Tips for Writing and Marketing a Book That’s Sells

author_on_computerWriting a book is a huge undertaking. Marketing a book is an even harder one.

Think about it: There are thousands of books published by publishing houses each year. And how many books are self-published? It’s pretty much that number squared.

So how do you become one of the few authors whose books really sell? Even more importantly: How do you ensure that you will at least make enough money to offset the expenses of becoming a published author?

Well, to be honest, the odds of doing either are small. But thankfully, it’s not like playing the lottery. There are actual, concrete things you can do to increase the odds that your book will sell. Based on my experience, here are some suggestions…

Before you start writing…

Fiction authors: Have a niche audience in mind.
There are a million mystery writers out there. Ditto for children’s book writers, self-help writers, etc… So start by thinking about how your book is uniquely different from all the others in the industry. Is it about a specific place or time in history (which can bring in people who have a special interest in those subjects)? Does it combine two genres that often don’t go together (like spirituality and mystery, for example)? Figure out what makes your story different from the norm, and make sure you stick to it as your writing the book.

Nonfiction authors: Assess the market.
Make sure you’re writing about what people are looking for. If your specialty is career services, for example, you don’t want to write a book about changing careers in a time where unemployment is sky-high. In that type of market, you’d be much better off writing a book about how to write the perfect resume or what to say in a job interview. That’s what people are looking for, so the market is there waiting for you. Take the time to figure out what the needs/interests are before delving in.

While you’re writing…

It’s never too early to start thinking about marketing a book. While you’re writing it is as good a time as any. Start talking about your book to friends, family and colleagues. Start building an author website and a social media presence.

One of the best things you can do is start a blog. It may sound like a boatload of work to be blogging while you’re also writing your book, but it’s never too early to start building a following.

Most importantly, start collecting email addresses! Even if it’s just friends and family at the beginning, you want to have a ready-made list of people to announce your book to as soon as it’s available.

While you’re publishing/getting published…

Now’s the time to really start ramping up your marketing efforts. You want to be at the pique of your marketing and campaigning several months before your book becomes available. Those efforts should include:

  • Planning a book launch promotion strategy
  • Sending copies of it to reviewers and bloggers
  • Holding contests on your website
  • Actively promoting your book release date on your website and on social media
  • Blogging like crazy
  • Forming relationships with others who have written similar books and/or speak to your target audience
  • Creating author presences on GoodReads and Amazon
  • Connecting with book clubs that might be interested in your book

And most importantly .. reaching out to that niche audience I mentioned.

How do I do that?

Well, that depends on your audience. But here are a few examples.

If you wrote a book about real estate law, for example, you’d want to be targeting real estate attorneys, investors, etc… You’d want to advertise in publications that they read, get your book reviewed by or testimonials written from people in the field, and offer to blog for free on sites that industry insiders read regularly.

On the other hand, if you wrote a novel that takes place in Martha’s Vineyard, you’d want to focus a lot of your attention on that individual area. You should reach out personally to every bookstore owner in the area and make sure they’re carrying your book. You could offer to do speeches at the local community centers, or visit the local book clubs for discussion.

You get the idea … The more specific your nice audience is, the more likely you’ll be able to get your book to stand out from the rest.

Good luck!


Do you have other ideas about how to get your book to sell? Share them below!

Vlogging for Authors: Why a Video Presence is a Great Way to Connect (Part 1)

In this two-part guide, I will discuss the benefits of vlogging for authors and show you how to start your own video channel on YouTube to connect with your readers! Stay tuned. Part 2 will be posted a week from today.

Do you have an author blog, but are struggling to find new ways to connect with your visitors? Are you frustrated with the lack of comments and readers your blog receives?

Maybe it’s time to put things in motion!

Vlogging (otherwise known as video-blogging) is still a relatively new concept, and the vast majority of our authors do not make use of it’s potentially-vast power.

In fact, there are many ways in which vlogging can actually be superior to the old-fashioned medium of words on a computer screen.

