Many writers are torn these days between seeking a traditional publishing deal and going the self-publishing route.  But in many ways, this is a false distinction, because even if you do get a traditional publishing house to give you an advance for your book, you’re still not going to sell many books unless you have already built your audience / fan base / tribe and can reach them and move them to buy.  That is the essential factor in this new publishing paradigm.  Only the truly big time authors are going to receive substantial marketing commitments from their publishers; everyone else is going to have to do most of the promotion of their books themselves.  These are the new rules of self-publishing.

All of which leads me to sales pages (also called landing pages.)  For the uninitiated, this is a web page on your website or on a dedicated URL used to promote a book, a product, an idea, etc.  What’s a dedicated URL?  Well, as an example, if your book is called “How I Cracked Open the New Publishing Paradigm and Earned Millions in One Week with My First Book”, you could purchase the URL named www.HowtoEarnMillionsWithYourNewBook.com (and yes, as of today, it’s currently available for purchase for under $12) and then you’d send people to that page to promote your book.

Whatever the URL for your sales page, that’s where you want to send people to read about and hopefully buy your new book. That’s the page where you’re going to write something interesting, clever, and compelling about this book – something so good that once people get there, many of them will not be able to resist clicking through and buying your book.  The actual sale may be through Amazon, or you may sell it directly yourself.  Either way, you’ll want a sales page to support that effort.  Maybe you’ll post a YouTube video there, too — or how about an audio clip?

How will people find that sales page and know about your book?  That’s where building your tribe, your audience is essential.  There are a wealth of options, from social media and online vehicles to snail mail to in-person networks to smoke signals to skywriting – yes, the sky is the limit.  Whatever works for you to reach and stay connected with your core audience – eventually, if you do it right, you’ll not only have finished and published your book, but you’ll have lots of folks (your tribe) to send to a landing page to buy your book.  And they’ll send their friends to that page, too, and so on and so forth; this can really grow for you.

So that landing page is important: so much so that Penelope Trunk says “Forget about the book cover — have a great landing page instead”:

Today authors need to be good at creating landing pages. It used to be that publishers were market-makers for books. We know now that authors are, but since publishers are not great at online marketing, it makes sense that the person who is writing—and connecting with the audience—would also be the person writing the landing page to turn interest into sales.

So you’ll need to create that landing page – remember, that’s where you’re going to be so interesting, clever, compelling that people will buy – and hopefully send others there to buy.  Yes, you can do that.  You’re a writer, after all.  You wrote the book so you know your subject through and through – in fact, I’m betting you’re passionate and relentless about it.  So writing that landing page is something you can do.

But what about the design of that page?  Good landing pages are designed and you can hire a designer to create your landing page.  But what if you could “Build, Publish and A/B Testing Landing Pages Without IT”?  That’s the tag line of www.unbounce.com, and I’m excited to take it out for a ride.  Penelope just created a simple landing page for her new book using Unbounce.com.  Awesome, I say.  Unbounce provides landing page templates, the capacity to post video on the pages, a WYSIWYG editor (shorthand for “Yes, even untech trained people can create their pages with it”), and more (for example, split testing capacity, meaning you can create two different landing pages and find which one is more popular.)  As the folks at Unbounce.com say, “If you can use PowerPoint, you can use Unbounce.”

Okay, I cannot wait to try this product out.  And it’s not just for authors; it’s for any landing page purpose – anything you are trying to sell, or any time that you’re going to try to get people to opt in to your lists – to start that ‘first handshake’ that can lead to raving fans down the line.  And lots of book sales, I hope.

 

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