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Marketing Strategies for Digital Publication
Young authors and emerging writers will find that marketing strategies is one of the key ways to achieve success in digital publishing but the Internet is consumed with false websites designed to "teach" you how to market your book. What's the best way?

Digital publishing is one of most efficient and cost-effective means of publication in today's publishing industry but, like any form of publication, success is driven by how much effort you put into marketing. The marketing strategies for a digital publication are very different from that of a paperback novel. You will find yourself surrounded by misleading websites telling you about their "secret" to success. What is the best way to market an eBook?

1. Know Your Audience

Without a doubt, this is one of the most important things that you will ever consider in marketing your book. If you don't know your audience, you are going to find it difficult to target those people who are going to be most interested in your novel or poetry. You will find yourself having success someone and then failing elsewhere. By targetting your audience, you know what you will expect and you can know who, what and where to market your eBook. If it's a fantasy novel, you know that your audience is likely going to be young adults and males whereas romance novels are going to be for a more mature female audience.

2. Ask for Reviews

Your friends and family are going to be in the best position to offer you critical reviews of your eBook. You aren't going to be getting reviews from the New York Times or The Independent but any review is good publicity. By publishing your information on websites like GoodReads and LibraryThing and listing your eBook, you are immediately opening yourself up to a larger market that is knowledgeable about the digital publication market. GoodReads has a section on its website dedicated to eBooks where you can publish your eBook and access a market interested in your book but it isn't an "audience-specific" section. You can also subscribe to the Member Giveaway at LibraryThing which is where you give away copies of your book in return for a review. The review isn't always guaranteed but it is highly likely.

3. Social Networking and Promotion

Most people think that self-promotion is shameless but it isn't and the attitude isn't going to help you sell books. What will help is signing up for a Facebook account, a Twitter account and a blog for your book. Facebook is a difficult marketing tool but if you know the right places, for example, by searching groups and pages for your target audience, you have access to a huge market. Twitter is more accessible. You can do searches for people looking for new books to read and you will find that there are plenty of #hashtag events to promote your book. Always answer requests for new books with your own book and give them a link. Even if they don't go for it, you are still getting it out there. And blogs! Look through the thousand of book reviewer blogs, tell them about your book, find comments from people who want a new book, tell them! Be shameless. Blog about your book, tell the world, link your blog to Twitter and Facebook. It's all about name recognition and links.

4. Cross-Format Publication

Don't limit yourself to one format, for example, the Amazon Kindle. The market is opening up and you are guaranteed to cut yourself off from a large portion of the market in the future. It may be painful to publish in different formats but doing so will give you full access to the market and you won't regret it. The Amazon Kindle may be the biggest thing in the eBook market right now but you never knew when Apple will come up with something akin to a Kindle for Mac fanboys. Once you have published all the formats, you don't have to do it again unless you publish again. The effort is well worth the sizeable chunk of the market.

5. Be Prepared for Criticism

Not everyone is going to like your eBook. Some people wil tell you they don't have an eReader or that they think that only physical books are of any value. If the criticism is constructive, take light of it. It's mere gesturing by people, ignore it. You are going to get criticism and you have to be prepared for that. It takes time and effort to get what you want from this new market and it is a new market. You are competing with thousands of other authors who are discovering this well. There are cases of people making a success of themselves by publishing in eBook format first. You could be the next person!

Ian Caithness is the Digital Editor at the National Association for Writers in Education.