Friday, June 24, 2016

Three Ideas to Promote Your Newly Published Book -- by Rachel

I’ll be honest. I’ve only launched a book once, so I’m not a fount of wisdom on the subject. But since my book launch I’ve been taking notes from every marketing class I’ve attended and article I’ve read on how to do it with a little more pizazz next time. So I have picked up a few ideas which I’d like to share.

Throw a Book Launch Party

Gather some local attention by throwing a party for your new book. Publish an invitation in your local paper. Now if you live in a major city like I do, that might be a stretch. But there are always smaller suburban papers and neighborhood newsletters. Ask nearby libraries and bookstores if they’ll let you put a notice as well.

Pull in additional publicity by getting the backing of a local organization. Does your story feature an abandoned dog? See if an animal rescue center will advertise for you. If you give the night’s profits to their charity, not only will they probably do it for free, it will draw pet lovers who want to give to the cause as well. Is your main character a chef? If your town has a business that offers cooking classes, they may be willing to host your party for a small charge, and they’ll take care of the advertising.

Make it fun. Have appetizers, wine and activities. Throw in a reading and a door prize. Circulate and get to know the visitors. There you go. You’ve created some local buzz and added a few readers.

Throw a Launch Party on Social Media

 Have a party on your Facebook page, Twitter or other social media platform of your choice. Advertise well in advance. This might be one of those times it might be worth it to pay for FB promotion. Ask your friends and fellow authors to forward the invite, and do what you can to get people talking about it.

On the day of the party, you’ll need to be available during the hours you’ve set. It’s good to set a fairly long window so people with work and family schedules across national time zones can make it. Invite guests to ask questions they’re curious about or to contribute to the discussion. But have some set topics in reserve to talk about that will be of interest to your readers – sneak previews, interesting stories about your writing and research, quirky trivia. One Titanic novelist I know of assigned guests an identity when they showed up. They’d learn a little about the person, but would need to show up at the end to learn their fate.

To keep guests interested in showing up, you can give door prizes randomly throughout to people who are logged in. Some prizes might be small – bookmarks or trinkets. Other could be larger. What qualifies as a large prize depends on your budget. I’ve heard of authors giving away everything from a $50 dining gift card to a Kindle, even a vacation package to the book’s locale.

As people log in, their social media friends will see the buzz going on, and might be exposed to your book. Additionally, those who are already interested in the book will show up and will get a little more pumped, thus being sure to buy as well as to talk it up to their friends.

Find a tribe to promote your book, especially just after it releases.

Your tribe is a small group of people who love your books. You might choose from people who have written to tell you they love your writing or simply send out a call on your blog or page asking for enthusiastic readers who would be willing to talk up your book. If this is your first book, getting help from fellow readers or your blog followers might be the ticket.

Your tribe is tasked with selling your book wherever they have influence. Do they have a blog about books? Have them write a review. Talk it up on social media. Request that their local library and Barnes & Noble carry it. Suggest it to their reading club. And on. So obviously, the more influence they have the better – that is, having a tribe member with a blog readership of 10,000 or a hopping Facebook page is helpful. But you have to start where you are. Getting anyone to talk up your book – even if it’s just friends and family or the local librarian – is good publicity.


Friday, June 10, 2016

Marketing Like Your Favorite Novelists -- by Rachel

I’d studied the writing blogs, so I knew when my novel released it was time to get busy. I lined up guest blogs, interviews and book reviews. I advertised on every social media site I could think of. My new website was up and running and I’d had a personal blog going for a few years. I spoke of the book to everyone I came across. I even hawked my book at a nearby fair. You want platform, I’d give you platform.
After a few months, I was exhausted. My introverted self felt raw after all of the exposure. And despite some great reviews of the book and a ton of five star comments on Amazon, the book hadn’t soared to the bestseller list. Actually, while it definitely had some fans, it hadn’t picked up a lot of notice at all.
I wondered why I’d signed up for a writing career in the first place. I had a busy life with a full time job and a family. Who had time for all of this marketing, which by the way, was definitely not my forte? Marketing had taken so much of my time, I’d forgotten about the joy of writing fiction. Because of course, I wasn’t writing fiction. I didn’t have any mental energy after all of the marketing was done.
I began to study some of my favorite novelists and surveyed what they’d done as far as platform, and the answer was surprising. Almost nothing.
They all had websites of course. Lisa Samson started a blog, but stopped, saying the blog was stealing the creativity and time she needed to write. Dale Cramer and Athol Dickson blogged, but were invariably inconsistent, sometimes going a couple of months without a post. Davis Bunn’s blog posts were regular, but were strictly announcements about his book events and reader praise.

Sure, most writers did online interviews and some guest pieces when a book came out. They did a few bookstore signings around the release and a few scattered speaking engagements in between books. But they focused the bulk of their time on what they were best at: writing amazing novels.
Because they were single-minded and purposeful about their fiction, they had output. They improved their craft. They built a readership.
No press in the world will help you if you’re not writing new material, right? Can you just resign from marketing? Of course not. But like the experts, you can confine yourself to a few intermittent things that have the best odds of garnering attention, and leave the bulk of your time for writing novels.
In the end, most novelists are not natural social media experts, bloggers or speakers. We create story worlds and characters. We play with words. We edit what we’ve written until it’s the book we’d want to read. It’s what we’re good at and it’s why we do what we do.
For most novelists, the first book in print doesn’t make a huge splash. Over time, with each new book, they gain new readers. They build reputations. Many household names started off small and their name grew. Donald Maass says, in fact, that getting five books out there with regular timing and consistent quality is the magic bullet.
So this is the best marketing advice I’ve got, as backwards as it might seem: write more, write better.

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