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Episode 13:   Book Marketing Promotion (Part 4 of 6)

Learn 25 ebook promotion tips. The tips are grouped in logical order to roughly correspond to the different stages of a book's marketing, from pre-launch to launch to post-launch. These tips can be implemented in any order at any stage of an author's publishing journey.   This is part four of Mark Coker's six-part serialization of the Smashwords Book Marketing Guide.  We recommend that this six-part series be listened to serially, starting with episode 10.

Supplemental links (mentioned in episode):

Preorders [Assetless preorders - How to set up before book is finished]  [Smashwords preorder information page] [Episode 4 - Preorder Strategy]

Smashwords Alerts - Notifies your readers of all new book releases.  Encourage your readers to sign up from your author profile page!

Global Pricing Control - Control pricing in any country or currency (Smashwords blog)

Smashwords Affiliate Marketing program - Earn commissions of 11% or more by linking to ebooks.  This is NOT a big moneymaker, so please set appropriate expectations with fans.

Example of embedded Slideshare presentation - Links to 2017 Smashwords Survey, which was also the topic of Episode 7.

Historical archive of Smashwords presentations at Slideshare - Goes back several years.  Note that information in Smart Author Podcast is much more current (produced 2017-2018)

How to do Box Sets - for charity, audience building and profit.  See Episode 3 for detailed analysis of how box sets perform.

 

Transcript:

Welcome to the Smart Author Podcast, where you'll learn to publish ebooks with greater pride, professionalism, and success. I'm your host, Mark Coker. Let's get started.

In this episode, part four of my six-part series on book marketing.  As a reminder to listeners, you're about to hear a sneak listen of the new 2018 addition of the Smashwords Book Marketing Guide coming out at the end of January 2018. If you're joining me for the first time, I encourage you to start with part one, which is episode 10 of the Smart Author Podcast. It will help you get a lot more out of this episode and those that follow.

Today, we turn our attention to book promotion. Here we go.

Next section heading, book promotion.

Your super awesome book is published and distributed to all the major retailers. You've enhanced the innards of your book per my prior tips, and your book is all set to start marketing itself on autopilot. Now, all you need are more readers so you can unleash the virtuous flywheel of virality.

In this next section, we cover the final 25 of my 65 book marketing tips. You'll learn how to get out there and proactively promote your book. I've grouped the tips in logical order so they roughly correspond to the different stages of a book’s marketing from prelaunch to launch to post-launch. You can implement these tips in any order at any stage of your publishing journey. Most of these tips work for book launches, as well as for new campaigns to reinvigorate your backlist books already on the market.

We begin with tip 41.

Tip 41 - It’s all about the next book. Get it on preorder now.

You might be thinking about your immediate book launch or how to improve the marketing of books you previously released. I’m thinking about your next book and the book after that. You should too. Many authors make the mistake of viewing book promotion as a flash in the pan flurry of activity that coincides with the launch of a book. Promotion is much more than that. Keep your eyes on the bigger, long term prize. Long term, you want to build your author brand, build perceptions about your brand, and build demand for your brand. You want to set the stage to build readership over time so the next book is more successful than the current book, and the current book is more successful than the last.

This means when you're out there promoting your brand and your books, always think about the next book and the next and the next. Always communicate with readers that the next book is available now for preorder. For new authors, the first readers are the most difficult to reach. A lot of new authors will release their first book, sell only a few copies, and then quit in disappointment. Their focus is too short term. Maybe their next book would have sold 100 copies and then the next, 500, and then the next, 5,000. If you want to be a successful author, it requires a long term journey through this valley of obscurity.

All authors start off as obscure. As I mentioned in episode nine of the Smart Author Podcast, which was titled The Art of Delusion, the only way to fail as an author is to quit.

Once you start developing your readership, you'll find that like bunny rabbits, happy readers breed more readers through word of mouth. Whether you're a first time author or an established author, the steps for building readership are essentially the same. You always want to be moving forward, building and building.

Let’s say your immediate focus is the book you plan to launch next week or next month, get it on ebook preorder now and also get the next book on preorder now as well. At Smashwords, you can establish you preorder up to 12 months in advance even if you haven’t started writing it yet. Just keep in mind that when you establish a preorder, you're making a commitment to your readers.

