6 Tips For Effective Online Book Promotion

By Laura Fredericks, founder and CEO of Describli

Girl@ComputerMorguefile_OPAs an author, you already know how to share your story in your books. But are you just as effective at sharing your story when it comes to online book promotion?

Sadly, for most writers, the answer is no. Promoting your business can feel like intruding, and often brings up fears of rejection. It’s challenging to share your message without feeling like a cheesy car salesman. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can share your knowledge, personal story, and your work with the world without coming off as pushy or fake. You just need to connect in an authentic way.

Connecting authentically essentially means sharing your story with people who want to hear it. Simply put, being authentic means staying true to who you are, what you do, and who you serve. This creates value and benefits for your audience as well as improving your business as a writer.

How do you accomplish this seemingly miraculous feat? Read on for six ways to promote yourself while remaining a living, breathing human.

1. Be Authentic

It should come as no surprise that the first tip for authentic connection is to BE AUTHENTIC. This can’t be faked. Take a minute to think about yourself as an author. Who are you? What gets you up in the morning? What are your core values? Why do you share your stories with the world through your writing? Use your answers to these questions to form your message and your personal brand. Your core values, goals, and beliefs will form the backbone of your approach to every aspect of your business as an author, so you should know what they are.

Besides selling your book and making money, why are you in the business of writing? You are a unique person, with a perspective and a background unlike any other. Your online presence is a chance to share your unique experience with the world. No one cares what you had for breakfast – but they do care about your story as an author! You can show your personality and tell your story through the content you share.

2. Be Real

If you’re truly connecting with people, they will be delighted to hear from you. Make sure that the audience you are speaking with fits the content and message that you’re trying to share. Think about the ideas, characters, and messages that you and your work represent, and then find the audience that cares about those things.

When you are online as a chore, or simply to push a product, people can tell. In our oh-so-connected age, everyone is an expert on advertising, and how to avoid it. The more real, honest, and helpful you are with your audience, the more people will trust you and want to connect with you.

3. Be Relevant

If you’re going to be a valuable resource for your audience, you need to make sure that the content you are sharing with them is relevant. This starts with picking the right audience, but it also means picking the right content and the right places to share that content.

Trying to update all social media profiles all the time is a recipe for disaster. No one has the time or energy to be everywhere at once. Instead, think of it like exercising. Pick a few activities that you enjoy, and that make sense for you and your personality. If you can find places that you actually enjoy spending time online, you’ll be much more likely to keep up with your updates and provide value to your audience.

Each social media outlet has its strengths and weaknesses, and your overall strategy should take those into account. You also have my personal permission to ignore social media sites that you don’t like. Yup, you heard me. Get rid of them from your news feed, take the bookmarks off your toolbar, and let it go. You can’t be everywhere, and your connections will suffer if you’re hanging out somewhere that you loathe. Sometimes you just need someone to tell you it’s okay!

4. Be a Goldmine

All right, stick with me through the metaphor here. Have you ever read a book whose characters were nothing like you, taking place in a setting you had never visited, and dealing with subject matter that was completely unrelated to you and your life? Now, even though it had nothing to do with your experience, were you still able to form a deep connection with the material? The answer to this is not always yes, but when it is you’ve found something deeper than characters, or plots, or settings.

You’ve found a “nugget of truth,” something that connects with a truth that you believe, or a way that you try to live your life, or a struggle that you’ve faced. These nuggets of truth are the little glinting bits of gold that we pan for on our reading adventures. We read to feel connected to other humans, and to have someone say through their work, “I understand you,” and these little bits of shared truth are the foundation for that type of connection.

If you can find those experiences that you share with your audience, or the ideas that drive them, you have the power to be a goldmine of information, support, and advice for those that you reach. These nuggets will be the main thing connecting you with your audience, and once you find them…yup, you’ll be golden. Sorry, corny puns are a part of my truth.

