Promoting Your Book Online During A Pandemic
By Bobbie Carlton
With the pandemic cancelling events, conferences and gatherings everywhere, many authors have lost access to important markets and sales opportunities.
If your author status brought in speaking opportunities, these have dried up too. The good news is that people are looking for diversions and it might just be a good time for your older catalog to make a reappearance and for new books to make a splash. This mini lesson in online book promotion will help you uncover a few new online marketing opportunities. Start by:
Checking your online channel: How do you sell your books? If you have been in the game for a while, your website might be aging, your social media could be out-of-date and when was the last time you looked at your Author page on Amazon?
Test your website for broken links. Send yourself a message through the contact form on the website. If you have any kind of online store on your website, try to order something, especially if it has been a while since the last order. Update your Amazon profile through Author Central. Now check your promotional channels. Confirm the links in your social media profiles – do they still link to your website or Amazon? Before you start promotions, make sure a purchase is possible!
Speaking Opportunities: If you’re like many authors, speaking opportunities and readings are a huge part of your promotional plan and sometimes, income. Don’t give up! Even if physical meetings are curtailed, you may still be able to speak, virtually. If you have a laptop with a built-in camera and mic, it could be easier than you think – look for instructional videos online. No camera on the laptop? Almost any smartphone will do. Yes, it’s great to have a nice tripod and phone holder but even a propped-up phone will do in a pinch. Get comfortable with the technology by attending social virtual events. Start off by approaching organizations you’ve spoken for before – they know you and may be willing to get a follow up to your last presentation.
Relevant content: Is your book connected to something in the news cycle? It might be a good time to reach out to reporters and see if they’d like to speak to an expert on the Spanish Flu, race relations in America or your fictional story about plague on a cruise ship. Get included in an article? It’s time to use that social network and let people know all about it.
Band together: You’re not the only author looking for book sales and speaking opportunities. This is the time to create packages (a gift basket of Cape Cod writers for those unable to vacation there this summer maybe?) and do some cross-promotion. Guest blogging. Special packaging. Joint social media events – Instagram Live. Check out what others are doing and see if you can join in. Or, be the catalyst. Who would you most want to partner with?
Bobbie Carlton, from Carlton PR & Marketing, works with many small businesses and startups, including authors. Before starting her own companies, she headed up marketing for the Beacon Street Girls, a tween book series eventually licensed by Simon & Schuster. Connect with Bobbie on Twitter: @BobbieC