As indie authors, whenever we launch a new book, we spend a lot of time and effort choosing and inputting marketing-friendly metadata about our new books on our accounts with our chosen distributors, such as CreateSpace, KDP, Ingram Spark, and Draft2Digital.
However, it's easy to forget to update other records about our books and ourselves that if regularly revised will help boost our sales.
With the year end approaching, now's a good time to take stock and get tweaking. Here's a checklist to start you off.
If you can think of more sites worth updating, please feel free to suggest them at the end, via the comments box.
- Author Profile on Distribution
Every distribution platform will include some kind of author profile, whether linked to each book or as a separate entity, e.g. Amazon's Author Central service and Draft2Digital's “About the Author” section. When was the last time you updated yours? Take a look now and see whether it needs updating. Don't forget each Amazon territory has a separate profile, so if you update one, copy and paste your revised text across to each of the territories where your books might sell. (Whaddya mean, you don't have an Author Central account? See the Related Post at the foot of this article to get you started.)
- Backmatter in your Books
If you've launched new books in 2016, have you added them to the “also by” sections in your previous books? Set aside a few hours to update your book files and upload revised editions for an easy way to point new readers in the direction of your back catalogue.
- Author Website
Have you added in your latest book reviews? Does your bio need updating? Planning events for 2017? Gained new credentials this year eg “as featured in x newspaper/on y TV/ on z bookblog?
- Facebook Profile
If you use your profile account as an author, have you updated your “about” section and profile photo lately?(While it's helpful to use the same profile photo across all your online accounts, for the sake of recognition, it's a good idea to change it now and again to avoid looking like someone from an earlier era!)
- Facebook Author Page
If you've gained new Facebook friends via your personal account this year, here's an easy way to get new “likes” for your fan page: clicking the “invite friends” button on your author page and scrolling through your friends to find any you haven't yet flagged up your page. While you're there, cast an eye over your profile to check it's up to date, and click on the Insights tab to see what's working and what's not – ideas may jump out at you to help you reach more readers in 2017. (Here's a helpful post on that score from last week, in case you missed it.) To help you view your page more objectively, click on the “More” tab in the menu beneath your header picture, then click the third option down, “View as page visitor”, which removes the clutter that only you can see. (To return to the usual mode, click on the box at the very top of the page.)
Similarly, take a critical look at your Twitter profile text (160 characters), photo and header pic. Need any tweaks? Would #hashtags improve your profile text? What about followers – have you pruned the dead wood lately? It's at least worth removing any “inactive” followers eg those who haven't tweeted at all in the last few months. www.statusbrew.com is one way of doing this quickly and easily, and entry level is free. If you don't already use the “Lists” feature to home in on specific subsets, eg “bookbloggers” or “fellow thriller writers”, it's worth investing time so set some up to Twitter more a more powerful tool or you next year. www.canva.com is great for creating graphics for Facebook, Twitter and other social media at little or no cost, and again entry level is free.
- Other Social Media
Take a fresh look at any other social media you use. Are your account profiles still representative? Many people set up a basic account in each of the most popular social media just to establish a presence, then forget about them. If you've gone months without looking at an account, do it now! And if you don't already have a Pinterest account, a YouTube channel, or any other such wonders, consider whether its worthwhile adding them to your New Year book marketing to-do list.
- ISBN Records
If you buy your own ISBNs in blocks, your national ISBN provider will have asked you for details of just one of your books to set you up as a publisher. After that, it's down to you to remember to input metadata against each ISBN as you assign it to a new book, In the excitement of launching a new book, it's easy to overlook that mundane but valuable behind-the-scenes activity to help make your book more discoverable to the wider world. (Always top of my personal “sins of omission” list!)
- Public Lending Rights
Most countries have national bodies with which you may register your authorship of particular books, and in return you may be paid a small but worthwhile amount of money for library borrows and photocopying rights. In the UK, where I'm based, these are PLR and ALCS, but there are equivalents in most countries. Have you added the books you launched in 2016? These may yield tiny amounts, but over time, and particularly if you're writing in a genre very popular in lending libraries, it's worth cashing in on this extra and relatively effortless income stream: once you've added each new book to your account, you don't need to do anything other than wait for the money to arrive.
- Membership Organisation Profiles
If you belong to any author organisations, such as ALLi, now's a good time to check whether your profile is up to date, including any recently launched books or new social media accounts. Don't forget, such records aren't just for internal use by the organisations – we know that ALLi's “member search” facility is used by journalists seeking authors in a particular genre or region. Just one of 21 great reasons to be an ALLi member, now, in 2017 and beyond!
OVER TO YOU Please feel free to add other ideas for end-of-year updates and overhauls via the comments box.#Authors - handy checklist of 10 end-of-year tasks to help market your #selfpub books by @DebbieYoungBN Click To Tweet
RELATED POST: From our archive, top tips on making the most of your Amazon Author Central account