Welcome to week two of my three week mini series about Marketing and Promotion. Today, I’m talking 10 things I did, a little differently, a little better and some, for the first time, to promote my 7th book.
Try it! I hope some, if not all, these ideas can work for you, too.
COUNT IT DOWN
Every day for fourteen days prior to my release sale date, I did 14 graphics and scheduled them in Hootsuite to pop up. Regardless of whether or not you have a large following – whomever you have will see it and they likely can’t help but be excited for you. If nothing else, you may get a few clicks to come see well what exactly are you counting down? Here’s my countdown graphic.
ALWAYS, ALWAYS make your book available for preorder – there is arguably NO reason not too. Send me a good reason….
I regret not doing this with other books. We get in such a hurry to get out there, a date set a bit ahead will also be quite calming, giving you time to really see what you can do to make your book “highly anticipated” AND to work out any kinks. Yes, this is a newbie author tip but all good no matter what. Remember, when I first published at 23 years of age, almost 17 years ago now, there wasn’t any real way to countdown and there certainly wasn’t any way to preorder. When it was out, it was out. Use that time before the books is “available” to do all you can to create buzz. With my Preorder advocacy of important note, I would recommend NOT longer than a month out to try to build a buzz and gather as many preorders as possible. Too far in advance and you lose momentum people go away tired of counting down with you. Don’t run out of steam prematurely.
FIND OUT WHAT’S HAPPENING ON THE CALENDAR
– I’m not speaking so much about an editorial calendar, those are VERY helpful too (I have a basic one but I’m only really posting 2 x a week for the most part and that’s doable for me) but this is more about what’s going on in the world on specific days. Look that up and make an effort to post a little extra and share things relatable to you your thoughts/feelings.
Remember to be neutral (unless you are a political pundit) and just alert people to different things, things that are interesting and different, like “did ya know” types of stuff. For instance, National Poetry Day was in March 21 – here’s a graphic/post I made for that – Not overly difficult or inciting, just interesting and funny? To some, at least.
Another example and way to engage folks is if you love pets, there’s a pet lovers day and so much more – post a pic with Fido…then ask all your friends to post their furry friend pics. MAYBE give a prize for the cutest one, have people vote. Write about 5 things Dogs do to make you happy for National Pet Month (in May). Find things that are in line with you/your personality/likes/tastes and of course your product if a possible tie-in exists. Don’t force it if it doesn’t. You obviously need content and ays where it’s NOT about you/your products.
This year, I started a Friday Features post on my blog. Every Friday of the year, I’ll post about a fellow author- don’t worry about if you have a large following or not, exposure is great and it ensures you are sharing and not just talking about yourself and your own stuff all the time. I have not had a hard time finding authors to promote as I belong to so many online writers groups and honestly, it’s just good karma. You don’t have to promote everything. Set your parameters for what you’ll be promoting, ahead of time to cut down on getting stuff you don’t read/share. Want to be a Friday Features Author? E-mail me!
CHANGE YOUR HEADERS
– This header was made in Canva and I use it for my newsletters in Constant Contact but I also use Canva for almost ALL my graphics.
on ALL Social Media and Your Website – It seems pretty simple but people don’t want to see your same exact header at every social media outlet they visit to find out more about you, (this is only when it’s not part of a tour). Switch it up. On Facebook, they put your newest header at the top of your feed. (And hey, at least one thing you put at the top will be announced and stay there, for a minute, right?). I’m trying to change my own seasonally. Doesn’t always happen but that’s the goal. Ideally, I’d change it more like every 2-5 weeks AND to promote/celebrate certain holidays like Fourth of July, Memorial Day or whatever is important to you. Think about your characters, change it to fit them too.
TAKE A SOCIAL MEDIA AUDIT
While AFTER the audit, there’s a good chance you’ll be depressed about the findings not to mention that you can’t usually implement ALL the things that will come back in your report, slowly but surely you can work through the items and begin to address the ideas outlined in it. Here’s a couple of places to get a handle on what needs to change with your own platforms.
The 15-Minute Sprout Social Audit (Buffer Apps Version)
How to Perform a Social Media Audit (Hootsuite’s Version)
Contact Promotion Guru and Social Media auditor Nigeria Lockley at Inheritance Books – she is amazing and will assist you in reaching your promotion goals.
Contact Promotion Guru Barbara Vey for a one on one consultation about how she helps hundreds of authors get social media savvy.
** Listing does not constitute endorsement or use of the listed company/program
An unconventional (and #FREE) idea is to ask a friend or fellow author (with a larger following than your own) to look through your site and see if they have questions or if they have suggestions -as an author AND regular viewer/reader to offer you about the appearance, usability and navigation ease of your site.
GO ON TOUR (A BLOG TOUR)
This probably is one of the most important things. It’s a lot of work, of course, and you’ll feel like you can’t type at all any more answering so many awesome questions, but success is not easy and promotion is exhausting, period. Ask 10-20 fellow authors to let you stop on their blog to share information about your book. I think a blog tour should not be done on the weekends. I think at that time, people aren’t as engaged because they have so much to do and are often out and about. This is a reciprocal thing so please note, you’re not just sharing about you, you’re then going and tag the author, mention them and say hey, look where I’m at today and then THANK them for hosting you. Do not forget the reciprocal part of that. It’s important. Need more information Being a Good Blog Guest or Host? Read one of my previous posts.
