The first decision when setting up your online presence is whether to set up a dedicated website, or piggyback off a successful domain name.
Most people go for the separate domain. This is best for content and resource rich sites. This is what I recommend for most books. Here’s why I prefer separate sites:
- Most people don’t have the technological know-how to create a mini-site on the same domain
- Separate sites are seen as more professional
- Separate sites allow for more business growth, should your website change tangents
- Creating a separate site:
- Have similar branding to your main website (if you have one.) Familiarity for existing fans
Promoting via your platform
Image via marfis75
Several people have opted to promote their book via their own blog. I’ve found that this is best when your business brand is stronger than your personal brand.
- Look at Launch, by Michael Stelzner. The book primarily talked about principles from the book, and so it fit in quite well.
- Jeff Goins had built up a strong platform via his guest post campaigns. It made sense to leverage that for Wrecked
If you are going to use your own platform, then create a separate sidebar for the sales page. You can use this page to link to other relevant resources and testimonials. It is a great way to get the best of both worlds. Michael Hyatt did this for his book Platform.
I call this a ´two tier´ approach. If you use Michael Stelzner as an example, he:
- Had a basic page for people who just wanted to chat about it. It included calls to action to share with their audience on popular platforms, or review it on Amazon.
- Had a separate page for media + bloggers. Factoids, illustrations with captions, information about who should read the books
- This may require more design mojo. Danielle Laportes landing page for The Firestarter Sessions is different from the rest of her blog. If you are on a tight budget, or aren’t technologically savvy, a separate site may be easier.
How do you decide which is best?
The reality is that there is no ´best´ way. It depends on too many variables. Here are some considerations:
- Will you be creating further resources around the content of the book? In some cases, it can be useful to create a blog based around the book. David Meerman Scott did this with World Wide Rave, and was able to involve his audience in the launch. primarily focusing on the promotional videos and telling the stories of the people behind the posters. This is also something to think about if selling.
- What marketing strategies will you be creating around the book? It may be easier to create a separate ´hub´ for people to talk about some of the potentially viral resources you will be creating.
- Do you want your book to be separate from your personal brand? Do you want to create something bigger then yourself?
The decision boils down to figuring out what strategy will allow for your book to get in front of as many people as possible. Remember: It isn´t about the number of people that see your sales page. It´s about the number of people that click ´buy.’
What should I include?
It doesn’t matter where you are promoting your book. It is considered best practice to have multiple pages dedicated to the promotion of your book. This includes:
- The traditional sales page
- A page dedicated to relevant media.
- A page specifically for bloggers/superfans to spread the word
If it’s an ebook or information product, I also recommend having an affiliate centre
The media room.
I’ve written about the media room here, but this is a different version. You aren’t asking people to become a fan of your company. You are just trying to help them talk about your book. Here are the things that I think should be in all book media rooms:
Long + short book bio
It can be easy to just write the one bio, but I’ve found that having two is best. Some people want to add more backstory to their post but don’t want to do the work when it comes to research. Having a long bio gives people something that can adjust for their own post.
Various sizes images of you and the book cover.
These are the bog standard images. It’s similar to how people use affiliate banners. People want an image size that can work with their post.
It’s especially cool if you can get photos of you with the book. It’s also good if you can provide suggested captions for the images. I was impressed when Michael Stelzner did this.
Suggested angle and interview topics
Coming up with interview questions is hard. I try to ask questions that haven’t been asked before. This involves a tonne of googling and research. Sometimes, I give up.
Having some questions, and their answers, available gives people the opportunity to dive deeper into your story. This can create the type of interview that compels people to buy your book.
Torre De Roche has two pages dedicated to FAQ’s. One page is about her travel story and the other is about her publishing process. Jenny Blake has a Q&A master document. You can learn about both of these in my post featuring book site case studies.
You can do this in any way that feels right.
‘Who is this for’ section
Including this can help people instantly decide if this is worth recommending to their audience. Let’s face it – not everyone will like your book.
It is incredibly helpful when you provide specific information on requesting review copies. Bloggers will be able to easily tell whether or not they meet your criteria. This may increase the chances of them buying your book sooner and writing about it.
This may seem trivial. However, some people become bloggers solely because of the passion. They know they won’t make money off the review so are willing to wait to see if they can get a copy. This isn’t bad behavior. A lot of influential bloggers are on a small income while they build their business.
Tips on writing a good review
Writing a review can be hard. You want to give the book the praise it deserves, but you don’t want to be accused of hyping it up. Also, people struggle with the difference between a review and recommendation.
You could give a couple of tips or ideas. You could create a branded PDF. Just do whatever feels right for you and your audience.
The ‘Spread the word’ page
Having a media page is common sense. These are for the people whose job it is to write about you in some capacity.
I believe that we should start creating special pages for the super-fans who want to spread the word. This is the one percenter concept that Jackie Huba talks about.
These super-fans need material to help them tell the story.
I’ve written about the badge of love concept before. Here, the goal is to create badges for people to share in their sidebar or when they discuss the post.
There are two main ways you can leverage twitter:
- Suggest a hashtag: It is easier if you provide a hashtag for your community to use when discussing your book. Otherwise, various people will invent their own and you’ll have to monitor separate conversations. Make it easy for yourself and your community
- Tweetables: Most book sites provide a series of tweets that people can copy and paste. You can take this one step further by using a service like ‘Click to tweet’.
Social media banners
I have noticed a lot of authors creating badges for fans to use on their social media profiles. The idea is that your loyal readers will use these as the headers on their twitter, Facebook and Google+ accounts.
You can see examples here:
Book club guide
Book club guides are becoming incredibly popular. I will be doing more research on this for a future post.
- Infographic: Infographics become incredibly popular and get shared a lot. Think carefully before trying this idea as it may not result in many book sales.
- Pinnable graphics: Everyone loves pinning content. You can create Pinterest graphics that feature quotes from your book. These can get shared a lot and raise awareness. Again, there is no guarantee that this will increase book sales.
Over to you
I plan to delve more into book site and launch nerdiness over the coming weeks. What do you love about book sites? Have there been any that compelled you to purchase?
Let me know in the comments.