Although you can modify the release date of your book at any time, you must be sincerely committed to delivering that book within 12 months. Otherwise, you should wait until you're within that 12-month window to establish the preorder.

I encourage active authors to always have at least one book on preorder. This way, you're always funneling new and existing readers into your next book. This also means that everything you do to promote your current book will always promote the next book. To keep readers on your train, you always want to have their next trip booked in advance.

As we walk through the next 25 promotion tips, imagine how each tip can help generate greater awareness and demand for your next book on preorder. As a reminder, if you want to learn how to make preorders work for you, check out episode five of the Smart Author Podcast.

Tip 42 - encourage readers to subscribe to your Smashwords author alerts

Many of your readers want to buy everything you publish but they’ve got lives of their own filled with distractions and won’t necessarily have the time to follow every publishing move that you make. They’re likely to miss your next book if they haven’t preordered it. The Smashwords alerts feature allows readers to subscribe to automatic e-mail notifications whenever you release a new book. Readers can subscribe to your Smashwords author alert from your Smashwords author profile page with a click of a button.

Tip 43 - write thoughtful reviews of other books on Smashwords

Whenever you review another book on Smashwords, your review on that author’s book page contains a hyperlink that points back to your author page. There’s also the option to favorite that author, which creates a link on their author page pointing back to your author page. To the extent you participate in the Smashwords community and support the work of fellow authors, you'll raise your profile by building paths back to your pages. Like any community, you get out of Smashwords what you put into it.

Tip 44 - participate in specialized communities where your target readers hang out

Let’s say you wrote a book about gardening. Join a gardening community.  Or did you write a book about overcoming or coping with some medical condition? There are communities for that as well. It’s easy to find online communities, often message boards and forums where your readers are hanging out. Google the 'topic name' plus the word 'community' or the 'topic name' plus the word 'forum' for a long list of prospects.

Facebook and LinkedIn also host a broad range of specialized communities and groups where people of common interests and passions hang out. When you join a community, study the community’s rules before posting. You're there to add value, not to flog your book. Let your forum signature or member profile do the talking. Never crash a forum to spam it with advertisements for your book. Not only would that be disrespectful, it’ll get you banned from the site.

Next subheading, Blogging.

Earlier in tip 17, I recommended you start a blog. In the next few tips to follow, I’ll share suggestions for how you can leverage your blog and other blogs to grow your platform and promote your books. When you comment on another blog, you're asked for your name and your web address. You can enter a hyperlink to your website or blog or to your Smashwords author page. When you post a comment, your name will be hyperlinked. If a reader clicks on your name, it will take them to your webpage. Participate in relevant discussions. Never spam blog comments with messages to buy your book. That’s rude. Instead, add value. If readers think your posts are intelligent, they’ll be curious to learn more about you and will click on your name to access your link.

Tip 46 - write guest posts for other blogs.

Most blogs are run by people who love books and authors. Most bloggers do their blogs entirely as a volunteer effort. It’s a lot of pressure for a blogger to constantly feed the beast, which is how many bloggers feel when they struggle to find the time to write new and interesting posts for their audience. Some of these bloggers will have authors to write guest columns. These guest columns offer you the opportunity to write about a topic of interest and reach a large audience, often, thousands of people. Usually, at the end or the beginning of your blog post, the owner of the blog will give you a quick bio where they’ll mention who you are to establish your credentials and they’ll provide a hyperlink back to your website, blog or book.

To write a guest column, first, review the blog to determine if guest bloggers are allowed to contribute. For example, at the Smashwords blog, we don’t accept contributors. Whenever someone comes along and offers to contribute a guest post, it tells me that they’ve never read the blog. When I first launched the Smashwords blog, I contributed articles to other sites to get my name out there. I used the hyperlink in my bio of these guest posts to attract my first several hundred subscribers to my blog. With those initial subscribers, word spread about my blog and it became easier to draw more traffic.

Tip 47 - conduct Q and A interviews of other authors on your blog.

Every smart author appreciates free positive publicity. Your blog has an audience, whether it’s 10 readers or 10,000. Other authors will want to reach your audience. Do Q&A interviews of your favorite authors in your genre. Contact the authors and offer to interview them for your blog. Send them five or six thoughtful questions via e-mail and invite them to include both their headshot photo and book cover images.

