Attracting Readers

Book marketing expert Tim Grahl uses an arsenal of web apps to help authors connect with readers and sell books. Authors are often overwhelmed by the thousands of social networking and sales tools available online. If you’re thinking about launching a new book or selling existing publications, you’ve probably faced a tidal wave of advice when it comes to online marketing. Tim Grahl hones in on a few key web apps that can greatly increase your readership and sales metrics.

WordPress

Your fans need a home base to find you, your books, and news about your upcoming events. While social media can provide some information to broad audiences, third-party companies such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter ultimately control your readers’ experiences. Tim highly recommends WordPress as a content management system for authors who want to build their own website. WordPress is a relatively painless web app with hundreds of style templates for authors to choose from. Users can customize the navigation, content, and look with minimal coding and web experience.

Tim is a major fan of plugins, which greatly expand WordPress functionality. Tim’s company, Out:think, has developed plugins such as MyBooks, Events, and Reviews to aid authors. Mybooks lets you to feature published books on your WordPress website. It also connects visitors to stores that sell your book, such as Amazon, iBooks, and Barnes and Noble. The Events plugin creates an easy-to-read calendar listing your upcoming events and readings. The Reviews plugin is feedback tool that lets authors manage their book reviews and display their favorites.

MailChimp

Social media blasts are not the most effective way to connect with your readers. Think of how many Tweets and status updates your friends and followers post online every day. It can be impossible for your book posts to stand out, hurting your sales rates in the long run. Tim Grahl is an advocate for email newsletters, which allow you to connect on a more personal level with your audience. Instead of having to sift through hundreds of social media posts, you fans can find your latest book news right in their email inbox.

The MailChimp web app is a great way to start an email newsletter. You can use it for free to email your first 2,000 subscribers, giving you ample time to get familiar with the interface and workflow. There are dozens of creative templates to use on MailChimp, allowing authors to tailor the look of an email message to their content. This web app also lets you track important email campaign metrics, so you can see how many readers actually read your messages and click on your email links.

Popup Domination

Once you have a snazzy newsletter, you need to find a way to grow your subscription list. Popup Domination displays a simple, unobtrusive sign-up prompt on your website, so that fans can join your mailing list. This form is CAN-SPAM compliant, ensuring that you only message fans who have given their permission. Additionally, you can control how often these popups appear to visitors. For example, a popup can be set to appear once every three months, reminding a reader to sign up for your newsletter.

As you craft a newsletter popup, you need to be direct with your readers about the benefits and timeframes. Tim Grahl encourages authors to think about the incentives for joining an email list. How will your newsletter enrich someone’s life and how often will people receive it? Addressing these details can dramatically increase your fan base.

If you want to learn more about how these web app fit into a winning book marketing strategy, take a look at Tim Grahl’s creativeLIVE course, “Sell Your First 1000 Books.” In this two-day workshop, Tim connects the dots between audience building, content production, and book sales.