Benefits of Vlogging over Blogging

1. It is more personal

This one is pretty obvious, but it can pay very large dividends quickly. It is often difficult to get a sense of an author’s personality when it’s just letters on a screen, even with very frequent blog posts. You an only connect with your readers so much if they can’t actually see you.

A video blog is another level of connection between you and your readers. It’s a great way to convey emotion, humor, and insight, and even use visual tricks to keep your followers much more engaged.

2. It can look professional

If you have a good web camera and video-editing software (which comes with almost all computers today) you can put together some nice-looking videos that can help you come off as engaged, professional and even “state of the art.”

Let’s say you’ve written some great books on leadership and innovation, like our client Soren Kaplan. If you give weekly or monthly business tips delivered on video and you put time, effort and thought into keeping the quality of those videos fresh and original, you can bet that they will eventually draw interest.

3. It offers another great way to track metrics and traffic: YouTube

Using YouTube for storage of your video blogs is optional, but we strongly recommend it. When your videos live on YouTube, you can easily embed them on your vlog.

You read that right… your videos can then be found BOTH on your website AND on YouTube. If someone searches “great business ideas” and happens to land on your video on YouTube, watches your video there, and sees that you have a website and a book, you may very well have a new follower (and reader). Imagine gaining a wealth of new followers and eventually vlogging weekly, with readers commenting on your YouTube channel and your blog. Wouldn’t that be nice? It’s very possible!

YouTube is just another way you can be discovered, and their great built-in analytics help you target your videos to specific audiences.

Closing Thoughts

Starting to feel lost? Fear not!

In Part 2 of this series we will be talking about how to get started vlogging from a technical perspective. I will walk you through a step-by-step process of setting up a YouTube account launching your vlogging career!

8 Secrets to an Effective Author Email Campaign

email-keysYou know that email is an important marketing tool for selling your books. But how much do you really know about how to use it effectively? Here’s what you need to know about common email mistakes, and what you can do to maximize your email efforts.

1. Offer incentives for signing up. There’s a reason you hesitate to give out your email address to every Tom, Dick and Harry who asks for it. After all, if you did, you’d be getting hundreds of emails each day, many of which would be trying to sell you Viagra or SPAMming you with promotions from a restaurant you would never eat at. No, you only give out your email address when there’s a good reason for doing so; like a free giveaway or a discount at your favorite store. So in order to build your email list, think about what kinds of incentives you could offer your readers. Maybe it’s a downloadable discussion guide, or a discount off the subscription to your weekly audio podcast.

2. Make it clear that you won’t share email addresses. Sure, you know that you’d never sell your email list. But that doesn’t mean that everyone else knows you won’t share their email addresses. It’s such a simple thing; guaranteeing the security of the information people share with you. And yet, it can make the difference between someone giving you their address and not doing so.

3. Be clear about what people are signing up for. So you’re asking people to sign up for your e-mail alerts. But are you telling them what to expect? Do they know if they’re going to receive weekly updates? A monthly newsletter? Automatic alerts whenever you post a blog entry? Make sure you’re very clear about the frequency and the content of these emails. People will only sign up if they know what they’re signing up for.

3. Offer quality in your emails. This is so key … do NOT send out emails that are purely promotional. That’s a sure-fire way to turn off your audience. Instead, use your emails as an opportunity to share valuable information with your readers; something that they will appreciate. This will ensure that they open your future emails … and maybe actually respond to your promotions.

5. Always offer a call to action! Speaking of promotion; always make it easy for people to take action after reading your emails. Maybe that action is to “Like” you on Facebook. Maybe it’s to buy a copy of your latest book. Whatever your goal is in sending your email, make sure that you make it as easy as possible for the readers to actually do it.

6. Provide opt-outs. This is a legal requirement, so there’s no flexibility here. You MUST give people a way to opt out of your emails. If you don’t you may be reported … and then you’ll never be able to send an email again.

