Guerilla Online Marketing For Authors

As authors, we have to do a lot to a ton of book promoting.  It’s a tough market out there, and it’s a challenge trying to stand out from the competition.  In essence, we have to do guerilla online marketing, taking the fight to our market.  Too often, we as authors want to sit at our desks and create (no problem there, that’s the fun, right).  But very few (I heard a stat that only 1%) take the writing dream to being published, and fewer still make it as authors, meaning sell enough to quit their day jobs.  If you want that dream, like I do, you have to know marketing as well.  Those of you who want that dream, too, follow me.  Let’s not just be authors, but marketing authors, but doing guerilla style marketing.  With that in mind, we’ll focus here on keyword searches.

The Competition

You might not think marketing is important, so let’s go over a few statistics.  Last year,  one million books with ISBN’s were issued.  This does not account for the 800,000 books from indie authors.  Nor does this take into account ebooks.  For a visual, if these books were one-inch thick, and you lined them up next to each other, you’d have a line fifteen miles long.  A helluva a lot of books.  And you need readers to find yours.

Author Marketing – Beyond the Basics

Here’s where guerilla style marketing comes into play.  Thinking outside the box.  Doing what the others are not doing.  Making yourself stand out from the competition.  I believe every author should have at minimum:

  • a professional website
  • a blog
  • a Facebook fan page
  • a Twitter account
  • a Goodreads account

However, there is a lot of debate on how well these work for marketing.  I won’t go in to all the reasons why or why not, but here’s where going beyond the basics will help you.  You need to be engaging with your audience, and utilizing these platforms with keyword research in mind can help you.

Why Guerilla Online Marketing?

I used this phrase, and a couple of others, because of keyword research.  These are phrases that have a decent number of online searches each month and not very high competition with other websites using the same phrases.  This means that someone searching on the phrase guerilla online marketing has a better chance of finding me.  And since my blog advertizes my books, I just might get some sales out of this.

Now admittedly I might not be getting the right target audience here (since people searching for guerilla online marketing probably aren’t looking for fiction books), but I wanted to make a point.  Let’s use a better example for authors.

Be a Marketing Author

I’ve also used the phrases marketing author and author marketing throughout this post.  Both have decent searches per month, however they have a bit higher competition than I’d like, but I will use them anyway – I can’t give away my secret words that work for me :)

Here’s how this works.  I use the Google keyword tool.  There are others out there that are better, but not always free, and Google works pretty well.  You type in the keyword you want to use – we’ll use author marketing.  The keyword tool will show you how many global and local monthly searches have used this exact phrase, and then also similar phrases.  In this case, we get 5,400 global and 1,600 local searches on this phrase.  The tool will also show you that there is medium competition for the phrase.  Anything over 1,000 is decent, 10,000 would be better, especially if there is low competition (which we didn’t hit).

But don’t stop there, thinking you have a great phrase to work with.  Now you want to search this phrase in Google (I only use this because so many people love/like Google – I personally use Yahoo to check as well).  Type in the phrase with quotations: “author marketing”.  This gives you websites with the actual phrase (not the words separated throughout the site).  We get 262,000 sites with our phrase.  Not as good as we’d like.  Ideally you want 10,000 or less, but anything close would be good.

Why Author Marketing?

I chose this to give you an example for authors.  It’s not the best out there, but compare it to ebook marketing.  301,000 global and 90,500 local, with high competition.  Lots of people searching it, sure, but then look up that phrase in Google.  14,700,000 results.  Try standing apart in that market.

I try to keep keywords in mind whenever I write a post.  It’s more time-consuming, but I want my blog to rank higher in search engine traffic, and I try to target specific audiences.  Think what happens if people are searching mystery books, or great new reads, and so on.  You have, as the saying goes, a snowball’s chance in hell of being found.  You have to help the readers find you.

I hope this post is useful or you.  And I’m sure some of you may have better ways of doing this and I’m happy to learn from you, so please post your suggestions.  And if you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask me.  I’m here to help.


Don’t forget the contest for a FREE kindle!  If you already have one, this would make a great gift!  It’s easy – read a book, write a review, post the review, sign up on my email list (don’t worry, I hardly ever send out emails) = entered into a drawing!  Full details on my website:  Thanks and good luck!

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11 Responses to Guerilla Online Marketing For Authors

  1. melusines says:

    Hi Renee,

    Great minds think alike :-), though you are more optimistic than me. Just saw Bowker’s statistics for 2010 about the number of non-traditional published books. A whooping 2.6 Millions, and that is excluding the traditional publishers and for the US alone! This is why we authors need to be powerfully armed to rise to the top.
    So, I am running a series about book promotion startegies beginning at with a collection of tactics divided between pre-publishing, book launch and ongoing book promotion.

  2. Oh, my stats must be out of date – thanks for pointing that out! I will definitely check out your tips – one can’t learn too much. Thanks for the comment and good luck to you!

  3. Great article and very timely. I was reading an article about marketing the other day, and the author mentioned that one reason book sales are so unpredictable these days is simply the number of books on the market. She said that 10,000,000 books were published in 2010. If that’s an accurate figure, then that explains a lot.

  4. Hi Renee,

    Hmmm…these statistics make me wonder why I bothered. I’m certainly not an SEO expert, though I follow some blogs written by people who are. My blog normally consists of episodes in the most recent short story, so keywords aren’t always anything that’s going to point to what I have published. I guess I have to think of a high tech door knocking technique. :)

    Lou Barba

    • I know, it’s a mountain to surmount. But don’t give up :) I am taking some classes on how to rank (specifically geared to me as an author) and I will be sharing what I glean from it. Keep coming back for more pointers. And thanks for the comment!

  5. Excellent post, Renee. Good, sound advice for anyone who’s trying to get attention on the web. But since it involves actual work (oh, the agony!) most people will give up. But that’s the good news for those who are willing to stick with it and make it work.

    • Thanks, I appreciate the comment. It is hard getting “discovered” but thanks to people like you, and your awesome website (check him out folks the bookcast), authors like myself have a better chance.

  6. Hey great comments there. Took me a few days to get to it. I used to be like Lou only writing about my own Novels. Now I’ve started writing about other things, like book covers and Word formatting. Thanks for the link and the helpful information.

    • Renée Pawlish says:

      It’s tough but I think it’s worth it. I’ve seen my blog rank higher in the last few months, in part because of what I’m doing. Glad the post has been helpful and thanks for the comment.

  7. John says:

    Good post!

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