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  • Ten Ways to Drive MASS Exposure for your Indie Book

    Since publishing my memoir, Hippie Boy: A Girl’s Story as an eBook and paperback in October 2011, I’ve been exploring every avenue possible to drive exposure for my book. I’ve still got a long way to go, but my efforts are definitely paying off and I wanted to share what I’ve learned.

    Ten Key Ways to Drive Exposure for Your Indie Book

    1. Put out a Quality Product. Don’t rush it! Make sure your book is the best it can be BEFORE you publish it.

    • Seek out the necessary instruction to write a great book
    •  Work with a developmental editor to identify weaknesses and take your manuscript to the next level
    • Hire a DETAILED proofreader to make sure your book is as error-free as possible
    • People DO judge books by their cover – so make sure your cover is professionally designed, compelling and catchy – even as a thumbnail since that’s the size most people will see
    • Make sure your eBook (and paperback if you go the paperback route) is professionally formatted

    2. Establish an Online Presence and Stay Active. This is so critical in today’s online world. Here’s a laundry list to consider:

    • Launch an author Web site and blogging platform (I highly recommend WordPress, it’s very cost-effective and very social media friendly. I also recommend that you have a web site under your author name (you can also purchase vanity URLs with your book name) Example: My web site is www.ingridricks.com. I also have a book URL: www.hippieboybook.com that drives traffic directly to my book page
    • Get involved with as many social media platforms as you can manage: Facebook, Twitter, Google+.
    • Get involved with open submission writing platforms such as Scribd.com and Open.Salon.com. Along with connecting other writers and readers, both platforms offer a great way to build exposure for your writing
    • GoodReads: Once your book is out, you should get involved with Goodreads, a social media platform dedicated to reading and rating books. Warning: the reviewers in Goodreads can be harsh, and I’ve heard stories about people who will purposely give poor ratings to indie books. However, the viral nature of Goodreads is powerful and can really drive some great cross-exposure for your book

    3. Seek Out Reviews. Reviews are CRITICAL to your book’s success. As soon as your book is launched, seek out reviews from as many friends and readers in your social networks as you can. But along with reader reviews, reviews from credible reviewers ARE really important to your book’s success. Some of the big reviewers still won’t touch indie books, but the tide is changing and you need to seek them out. My new goal? Pitch at least two book blog sites EVERY day. Here are a few review sites to get you started:

    • IndieReader.com
    • The Kindle Book Review
    • eNovelReview
    • Manic Readers
    • LibraryThings (see ebook giveaway in #4)
    • Note: If you have a paperback, send a copy (as early as possible) to Booklist (the official review publication of the American Library Association) and Midwest Review. Both of these publications are VERY reputable and are willing to review indie books.

    4. Offer Paperback/eBook Giveaways. Lots of blogs offer book giveaways that can help drive exposure. But there are two key sites where you can give away books with the specific purpose of requesting a review.

    • Goodreads: If you have a paperback book, launch a book giveaway in Goodreads (note: This is only good if your book has been out for less than six months).
    • LibraryThings: I just discovered LibraryThings Member giveaways and I’m very excited about it. You can give away as many eBooks as you desire and request that people who win the ebooks post a review for you. What I love about this? It costs me NOTHING to give away an eBook and the upside is huge.

    5. Get involved with Pixel of Ink and EReader News Today. Pixel of Ink and eReader News Today are online web sites/eNewsletters that focus on quality bargain and free eBooks. Both sites have more than 200,000 followers (growing daily). If you are lucky enough to have your eBook featured in either publication, the upside is huge (I know…I’ve been lucky enough). The key to getting featured in these publications is to have a quality book that people want to read, and have great ratings/reviews on Amazon– the more the better.

    6. Sign up for Amazon’s KDP Select Program. In December, Amazon launched its KDP Select program, a new library-lending program that enables people with Amazon prime memberships to loan one eBook each month. To entice authors to participate in the program, Amazon puts up a minimum of $500,000 each month – to be divvied out based on the number of loans a books has. As further enticement, authors who participate in the KDP Select Program can give away their eBook for free on the Amazon platform for up to five days during each 90-day lock-in period. The downside? The KDP Select Program requires exclusivity for each 90 day period, which means you can’t sell your eBook anywhere else during that three month period. I jumped at the opportunity to give away my eBook and drive exposure, and thanks to spotlights in both Pixel of Ink and eReader News Today, my promotions were a HUGE success.

    • Nearly 25,000 eBooks of Hippie Boy were downloaded during my free days
    • This resulted in more than 3,000 paid eBook sales, an increase in paperback sales, and more buzz and exposure for Hippie Boy – and I expect the exposure to continue in the coming months.

    7. Seek Out Media Exposure. This is can be as simple as writing guest posts for blogs, or seeking out radio, TV and print interviews. The key? Find an angle for your story. Example: I did a story interview with KUOW Presents, our local NPR affiliate, about the Hippie Boy story and the moment I found my voice and claimed my power. I’m also now using Hippie Boy as a reading guide to help at-risk teens claim their power by finding their voice and sharing their stories. Finding your platform/niche market really helping in generating media exposure.