7. Don’t abuse your list. Don’t you hate it when you receive those daily emails from a clothing company or flower service? I mean, sure you like their stuff, but sometimes it’s just too much. They’re “abusing” their lists. And you should avoid making the same mistake. Only send out emails that are full of quality information. Put yourself in the position of a recipient; would you want to read this? Or is it just fluff? If it’s not important, don’t send it.

8. Provide share options. Let’s say you put together the perfect email to go to your readers. And let’s say one of those readers has a BFF that she thinks would love your email. Make sure you offer every recipient the option to share the email with friends. After all, the more the merrier!

Do you have any additional recommendations for a successful email campaign? Share them with us!

9 Ways to Get Book Reviews (Not All of Them Ethical)

newspaper_book_reviewRemember when getting a book review involved a pre-pub copy of your book being sent to the NY Times, Publishers Weekly, etc…? Boy, how times have changed.

And while those reviews are still golden, today’s world of self-published authors, Amazon, and online reviews have turned the concept of book reviews upside down.

With that in mind, here are some ways that authors like you can get reviews of their books nowadays (and my commentary at the end):

1. Reach out to reviewers and bloggers in your genre. Submit an e-copy of your book to a reviewer or blogger and explain why his/her readership would benefit from exposure to your book.

2. Offer to exchange reviews with another newly-published author. This type of authors swap is becoming very popular.

3. Email friends and family asking them to post reviews of your book on Amazon. Extra points if that same person has actually purchased it from Amazon; that way, the review is labeled as a “verified purchase”

4. Communicate with people on GoodReads who are interested in books in your genre. Bring your book to their attention.

5. Look for Amazon reviewers who commonly review books in your genre. Tell them about your book and see if they’d be interested in a free copy.

6. Make it easy for readers to contact you. Then, when people send you comments about your book, ask for their permission to use it as a sort of review. You can also ask them to reprint it on Amazon, if they don’t mind.

7. Remind, remind, remind. Do you have followers on Facebook? People who read your blog? Keep reminding them to review your book on Amazon or GoodReads.

8. Pay for a Kirkus review. Yup, you can do that now. Say what you wish.

And now on to #9 … a really interesting (albeit, controversial) method I read about on LinkedIn…


9. Incentivize it for your readers! Here’s the quote from one author, who will remain nameless:

Basically, readers earn points for making recommendations. A reader gets so many points for each recommendation and a larger number of points if the person emailed to purchases the book. Readers then earn a proportionate share in the profits based on the ratio of their points to total points.

In my case, I’m going to share 50% of the cash receipts (instead of profits because I think that works better) hoping that the extra volume of sales will provide me with a greater net return than if I did not share the cash receipts.

Well, that’s …. creative. Is it a marketing tactic? Of course! Is it legal? Yup. Is it ethical? Well, that’s questionable. After all, what reader would write a negative review of a book if he/she has a potential to reap a percentage of the profits?

And that’s where all of this gets sticky. In the old days, you knew that a book review you were reading was a real review. If a review had five stars, that’s because the book was good enough to deserve five stars.

But today, when you read a review, you have no idea about the “agreement” that went into the review. Was the reviewer a relative of the author? Was he/she being paid for it? Is he/she getting a percentage of the profits from the book?

So are these techniques ethical? Well, that’s not my place to judge. But they are techniques that can be used to generate some reviews for your book. Use them at your own peril.

And if you have other techniques for getting reviews, please share them with us!

Beyond Facebook and Twitter: Social Media Avenues for Authors

social networking logosOh Facebook and Twitter … they’re so 2012.

But seriously, we all know that those are the two most commonly-used social networking tools in the digital world. But that doesn’t mean authors should be ignoring all the other social networking avenues out there.

In the past few weeks, I’ve stumbled across a slew of articles about some of the other communities that have been helpful to authors in their efforts to promote themselves and their books. With that in mind, here are some other sites to keep an eye on, and advice on the best ways to use each one.

