Thursday, July 12, 2012

Is Anyone Out There?

by D.R. Shoultz

Okay, I launched my website last week and my book title went live on Amazon on July 2. I carefully entered well thought-out keywords into my Internet source description and registered my website with the key search engines. I even tried to learn HTML, albeit unsuccessfully.  I’ve sold 10 books and have only slightly more visits to my website in the first seven days.
What I’ve learned is that website preparation alone is not a foolproof marketing plan for selling a new author’s novel. I had been na├»ve enough to think if someone entered DRShoultz Books on the search line of Google, it would at least position my website in a prominent place in the search results. After all, that’s the name of my website. Boy, was I wrong.  What pops up first is the question, “Did you mean Dr. Schultz Books?” Before even looking, Google assumed I had entered the wrong name!Under this question was the top search result which pointed to Dr. Schulze’s herbal dietary formulas. I don’t even know if Dr. Schultz is related to Dr. Schulze, but it doesn’t matter. They both did a better job of getting Google to highlight their sites… even when I entered my name and not theirs.
I kept checking my website statistics, hoping this dismal situation would improve and somehow someone would eventually find their way to my site. But over the week, most of the site visits identified in the reports were generated by me in the process of enhancing and correcting my site.
So, what is a first-time author to do? I thought about changing my name to Donn Schultz and writing a book on herbal male enhancements, but that would be a cheap trick just to lure traffic to my site. Besides, I don’t even eat salads, let alone use herbal supplements, and I clearly don’t need male enhancements. Well maybe, but I don’t think so. 
Not willing to spend big dollars to pay the search engines to put my website in the queue ahead of Drs. Schultz and Schulze, I decided to find other ways to direct readers to my site. As a first step, I started this week delivering press releases to newspaper editors.  I decided to target papers with circulation in cities where I currently live or have recently lived. I utilized a standard press release format and followed the recommendations I had found on several websites. I particularly found this site’s download useful -- Probusinesswriter.  It also helped to work directly with someone who has experience reading and approving press releases -- my wife. 
Hopefully I’ll have press releases printed before the end of the month, at least some of them. I’ll monitor the clicks, the website hits, and skyrocketing book orders, and then I’ll move to my next marketing tactic. Stay tuned.

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