If you’ve got a book scheduled for release, whether it’s traditionally published or indie-published, the onus is on you to promote it. Here are some helpful strategies for making a big splash by using social media to build buzz before your book comes out.
1. Start early
It’s never too early to get your name and face out there. This gives you time to find your groove, make mistakes, and grow your social media following so that when you finally have news about your book, there will be an audience to hear it.
Column by Jennifer Kincheloe, award-winning author of
the debut novel, THE SECRET LIFE OF ANNA BLANC (November 2015,
Seventh Street Books). She has over 10,000 followers on the
novel’s Facebook page, a mailing list of over 900 people, over
1,000 followers on the book’s Pinterest page, and over 1,000
followers on her Twitter account. She spends thirty minutes each
day promoting her book on social media.
2. Explore social media
Facebook? Twitter? Instagram? Pinterest? Goodreads? You can’t do them all. Start experimenting to see what works for you. If you started early, you’ve got time.
Get creative, think out of the box. If you write historical fiction, post pictures of period clothing, dirty words from your époque, recipes from the era. If you write romance, update the public on the whereabouts of Fabio, post pictures of your favorite cover model. Review romantic comedies. If you write detective fiction, post a recipe for your character’s signature cocktail, or a diagram with the parts of a gun. Young adult (YA)? Post funny YouTube videos. Science fiction or fantasy? Announce and review cons. You get the idea.
Every tenth time, post book news—signing with an agent, book contracts, cover reveals, release dates, book giveaways, early reviews, announcement about pre-sales. People will endure your self-promotion because they like your other posts—kind of like a fundraising drive on public radio.
4. Use Facebook
It ain’t what it used to be, but it still rules across every age group. Last January, Facebook began sending out fewer and fewer posts to the people who like our pages, hoping we all would pay money to boost those posts to reach our followers. Also, posts from liked pages are now shuttled out of our “news stream” into a “page stream.” Here’s a simple trick to help circumvent that.
a. Post the following message on your Facebook page.
“When you like this page, remember to:
* Hover over the LIKED button.
* Click GET NOTIFICATIONS.
* Click SEE FIRST.
b. Pin that post to the top of your page. Followers who use this setting will be notified when you post.
Remember, you aren’t limited to your own Facebook page for promotion. Join existing community pages with members from your target audience. Find pages with a high number of engaged followers (lots of comments and likes). Every time you post, your name is out there. Mention your book when it’s polite to do so. It’s rude to over promote and it can backfire. Make sure you obey the rules.
Always put key words in the “topics” box on the “About” section of your Facebook page to make it more searchable.
5. Build relationships
Respond to everyone who comments with a like or a word. Check often so you can hide offensive posts. I’ve had Facebook followers duke it out over the pros and cons of corsets, so don’t underestimate the potential for conflicts.
Go to the pages of authors with your target readership and follow every single one of their followers. Many will follow you back.
#Use #existing #hash #tags – When people search for existing hashtags, your post will pop up. Also, some tweeters use automated services that retweet certain hashtags. Pay attention when you get retweeted by strangers with big followings and who follow thousands of people. Chances are, they are using an autotweet service. Re-use the hash tags you included in the retweeted post. They’ll retweet you again. I may only have 1,000 Twitter followers, but I’m routinely retweeted by people with 10,000 followers.
Pinterest provides a steady feed of images that you can “repin” onto your “boards,” or you can pin photos of your own (linked back to your website), which other people can repin. They can be pictures, quotes, top-ten lists, whatever. I do not pin when it’s peak writing time. When I’m waiting for my kids to get ready for school, I pin. Someone calls me on the phone and talks and talks and talks, I pin while listening. If I’m brain dead, and still want to be productive, but can no longer think, I pin. I now have over 30,000 pins, which makes my Pinterest page a destination.
Post your pins on Facebook.
Like Facebook, Pinterest has changed. Now your pins are not guaranteed to make it into your followers’ feeds. Pinterest ranks pins by “quality,” giving high scorers priority. Your pins are more likely to be deemed “high quality” if your filename uses key words, if you use alt tags, and if your pin description is engaging. If people interact with your pin, it goes up in the ranks.
8. Transform you social media success into an emailing list
Facebook may fall away, but email lists are forever. They are completely under your control. But how do you lure strangers into signing up? One word. Swag. Send them short stories, and the first chapter of your novel, or the first novel in your series if you are self-published. Send them deleted scenes or preview scenes from your next book. I write humorous historical mysteries so I send out PDF files of books from the era that are now in the public domain–dime novels, old coroner’s manuals, books offering advice to brides.
9. Help followers find reasons to buy your book
“What are you getting your aunt for Christmas?” (Seriously. Get her my book, THE SECRET LIFE OF ANNA BLANC.) “What are you bringing to your company’s holiday party gift exchange? How about my book and a bottle of wine?”
10. Make your images searchable
Use alt tags on all your pictures, and filenames with keywords so that your images pop up in Internet searches. Do this for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and your website. This increases your visibility by upping your rank in search engines.
Check Out These Great Upcoming Writers' Conferences:
- Feb. 11, 2017: Writers Conference of Minnesota (St. Paul, MN)
- Feb. 16–19, 2017: San Francisco Writers Conference (San Francisco, CA)
- Feb. 24, 2017: The Alabama Writers Conference (Birmingham, AL)
- Feb. 25, 2017: Atlanta Writing Workshop (Atlanta, GA)
- March 25, 2017: Michigan Writers Conference (Detroit, MI)
- March 25, 2017: Kansas City Writing Workshop (Kansas City, MO)
- April 8, 2017: Philadelphia Writing Workshop (Philadelphia, PA)
- April 22, 2017: Get Published in Kentucky Conference (Louisville, KY)
- April 22, 2017: New Orleans Writers Conference (New Orleans, LA)
- May 6, 2017: Seattle Writers Conference (Seattle, WA)
- May 19-21, 2017: PennWriters Conference (Pittsburgh, PA)
- June 24, 2017: The Writing Workshop of Chicago (Chicago, IL)
- Aug. 18–20, 2017: Writer's Digest Conference (New York, NY)
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Other writing/publishing articles & links for you:
- 10 Keys to Becoming a Successful Writer: An Agent Spills Secrets.
- Agent Spotlight: Clelia Gore (Martin Literary Management) seeks Young Adult and Middle Grade.
- How I Found My Literary Agent: Sara Polsky (young adult fiction).
- Polish Your Work Before Submitting: 6 Revision Tips.
- Follow Chuck Sambuchino on Twitter or find him on Facebook. Learn all about his writing guides on how to get published, how to find a literary agent, and writing a query letter.
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