The most effective tool for selling your books is the creation of your own unique website. It will be the only site selling books on the Internet that promotes your book exclusively. And that’s extremely important. Your listing on Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.com or on any of the smaller sales sites, while highly valuable, will put you in direct competition with numerous other books. On your own site your book stands alone.
There are many other advantages to creating a site. In addition to selling your books, the site can market you personally as an expert in your field. But to accomplish that, you must pack it with solid information that surfers want and need. You can choose to become an expert in the subject matter you write about or perhaps on the topic of writing and publishing. Whichever you choose, tailor your website to include meaningful, relevant information.
You must continuously add new material to your site so visitors who enjoyed what they found have a reason to return. Every time you publish an article, make sure to add it to your site. In my case, I have established a specific portion of my current site that I call the “Library.” Each time I write an article, I add it to those pages. They are sorted by subject for easy reference.
Post Your Favorable Reviews
You can handpick the best of the reviews of your book and display them on your website. Using key excerpts from these reviews can bolster the selling page that you designed specifically for your book. Because reviews are the objective opinion of a third party, they carry a great deal of weight with potential readers. Use them freely where they will do the most good on your site.
In addition to serving as a source of information about your book, your site will provide interested people a means of contacting you. You can establish links to and from any social networking programs to which you are subscribed, and can link to other websites that deal with the same subject matter. These links can greatly increase your traffic.
One of the outstanding advantages of mounting your own website is the ability to collect names for your mailing list. By offering a small inducement (an article, a short e-book, a premium) to parties that sign up, you will build a large platform of people to whom you can send articles, excerpts from your books and other promotional pieces. A large discrete mailing list will go a long way in convincing a wavering publisher to accept your new book.
Just mounting a site is not enough. You must analyze and design so that the site is effective.
Know Your Audience
The very first consideration when you develop your site is to know and understand your audience intimately. You must be aware of their primary interests so that you can offer them material that can benefit them. This is a very important consideration and your success depends in great part on how well you understand it.
It is important to understand that there is a world of difference between the features of the book you are selling and the benefits it can bring the reader. Features can include such things as length, quotations from known expert authors, outlines to help the reader and more. But that’s not enough. The benefit must show what it is that these features offer that will be of value to the reader. In other words, the benefit provide a reason for the potential reader to buy your book. And it is the benefit that you must stress in all of your promotional material and on every page of your site that refers to the book.
Hooking Your Reader
The lead-in, that is the headline or title of every page of your website, must be exciting enough to grab the visitor’s interest and propel him/her into the body of the page. Once again, this is another aspect of demonstrating a benefit to your potential readers. Let them know immediately what the page has in store for them that will be of great benefit.
Follow that up with an opening graph that expands on the handful of words in the title, and wets the reader’s appetite even further. Stick to a single theme in this opener. Don’t confuse your reader by inserting a number of different benefits. They can be presented individually throughout the body of the page.
Pretty or Informative
Of course you want your site to be attractive. If it is sloppy or poorly designed, surfers will turn away. But the real key to an effective website, one that will attract and sell, is content. Give your visitors the information they seek, and they will come back again and again. Design it with keywords that will help surfers find you in the search engines. Organize the site so that each page can stand alone employing its own search engine optimization (SEO) so that a surfer looking for specific information can be propelled to the exact page on which you offer it.
Lastly, consider employing the services of a professional site designer. This site is your signature to the world at large. Most people will never get to know you personally. They will judge you and your book by the quality of your website. Make sure it is first class!