Sue specializes in social media book marketing and consultation for nonfiction authors. Since 2006 she has helped dozens of authors create and maintain their social media presence. She writes about using social media to help promote your book at her blog. You can connect with Sue on Twitter and Facebook. She's also a published nonfiction author since 2009 and understands what it takes to market and promote a nonfiction book.
Do you have an Amazon Author Page? Is it optimized? Sometimes I see books on Amazon where the author hasn’t yet set up an Author Page or it doesn’t have complete information. This free page allows authors, whether your book is in print, Kindle, or both, to update content on your book page, update your bio and descriptions, and view your sales data and customer reviews of your book.
If you already have an Amazon account, you’ll use that same log in information to set up an Author page. Here’s where you’ll set up that page on Amazon: https://author.amazon.com/
Have these items ready to create or update your Amazon Author Page:
Bio—fill out your bio with as much information as possible, including keywords
Include links to your website and social media accounts in your bio so readers know where to connect with you and contact you. Remember to add a link to your author page on your website.
A great advantage to having your author page set up on Amazon is that readers can now click the Follow button on your Author page. Once they do that, they will be notified whenever your book is on sale or when you publish a new book.
In the Reports and Marketing tab you can now:
see how many people follow you on Amazon. (After you’ve reached 20 followers.)
make book recommendations: let people know where they should start with your books and what other authors’ books you recommend.
Nonfiction authors recognize the importance of blogging as part of their book marketing efforts but don’t know what to blog about. Here are a few ideas:
Write a series of blog posts based on the chapters in your book. They can be direct excerpts from the book or additional information you gathered when writing your book that didn’t get included in the published manuscript.
Contact people you could interview on the topic of your book. It can be a written interview that, with their permission, you could post as a blog.
Compile a list of other blogs that write about similar topics and write a sentence or two about each one and why your readers should check those blogs out too.
Share your favorite books in your niche written by other authors and why you recommend them.
Your blog posts don’t always have to be about you, your book, your business. Share information about other people, their books, and business. Your readers will appreciate your insights and keep coming back for more.
When a prospect asked me to share information on using YouTube, I turned to Barbara for information. Barbara, known as Book Club Mom, has been using YouTube to talk about books she’s read. Here’s what she had to share in response to the questions I asked her.
How do you set up a YouTube channel?
All you need is a Google account to set up a YouTube channel. If you use Gmail or Google Drive, then you already have one. Once you set up an account, sign in on YouTube and you can manage your account in various ways, through your channel and also through YouTube Studio, which is one of the options. YouTube Studio offers more details and stats about your videos once you upload them. You can customize your channel, add a profile picture, banner and select other options through settings. I recommend you choose your profile picture and think about how you want to brand yourself ahead of time, but not worry too much about it. You can always change things as you go along and learn where you fit in in the YouTube world.
Do you need any special equipment to create the videos?
If you have a smartphone, you can use the video feature on it to record your videos and upload them directly from your phone. In fact, that’s the best and fastest way to do it. I don’t recommend using your laptop to record a video because the quality isn’t as good.
Why did you decide to set up a YouTube channel?
I wanted to reach a broader audience. I have a book blog on WordPress and noticed a lot of other bloggers sharing their own videos. And I think because people are always in such a hurry, they use YouTube as a go-to spot to learn how to do things and get information. I’m also lucky to have the frequent advice of my four adult children, who know social media and YouTube very well. They encouraged me to set it up.
What type of content do you share on YouTube?
I talk about books I’ve read or want to read, reading and anything relating to the book world. I’m a Reference Librarian at a public library, so I also talk about my job there as it relates to books. I don’t share a lot of personal information or my location, but I like to talk about my general experiences as a librarian and as a mother. People want to hear those kinds of things, so you have to give a little. They want to know a little about who you are – that makes them relate to you.
How do you promote your channel?
I promote it on my blog and on social media, mostly Twitter and Instagram. I’ve experimented with how best to do that and often use Canva (a free graphic design app) to create promotional pieces. I also use Canva to make thumbnails of my videos, so that they all have a similar look to them on my channel. That makes it easier to promote them too, because I can use the thumbnail image on social media. I recommend playing around with Canva to learn how to make thumbnails. They have a template for it. Once you upload your first video, you’ll see why. YouTube gives you a few random options for thumbnails. You might not like those.
What tips can you give an author just starting a YouTube channel?
Be natural. Smile. Don’t script your videos or practice (too much). Have an idea of what you’re going to say and then take your time talking. Pretend you’re talking to a friend. That makes it a lot easier. Don’t worry about it being perfect because viewers actually prefer a regular person talking and they don’t mind if you pause or occasionally misspeak or even drop something. Some of my more popular videos are the ones in which I’ve made mistakes and caught myself. In my opinion, the more polished it is, the less interesting it is. Also, don’t obsess about how you look when you talk. We all know what we look like in still shots. It’s a bit of a shock to see yourself talking. You might not like the way your mouth moves or how your face is. You may discover that your face is uneven or that your glasses don’t sit perfectly on your face. I’ve been through that! Viewers are not watching you like that. They’ve clicked on your video because they want to see you and hear what you have to say. Don’t worry about views and followers – unless you’re a YouTube star, they will build slowly. And most important, be confident!
