Accessibility

Are you accessible? In other words, are you easy to approach, reach, or speak with?
As an author, this can be important.

Headphones with Code

Early on in my writing life, I received some interesting advice. I met an author who told me that she felt that it was important to place an author photograph on the back cover of her books. She stated that this little technique served to give the reader an instant connection to her, the author, increasing the likelihood that they would purchase the book.

As I have grown and learned much about marketing books over the years, I believe that this author was on to something. Readers do want to feel a connection to an author. They want to know that the author is human and someone who is accessible.

Today, with social media, the author-fan interaction is much easier to facilitate. Social media allows authors to be much more accessible to their readers, then in bygone years.

However, social media is not the only method authors can use to make themselves available to their readers. One little used technique to increase an author’s accessibility that can be quite powerful is to place a recorded message in your books for your readers. It is really quite simple. Here is how to do it:

First, record a voice message for your readers. You can do this using a number of free services online including:

Second, upload the recorded message to your website or blog.

Third, create a QR code that links to the recorded message on your website or blog. You can make QR codes for free at:

Last, include the QR code in your book’s Foreword or Introduction letting the reader know that they simply need to scan the QR code to hear your special audio message for them.

Just like an author photo on your book’s cover can help readers feel a connection with you, so can a recorded audio message shared in your book.

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Engaging

I am drawn to engaging people. For me, engaging people are those individuals who have charisma and the ability to make people feel comfortable. When I am around this type of person, making and sustaining a connection is easy.

engage 2

Much like people, our marketing efforts need to be engaging to attract readers. While this may take work on our part, our receivers (our target audience) should feel drawn in to what we are sharing.

Take social media for example. Studies have shown that people who “add value” to other people’s lives with their social media posts and interactions get the most followers and most activity with their social media efforts.

The question to ask yourself is, “How engaging are my book promotion efforts?”

That question should then be followed up with, “How can I change my social media efforts to make them more engaging?”

Studies have shown that the social media posts that get the most attention are visual. In other words, shared pictures and videos get more likes than other types of posts. This is partly why sites such as YouTube, Instagram, Vimeo, Pinterest, and SnapChat are so popular. These sites are built around photos and videos.

One way to improve your social media efforts is to increase your engagement by sharing more photos. These photos don’t even necessarily need to be about your book. You can share interesting photos that highlight your message.

One great place to find stock images that you can use on your blog and other social media sites is Getty Images. This company hosts over 80 million photos. The best part is that earlier this year, Getty Images created an open-embed program (much like YouTube’s embed program) that allows users to drop any of their images to a blog, website, or social media site. The service simply appends a footer at the bottom of the picture with a credit.

If you want to increase your engagement on social media, start using more photos. Getty Images is one resource that makes it easy for you to find and use more photos in your social networking posts.

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Connectivity

Connection—it’s what every human seeks. Humans are social beings. We are born into a social unit called a family, and we have the desire for relationships built into our DNA.
All humans look for connections. We look for connections with other people, with ideas, with nature, and with purpose. The things we connect with, we pursue.

connectivity

This concept of connectivity can be used in promoting books. The goal is to get people to connect with your message, your book’s cover image, or the book’s story. Once someone has connected with one of these things, they are more likely to purchase your book.

One way that many authors and publishers are pursuing connectivity in their promotional efforts is through creating engaging book videos. Book videos are much like movie trailers; they show what a book is about with pictures, words, and music.

Engaging, short videos work the best for connecting people to a book. While book videos appear to be the most effective for fiction works, they can also help connect people to a nonfiction book as well.

While there are many studios that are willing to create a book video for authors and publishers, most charge a substantial fee. Fortunately, there are a few do-it-yourself services online that offer you the ability to create a slick-looking book video either free or for a small fee. These include:

You can also check out two book videos created using Animoto on YouTube by clicking here and here.

Each of these video-making sites allows you to upload your video around the Internet to YouTube and other social media sites. If you create a book video for your book, place the video on your website, your blog, Amazon, YouTube, Facebook, and all your social media sites.

Remember the purpose of create a book video is to increase the possibility that readers will connect with your message or story. Our world is bombarded by media noise. The messages trying to grab our attention are unending. To compete, you must jump in and try to grab some of the attention. Book videos are one way to compete and, hopefully, tip the scales in your favor.

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Discoverability

“I just discovered a new recipe for pumpkin flan.”

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“I just got hooked on the Game of Thrones show.”

“Have you checked out the new Fresh Market down the street?”

People love to share things they have discovered with others. Discovering things we like gives us a feeling of pleasure, so sharing it with others is natural.

Discoverability is one of the new buzz-words in promoting books. People need to discover your book and the pleasure it brings. As an author, you want people to discover you. Once they do, if they like one of your books, they most likely will read the rest of your books.
This is why so many authors and publishers run specials offering one of their ebooks for free or $.99. The hope is that the reader will download the book, read it, enjoy it, and then go purchase another book by the author to read. This is discoverability at its finest for an author.

Offering a free or heavily discounted special on an ebook really works best for authors with multiple books because the hope is that the reader will enjoy the author and purchase other books by that author to read. Some first-time authors also use the technique of offering their ebook free or heavily discounted for a short-period of time to entice people to download it and read it. These authors are hoping that the readers will enjoy the book and tell their friends about it.

Either way, offering an ebook for free or at a highly-discounted rate of $.99 can be an effective way to boast your discoverability. However, just offering the special is not enough. You need to advertise your special—that is, let as many people as you can know about the special.

In addition to placing announcements on your social media sites and in an eblast to your current customer database, you can post your ebook special on sites dedicated to letting readers know about free or heavily discounted ebooks.

Multiple sites exist that allow authors to list a free or heavily discounted ebook to let readers know about the special. Some of these sites offer free listing, others charge a small fee. These sites include:

If you are wanting more readers to discover your books, try a free or discounted ebook promotion!

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Familiarity

We are comfortable with things that are familiar. We shop at our usual grocery stores each week, drive the same route to work every day, and repeat the same routines regularly.

familiarity

Change is hard. We resist it. We prefer the familiar that we know.

Research shows that because familiarity is so important to us, people must hear about a new product seven to twelve times before they purchase it. In other words, the product must become a little familiar (at least recognizable) to individuals before they decide to buy it.

That means, on average, potential readers of your book must be exposed to your book multiple times before they make the leap to purchase it. This is why promotion is an on-going effort. You have to place your name (book or author) in front of people over and over again until they feel familiar enough to buy.

So, familiarity ties in with visibility. You must make your book as visible as possible so that people see or hear about it multiple times.

One avenue for gaining visibility leading to familiarity is the press release. For additional exposure on the Internet you can submit your press release to free press release sites. While these sites don’t send your press release to media personnel, they do provide coverage of your book on the Internet via search engines looking for your key words.

In addition to gaining you more exposure, submitting to free press release services builds back-links to your website, which in turn, improves your website’s page rank for search engines, meaning that your website appears more frequently and higher in search engine results.

The best free press release services to submit your press releases to are those that have high daily traffic, a good page rank with search engines, and distribute your press release via RSS feeds and social media tools. Six free press release services that meet these criteria are:

If you are looking to build your presence online and enhance familiarity with readers, I encourage you to add submitting your media releases to free press release sites to your marketing plan.

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