Yes, it’s a lot like Facebook. And yes, it’s a lot less popular than Facebook. But Google+ offers a whole slew of additional benefits, including improved search engine optimization (after all … Google loves Google+), profiles that tie into your blog bylines via Google Authorship, and “circles” that allow you to have one profile, but separate your messages from family to messages to readers.

According to an article by Jane Friedman:

Here’s what a search result looks like without Google Authorship set up:

Search result without Google Authorship

Here’s a search result with Google Authorship:

Search result with Google Authorship

Enough said.

Goodreads is where readers converge to discuss novels, offer book recommendations, write reviews, and keep a list of the books they’ve read and want to read. All told, there are 18 million readers on that site. If you can get 1% of them to buy your book, you’re doing pretty darn well.

So how should an author use GoodReads? Here are some steps, courtesy of Lisa Verge Higgins:

1. Join GoodReads. First, you must join as a reader … later, we will explain how to join as an author. Just make sure you join under the same name that you write with!

2. Connect with friends and fans. Much like other social networking sites, the larger a group you build, the more people you will reach.

3. Connect your name to your books. Start by searching for one of your books. Then click on your hot-linked author name, which will bring up your author profile.  Next, look around for a link that asks “Is This You?  Let Us Know.”  This is where you can identify yourself!

4. Take advantage of your profile. Fill it all out. Include links to your website and your blog. Tie in links to your Facebook/Twitter accounts, and upload video trailers.  You can even post your future events and invite friends.

5. Get your book on other readers’ “to be read” list.” Here are some ways that Lisa recommends you do that:

  • Widgets.  Goodreads will create for you html strings for a variety of widgets that you can insert directly into your website.  Some are simple buttons that, with one-click, adds a book to a TBR list.  Other widgets are more elaborate and include a scroll of the highest-rated reviews for your book.
  • Advertise.  The last time did this, it was a beta system, and I ran an ad to support a giveaway I was running on one of my books.  I didn’t think it was particularly effective, but the metrics may change now that they’re working with Amazon.
  • The Almighty Giveaway:  This is Goodreads most powerful offering, and but for the cost of books and postage, it’s FREE.  Currently, Goodreads only allows giveaways of PRINT books, but that may soon change.  The point of a giveaway is to increase the number of folks who put your book on their TBR list, and to (hopefully) generate pre-publication reviews from the readers who win.  The control is all in your hands:  You get to choose how many books to offer, the geographical limits, and the time length of the giveaway. When the giveaway is over, Goodreads will send you the names and addresses of the winners which you must pinky-swear to burn after you’ve shipped the books.
  • Goodreads’ Greatest Perk for Book Launches.  If you’re launching a book, it’s strongly suggested that you run a giveaway three months and then three weeks before the release date.  Why?  On your lay-down date, Goodreads will send out a targeted email to announce your book’s arrival to everyone who has your book on their TBR list.  That’s pinpoint-targeted publicity, and it costs absolutely nothing.

Pinterest is a digital scrapbook that lets you post images you like to your profile. You follow people, and they follow you. Words are few and far between. Pictures — both your own and others you stumble upon on the web — run amok. So why is this a site I’m mentioning for authors?

Well, it’s certainly not worth the time and effort for all authors. But if your book is very visual (i.e. it’s a cookbook with photos), if you have illustrations/graphics in it, or if your book appeals primarily to a female audience (who spend a lot of time on Pinterest), it may be worth your while. Here is some advice on using it, courtesy of Randy Ross.

1. What to Pin
– Your own: photos, blog posts, Youtube videos, audio, Powerpoint presentations saved to Slideshare.
– Other peoples’ images etc: As with all social media, people will tune you out if you’re just flogging your own stuff.

2. Don’t Pin Hundreds of Things at once
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a prescheduling tool, so you’ll have to spend some pinning images regularly.

3. If you Pin a book cover, get the image from a page selling the book or a page with a review of the book. Pin your own book covers — if you have a book. And create a Pinterest page, or Board, for your friends’ books.