About Book Club Mom: I was a stay-at-home mom for twenty years and now that my kids are nearly grown, I’m also a part-time Reference Librarian at a public library. I like to read whenever I get the chance, and then I like to talk about the books I’ve read. I started a blog eight years ago and slowly added social media to my world. I’ve made great friends on my blog and on social media. Adding YouTube to the mix has made blogging even more fun!
Deborah and I worked together to boost her social media presence before, during, and after the launch of her book. You can watch an interview we did together here.
Tell us a little bit about your book and business.
I am a licensed professional counselor in the state of Texas and have been working with clients in my private practice office for two decades, working with couples, adolescent girls, and women of all ages. I received post-graduate certifications in women’s emotional health and treat postpartum depression and anxiety, and a variety of transitional and life issues, including divorce, relationship struggles, and redefining one’s purpose as an empty nester. I’m also a friendship expert and published my first book, “The Healing Power of Girlfriends: How to Create Your Best Life Through Female Connection,” in 2019.
This book was a culmination of the following: my work with female clients, my experiences in my first career as an RN in Obstetrics & Gynecology, my own original research on friendships, the from prestigious institutions, and my own female friendships. My passion is to help women live their best life by helping them become empowered, enlightened on the merits of female friendships, and adopting new tools to flourish and grow– no matter their age or stage in life. I also present weekend retreats and seminars to women on a variety of topics to promote health and wellness and I speak to professional groups, book clubs, MOPS, college classes, women’s clubs and organizations.
Why did you write your book?
My book came out of my life’s passion to make a difference in women’s emotional health. My background in nursing working in OB/GYN and High Risk OB followed by career as a mental health clinician specializing in women’s health, provided the perfect foundation to help me launch my book focusing on the merits of female friendship. Two different catalysts prompted me to begin to think about writing this book. The first was when we vacationed in Mexico with friends in 2015 and my longtime girlfriend and I who rarely saw each other were chatting away on the beach while our husbands watched us with an amusing smile on their faces. After several minutes my girlfriend’s husband commented “you ladies just pick up where you left off the last time you were together, whether it has been 5 months or 5 years, you have such a deep connection and after nearly 30 years of living in different states, you still remain such close friends. What is the secret to this? You should write a book and share your secret recipe with women everywhere, your friendship truly is so unique and special.” The more I pondered this, I realized he was so spot on. We did indeed have something so treasured and rare and sharing it with other women could be life-changing.
A few months later I hosted a weekend retreat for women in Galveston, Texas at a resort on the beach. I presented my own original material on the merits of female friendship. At the conclusion of the weekend, many of the participants came up to me to share that this had been an incredible weekend for them, and that the information I had shared was powerful and I should really think about putting it all in a book so women everywhere could benefit. It did not take much convincing after that weekend, and I did indeed begin writing my book a few months later.
How did you publish your book? Traditional publisher, hybrid publisher, self-published?
I self-published my book. Jera Publishing in Atlanta did the actual book layout, format, helped with my cover choice decisions, etc. and got it to print on Amazon, and Ingram Spark.
How did things change for you as an author in 2020 and how did you manage to weather through the year during the pandemic?
As an author and speaker, my international book tour in 2019 took me from coast to coast in the U.S.A. and to Mexico for book events. It was amazing!!! My future calendar for 2020 was nearly full of events, and then the pandemic hit. My calendar pretty much was cleaned out except for some new Zoom events that I was invited to do for book clubs, and professional women’s groups. I have tried to be patient and push through the challenges the past year, but it has been a struggle to say the least. I had to cut back on my team, as my budget was also in a downward spiral. My husband also lost his job at the same time due to his company closing due to COVID. So, 2020 was full of curveballs and challenges on a large scale! I have just tried my best to hang in there knowing that one day things will get better, and we will be able to get back to our in-person events!
What is your favorite book marketing tip?
My favorite book marketing tip is “NEVER EVER GIVE UP!!” no matter what! Being able to just readjust, pivot, and realign our goals is key! I would say to believe in yourself and your team that surrounds you, and find the silver lining. 2020 was like no other year! We were all traveling through the twilight zone! But, slowly things will start up again and we will begin to see the fruits of our labor take shape. It is easy to give in and just quit but to stay in the game requires us to focus and fight! And, that is the path I took in 2020!
What are your goals for 2021?
My goals for 2021 are the following:
1. Get as many book events (in-person) on my calendar as I can. This means book signings and speaking engagements. Now that I am fully vaccinated, I have already been flying and I plan to continue! I am getting back out there and going for it with gusto! But, of course, in a safe and cautious way (masked as needed).
2. I want to continue to offer my coaching, professional counseling, and speaking services to everyone. I have two websites that offer the details for my services at: deborah-olson.com and GalleriaCounseling.com.
