July 7, 2017 – Alexandria, VA
New independent authors are frequently overwhelmed by all the options for marketing their books. I certainly was, and still am. Here’s a list of the big-ticket items, i.e. the social media that I consider worthwhile for promotion purposes. This list is by no means all-inclusive.
Here’s one big caveat: to promote yourself as a new author, it’s not enough merely to set up these sites. You should connect and interact with other readers and authors. Once you set up your social media accounts, spend a few minutes a day checking the accounts and interacting with people. Likes, shares, and retweets go a long way. Remember, it’s not about pushing your books on people. It’s about building relationships. The results build on each other and, in time, you will see increased downloads, reviews, and sales. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
You should have:
Facebook Author page – This should be separate from your personal Facebook page. On Facebook you can connect with other authors, and with groups such as BooksGoSocial , where you can find a ton of free writing/promotion resources.
Follow/make yourself known to other authors. First, authors are readers too! Second, getting to know other authors often leads to cross-promotional work, and that’s a great way to get your name out there.
Twitter account – Maintaining a Twitter account and tweeting at least once a day helps you connect with other authors and readers. You can also discover e-book subscription services, e.g. E-reader news, sweetfreebooks, etc., which can help you reach more readers.
Tweet about sales, book releases, and other promotional activities. I love Twitter’s list function, where I can organize followers into authors, publishers, ebook service providers, etc. Many authors cross-promote via Twitter by retweeting your promotional tweets. This is free advertising!
Goodreads Author page – Once you set up a Goodreads reader account, you can set up an author account. Being on Goodreads is a must for authors. While having an author page on Facebook is worthwhile, Goodreads is a specific platform/ community for READERS. Not everyone on Facebook reads, but everyone on Goodreads does, and most publish reviews regularly.
On Goodreads you can join groups of all sizes, and there is a topic for everyone. Do you like sci-fi, chick lit, or horror? There’s a group for that. I recommend participating in smaller to medium-size groups, so your participation is noticed and you don’t get lost in the shuffle (smaller groups are also less overwhelming).
Participate as a reader first. Be involved in group reads. Sign up to lead a group read if you have time. Some groups do group reads for books written by group members. Make sure you follow the group rules on this!
Don’t be pushy or insincere. Each Goodreads group has its own rules about authors marketing their books, so read the group rules and follow them! Most of all, get to know people, interact, comment, and be helpful where you can. I’ve met tons of really cool people on Goodreads. Remember, it’s about building relationships.
Your Goodreads activity is posted on your feed, so your friends and followers see what you’re reading, your new blog posts, etc. Again, free advertising!
The Goodreads giveaway is a great marketing tool. You announce a giveaway for a print book (not ebook). My advice is to do more than one giveaway for each book. When readers put your book on their To-read lists, and you subsequently announce a giveaway for that book, those that have added your book automatically get a notice about the giveaway. Again, it’s free advertising!
Your Blog – First, make sure your blog is linked to your social media accounts, so that when you publish a blog post, it is automatically posted on your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Goodreads accounts. Second, make your blog about more than just your books. Post helpful articles, interesting articles, humorous stories, whatever you like. Write what you are passionate about and people will be drawn to that.
Sci-fi author Rob Kroese‘s blog is terrific because, in addition to promoting his books, he also provides great advice to authors about the writing process and publishing. He has a post on writing what you are passionate about here.
Author and speaker Kristen Lamb also has a wonderful blog where she prolifically posts helpful articles for authors. Many “experts” charge for advice that these bloggers give you for free.
Someone asked me recently, how do people know about your blog? Great question! You must interact/participate on social media. Post your blog address on your other social media accounts so that readers know how to get there. If you write an article on another website, list your bio with your contact information, social media addresses, and blog address. Once you have this system set up, it takes only a few minutes a day to maintain.
Amazon Author page – Readers can follow your Amazon Author page, and will be alerted when you publish a new book. You can also set it up so that your blog posts are automatically posted to your Amazon Author Page.
Remember not to get too caught up in your social media time. Nothing is better promotion than publishing another book, so spend most of your time writing and publishing your stuff!
Authors, do you have anything to add? Please let me know!