4. Create a Pinterest Board for writers similar to yours. The old, “if you liked these folks, you’ll like me.”

5. Create a Board for characters in your novel, destinations mentioned in your travel blog, other background you’ve used in your writing.

6. Use Powerpoint to create slides that include original tips that link back to your own blog posts.

So which of these three sites (or the wealth of others out there) are right for you? Well, start by using some common sense. Figure out who your audience is and which sites they spend their time on. Then take your best guess and dive head-first into one of these communities. Give it your time and attention for a month or so. If your numbers improve, then keep it up. If not, then refocus your attention on another site.

As with everything else in life, it’s trial and error.

10 Ways a Reader Can Find Your Author Website

author_on_computerOkay, so you’ve built an author website. Congratulations! But just because the site is live doesn’t mean that people will find it. Here’s what you need to know about all the ways people can and will find your site, and what you can do to increase the odds of it happening.

1. Search engines. Optimize your site properly and people searching for your name, your book title, or the subject matter of your book will find your website near the top of their search results. This is probably one of the most important efforts you can put in to building your website! A blog can also be a huge tool in terms of boosting your traffic from the search engines.

2. Interviews. Plan to do an interview with your local TV or radio station? How about the newspaper? Always — and I repeat, always — mention your web address. People will undoubtedly go there to learn more about you.

3. Offline materials. Print business cards with your domain name on it. Make mouse pads, pencils, mini-calendars … whatever suits your fancy. But make sure to print your URL in big, bold letters on whatever you have made.

4. Your email signature. Every email you send should include your name, your book title, and your web address at the footer. This doesn’t cost a thing to set up, so it’s a no-brainer.

5. Social sharing. Let’s say you keep a blog on your site (which I highly recommend). Someone will read one of your posts. Someone will like one of your posts. That person may then choose to share your post on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Voila! A whole new audience has been exposed to your site.

6. Word of mouth. Make sure to talk about your writing — and your website — wherever it’s appropriate. Chat with strangers at the airport. Mention it to colleagues at work, or friends at a birthday party. Spread the word!

7. Cross-promotion. Make sure to include links to your author site from your Facebook page, your Google+ account, etc…

8. Cross-linking. Are there other authors whose works you like? Do you know people who write in a similar genre? Reach out to other authors (or organizations, individuals, etc…) and ask if they’d be interested in linking to your site, and vice versa. This is a great way to expose your target audience to your writings.

9. YouTube. Do you have a YouTube account? Have you uploaded any videos about your writings and your books? Make sure your YouTube account provides a nice segue to your author site.

10. Paid online advertising. There are a variety of ways to “advertise” online — from paid banner ads to Google Adwords campaigns to Facebook “boosts.” But before you start shelling out money for these sorts of things, talk to an expert who can guide you towards the efforts that will provide the best bang for your buck.

Can you think of any other ways that someone may find your site? Share them with us!

The Most Ridiculous Myths About Writing and Writers

Image courtesy of Feelart/

Image courtesy of Feelart/

I came across a really interesting conversation on LinkedIn this morning. The question: What are the most ridiculous myths you’ve heard about writing and writers.

Here are the responses I’ve found (so far). And please use the comments section at the bottom to share your own!

That people don’t judge a book by it’s cover.
Of course, they do. (This includes endorsements on cover etc.)
What else do they have to go on, unless someone has recommended it.

Writing’s easy and we all make as much as Grisham or King
steve hann

That you will have no trouble talking about it at a party.
Brent Smith

They make a lot of money.
Jacci Turner

Writers are inherently antisocial. The disclaimer at the beginning of every novel: “All characters, locations…are fictional and figments of the author’s imagination.” Well, what inspired those aforementioned figments? Social interactions and life experiences.
Brittany Sanders


I’ll add one of my own here as well. I’ll say that one of the most ridiculous myths is that all you have to do is write a good book and it will sell itself. That is soooo not the case. Being a successful author requires being a good marketer as well. And that’s true whether you self publish your book or go through a traditional publishing house. Writing a good book is just step one. Promoting it is just as important.

