Use the Power of the Internet to Sell Your Book

Posted in Book Selling on June 22nd, 2010 by admin


by David Tortorelli

Here’s the challenge for today’s authors:  The number of books published each year has been increasing in recent years (fortunately or unfortunately, in 2005 there was a slight decrease in the number of books published for the first time in years), books sales are decreasing, and only brand-name authors are getting the necessary support to market their books.  The unfortunate result is that most authors aren’t going to see even modest book sales.

The solution for authors is the Internet.  With today’s sophisticated targeting capabilities of the web, an author can promote his or her book directly to readers who are interested in the subject matter or genre of that book.  And readers are responsive to discovering new books online because they are increasingly using the Internet to help them decide what book to buy next.

The growth of the Internet has created an enormous variety of websites that attract highly specific audiences. For instance, there is a website dedicated to the history of corrective horseshoes. If your book is about corrective horseshoes or specialty horseshoes or even simply horseshoes you better be promoting your book on that website because you’re not likely to find such a concentration of likely buyers anywhere else. This is an extreme and overly-focused example (except for the author with such a book), but this highlights the power of the Internet – reaching out to the smallest of niche markets that are related to your book and letting that audience know your book is one they would value owning.

Authors can use the power of the Internet to break through. The writer Natasha Munson did it with amazing success for her book, Life Lessons for My Black Girls.  She sent a carefully crafted email to friends announcing the book and asked that the email be forwarded to others.  More importantly, she bought well-placed advertisements online to let her target audience learn more about the book.  Natasha achieved great sales success on the Internet without even working with a traditional publisher. The book was first published by the print-on-demand (POD) firm, iUniverse, and did so well that Hyperion Books offered her a contract to publish the book. Many self-published and POD authors who hit the 2,000 mark in book sales are approached by traditional publishing houses. For a variety of reasons, some take it while others do not.

My online book marketing firm, Book Premieres, used the Internet to reinvigorate the sales of a book that had already been on the market for 21 months. The book, No Regrets: A Ten-Step Program for Living in the Present and Leaving the Past Behind by Dr. Hamilton Beazley (Wiley & Sons, 2004), jumped from an sales ranking of over 100,000 to a high of 8,115 only three weeks after the campaign launched in September 2005. Preliminary estimates indicate that at a minimum there was of a 20 percent increase in sales during the month of the campaign.

Book Premieres promoted No Regrets online to targeted readers, which were defined as people seeking their own path to letting go of regrets and finding forgiveness.  More specifically, these were people interested in self-improvement and looking to get the most out of each day.  The campaign included a custom-designed website, paid placements on Yahoo! and Google, and ads in online marketplaces.  In addition, graphical banner ads were placed on the home page of a website that attracted people similar to those who would be interested in reading No Regrets.

With time, some technical-savvy, and the willingness to learn, authors can create a marketing-oriented website, launch a targeted marketing campaign, and do online promotions for their book.  Authors who would rather have experts design and execute their book’s online marketing campaign can utilize the services of firms like Book Premieres that specialize in connecting books with targeted readers via the Internet (it’s more affordable than you may think).  Regardless of how you implement an online marketing campaign, get started releasing the power of the Internet for your book.  Not every book will breakthrough, but it’s worth knowing how far your book will go.

by David Tortorelli

David Tortorelli is editor of Author Insider and serves as president of the book marketing firm, Book Premieres.

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