Design the questions with two primary goals in mind. Number one, you want to educate, information, or entertain your blog’s audience by providing them unique and informative content like this, your readers will return to your blog and promote it to their friends. Number two, you want to celebrate the accomplishments of this author you admire. If your interview does a good job of illuminating this author’s wisdom, insights, and accomplishments with the world, the author will want to promote the interview to their audience.

Inside your interview or at the end, provide direct hyperlinks to the author’s website, blog, and social media coordinates. Every author wants to build their social media platform. Once you publish your exclusive interview, email a hyperlink of your post to the author so they can share it. This helps introduce their readers to your blog and through your blog, these readers can then learn about you and your books and who knows? Maybe the other author might reciprocate and offer you a Q and A interview on their blog.

Tip 48 - invite other authors to write guest posts for your blog.

Just like other authors, you will feel the pressure to feed the beast that is your blog. Invite your favorite indie authors to write guest posts for your blog. This is a great way to offer your fans interesting new content that increases the value of your blog. Since this is your blog and your audience, you should exercise some editorial control by providing the other author clear guidance on the type of article your audience will enjoy. It also helps fans of the other author learn more about you because once someone writes a post for you, they’ll want to promote that post across their social media platforms to their fans.

Next subheading, Book Launch Promotion.

The next seven tips offer a checklist of things you can do to announce your new book. Each of these ideas can also be used to promote backlist books.

Tip 49 - promote hyperlinks to all your retailers

When you distribute your ebook with Smashwords, we’ll get your book listed at multiple major ebook retailers. Each of these retailers, large and small, reaches a unique audience of readers. Many of these readers shop only at these stores, which means if your book isn’t available there, you're less likely to reach all the readers you deserve. If, for example, a prospective reader visits your website and this reader prefers to read on their iPad and shop at the Apple iBooks store, yet they only see a link to Amazon, you're less likely to get that sale. Apple iBooks is accessed by customers via an app that’s pre-installed on the home screens of over one billion Apple devices. iBooks is the world’s second largest seller of ebooks after Amazon.  Smashwords distributes hundreds of thousands of ebooks to iBooks.

Other readers prefer to shop at Barnes & Noble, Kobo or the Smashwords store. If you have a website, for each of your books, provide direct hyperlinks to the book pages of major sales channels that carry your book. You want links to Smashwords, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Amazon at a minimum. Your website will also be visited by librarians. Libraries buy a lot of books. Assuming you're a Smashwords author, your books are also available for purchase by public libraries via our extensive library distribution network.

On your website, mention that your books are available for purchase worldwide by libraries that use OverDrive, Baker & Taylor Axis 360, Bibliotheca cloudLibrary, Gardners UK, and Odilo. This mention serves a dual purpose. It’ll prompt librarians to purchase your books and it’ll prompt library patrons to request that their local library purchase your books. Make it easy for readers to get your books from their favorite source.

Tip 50 - write a press release and promote it to your local newspaper.

In my former life prior to Smashwords, I ran an award-winning Silicon Valley PR agency. In this 2018 edition of the Smashwords Book Marketing Guide, I've added a deep dive section dedicated to teaching you how to get free press coverage. I’ll also teach you how to write a press release. Local newspapers often write stories about local authors. All journalists are writers and many of them are authors themselves. A press release is a time honored form of writing that packages the who, what, when, where, how that a reporter needs to write a story. If you give a reporter a compelling, well-crafted press release, they’ll have everything they need to write a story about you and your book, or they’ll have reason to request for more in-depth interview with you.

It’s not uncommon for authors to struggle when it comes to describing their book. After all, it’s not easy to describe a 100,000-word work of art in just a few words. One of the advantages of writing a press release is that it forces a message discipline. A good press release demands that you articulate the story behind your book or your author brand with brevity and clarity. Once you go through the exercise of writing a press release, you'll find it helps clarify your marketing message that you can then use everywhere else. When you're ready to write your press release, check out my deep dive section in chapter three, which will teach you how to write the press release and how to promote it.

Tip 51 - organize a blog tour.

Many traditionally published authors go on book tours where they do book signings at bookstores. For indie ebook authors, such nationwide and worldwide tours are not an option. With the internet, however, you can do something better. The virtual blog tour. Here’s some tips on how to organize a blog tour. First, identify blogs of fellow authors that target your same audience. Invite them to participate in your blog tour for the launch of your next book.