Okay, your turn! What is the most ridiculous myth you’ve heard about writers? Share it below!

Author Social Media Tip: Know Your Audience!

social_media_iconsI was on the phone with an author yesterday who asked me a question: “What’s the best social networking site for authors?”

My response? There is none.

Now, that doesn’t mean that social networking doesn’t work for authors. On the contrary, it has become an essential part of an author’s promotional plan. This is especially true for fiction authors, where word of mouth is the most common way that people hear about a new, great book.

What I meant was that there is no one social network that is right for every individual author. Before deciding where to invest his or her time, an author should think long and hard about who the audience is for the book and where that audience tends to spend its time.

Case Study #1
A woman writes a book about the most adorable interior design ideas for a baby’s nursery. The book is chock full of pictures, and obviously speaks to an audience of 20 and 30-somethings (prime childbearing age).

In her case, I would recommend that she dedicate her time to Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Facebook and Twitter are important, primarily because of the audience — that’s their preferred methods of communications. Pinterest is also extremely important for this author, as her book is photo-centric, and Pinterest is an amazing place to share photos.

Case Study #2
A man writes a book about saving for retirement. It is geared towards 40- and 50-somethings.

This author should be focusing much his social media efforts on Facebook. After all, his target audience doesn’t dedicate a lot of time to Twitter, and Pinterest isn’t really relevant for this book. Neither is GoodReads, which is much more fiction-oriented. Instead, he should also delve into LinkedIn and Google+, as those are where a professional audience tends to spend more time.

Case Study #3
An up-and-coming author wants to be the next JK Rowling. She writes the first book of a fantasy series targeted to young adults.

Where are today’s youth spending their time? Sure, they’re on Facebook. But so are their parents. They spend more of their time on Twitter, Tumblr, and who knows where else. They may always be a step ahead of us, but it’s this author’s (or her publicist’s) job to pay attention to this young demographic and figure out where they are spending their time. That’s where the marketing efforts should be.

Case Study #4
A novelist writes a suspense-filled mystery and wants to get it in front of his target audience: both men and women who happen to love a good mystery.

Facebook and Twitter would be helpful for this author. But I would recommend that he really delve into GoodReads. The most common reason why a fiction reader buys a book is because it was recommended to them by someone else who has similar taste in books. And unlike other social networking sites, GoodReads gives you the opportunity to get your book in front of an audience of readers who you know already are interested in your genre, and have “friends” whose recommendations they value.

See what I mean? Four authors, four different online strategies for book promotion. Before you put together your social networking plan (and dive into anything and everything that has worked for other authors), stop and take a good hard look at your audience. It may save you a lot of time and money in the long run.

9 Creative Ways for Authors to Help One Another

handshakeThere are thousands — if not millions — of authors out there trying to make a name for themselves. Most of them have very little in terms of publicity agents, marketing experience, etc… So they’re basically fighting an uphill battle.

That’s why so many authors are looking for ways to connect with other authors, and potentially help one another. With that in mind, here are nine creative ways that authors can team up to help promote one another’s books, author websites, etc…

1. Share, share, share. Are other authors posting blog entries? Tweeting? Pass on what you’re reading of theirs to your friends, readers, etc… If they do the same for you, you can increase your reach exponentially.

2. Like one another. Clicking on a Facebook “Like” button is so simple. And yet, doing so really does help to spread the word. So swap “like”s. What’s there to lose?

3. Guest blog post for one another. Do you have a blog? Does your friend, an author, have a blog? Why not write a guest post for his or her site, and vice versa. Not only will this breathe some fresh life into your own blog, but it will get your writing out to a new group of readers.

4. Review one another’s books. Post a review/recommendation of another author’s book on your site. Have him or her do the same for you. If you speak to a similar audience, you’re exposing a whole new crop of readers to a book they may not have heard of otherwise.

5. Interview one another. Use one of your blog posts to interview your author friend about his her book, writing habits, publishing lessons learned, marketing techniques used, etc… Again, it’s a great way to get new faces in front of an existing readership.