5. Be Flexible, but not Gumby

Almost any advice about building your platform and establishing an online presence will tell you to tailor your message. But keep in mind that tailoring clothing means adjusting it slightly to fit you. It does not mean turning a ball gown into a track suit.

You should absolutely tailor your approach to a specific platform. Make sure the content you are sharing is going to the right place, but please don’t change you. Whether your audience visits you on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, your blog, or any other site, you should still fundamentally look like the same person. Your core message, values – and yes, your nuggets of truth – should remain consistent.

6. Be Available

Lastly, please remember that communicating implies a back and forth. You should be listening as much as you’re talking. Make yourself available for feedback, be approachable, and really listen when someone has something they want to share with you. This is part of being authentic, but it’s also part of being an effective marketer. Over time, you’ll learn what content your audience is responding to and how to plug in to those universal bits of truth. Encourage engagement and nurture your audience, and they’ll turn into advocates for you and your work without you even needing to ask.

Readers, do you already use some of these tips to make sure you’re acting like a human online? Let us know in the comments!

LauraFredericks_OpLaura Fredericks is the founder and CEO of Describli, a writing prompts community for authors. You can connect with her on twitter @describli and on Facebook. If you’d like to read more from Laura about the business side of connecting authentically, head to the Describli blog.

All original content by Molly Greene and guests is copyright protected – did you enjoy the article? You can show your support by checking out my Amazon Author Page – and hey, buy a book while you’re there! Or, subscribe to my blog and you’ll never miss my weekly posts. Your email will NOT be sold, shared, abused, or rented – that’s a promise. If you’re not already, follow @mollygreene on Twitter. Mwah! Thank you so much.

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22 Responses to 6 Tips For Effective Online Book Promotion

  1. Molly Greene April 13, 2015 at 4:45 pm #

    Laura, great tips, great timing. When I first started on social media I took to Twitter and my blog and had a blast on both! Facebook, not so much. Guess where I spent my time? And that paid off for me, probably because those two places were where I felt the most authentic.Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. Kim Wenzler April 13, 2015 at 5:33 pm #

    Great post, Laura. Published my first book last year and still working on finding and connecting with readers. Not an easy task. I appreciate your tips.
    Molly, I love all of your posts and your guests posts. So happy to be following!
    Thanks so much!

    • Molly Greene April 13, 2015 at 6:11 pm #

      Thank you Kim, congrats on your book, and best to you going forward!

  3. Elaine Mansfield April 13, 2015 at 5:55 pm #

    Thank you for affirmation, clarity, and new ways to think of things. About a year ago, I moved from writer to promoting my book. Mostly I’ve done things I love and learned to walk away from what I don’t love. I miss the introversion and time for writing. On the other hand, I’m creating a new sense of self in relation to the world. My husband died in 2008 and I’ve been recreating and challenging myself since.

    Connecting with people who make comments at my blog or on FB has been a powerful learning experience. Dedicated readers are wonderful teachers.

    I keep digging for those nuggets of truth.

    • Molly Greene April 13, 2015 at 6:14 pm #

      Love your comment, Elaine. I’m deeply sorry for your loss, and in spite of it I can tell you’re finding your way. Promoting is a tough road but sticking to what resonates does, indeed, make the path easier. THANK YOU so much for sharing!

  4. Garry Rodgers April 13, 2015 at 6:13 pm #

    Hi Laura & Molly,

    Thanks so much for this look at genuineness. It’s a basic human instinct to detect insincerity, whether it be in person or online, and people inherently know when someone else is being genuine.

    You’re a poster-girl for genuineness in everything you portray, Molly. It’s a pleasure to be acquainted.

    • Molly Greene April 13, 2015 at 6:22 pm #

      Garry, made me laugh! Thank you so much for the lovely compliment. I remember when I was a twitter newbie and I used to agonize over every word in every tweet. Now I just tend to let ‘er rip. Some things get easier with time 🙂

      • Laura Fredericks April 13, 2015 at 9:23 pm #

        I did that too! I would edit an entire list of tweets for a few days before sending. Being real is actually a lot easier than that!