For each day of the blog tour, you'll make a visit to one blog. Maybe on one day, a blog publishes a Q and A interview with you focused on your new book. On another day, you can publish a guest post at another blog, and on the day after that, maybe a blog publishes an exclusive excerpt of your new upcoming book. On the next day, another blog might do a live video chat with you over Google Hangouts and YouTube. You get the idea. If you keep it fresh and interesting with each appearance, you'll build buzz and attract more reader participation to the mutual benefit of yourself and the blog that’s hosting you. In a well-run tour, all of the participating blogs cross promote each other. This gives the blog owner additional incentive to participate and readers are encouraged to follow the author day by day as the tour progresses.

Consider spicing up the tour with contests at each event. Maybe you offer gift certificates to a randomly selected person who participates in the blog comments, or maybe a meter discount coupon from Smashwords where the first 50 people to redeem it get a free book. I mentioned Smashwords coupons earlier and I’ll touch on them again later in tip 58, or maybe anyone who tweets or shares hyperlinks to the tour on Facebook can be entered to win an iPhone or a Kindle. Your personal author blog can act as the hub of the tour, kind of like a Grand Central Station. Write a single post at your blog, possibly titled something like blog tour for launch of book title to announce the tour and the dates of each event.

Show a calendar of what’s happening on each day and a topic with links to all the blogs that are hosting you on the separate days. As you add new events, update the posts so readers have reason to visit again and again for the latest news regarding your tour. For each day of the tour, encourage all participating blogs to cross promote the tour across their social media channels with direct links to both your hub page and the day’s destination. With each blog appearance, you should include the cover image of your book and direct hyperlinks to various retailers that carry your books.

If your book is on preorder, and it should be, schedule the tour to occur in the days leading up to your book launch. In this way, you can drive preorders to the various retailers to lock in the orders at the moment you've got the reader’s greatest attention and interest. With a preorder, advanced planning, and creativity, you could potentially schedule events over a multi-week period of buzz building leading up to the event. It takes a lot of planning and complex coordination to pull off a successful tour but the results can be well worth it. You'll reach more readers, build your social media following, and raise the profile of your author brand. Have fun.

Tip 52 - celebrate your ebook launch on your website, blog, and private mailing list

If you have a standalone website or blog, as many authors do, be sure to post a notice that your book is now available at Smashwords and other retailers. Make sure the links are clickable so the reader can just click and go directly to your book page. If you have a private mailing list, and you should, you'll also announce the release to your new subscribers. Encourage your subscribers to help you spread the word of the new release.

Tip 53, announce your book on social media

If you're a user of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or other online communities, tell your friends and associates that you just published your book on Smashwords and provide a direct hyperlink to your book page. If you're not already participating in some of these networks, jump in and get started. In a deep dive section later in this book, I provide an overview of how to get the most out of these social media services.

Tip 54, announce your book to family and friends

After you publish your book and it’s listed at the major retailers, be sure to celebrate your accomplishment with close friends and family. Send them a one-time email and invite them to forward your news to anyone they think would enjoy your book. A quick note about email etiquette. Your email should only go to close friends and family, not everyone in your email directory. Otherwise, you're sending spam.

This email is different from the email you're sending to the subscribers of your private (opt-in) mailing list. In the address field, the first person should be you and then everyone else that you add to the email should be blind carbon copied (BCC-ed) because your closest 100 friends aren’t necessarily friends with one another and you don’t want their email addresses shared with everyone else. The other problem with addressing people in the open on your email is that a single reply-all to the email will cause instant annoyance and a flood if more reply-all emails to everyone on the list as people freak out. Be respectful.

Let’s say you spent the last three years writing a memoir titled Victorious. You want to give a quick one-sentence description of your book just enough to tell them what it’s about and why it’s interesting. Here’s a rough template you can customize for your own purposes.

Dear friends and family,

As many of you know, for the last three years, I've been writing my personal memoir. I’m pleased to share that my book is now published as an ebook at Smashwords and major retailers around the world. The title is Victorious and it chronicles my physical and spiritual recovery following a car accident in which I almost lost my life.

I hope you'll take a moment to check it out at Smashwords or any other ebook retailer where you can sample and purchase the ebook. More importantly, I hope you'll take a moment to forward this e-mail to anyone you know who might find inspiration from my journey to complete recovery.

Here are direct links to my ebook listings at the major retailers where the book can be sampled and purchased.”