6. Offer special deals/giveaways. Why not consider providing a special deal or giveaway to people who came to your site through your friend’s author site or social media page? Any incentive that will get people to buy your book or give you their email address is a good thing.

7. Consider doing group tours. Not actual tours, of course: virtual tours. But by teaming up, you can offer book clubs, libraries, schools, etc… the opportunity to double the attendance by featuring two authors (and triple, if three of you get together).

8. Promote each other through other forms of social media. Do you have a GoodReads account? Make sure to cross-promote there as well. Ditto if you follow people on Twitter, highlight book covers on Pinterest, etc…

9. Create a group blog. This is a little harder to do, but it’s not unheard of. Get a group of authors together and create an author blog site. Agree to each post, say, once a week. The more posts you have, the more you will become a can’t miss destination for other authors. Then, make sure each of your books/websites get fair promotion.

One last caveat … as much as your friend may be your friend, make sure that you’re not wasting your time cross promoting with him or her. In other words, if you have 100,000 followers on your blog and your friend has 5,000, it may not be worth your time for you to “help” one another. Always ask potential authors for information on their following before deciding whether it makes sense to proceed. If the two of you are in the same ballpark, then it’s probably a good arrangement.

Looking for additional advice on selling or marketing your book? Contact us today at Smart Author Sites for a free consultation!

4 Secrets to Online Reputation Management for Authors

searchresultsOnline reputation management is a hot term these days. There are companies out there that make a lot of money providing online reputation management services for companies large and small. But what is online reputation management and how does it play out for authors?

According to Wikipedia, online reputation management (or monitoring) is the practice of monitoring a reputation on the internet with a view to controlling perception of that reputation.

In other words, let’s say a potential reader hears about you, the hot new author on the market. He goes to Google or Yahoo or Bing and searches for your name. What does he then see? Ensuring that what he sees is going to make it more likely that he buy your book than not is what reputation management is all about.

So how can an author take control of his name or book title on the search engines? Here are three strategies…

1. Build an author website! Okay, I’m biased here, because that’s what we do for a living. But this is probably the most impactful thing you can do. Why? Well, let’s say someone searches for “Lisa Smith.” Do you know what’s most likely to be the top search result? Not surprisingly, it would be “” or “” The domain name is one of the primary pieces of an SEO strategy, so having a domain name that matches your name means that it’s likely your author website will show up right at the top of search results. And since a user is likely to then click on that top link, the you (or, in this case, Lisa Smith), is then taking full control of what a user is seeing. That’s online reputation management at its best.

2. Respond to comments. In today’s world of social media, it’s so important that authors interact with their readers. If a reader posts a comment or question about a book,  the author absolutely must answer it. And while there’s not much that can be said in response to a negative book review, there’s definitely some value in an author interacting with her readers online. It helps her come across as more human, thus creating a warmer online reputation.

3. Pose (and encourage) positive book reviews. Picture this: someone hears about your book. He searches for your book title and ends up on your book page on Amazon or GoodReads. He’s bound to see reviews, right? But are they negative reviews? Or are they glowing reviews? Part of building a good online reputation is ensuring that the positive reviews outweigh the negative ones. There’s no book that everyone in the world is going to love, but people are definitely going to pay extra attention to the books that have far more good reviews than bad ones. So make sure that you ask everyone who raves about your book to post a review online. You may even want to offer a bonus for doing so; say, a free autographed copy. After all, a glowing review posted on a prominent site will sell you far more than the cost of that one copy.

4. Stay on top of what’s being said about you. Sign up for Google Alerts and get notified every time someone posts something about you or your book. Also, Google your name once in a while and see what comes up on the search results. It’s only by putting yourself in the position of a stranger hearing your name for the first time that you can actually recreate the experience of someone’s first impression. And only then can you work to improve that first impression.

See? Online reputation management isn’t just for multi-national corporations. By taking control of your online reputation, you are taking a huge step in building your business … even when that business is just you and your books.