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How to Launch Your Book Online

Are you a self-published author or small-time publisher? If you are, then here are a few tips for you so that you can use the internet to get your books found, sold and read.

1. Have a Really Good Website
Ideally, your website should have an author’s biography, a listing of your titles (with a photo of the books’ covers and a synopsis for each), excerpts from the books (probably a chapter in length), reviews of the book, a page with a schedule of your bookstore visits, book signings and readings. Also, dedicate a page with a listing of the stores that carry your books and links to websites where website visitors may purchase online.

In addition to having a good-looking website, make sure that it is being found on search engines. Learn about online SEO tools such as Google Adwords, Keyword Density, and Google Analytics.  As your website’s content is being written, try to envision your book, its theme and content as search terms. Then, incorporate them in the book’s descriptions and link to them from the home page

Also, if your book already has a foreword and reviews, find a prominent place for them in your website as well. Good reviews not only help serve as endorsements of your books and encourage others to purchase them, but they also help fill your website with unique content and help drive SEO.

2. Build an Online Community
Perhaps this is the most obvious tip: Let others sell the book for you.  Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, all these social media tools are at your disposal and each has a unique way of engaging and involving your website’s readers and turning them into fans and supporters.

Use Twitter to make announcements about release dates, bookstore visits, book signings and readings. Post photos and videos of these same events on your Facebook Fanpage. Always have a camera handy during these events and ask for the names or email addresses of the people in these photos. Add them as Facebook friends then tag them in the photos on your page’s album.  This is a great and cost-effective way of growing your following and promoting yourself on your Facebook Fan’s own page.

There are also several ways to utilize a blog for promoting your book. If you are publishing a non-fiction book, you may use it as a place where you can take the topics from your books and have discussions with your readers. Or, try showing your work-in-progress. Involve your readers in your creative process if you feel you already have a good following, and use the blog to show your next book as it is being made.

3. Get listed on Amazon.com
Amazon.com is the world’s largest online book retailer. It caters to customers across North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia and is therefore a great way for small-publishers to get their books sold overseas.

Read about Amazon’s Advantage Program.  You’ll find that before you begin selling your books, you’ll need to fill out an application and submit your book (or books) for consideration. If your book is approved, you will receive an email from Amazon, and then you will be able to list your books in their catalogue and consign copies for their inventory.  When a customer purchases your book, the transaction is processed within 24 hours and shipped to any part of the world.

However, because of its huge inventory, the chances of your book getting found and bought will still depend on your hard you work in promoting it online, by developing a good website and building an online community.

For those wannabe authors….hopefully these tips help launch your first novel into the world wide web! Good Luck.

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