Saturday, February 6, 2010

Marketing Books and Aiming for Amazon Part III

I have invested a significant amount of time and energy in learning about self-publishing. My primary efforts in writing are not about self-publishing, but instead are about coaching basketball, teaching the skills of the game and improving one's ability as a coach. I have other projects in the works that are related to coaching but are not directly tied to the sport of basketball. I do have a book about self-publishing using CreateSpace and I do believe it is a useful guide. But self-publishing is not my primary topic to write about but I do enjoy learning about it and sharing what I have learned, both through research and experience with others who aspire to become authors.

Much of the research and advice I have read states that an author platform is essential and I have found that to be true. In Part II I discussed briefly the value of having a blog to connect with readers. In this part of the series I want to encourage authors to give away content for free.

I realize this sounds contradictory for someone who is trying to earn money by selling books. But how else am I to convince other coaches that I know what I am talking about? I convince them by showing them and I do so for free so they will make an effort to determine if I am the expert I claim to be.

I use Google Analytics to do research on the traffic to my coaching website. Hands down the two most heavily visited pages are my downloads page where I give away content for free and my blog. The third most frequented page is the page to register for my free e-newsletter. Coaches come to my site to obtain free material on a range of topics that interest coaches. They check out the blog and sign-up for the newsletter to get more free content.

A small percentage of them also buy my books. I have Amazon product links sprinkled throughout the website to take them to a given book's Amazon product page. I also have a store where visitors can purchase direct from me using their PayPal account. I also mention the coaching product retailer who carries my books in my e-newsletter so they can purchase from that source as well. I do this in an effort to allow potential customers to purchase my books from a variety of sources all the while trying to politely drive traffic to Amazon so I can take advantage of Amazon's virtuous cycle to increase my book sales.

Without the free content, I would have little traffic to my website denying me the opportunity to convince coaches I am an expert and to market my books. The content must be of value as well or coaches won't come to the site to obtain it.

A quick summary of this series so far is to drive sales to Amazon to take advantage of the virtuous cycle, make sure you have done all you can with the Amazon features that allow authors to promote their books within ethical boundaries, start a blog and give away good content from your website. I would also suggest making it as easy as possible to use Amazon through the use of Amazon product links and to provide other venues of purchasing your books or products for those customers who do not want to use Amazon.

In Part IV I will discuss using an e-newsletter to help promote your book and website.

Self-Publishing with Amazon's CreateSpace: A Resource Guide for the Author Considering Self-Publishing