If you are able to write full time, try to spend a couple of hours a day on book promotion and marketing (this also includes any social media), but don't go over that two hour time slot because writing should always take precedent. As with anything, it takes a lot of discipline, so draw up a schedule say over the next six months breaking down each area of your marketing into manageable chunks.
Today I've got some more ideas for promoting your book:
Create a book trailer and publish it to your website and social media. Most of us are on a budget so using footage with real actors and actresses is probably out of the question. In that case, go the stills route. Find some quality photographs - either your own if you dabble in photography or I'm told pinterest could be useful. Always ask permission first though! Write a script for the stills, find some music and then use a movie editor like iMovie to put the whole thing together. You could even create it in Powerpoint. Make sure on the final slide you have your contact details, where you can buy the book and possibly the blurb.
Write articles around your book's themes and / or your writing life and send them to ezines and article directories. Link back to your Amazon page, website and blog where you can.
Here is a list of potential ezines / article directories:
Amazines – www.amazines.com
Article Alley – www.articlealley.com
Article Base- www.articlebase.com
Article City – www.articlecity.com
Articles Factory – www.articlesfactory.com
AuthorConnection.com – www.authorconnection.com
Buzzle.com – www.buzzle.com
Constant Content – www.constant-content.com
Ezine Articles – www.ezinearticles.com
GoArticles.com – www.goarticles.com
isnare.com – www.isnare.com
Jogena’s – www.jogena.com
jorbins.com – www.jorbins.com
LinkSnoop.com – www.linksnoop.com
PromoteNewz.com – www.promotenewz.com
PromotionWorld.com/articles.html – www.promotionworld.com
SearchWarp.com – www.searchwarp.com
upromote.com – www.upromote.com
WorkAtHomeArticles.net – www.workathomearticles.net
Work911.com – www.work911.com
Your book will most likely be on Amazon and Goodreads as a starting point, but run a Google search and see where else you can place it on the virtual book shelves. A few that I know of - Smashwords, Createspace, Independent Author Network, Indie Kindle, Indie book of the day, Celebrating Authors, The Kindle book review, World Literary Cafe and Indie Book Collective. That's enough to be getting on with, but seriously, there are loads! More on these sites over the coming weeks.
Keep an eye on your Amazon ranking and offer your book cut price - or even for free - to get it back up the various charts. Again, more on this over the coming weeks.
Finally, write a press release for your book and submit it to a whole host of press release websites (see below). I've read that press releases are recorded within the news filter of Google search, so that's handy for getting the word out there if you are planning any events - launch, signings, meet the author, etc
Here are some more ways you can promote your book. The good thing is a lot of it you will already be doing, so, with a little extra effort, it could really pay off for you:
Before I take a side road in The Publishing Journey and talk about self publishing, we're going to take a look at ongoing promotion for your book. With the changing face of the Publishing industry, it's not simply a case of launching the book and then sitting back. If you want your work to be a success, post launch is when it really counts.
Here's how you can maintain the momentum:
Finally, a word of warning: Blogging about book sales will get you publicity (because other writers are chomping at the bit for this information), but you run the risk of being banned by Amazon.
So far in The Publishing Journey blog series we've covered the book proposal, what the professionals in the publishing industry expect of an author today, what you can be doing whilst searching for an agent, publicity tactics before publishing, YOU as a brand and finally the coveted book launch... But what happens next? How do you continue promoting your book?
Enter the virtual book tour. Of course, you can do a real life one too, but it's likely to be more cost effective and you'll reach a bigger target audience by continuing to promote your work online.
Planning a virtual book tour is much the same as planning a blog tour and I'm sure with a little refreshing, you can use much of the same material.
Here are 8 steps to follow:
1) Make sure your blog is active along with your social networking accounts - Twitter, Facebook, etc
2) Give yourself at least 2 months planning time (if not more). Determine the type of tour you want to do, what you hope to achieve, and specific dates and duration
3) Plan your content and giveaways
4) Research for prospective hosts and send them an invitation (much of this work you would've already done when organising your blog tour)
5) Once confirmations from hosts come back in, assign dates to them for the tour
6) Begin pre-tour promotional activity for the book tour (again, use the same strategy from your blog tour)
7) Write your articles / blog posts and interview questions and send them to your hosts
8) Finally, when the tour kicks off, monitor daily, be virtually visible and available, and co-ordinate any action points (like prizes for giveaways)
Ah the coveted book launch... just thinking about it puts a smile on my face. I never got round to organising one for my debut novel, but I'd love to do one some day. Maybe for the next book...
Everybody is talking about Goodreads, so take a look at their author program which I shall be signing up for shortly. Here you can promote you, your book and your launch - and more importantly, build your fan base block by block. I also like the fact you can share your favourite books and what you're currently reading, so it's a two-way portrayal - you the author and you the reader. And you can link your existing blog to your author profile keeping things very streamlined.
Now onto organising a book launch. I'm no expert but I've found some helpful advice to share with you today:
Remember I said you had to think of yourself as a brand and not be a one book wonder - unless that's your intention. Depending on your marketing budget and time constraints, there are many ways to promote yourself and it's all about finding what works for you and then running with it. For example, something I've picked up on: I don't think having my blog as part of my website is as effective as it could be, so I'm also running a blog on Google's Blogger platform alongside this one to see how my audience differs and whether anything obvious jumps out to prove one is better over the other.