Then, (one line at a time) insert direct hyperlinks to your book pages at Smashwords, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Amazon. Then, wrap up the email with something like,

“I hope you enjoy it and thank you so much for your support and encouragement."

Tip 55, encourage readers to leave honest reviews at their favorite retailer

Online reviews are like digital word of mouth. If your book has no reviews at a retailer, readers will be reluctant to take a chance on it. Positive customer reviews at a retailer are the gifts that keep on giving. Encourage your readers to write honest reviews wherever they purchased your book. In the back matter of your book, you can encourage readers to leave a review with a sentence such as, “Thank you for reading book title. If you enjoyed it, please do me a favor and leave an honest review where you purchased it. Thank you.”

Discourage friends and family from writing artificially glowing or embellished reviews. Your book buyers will feel suckered if your book doesn’t live up to the hype. You can bet that if a reader feels duped by the reviews, they’ll react with their own review that is perhaps more negative and mean spirited than if they didn't feel misled in the first place. Never pay money to individuals or review services that promise to leave you glowing reviews at the major retailers. This is an unethical practice and represents an extreme disservice to readers. The use of such services can also get you banned from Smashwords and major retailers like Amazon.

Next subsection, libraries. The next two tips offer suggestions for incorporating public libraries into your book marketing campaigns. Public libraries represent a great sales opportunity. They also represent a chance for you as a local author to engage with your local community of authors and readers. To learn more about marketing your ebook to public libraries, check out episode six of the Smart Author Podcast. Now, on with the tips.

Tip 56, encourage your readers to recommend your ebook to their local public library

You probably have dozens, hundreds, or maybe even thousands of readers around the world who are also library patrons. If your book is distributed by Smashwords, it’s available for purchase by over 30,000 public libraries. Ask your readers to recommend your ebook to the local library.

Tip 57, organize events at your local library

Most libraries hold public events. Contact the events coordinator at your local library and ask if you can orchestrate an event. Consider asking the library to hold your next book launch. If they’ll allow it, work with the library’s events coordinator to put up posters in the library to advertise the event weeks in advance. Write a press release about the book launch and send it to the events calendar editor for your local newspaper so they can promote it in their listings. Invite family and friends. You want to fill the room. Ask the library if you can supply finger foods and non-alcoholic beverages. Food is a draw. It makes hungry people happy and it encourages people to stick around and mingle.

There are other events you can schedule at the library as well. Maybe you can organize a panel of local indie authors to do a reading. If you get multiple authors involved, you can draw a much larger audience because each author will promote the event to their local fans, friends, and family members, or you could offer to give a talk on how to publish an ebook. I created a PowerPoint template on this topic that you're welcome to download and modify for your own purposes. You'll find a link to it on the show notes page for episode six of the Smart Author Podcast at smashwords.com/podcast/6. Now, on with the promotional ideas.

Tip 58, run promotions with Smashwords Coupons

The Smashwords Coupon Generator feature makes it really easy to create a wide range of custom coupon codes that you can use in your promotions. You'll find the feature in your Smashwords dashboard. These coupons can be redeemed by readers at the Smashwords store. Whenever you create a coupon at Smashwords, you can give it a campaign name. When readers redeem the coupon, you'll get an instant e-mail notification and you can track the campaign by name in your sales reports.

You can create coupon codes for dollars off, cents off, percentage off or coupons that allow the reader to download the book for free. You can also create what we call metered coupons, which allow you to limit the number of redemptions before the coupon expires. You can choose if the coupon is private or public. With a private coupon, you control when and where it’s shared. With a public coupon, we advertise your discounted book across the Smashwords store as part of our special deals promotion.

Here’s some additional ideas for how you can use the Smashwords coupons:

Limited time coupons. When you create a coupon, you set an expiration date. You can post a notice on your blog or Facebook or on Twitter and encourage your readers to share this limited time coupon with their friends before it expires. Time limits create urgency.

Limited redemption coupons. With our metered coupons, you can set a limit to the number of redemptions before it expires. For example, you could create a metered coupon that expires after the coupon has been used 20 times or 100 times or whatever limit you choose. Metered coupons are fun because they give readers incentive to be the first to redeem them before the offer expires.

