SEO Strategies for Authors & Books

SEO search engin optimization written as clouds in a sky between two tall buildings as viewed from the ground.If an author stood alone in the publishing marketplace, driving potential customers to a website would be easy. But with hundreds of thousands of new titles published in the U.S. each year, attracting people to your author or book website becomes like any other marketplace — competition rules. It’s a race for discovery, exposure, and on-line real estate.

That’s why web presence and search engine optimization (SEO), which help people who search the internet to find you, need special and consistent attention.

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A Digital Marketing Strategy for Your Book: How It Works, How It’s Measured

A non fiction new book just published and opened for the first time.

Congratulations: your nonfiction book is coming out. You’re ready to hire a PR agency that specializes in book marketing — a firm with a great reputation, experience and a strong track record. You’re looking forward to getting off and running.

You and the firm will forge a digital marketing strategy, building a brand, creating (or refining) a website and social media channels, establishing a tone and continuity for your messaging, and adding appropriate, appealing images, videos, interviews, and other relevant content. There will be a timeline established, with targets, and all the material will have to be maintained so nothing goes stale. The website will have to be updated; the blog refreshed regularly with resourceful and informative content; social media properties vibrant with daily posts, engagement responses, and updates. If you’re incorporating digital advertising, additional appropriate content will be created for that, including images, videos, cinemagraphics, and copy.

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Can Facebook Advertising Sell Your Book?

A row of books sitting on a black bookshelf.

Ads on Facebook are creating amazing successes for many different types of products and services. As a way for an author to connect with the desired audience, these ads are a great tool and well worth considering. The social network has been deeply mining data for years — on what people like, find amusing and interesting, along with users personal information and demographics — and the result is a gold mine for hyper-targeted advertising. Costs are flexible, options are infinitely customizable, and the results generate powerful data in real time that’s easy to track and work with.

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Does Radio Sell Books?

Q & A with Julia Schopick, bestselling author of HONEST MEDICINE: Effective, Time-Tested, Inexpensive Treatments for Life-Threatening Diseases.

Is TV a better platform than radio for selling books? Many of my authors ask me. So I asked Julia Schopick, bestselling author of the book HONEST MEDICINE, to talk about WHY she feels RADIO is the best way to promote and sell books. I think you’ll find her answers fascinating.

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Self-Published Authors Need Book PR Most

Self-Published Authors Can Benefit From Professional Book Publicity Services
Self-Published Authors Can Benefit From Professional Book Publicity Services

Self-published authors and book publicity services go hand-in-hand. That’s because self-published authors need help; they don’t have a big publisher’s publicity department behind them to write and send out press releases, pitch story ideas to target media, and book interviews on radio and TV.

Large book PR firms sometimes don’t take on self-published authors because they feel that top-tier media is more skeptical of self-published authors and their expertise.

But the times, they are a’changing.

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Social Media for Authors—Part Two

In Part One of this two-part series, we talked about three strategies authors can use to maximize their social media marketing efforts—ways to create sites that are engaging, informative, and collaborative. Social media is a clever way to publicize a book, to create buzz for book-related events, such as signings and speaking engagements, and to position yourself as an expert in a your given field. Obviously, the end goal is increased book sales.

You Can Multiply Your Marketing Results Many Times Using Social Media.
Authors Can Multiply Their Marketing Results Many Times Over Using Social Media.

Let’s look at three more ways to enhance your professional brand using social media marketing.

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Social Media for Authors — Part One

Digital marketers seek every opportunity to connect their clients with the desired audience in the best and most engaging way. The social media landscape is much different than it was just last year, and it is certainly a full-time endeavor to remain current in tactics when marketing online.

Any Author Can Learn Social Media Marketing!
Any Author Can Learn Social Media Marketing!

If you’re an author, YOU are the one who has to have the overview of what the social media marketing capabilities are for your brand. That brand is YOU, and everything you do.

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Is DIY Book Publicity Right for You?

Doing your own book publicity can be a daunting challenge.
Doing your own book publicity can be a daunting challenge.