UP YOUR PUBLIC APPEARANCES
Booksignings have ALWAYS been a mainstay for me these seventeen years, but with the stores drying up it’s important to find alternative ways to take part in live events where you can sell your products and meet and engage with people face to face. Here’s some additional places to look:
Business Women groups on Facebook – they are always having a get together, event, etc., so be sure to look local
Your local Chamber of Commerce – I realize that the membership can be expensive for an author but for a lead on events and happenings that you wouldn’t otherwise hear about because you’re not a part of that community, it’s way worth it. Try it for a year and if nothing, don’t renew your membership
Leadership and Empowerment conferences, church events and festivals
If you are of any ethnicity, there are more often than not, unique cultural events, fairs and festivals that you can take part in and get a table at to share/sell your products. The prices are usually pretty reasonable because it’s not about making money but giving local artist an opportunity to showcase their work. IF it is too high for a spot, think about going in with a friend and splitting the costs. I recommend however that you choose someone (if it’s another book) in a different genre so you’re not in competition OR has a different product/industry altogether.
Give talks, lectures and webinars – groups on Facebook are ALWAYS looking for people to come and chat, pick something you do and do well then tell them how to do it, too.
MAKE A BOOK TRAILER (or interview yourself)
Last year I did my very first book trailer and it turned out awesome with the help of Animoto, a program designed to simplify visual ads design and compilation and to set to music.
Do I think the book trailer is a major revenue source? NO, but it’s one more visual interpretation of your book and it’s one more sales outlet. I’ve been enjoying the compliments on mine for Pack Light Thoughts for the Journey
and the one I did this year for Deadly Affections. I’m working on one now for the final story in my current trilogy, Fatal Opposition (tentative title). Please also note however, do it right or don’t do it at all. If you feel you’re just not good at this, then use a program or app and ask for input BEFORE you launch it into the world. You can also check out my free course I taught on this very subject for Coffee Time Romance.
As for interviewing yourself, anyone that put together a PowerPoint can post five or so questions and then just use your phone to answer them. This can be put together or again, use a program like Ripl or Animoto to help yourself out.
DOCUMENT IT and DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN (for the exact same book)
As your launch days wear off and your average days come about with less and less excitement, it’s VERY hard not to lose momentum. You spend so much time on the front end, you burn out and fizzle out, it’s very bad for morale. If you take just a little time to record what you’re doing, so you can make a plan to do it OVER AGAIN. For instance, I spent a lot of time making in Canva (my favorite graphic design program) 15 graphics for Deadly Affections and combed my story to find the excepts for those graphics. The most important thing I should have done was to load them up again and again to post in my Hootsuite so they can go make the rounds again to people who both did and didn’t see them the first time. Remember (record) the little things you did so you can just rerun it. I’ve been doing that also with my post. I ran a Blog series this summer entitled, How Do You Write – for nine weeks. That was nine different authors talking about their writing process. As soon as the series ended, I ran it again and simply put on the post – “In case you missed it” or “Blog Post rewind.” This simply let people know hey here it is again but you may have seen it and if they had, they knew to ignore it.
HIRE A Warm Body (VIRTUAL ASSISTANT Extraordinaire)
Last but certainly not least, is to hire an assistant – this was my first year hiring a Virtual Assistant to help me with my Blog Tour and to assist me with moderation of my Facebook Launch Party and the person I hired was reasonably priced and well worth the payment. Thanks LaToya Murchison.
Here’s a couple people that would be happy to assist you with your Blog Tour
Ms. Paulette Harper at Write Now Literary Tours
Remember to use an assistant for blog tours well versed in YOUR genre. While they’re connections may be somewhat broad, they still likely have a type of genre they have more connections in, so don’t forget to do your research.
At the end of the day, how I used to be: Do a couple of things when I had time and hope for the best. It works to a point. Today, just like they advise you in your finances, you’re going to have to diversify your promotional efforts, plan to do a number of things, do them well and do them consistently and watch it work out.
Please feel free to suggest some additional tips you’ve done for your own book as you’ve learned and grown up in this industry. And, Good Luck!
Remember places like Fiverr (be careful as $ 5 bucks adds up quickly and be sure work is actually being done and you have a way to check/track whatever they promised to deliver) and Upwork (formally Odesk) are also awesome places to utilize for an extra hand, but again, DO YOUR RESEARCH
Whatever you do, try to find ways to incorporate these tips into your marketing program and hopefully you will see results too.
Here’s a few things that I need to work and am working on a plan to tackle for book # 8. Of course, I’ll be sure to document my hits and misses just for you, my awesome blog followers.
- Reaching out to more Book Clubs
- Teleseminars / webinars and Chats
- Twitter Chats, and
- Securing additional speaking opportunities, one on one consults and development of some short series workbooks