Use coupons as an incentive. As an inducement to get people to sign up for your private email list, you could offer a Smashwords coupon so they can download one of your books for free. If you self-publish print books, you could offer buyers of your print book the ability to get the ebook version for 99 cents or some other discounted price, or for free. You could advertise the Smashwords coupon directly in the back matter of your print book. Just be sure that you choose an expiration date that is potentially years away.

Another idea, offer Smashwords coupons to book reviewers. This is a popular use of our coupon feature. If someone wants to review your book, send them a Smashwords Coupon so they can download it for free. Since Smashwords ebooks are multi-format, we support all reading devices.

A final idea, you can add coupons to other printed material. Some Smashwords authors add Smashwords coupon codes directly on printed business cards, flyers, or to handout as printed coupons.

Tip 59, run a price promotion

Although Smashwords Coupons are great for running a custom promotion (only at the Smashwords Store), you can also run price promotions for all the retailers and libraries you distribute to via Smashwords. Let’s say your book is regularly priced at 3.99. If you want to run a 99 cent promotion, click your Smashwords Dashboard, then click settings where you'll have the ability to change the price. Smashwords will then transmit the price change to all our retailers and library platforms. Next, get out there and celebrate your promotion across social media into your private mailing list. When you're ready to change the price back, click back to your dashboard and change the price.

Many Smashwords authors advertise their books on BookBub, which is a paid advertising service. BookBub promotes ebooks to readers in different countries. BookBub requires a specific price in different countries such as the U.S., in the UK, Canada, Australia, and India, Smashwords makes it easy to control these prices. If you want to run a sale in one country or multiple countries, click to your Smashwords Dashboard, then click on the Global Pricing Control feature. The Global Pricing Control feature can also be used to set different prices in countries that use the same currency. You could price your book at 3.99 euro in Germany and France and 2.99 euro in Italy and Spain if you want.

Tip 60 - participate in annual Smashwords exclusive promotions

Smashwords runs several major site wide promotions each year and from time to time, we’ll announce additional promotions. The two most well-known promotions at Smashwords are Read an eBook Week, which starts the first Sunday in March and then the July Summer/Winter Sale, which runs the entire month of July. The July Summer/Winter Sale is usually the highest sales month of the year for the Smashwords store. In 2007, we kicked off our first annual Smashwords End of Year Sale, which runs between December 25th and January 1st. In 2008 and beyond, we’ll likely add additional themed promotions all exclusive to the Smashwords store.

During these promotions, thousands of Smashwords authors enroll their books for deep discounts including 25% off, 50% off, 75% off and free. Enrollment is usually available about one week before the promotion begins from the Smashwords homepage. These are collaborative promotions where the more authors who participate, the more benefit all the authors receive.

Tip 61 - leverage YouTube videos to reach more readers

Another secret to book marketing is to engage multiple senses of your prospective reader. We humans are sensate creatures. We use sight, smell, touch, and sound to inform us of our environment. When you write a textual book and upload your book to Smashwords, you're engaging only a sliver of the reader’s senses.

If you create a YouTube video and embed it in your Smashwords book page, and we support this, and your video talks about why you wrote the book or it shows you reading a section of the book or talking about your writing process or your muses, you're engaging the prospective reader’s senses on a completely different level. With video, you're touching the prospective reader both visually through sight, and audibly through sound. You're giving them a level of insight into you as a writer that they can’t perceive through written words alone. You're engaging them, and with engagement comes action like them making the decision to sample or purchase your book.

Tip 62, invite readers to become affiliate marketers or your books

Who better to promote your books than your fans? With the Smashwords Affiliate Marketing Program, your fans can earn generous commissions simply by adding links to your books on their web pages and blogs. All they need to do is sign up for a free Smashwords account and then click to the account page for instructions on how to enroll in the affiliate program. Also encourage them to share your book widgets on their blogs and websites. You'll find the widgets on your Smashwords book page. I discussed the widget feature in the introduction to this edition of the Smashwords Book Marketing Guide.

Tip 63 - upload a presentation deck to Slideshare.net

I love SlideShare. SlideShare is a free service owned by LinkedIn, which itself is owned by Microsoft. SlideShare allows you to upload and promote online presentations created with PowerPoint or similar presentation software programs. I started using SlideShare in 2008 to publicly share the PowerPoints from the workshops I was giving at writers’ conferences. To date, I've shared about 50 presentations, which in sum, have generated over 500,000 views.

