Let me know how you get on!

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