Keywords are words designed to get the attention of an individual. When I was a kid, my mom used to stand at the back door and scream out “Ronnie” when she needed me. It usually got my attention and I came running when I heard it… mission accomplished. Any other word was completely ignored. Today the term keyword is associated with websites and search engines but the same theory as my mom screaming my name applies.
The main sales vehicle for your self-published book, outside direct personal sales, is your website. The great thing about a website is that a decent website is within virtually everyone’s budget, and you don’t need a 20 year old techno geek to make one that will sell books. As a matter of fact, if you are a member of my Thor Distribution program, you are given a free website… one more good reason to produce your book with www.Selfpublishing.com.
Picture your website as the store window for your book. You need to put yourself in the position of your buyer. The Internet has hundreds of millions of websites. Once a person gets to your website you only have a few seconds to catch their attention. With a book, it is somewhat easy to catch a buyer’s attention. You don’t need a lot of pizzazz. You need neat content and credibility so the buyer can make up their mind to purchase. Personally, it takes me about 5 minutes to purchase a book, from looking at the cover and comments to having it in my shopping cart and shipped and a receipt in my mailbox. How so fast, you ask? I never buy a book unless I can buy it from Amazon. For a few dollars a year I get free two day shipping and I trust the name and it takes me less than 30 seconds to check. I am not alone in this feeling. Problem with Amazon is that your book is like a spec of sand in the desert. People aren’t going to just “stumble” onto your book at Amazon unless you want to spend thousands of dollars to be in one of their marketing programs.
The free website, through Thor Distribution at www.SelfPublishing.com lets the buyer purchase your book through Amazon. In fact, the “Buy Me” button is connected to the Amazon listing you received in signing up with Thor. Set up this way there will be zero walkaways from your shopping cart. Amazon has spent billions of dollars building people’s trust. We take advantage of it.
The major components of your website are:
- Image of the front cover of your book. People do judge a book by its cover. The actual Thor image is used when you use www.selfpublishing.com, not a sometimes inferior homemade scan of your printed cover.
- About the book – This is where you write the description of your book. Your test should include your top five keywords.
- Picture of author – actually pretty important in establishing a relationship with your new reader.
- About the author – This is where you convince the reader that you are qualified to write the book you are hoping for them to buy.
- Sample chapter – This is one of the strongest selling components your website has. For the self-published author, I would recommend making as much of your book available for review. The object of the game is to get the visitor to click the BUY button.
- Customer comments – People like to read what someone else has to say about the book. You don’t need dozens, but you do need some good ones. Even if the first good comment is from your mother or brother, use them and later replace them as you get better known endorsements.
- Did I mention domain name? The domain name is initially set at http://websites.selfpublishing.com/yourISBN but you will want to change that. SelfPublishing is connected with my son’s company, www.emoxie.com whom we have partnered with on this aspect. Once in Thor Distribution you will find the link in your Customer Resourse Center by titles to add a unique domain name to your website. Unlike when you bought your ISBN, where it was 100% up to you to do the right thing with it, when you buy a domain name through SelfPublising, all the “hook ups” are done for you in a very short period of time so http://websites.selfpublishing.com/yourISBN changes to www.yourdomain.com.
Now that you have a great storefront, how are you going to get buyers to find you? If it were a regular store in the mall you would have people walking by, looking in the windows and stopping in if they like what they saw in the window. That is sort of the way the internet works other than there are millions of stores. Picture your favorite mall with a million stores. How many people do you think you would casually walk by in an hour? To have the best shot of having someone look at your storefront now is to be positioned to where you would be seen in that hour walk. Now say you are going to the mall looking for a book. You come in and look at the directory and see that in this million store mall there are 200 bookstores but that are all in the same section of the mall. You skip the other 999,800 stores and head right to the bookstore section. Once you get there if the first bookstore you pass looks like it has what you are looking for you go in and buy. If the first store isn’t right you go into the second or third. Chances are, you would never have to go beyond the tenth store to get what you wanted, even though the 150th thru 200th store probably had what you wanted too. Like the casual stroll the targeted stroll is about position too.
Like the mall, the Internet has directories too. They are called search engines. While there are hundreds of search engines out there, lets concentrate in the largest, Google. A user accesses the Google directory using search teams… keywords. At the very beginning of this article I referred to my dear mom hollering from the back porch. She searched for “Ronnie” and Ronnie came running. But what if there are 100 Ronnies playing outside that day? She would probably need to get more specific like “Ronnie Pramschufer” or “Ronnie with the knees out of his jeans” or “Ronnie with the wiffle haircut.” What wouldn’t work would be “Ronnie… don’t make me call your father!” Everyone’s mother did that so it would have had the same effect as “Ronnie.
“Keywords are words a potential buyer will enter a search engine to try to find your book. If your book is about fire safety, wouldn’t it be nice if someone entered “fire safety” into the search engine and your book popped up at the top of the list? Back in the early days of search engines you need only to repeat your keyword 50 times at the bottom of your webpage and you would rocket right to the #1 position. It doesn’t work that way anymore. Neither do the 80 million other “tricks” that certain Search Engine Optimization (SEO) companies out there push onto people. Anyone who guarantees to get you into the “Top 10” is right up there with the worst of the Vanity Presses.
After 15 years of doing this, I am convinced that if you build the best website for particular keywords, the search engine will eventually find you. Case in point, keyword “self publishing” and www.selfpublishing.com. Search it sometime. Forget about the top three listings and all the side listings… they are just paid ads (and expensive ones too). Look at the natural listings. You will rarely find selfpublishing.com below number three or four out of 21.9 million listings. Why? It’s the site itself. At the end of the day selfpublishing.com really does best fit the keyword “self publishing.” Can you help the search engines along? Of course you can and it starts with your copy. If your book is about fire safety you better be able to find those words in the title and content of your website.
- This book teaches you how to be safe in a fire.
- This book is about fire safety
Both of the lines above say more or less the same thing. Which one do you think is better if your keyword is fire safety?
How about the title bar on your website?
YOUR NAME PUBLISHING COMPANY – NY,NY
Fire Safety, the Layman’s Guide to Fire Safety by Joe Smith
While the name of your company is important to you, does anyone know it? Will anyone search for it?
Keep this in mind as you are writing your copy for your website. First thing you need to do though is write down those 5-10 keyword or keyword phrases you would search the Internet to find a book exactly like yours. Then get started. For any of you in Thor already, if you would like for me to look at your website copy, let me know. No charge for that. If you don’t know where to start and need help getting up and running, I can do that too. There is a charge for that, unless I hit the Lotto. No guarantees of Top 10 listing, but a guarantee to have your website work for you, not against you.