    8. Explore Pay-Per-Click Advertising: I’ve explored several online advertising options to help drive exposure for Hippie Boy. I think they were all beneficial in driving awareness, but the pay-per-click ad I purchased on GoodReads was particularly worthwhile. The reason? I was only charged when people actually clicked on my ad so it was easy to track results. And even on days when I had only a few clicks, I noticed that people were adding Hippie Boy to their TO READ list, which is key. I’ve not explored Facebook or Google click ads, but I may in the future.  Other worthwhile advertising options? Kindle Nation Daily (KND), IndieReader.com and eReaderNews Today (though advertising opportunities on ENT are so popular that they are currently book up more than a year in advance, and KND is starting to fill up quickly too.)

    9. Maximize Your Amazon and BN.com Pages. Amazon’s Author Central platform offers a way for authors to add editorial reviews, book extra info and other key elements to your Amazon book page that helps boost sales. Take advantage of this and make sure your Amazon page presentation is the best it can be. Also pay attention to the tags at the bottom of your Amazon page. Add the tags/words you envision people would use to get to your book and then ask friends to click on those tags. The more tag “likes” you have, the more likely your book will pop up on an Amazon book search. You can  also add editorial reviews and author bio info on your BN.com page, so make sure that page is the best it can be as well

    10. Help Each Other: There are a lot of indie author Facebook groups and web sites emerging where indie authors band together to help promote each other’s books and drive awareness. Get involved and do your part to help other authors. Marketing a book is A LOT of work and the more we help each other, the more we all succeed in this new world of publishing.


    About the Author
    Ingrid Ricks is a Seattle-based writer and speaker who focuses on overcoming adversity, embracing life and turning dreams into reality. She is currently partnering with Scriber Lake High School in Edmonds, Washington to help at-risk teens claim their power by finding their voice and writing their stories. She is also collaborating on the development of an ongoing writing/empowerment workshop to help at-risk teens. Ingrid’s stories have been published in Salon, Ladies’ Home Journal, The Seattle Times and a variety of other publications. Ingrid also has a background as a marketing consultant and speaks regularly about how writers can leverage today’s social media and online marketing tools to reach readers and build their platform. Hippie Boy: A Girl’s Story is her first book. Find Hippie Boy at Amazon or BN.com or order from your local bookstore.

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23 Responsesso far.

  1. Great summary Ingrid. Thank you for putting this all together in a tight and really positive framework. Hippie Boy is an excellent memoir and it’s no wonder it’s doing so well. Thank you again for sharing!

  2. Thanks, Laura. I just figure we’ve got to pull together and help each other navigate this new world of publishing. Don’t know how I would make it through without you. xo

  3. Whew ! That’s a lot of stuff! Thanks for being a great business woman as well as a great writer, Ingrid. This helps cut through the muck.

  4. Very good article. I’ve been doing some of these things, but you’ve mentioned others I’ve yet to try and a couple of sites I’d not heard of before. In today’s world of creative writing, where it’s so easy for anyone and everyone to self-publish, we’re each becoming smaller and smaller fish in the sea. Or so it feels to me. So, we really need to step up our efforts at promoting our books while, at the same time, trying to avoid annoying our friends. That can be a fine line to walk sometimes.

  5. Excellent points, Ingrid. Hippy Boy is such an interesting read, I have no doubt that once folks take a look at it, they buy & read the whole thing. Congratulations on your success, and thank you for so generously sharing what you’ve learned!

  6. Hi Debra,

    Thanks for your note. I’m glad this post was helpful. I figure we are all plodding through this new publishing world — and the more we can help each other wade through it, the better.

  7. Ingrid,

    Amanda Bretz referred me to your site. Glad she did. I’ve just published my first book and while I am doing fairly well selling my books directly to friends/relatives/others, I really need help marketing my book to the other public.
    You info was condensed,, comprehendable (even by me!) and convenient. Thanks for sharing.

  8. I was impressed with your writing skills in ‘Hippie Boy,’ and it is obvious that you are developing good marketings skills as well – Thanks for sharing…

  9. Wonderful article/blog, Ingrid. I have printed it and am going to share with my writing group and other writing friends. I absolutely loved Hippie Boy and keep meaning to write an Amazon review for you, unless you would like me to write one for somewhere else?

  10. Very interesting! I have always been told I should write a book about my life, ( it’s been a real rollercoaster ride) lol. As I get older I think maybe I should! Thanks for alll the tips!

  11. Elaine — thank you for your nice note re: Hippie Boy — and for taking the time to read it. I so appreciate it.

  12. Thanks for your notes Diane and Teresa. Glad the info is helpful. Teresa — YES, write your story! It’s been a really amazing experience for me.

  13. Thanks, Suzanne. Thank you for bing such an amazing friend, writer and fellow support system through all of this!

  14. Wow! That was a lot of info I have not seen elsewhere and I’ve been searching the net extensively ever since my book came out in June. Very extensive and informative –
    Thank you Ingrid!

  15. Ingrid,
    It was such a by chance blessing to have my husband find your remarkable website. To discover another women who is traveling on the same path of RP I have walked for over 20 twenty years. Your information will help us very much. My husband and I are so appreciated as we are new to the field of book promoting/ publishing. Thank-you!
    Rose King

  16. All good points. I have done most of the points, and I am sure I have a quality book that is interesting to read . . . but it sure is tough to get people to make a purchase!

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