PUBLISHED NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018
by Maria Dismondy, Founder, Cardinal Rule Press —
Founder of Cardinal Rule Press gives you the insider tips on using technology to increase book sales.
Being a publisher in 2018 means moving, shaking, and staying current on industry trends. It also means being discerning. The latest tech trend could have all the fancy bells and whistles, but if it’s not delivering a return on investment, it’s not a fit for you. I’ve made some mistakes, that’s for sure. But my lessons are now your gains. Here are three insider tips.
1. Host Virtual Readings
Travel anywhere in the world thanks to technology and virtual readings. When marketed properly, this tool enables a large reach of fans and boosts book sales. Here’s how it works: leverage video casting programs like Zoom and Blue Jeans, which allow for up to 100 viewers to log in to the reading for free. Authors then introduce themselves, share their inspiration to write, and read a book excerpt.
When I conducted my most recent virtual reading, we marketed it on social media using a lead-page signup. We had 100 educators sign up and an estimated 3,000 children tune in. We followed up with an email offering a reader’s guide and link to purchase the featured book. A quick check on post-event sales analytics showed a big boost in sales on the day of the reading and the three days following. Not bad for a free event!
2. Offer Online Summits
Publishing companies have endless options when putting together a summit. They can interview a handful of their authors with a focus on the writer’s craft or have authors talk about the topic of their book, followed by a Q&A session with their fans.
Online summits are also a good way to give valuable content to your target market, thus making them know, like, and trust your company. Some companies offer these virtual conferences for free and consider the costs a wash, or they make back their investment by charging a fee for lifetime access video viewing privileges. Either way, thousands of eyes tune into summits, and that means thousands of potential new customers.
3. Hire a Virtual Team
If you are running your indie or small press publishing company solo, it may be time to consider bringing a team member on board. Technology allows us to work with individuals all over the world via the use of online portals, video meetings, and voice message apps, such as Voxer.
Not sure if you need a virtual assistant? Make a list of all of the daily tasks you complete in your publishing role. Now, ask yourself, “What could possibly be done by someone else?” For example, making social media images for Facebook ads is the perfect kind of task for a skilled virtual assistant and definitely worth the money to hire out.
What Else Is Working?
Here are some bonus strategies to keep you rolling on the technology train. While we haven’t personally tried and tested all of these approaches, they prove to be successful for our colleagues in the publishing industry.
- Podcasts — Start a podcast using your expertise in the industry (writing, editing, productivity, publishing, marketing, paid advertisement, and more)
- YouTube Channel — Create a channel with “How To” videos related to your books, genre, or general content that would be helpful for those writing and publishing books.
- Book Trailers — Pay a videographer to make a video that will hook readers into wanting to pick up a copy of your book. Remember, human attention spans have decreased and videos of one-minute or less are viewed most often. Be sure to include purchase options or your website at the end of the trailer along with a cover of the book image.
- E-books — Having an e-book to discount and use as promotions is a good way to get readers tuned into what you’re writing. For example, if you are a novelist, consider writing a short story to giveaway as an e-book.
Award-winning author and founder of the publishing company, Cardinal Rule Press, Maria Dismondy inspires and educates others in the book industry. Find out more about Maria and her coaching services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more tips on online promotion, check out this IBPA Independent article, “Commenting: An Underused Way to Promote Your Books Online.”