A recent New York Times article (“Improving Your Public Relations Without a Public Relations Firm”) got me thinking about do-it-yourself book publicity. And as an author, new or seasoned, you may even be considering the idea for yourself.

But is DIY publicity right for you? Or would your book, not to mention your business and brand, be better served by you hiring an expert?

Yes, cost is a consideration. Today, though, there are scores of skilled solopreneurs and small firms whose fees won’t break the bank. As you consider being a do-it-yourselfer—an author, media strategist, content developer, and publicist all in one—I’d recommend also weighing this: what an expert can do for you smarter, faster, and better.

Here are some essential elements of a successful publicity campaign, ones that a good book publicist will be able to accomplish for you:

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The Three Key Elements of Book Promotion

With effective book promotion, your great ideas will fly.
With effective book promotion, your great ideas will fly.

Authors who’ve just finished their book often experience a rude awakening. After spending a year or more writing their book, and several more months shepherding it through the production phases of editing, proofreading, and design, they wonder, “How do I get the word out?” Assuming you, the author, have figured out the bookstore distribution piece of the puzzle, and have your book up on Amazon and the other online sellers, it’s now time to put your energies into the next stage: book promotion.

Targeting the Three Pillars of Book PR

Book promotion can be a full-time job–as much work as writing the book itself–depending on how much time and energy an author wants to devote to it. That’s why it’s often a good idea to hire a book publicist to help you. Here are three elements of effective book promotion that you and/or your publicist will target.

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Marketing Your Non-Fiction Book with Speaking Engagements

Speaking engagements are ideal venues for book PR.
Speaking engagements are ideal venues for book PR.

You worked long and hard to write your non-fiction book, and you were driven by passion. Now you have a very expensive business card—your book!—that can open all kinds of doors for you. We’ve talked in the past about how to get good media placements to help you promote your book. Now let’s look at how to use speaking engagements to promote you, your business, and your brand—and sell books in the process.

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SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for Non-Fiction Author Websites

Writers are artists, and what better place to show off your creativity than on your own website? You can have gorgeous, big images of your book covers, stunning visuals, provocative blogs, interactive surveys, and much more at a site that represents the essence of your expertise and talents.

The Google multicolored logo.
To optimize your web traffic, you need to know about the Google algorithm.

As a published author, you’ve probably worked with an agent, publisher, or editor who has offered feedback and recommendations to make your book more readable, accessible, and marketable to your targeted audience. These publishing world pros understand that a well-written book with great content needs readers, just as an actor needs an audience.

Likewise, your website needs viewers. You can generate something akin to “feedback” from Google, Yahoo, and Bing – the major search engines – to make your site into a highly effective, lively, interactive marketing tool for your book. Authors generate this constructive feedback by using search engine optimization, or SEO.

Most authors don’t know how SEO works – or even why they really need it or what it is. The purpose of this three-part article is to demystify the topic, providing authors with the basic information they will need to hire an SEO expert or do it themselves.

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Part II: SEO for Non-Fiction Author Websites –13 Insider Tips

In Part I of this three-part series on search engine optimization (SEO) for non-fiction author websites, I explained the importance of understanding how the Google algorithm indexes your website—determining whether your site will appear on the first page of a Google search or the tenth.

Here, Part II features 13 insider tips and strategies that will help you get your author website to show up near the top of Google searches. This translates into more visitors to your site, more publicity for you and your book, and hopefully more book sales, speaking gigs, new client acquisitions, and fresh publishing opportunities.

Follow these tips to make Google SEO work for you.
Follow these tips to make Google SEO work for you.

Some Basic Google Recommendations for Your Book Author Website

For good basic SEO for your website, follow this logical concept. Google has to totally understand what your website is all about, determine the focus of the site as well as what each page is about, and evaluate the content as credible and resourceful information that is appropriate to show people searching for exactly what you are offering. That sounds like a relatively simple thing—but you’d be surprised how many websites do NOT do that!