3. Stay in touch with my social media marketing community (Sue Canfield) and stay focused on the next steps for promoting my book around the United States.
Yes, I would like to add that one of the most important strategies a new author can focus on is their social media marketing to get their book out there in front of people! My decision to go with Sue Canfield and her team was one of the best decisions I ever made! Sue was able to guide me through the early months after my book published and help me achieve great exposure and success! This was money well spent and I would highly recommend her services at Ausoma to every author out there, especially brand new authors like myself! You cannot do it by yourself, and you cannot possibly know this industry when it is just your first book! Leave it to the experts and trust them with your book and its potential to win awards and be a success! I did and it could not have gone better for me and my new book! The Healing Power of Girlfriends has just won its 6th literary award! That right there is the proof of trusting the experts with your book! One of our biggest strengths sometimes is knowing our limitations, and I know mine. Yes, I can write a book but marketing it is not in my wheelhouse, so I am happy to trust those with that talent and expertise! THANK YOU SO MUCH, SUE!!!!
Amy and I connected on LinkedIn and after a brief chat to learn more about her services, I asked her to participate in my industry interview series.
Tell us a little bit about your business.
I write back-of-the-book indexes. When you’re trying to find out if a particular topic is included in a book, the index is where you look. I index all kinds of trade books. Just to show you the range of some of the topics I work with, the book I’m working on this week is about how to be a good parent, my next project is about women’s health over the past few centuries, after that, a book about media bias. A series of business books is due to begin in a couple of months. My favorite books to index are cookbooks. A good index is so important for a cookbook.
While I have incorporated my business (Amethyst Harbor, Inc.), I’m the only one doing the indexing (I don’t use subcontractors). When I started my business in the early 2000s, I assumed that potential clients would look for me by my business name, but indexers’ reputations are more often tied to their personal names.
How would you describe your ideal client?
I’d say that about two-thirds of my clients are Production Editors for Big Five publishers. The rest of my clients are independent publishers or authors. Working with a Production Editor means starting a long-term relationship with that person—it’s not a one-time experience like working with an author on a specific project, and that can be valuable for both parties because you come to understand how each other works and what their needs are.
My ideal client is communicative. If there’s a delay, that’s usually something I can handle, but not if you go silent for weeks. Publishing a book takes a team (it’s often comprised of freelancers who don’t normally work together), and there are a lot of moving parts to coordinate. It’s understandable when there’s a delay. Just let me know what’s going on so that I can adjust my schedule accordingly.
How did things change for you in 2020 and how did you manage to weather through the year during the pandemic?
In 2020 I had a really unique opportunity to present a three-part webinar on behalf of the American Society for Indexing. I was asked to present a course on culinary indexing (my favorite indexing topic!) shortly before the pandemic. Ironically, it was always intended to be an online course, due to the large number of international participants. Preparing for that course took months, and I was invigorated by all the work that needed to be done.
Practically speaking, the pandemic didn’t affect my business very much. I work independently, and client communication is almost exclusively through email or LinkedIn. Indexers are used to a solitary work environment!
Throughout the years I’ve noticed certain seasonal patterns in publishing. There are highs and lows (sometimes to a feast-or-famine extreme) over the course of the calendar year. While everyone wants to publish their book in time for holiday gift-giving, it’s just not possible, and often not in the best interest of the author anyhow. When I do have quiet days or weeks, I try and tackle household organization projects that otherwise tend to get ignored.
What is your favorite tip for using social media?
Keep it professional. Your vendors, clients, and potential clients may be turned off by polarizing or political posts. I think it’s best when there’s a separation between your personal life and your business presence.
What are your goals for 2021?
I’d like to take more courses this year. Learning something new is one of my favorite hobbies. I love the interactions with others when you take an online course.
It would be nice to travel at some point this year! My family has been wanting to take a road trip up to Quebec for a while now.
My advice to those writing a book right now or in the near future is to think “Big Picture.” Trying to save a few dollars and do everything yourself or as cheaply as possible will show in your final product. You’ve worked so hard on the content—don’t skimp on the book’s appearance. Hire a professional editor, a professional book cover designer, a professional typesetter, and a professional indexer.
Amy Hall is a book indexer with specialties in the areas of cookbooks, culinary arts, sports, communications, advertising, L&D, social psychology, criminal justice, and health issues. She was recently the featured presenter for the three-part American Society for Indexing online learning webinar “Culinary Indexing–Food for Thought.”
Amy was the indexer for an Independent Publisher Book Awards Gold Medal winner (2020), National Book Award for Nonfiction 1st place winner (2017), IACP cookbook award 1st place winner (2016), and James Beard Award finalist (2016).
Amy has a BS in Advertising from San Jose State University, a certificate in Basic Indexing from the Graduate School of the USDA, a certificate in Perinatal Issues, and she regularly take classes just for fun in all kinds of subjects. She has been a member of the American Society for Indexing since 2006. Amy lives with her family in Montgomery County, Maryland.