        • Molly Greene April 14, 2015 at 7:34 am #

          For me, being authentic is all tied up with having confidence and feeling comfortable. That’s why spending time on a platform – watching, learning the ropes, seeing what works and what doesn’t – is a great way to lay the groundwork for success. I hung around on twitter and edited my tweets (lol!) for a couple of weeks or so before I dove in.

          • Laura Fredericks April 14, 2015 at 7:52 am #

            Great points! It took me a long time to feel comfortable on Twitter especially. It can be tough to see people doing well at creating a space for interaction on Twitter (like you!) and to know how far you have to go. But everyone starts somewhere, and for me at least it was really helpful to realize that no one was born a Twitter pro. Through looking at what some people were doing really well, I learned about the things I wanted to accomplish as well. I owe you, and many others, a huge thank you Molly!

          • Garry Rodgers April 14, 2015 at 5:51 pm #

            When I started my blog, I made a pledge to the tagline ‘Provoking Thoughts on Life, Death, and Writing’ where I’d be absolutely genuine and tackle controversial, uncomfortable topics. I write exactly as I talk and my posts contain 4 letter words when applicable, including F-Bombs. I get the occasional negative comment but most followers find my No-BS style appealing. It’s worked to build a sizeable following. And thanks to BlogIt! That was a turning point in learning how to do build a successful blog 🙂

          • Molly Greene April 15, 2015 at 9:12 am #

            Thanks so much, Garry!

  5. Jerry Jaz April 13, 2015 at 10:59 pm #

    I love that being authentic and being real were the first two items on the list. Great choice. Thanks for sharing the encouragement Laura, and for hosting it Molly.

  6. Sue Coletta April 14, 2015 at 9:13 am #

    Excellent tips! Being authentic is really key, IMO. Nothing’s worse then when someone just goes through the motions, almost as if it’s a bother to respond to you. I unfollow faster than they can ask why. At the same time I find some people on Twitter will drop you if you don’t follow back right away, like in the same day. It always blows my mind, too. But I suppose they aren’t my ideal audience, anyway, if they can’t allow me say 48 hours to respond. Right?

    • Laura Fredericks April 14, 2015 at 10:59 am #

      Exactly! They may get their numbers up temporarily, but that’s definitely not the way to create sustainable growth.

    • Molly Greene April 14, 2015 at 11:14 am #

      Tweeps who unfollow quickly are probably using an auto-follow/unfollow program. Definitely not authentic. On to the next tweep!

  7. MM Jaye April 15, 2015 at 3:01 am #

    I would say that these are not 6 Tips but The Six Commandments for a successful online presence. Spot-on advice. Thanks Laura and Molly!

    And I so subscribe to Garry’s “poster-girl of genuinness” where Molly is concerned. You’ve been an inspiration from day one, and I’m proud to be included in your online circle of friends.

    • Molly Greene April 15, 2015 at 9:12 am #

      Right back at you, Maria! Hugs.

  8. Paul J. Farrell April 15, 2015 at 7:07 pm #

    Good advice, not to many social media sites. I’m new at all this, signed up for Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and LinkedIn. Took me a week to get Linkedin organized and I’m still working on how to get Twitter going, starting to get the hang of it but if took awhile. I’m a bit slow with this computer stuff but a quick learner when I bite off to much to chew, going to can FB and G+ just keep the little blue bird one and LN. Frustration is now opening up to enjoyment, it’s all a matter of understanding the ropes. See ya on Twitter. One other thing I learned, this is my first time using a touch screen, never use it while eating, especially buttered toast and jelly, or spaghetti with tomato sauce.

    • Molly Greene April 17, 2015 at 3:50 pm #

      You’re right, Paul, it does all take time, and How are you getting spaghetti sauce on your fingers? LOL!

  9. Paul J. Farrell April 23, 2015 at 5:27 am #

    Dear Molly: You try eating a bowl of spaghetti without a fork. And see what happens. Happy to make you laugh.