SlideShare has a cool feature that allows you to embed your presentation on blogs and websites. Each year for my annual Smashwords survey, I load the PowerPoint to SlideShare and then I embed it into the Smashwords blog. I’ll show links in the show notes as an example. The embed feature also makes it easy for your readers to embed your presentation on their websites and blogs, much in the same way people can embed YouTube videos. You can access the complete library of my Smashwords presentations at SlideShare at slideshare.net/smashwords.

Here’s how authors can use SlideShare. Consider creating a PowerPoint book trailer for your book. Upload it to SlideShare and then embed it in your blog or website. Promote it across your social media networks and encourage your fans to embed it in their blogs and websites too. You can even embed YouTube videos within your SlideShare presentations. If you give a presentation at your local library about you and your books, then upload that presentation to SlideShare.

SlideShare can work really well for non-fiction authors.  Let’s say you wrote a book about raising chickens. You could create a SlideShare presentation titles 10 Tips for Raising Chickens, drawing from the material in your book. At the beginning and end of the presentation, reference that this information is sourced from your book. If viewers are impressed with the quality of your information, they’ll want to purchase your book. At the end of each of my presentations, I add hyperlinks to where viewers can learn more about Smashwords or connect with me on social media or e-mail me directly. Obviously, I’m out there promoting Smashwords and ebook publishing best practices. You can promote yourself, your expertise, and your books. Share what you've learned about ebook publishing with your fellow writers.

You could create a presentation on ebook formatting tips or the elements of great cover design or you can share your own ebook marketing tips. The point is to get yourself out there in as many different places and mediums as possible. Ebook buyers or whomever you want to reach or help consume all forms of media. These SlideShare presentations are just another form of media. Once you get your presentation up and out there on SlideShare, it acts like a perpetual, ever-present calling card, always there to be stumbled upon by someone looking to consume the information you presented. Over time, you may get dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of views. SlideShare even offers neat charts and graphs so you can track the performance of your presentations over time.

Tip 64, organize a multi-author box set with your favorite indie authors

A multi-author box set is a single ebook file that features multiple ebooks from different authors. The magical power of a box set comes in the collaborative marketing. If 10 different authors contribute a book to a box set, then that’s 10 authors promoting the other nine authors each time they promote their book in the box set to their readers. A multi-author box set amplifies your marketing reach. Join with other authors whose writing targets the same readers you target.

If you write political thrillers, partner with other political thriller writers. Only partner with writers whose writing you love and respect and whose writing you think you can honestly recommend to your readers. These other writers should feel the same about you because you want them to enthusiastically recommend your writing to their fans.

Once you identify the authors you want to partner with, you also need to agree on pricing.  Since the goal of a multi-author box set is to help each author’s readers discover the works of all the other authors, the most effective box set price is free. By pricing a box set at free, you can also eliminate the hassle of divvying up the earnings and the tax liability. If you write a series and your series offers a free series starter, then how about partnering with fellow authors to create and promote a free multi-author box set of series starters? New readers who love your series starter will then want to purchase your follow-on titles. Remember to include preorder links for the next book in your series.

Another option for pricing is to set a higher price and then have all the authors agree that the proceeds will go toward charity. A charity box set gives readers an additional reason to purchase the box set because they know the proceeds are going to a good cause. To learn more about organizing a box set, check out the blog post I wrote in 2014. I’ll put a link to that in the show notes.

Tip 65, invite other authors to join you on your indie author journey

A journey shared is more enriching than a journey alone. Invite your writer friends to become indie authors as well. There’s strength in numbers. With every author who joins the indie community, your personal opportunities for marketing and collaboration increase.

Looking back at these 65 tips, you'll find that many of these tips involve indies collaborating with fellow indies toward a common cause. Examples include the opportunities for knowledge sharing, editing swaps, blog collaboration, chapter swaps, collaborative speaking opportunities, collaborative retail promotions, and this final tip, box sets.

That concludes part four of my six-part series on book marketing. That also concludes chapter two of the Smashwords Book Marketing Guide.

Coming up in episode 14 of the Smart Author Podcast, we begin the Deep Dives section. Up first, social media strategies for Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and then in part six, we’ll conclude the serialization of the Smashwords Book Marketing Guide with my Deep Dive on how to earn free press coverage.

Thanks for joining me.

Until next time, keep writing. I’m Mark Coker.