About the Author: Kevin McNeese lives in Grand Rapids, Mich.,
and owns and operates KMWeb Designs. He has worked in professional
web design and online marketing for over four years and currently
manages sites for various authors, artists, and small
Ten Simple & Inexpensive Ways
for Authors to Market Themselves Online
6. THE IMPORTANCE OF NETWORKING WITH
A link is simply a connecting point from one site to
another. Clicking on a link will take you to another site.
Networking is the cornerstone of any successful business or author.
You are in the business of selling books, and without connecting
with established readers that are already online, you are missing
But where do you begin? There are billions of
websites online. The task does initially seem daunting, but the
solution is simple. First, you have to figure out who your public
is. Then, surf the net to find websites that reach your public. Find
sites that cater to your target audience. Offer a place on your site
to link to resources and offer to trade links with these sites.
Google.com is a great search engine to use when doing this type of
research. Your web designer should be able to help you identify key
sites to be a part of.
More than likely, you have met a few authors along
the way. Offer to trade links with them and present these authors on
your site as ones you endorse to your readers.
Again, your publisher should be using every
opportunity to help promote your site via advertisements, postcards,
press releases, etc.
The fact is, the more sites that link to your site,
the better chances you have of showing up higher in search engine
7. POST EXCLUSIVE CONTENT AND INFORMATION
For the majority of your readers, your website will
be the only place that they can follow your actions and learn more
about you including future releases. Without varied content, it's
very easy to loose interest and frustrate your readers. View your
site as a way to get the person who has read and enjoyed your site
more engaged with what you do. How will you make sure they will
purchase your future works? You must present more information than
what they have already read and enjoyed.
Online journals are a great way to connect to an
audience. A short 3-4 paragraph update a month will do wonders in
keeping your site active and looking fresh. Also look at adding an
extended biography while listing your favorite books, movies and
music. Ask your publisher for permission to post sample chapters
from your works and republish articles that focus on your latest
This additional content will help add some depth and
personality to your site. Best of all, it will help establish your
site as a destination point to get information about you. People
will return again and again.
8. PARTNER WITH AN ONLINE
If you have yet to make a connection to an online
retailer, I strongly suggest you find one that is willing to partner
with you. While it may not be your job specifically, speak with your
publicist about running a few promotions with retailers. Your two
goals should be to drive awareness of your products, and your
There are many ways to partner with online
retailers, but you need to make sure you remain open to suggestions.
Be willing to write original content or even share what you already
have. Offer contests that the retailer can run on their site or even
offer to provide signed copies of your book for giveaway.
Whether you are a new author or an established
author, online retailers will be looking for traffic in return, so
offer them a prominent link on your home page pushing people to your
site. In return, ask for a link to your site. You should be able to
put together three to four 3-month promotions every year with
various online retailers.
9. MAKE A COMMISSION ON YOUR OWN
First of all, if you are not giving guests that come
to your site an opportunity to purchase your own product, you are
missing sales left and right. Secondly, if you are not making any
money by pushing your guests to make their purchases at a specific
online retailer, you are letting go of dollars that could be in your
It's safe to say that everyone who visits your site
either has read one or more of your books or is thinking about doing
so in the near future. You need to be giving everyone an opportunity
to purchase your products. It's too expensive and time-intensive to
set up your own store, so therefore, it makes sense to link to a
well respected, established online retailer. Set up a buy link
prominently on your home page. If you would like, link to multiple
retailers or link to one exclusively for a short period of time and
go for partnerships like I explained in tip #8.
When you choose an online retailer to link to, make
sure they have what is commonly referred to as an "affiliate
program." The concept of an affiliate program is simple. The online
retailer will supply you with a traceable link and you will get a
percentage of any sales made by guests who visit your site, click on
one of these links and make any purchase. You will get a commission
from whatever they buy, even if it's not your book! This is pure
money in your pocket, simply by selling your own products! The
percentage of sale varies from site to site, but find a program that
best fits your needs, will give comfort to your target audience and
if possible, work with a retailer that will help you expand your
10. UPDATE, UPDATE,
I can't stress enough the importance of maintaining
your website. It is vital to your relevance online. I would almost
suggest that it would be a complete waste of your money if you are
thinking about a website and planning to forget about it until your
next project comes out. At the same time, a static site (meaning one
that does not change) does have some value, but only to first time
visitors. After that, you will lose touch with people as soon as
they close your site.
The power of the Internet is amazing. The ability to
interact with your readers on a monthly, weekly, daily basis is at
your fingertips. To not utilize its full potential would be the same
as not realizing your own potential.
I hope these ideas have sparked some excitement and
curiosity to get moving on marketing yourself online. It is
extremely elating to be able to call a website your own. If you have
any questions about the information presented here, please do not
hesitate to ask.
For more information on the services outlined in
this article, contact:
Kevin D. McNeese