Over the past few weeks, we've covered the key ingredients to an author platform - having a Twitter and Facebook presence plus any other profiles which work for you, and having your own website and the all important blog. We've also looked at following blogs across the publishing spectrum from Agents and Editors to marketing gurus and your fellow writers. Commenting on these and guest posting. Running a blog tour with competitions and securing reviews for your book. Attending events and networking with the industry professionals and other writers, and talking to local libraries and local book stores to run book signings and Meet The Author Q&A sessions.
So what else can you do?
Here are a few more ideas:
Next up, we'll take a look at the book launch.
Through networking for reviews and piecing together your blog tour, you will no doubt make many new contacts and find a whole host of helpful websites for cross promotion opportunities. It's definitely a minefield and so easy to get distracted, but you need to have a clear idea of what your objectives are - and then stick to them.
Now bringing it back to your blog, which for me is the basis of all the platform building, promotion and publicity you will do, here are some ways to use it to promote you and your book:
Today we're going to talk about setting up a blog tour. This comes way before the launch of your book, several months in fact - if not longer!
As I explained in my post Publicity before publishing, a blog tour is basically sourcing other writer's blogs of a similar genre to your book and interacting with them and their readers via their blog. This could be in the form of you guest posting, running competitions and promotions targeted to your book, or simply gaining a review or Q&A from the blogger.
What it means is a lot of preparation is required beforehand (hence the big lead in time) - contacting the bloggers, setting up content, sorting out competitions and prizes, arranging dates for posts...
As you know, I like to break things down into their simplest form, so here are the steps you need to take to get your blog tour off the ground:
1) Have your own blog up and running!
2) Identify blogs that match your genre. Depending on the scale of your blog tour, decide how many bloggers you want to contact. Run a Google search to find the blogs and then delve into each one individually to see how effective they could be in helping you promote your book. Remember, you want maximum exposure. The main thing to look out for is how well are they represented in social media - Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+ etc. Check their Twitter and Facebook following and see how often they post content.
3) Contact the bloggers. Invite them to participate in your tour by offering a free copy of your book in exchange for a review or a Q&A with you - or both. Link back to your blog so they can check you out and also to show you're willing to promote them. A blog tour is not just about promoting your book, it's also about promoting other authors. The more you include this dynamic in your strategy, the more you'll get out of this exercise. It's a two-way thing. Also nail down specific dates for specific activities to keep the tour moving along. Other ways to entice your fellow bloggers could be getting them to compete with each other for a prize - whoever gets the highest hit rate on the post relating to your book perhaps...
4) Advertise your blog tour on your own blog and through your social media profiles.
5) Lastly, be available for whatever comes up during the blog tour ie. don't suddenly disappear midway through the promotion!
I just read a terrifying thing - to be effective in marketing your book, you need to be working at it 12+ hours a day! Yes the internet makes it easier than ever before to achieve this, but also the internet can bombard and overwhelm you with information to the extent you don't know what to tackle first.
Thank god this is a publishing "journey"!
Taking No.1 from my Publicity before publishing blog post, here are five ways to find the right bloggers to review your book:
1) First, remember to treat this exercise as if you were approaching an Agent or Publisher. Be bothered to research them and their website and blog.
2) If you do your research using social media sites like Twitter and Google+, you'll find good blogger websites and they will have links to other great sites. Keep clicking through and jotting down the sites, making sure each blogger is interested in your genre.
3) Read the individual review policies.
4) Write a query email, but here's the thing - yes emails are quick but they also get deleted if they aren't personalised enough. Spend time over the personalisation. Don't forget, you're asking a blogger to spend 10+ hours reading your novel and then writing a concise review. Show them you've bothered to check out their work too.
5) Follow them on social media sites if you aren't already.
So you've written your book, you're looking for an Agent and / or Publisher, but whilst doing that you've decided to self publish.
You're working hard on building your author platform and networking like crazy to get your name "out there".
What comes next?
The book launch?
Not quite yet. A few weeks before you launch, there are some things you can do to give yourself a better chance of making a "splash" with your new book.
We'll touch on four items now and then over the next week or so, I'll go into more detail for each of them:
Get reviews - contact a few select bloggers and send them a copy requesting a review. You can then link back to their reviews on your blog to build your book's credibility.
Setting up a blog tour - best to organise this in advance and start the tour a day after the launch. Identify blogs you would like to feature yourself and your book on and then contact the bloggers. Try to have the material pre-written so it's just a matter of posting it.
Cross promotion - join a group of authors (on Twitter) who are cross promoting their respective books preferably in the same genre to yours.
Invitations to podcasts / radio interviews - if you can get something like this, you can link back on your website.
A week before the book launch, now is the time to really start turning up the heat and pushing your book. Organise a launch party on Goodreads (more on this later) and offer giveaways to the first X number of people who download your book in exchange for a review on Amazon. Make sure you've updated your website with the reviews you hopefully secured a few weeks earlier and any interviews you've managed to pull out of the hat. Put them on your blog as well and use your blog as your main marketing platform because if set up to do so, your blog can cover all bases - Facebook, Twitter etc etc. Less work for you - and let's face it, you're going to be pretty busy!
Blogging is an amazing concept so here I am giving it a whirl. You'll get words. You'll get pics. Sometimes a vid or two. You'll get tongue in cheek, the odd humble opinion and an honest insight into my travels and writing life. Maybe even a few gems along the way. I'll be musing on home turf as I see more and more of the UK and sharing my experiences further afield on holidays and adventurous trips across the globe.