Here are a dozen tips for your SEO that will help focus your website better:

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SEO Marketing for Author Websites, Part III: How to Find a Good SEO Pro

The most crucial time for marketing a non-fiction book is just before and right after it is released. You don’t get a do-over! It’s wise, therefore, to bring in an SEO specialist several months in advance of the release so they

An SEO specialist working with a book author using a laptop computer.
A smart SEO professional can help promote your author website–and help you sell books.

can create a digital marketing strategy for your new book. In Part I of this series, you learned why SEO is important for non-fiction authors. In Part II, you learned some of the most important tricks and traps of using SEO to promote your book.

Below are 7 tips for finding the right SEO specialist to help you generate media attention for your book, which could translate into book sales; radio, TV, and print interviews; speaking gigs; and new clients and business opportunities.

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Personal Branding for Non-Fiction Authors

Apple iPhones. The Huffington Post. Coke. Everything we consume, from technology, to media, to a sugary soft drink, has a brand that defines it and determines how we relate to it.

Take Coca-Cola, the most recognized brand in the world. The association this company has created is more than just the enjoyment of their carbonated beverage. It’s one of fun, freedom, and empowerment. Their branding continually invents fresh ways to tap into the nostalgic aspects surrounding a product that has moved through generations, connecting grandparent to teenager, and merging new times to past decades.

A Good Brand Turns Author-Experts into Thought Leaders
A Good Brand Turns Author-Experts into Thought Leaders

What about branding for people? Business people, celebrities, and politicians all develop their brand with the help of managers, agents, publicists, political handlers, and advisors. The same can be true for author-experts. A focused brand-building strategy, with the help of a good book publicist, can turn a non-fiction author into a recognized thought leader, who then becomes a sought-after speaker, media commentator, and professional consultant.

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Marketable Non-Fiction – Part Two

In some ways, it’s best to think about the finished product before you start writing the book. Every successful non-fiction book can be summed up in one sentence. That’s your big idea. It’s like a 10-second pitch that would “hook” a reporter on the spot — or a book publicist! Once you know your big idea, create a structure that can be grasped at a glance. This will become your table of contents. 10 Steps. 5 Strategies. 7 Lessons. In this age of short attention spans, you need to create a skeleton that has an internal logic that can be easily understood before you flesh it out.

A woman with pen and blank book thinking about what kind of non-fiction book to write.
Image courtesy of Feelart /

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Writing a Highly Marketable Non-Fiction Book – Part One

A skillful novelist can take us on a journey so compelling that we keep reading without any mid-chapter temptation to insert the bookmark and go to sleep. We get completely absorbed in the novelist’s imaginary world of intrigue, romance, adventure, betrayal, or beauty. The images and emotions we create in our brain bond us to the work like a powerful magnetic force.

Woman author with maroon shirt with pencil writing a non-fiction book.
Photo by anankkml

Is Writing Non-Fiction a Completely Different Experience?

In many ways, it is exactly the same. Like a novelist, a good non-fiction writer needs to be involved with the reader’s emotions. Her words and ideas have to create that same feeling and experience of connection in the reader. The non-fiction writer wants her reader to be thinking, “This book speaks to ME.” Whether it’s a self-help book or a business book filled with new strategies for success, a writer’s aim it to move and inspire the reader.

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When Publicizing Business Books, Target the Right Business Readers

In the past decade, business has become mainstream. The average person now has knowledge of stock market trends, corporate takeovers, and competition within global industries. From a book publicist’s point of view, this means that there are more “business readers” than ever.

Book promotional targets like Bloomberg, Forbes, Wall Street Journal & Inc. for business book publicity.

On the one hand, this is good news, because the universe of media venues that need business content has grown. On the other hand, serious business readers now have to be more choosy about the content they consume.

For Best Book Promotion Results, Target Top-Tier Business Media

For this reason, we like to target top-tier business media whenever possible. Why? Because when we’re trying to move and motivate leaders, managers, and entrepreneurs—and hopefully get these readers to buy a business author’s book—we have to go to the media places they frequent. We also always have to be agile and creative in our approach to book publicity. Every book has its unique promotional challenges and publicity opportunities to define, explore, and make happen with great success.

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