As writers and authors, we are formidable in our ability to create narratives, but we also have to learn how to market the ‘end product’ of those many months, or even years of creativity. In essence we become a book business. This can strike fear or anxiety in many writers, but by doing what is comfortable and manageable for you, it is possible. Even if you have no business experience there are ways to promote yourself and your books.
The first avenue many authors take is social media, which can be seen as a ‘soft’ option. After all we are not up close and personal with the public but at arm’s length. However, due to the countless sites available just choosing the ‘right’ one or two can be overwhelming. Then there is the matter of maintaining your ‘presence’ on each platform. You need to research which avenues of promotion will work best not just for your genre, but also your ability to sustain them. Be selective in your choices and honest about how much time you can allot to maintaining each site.
- Do your research on similar authors in your genre and see what they use (and of course ‘follow’ them). If you have a handle on specific social media sites and use them regularly then create an author/book account on them. Choose the account(s) that have traffic for your genre. This is an easy search by genre hash tag. Look at how other authors are utilizing their sites and connect and comment. This will give their followers and readers an insight into your work as well. Following selected authors, genre based bloggers, book reviewers, and writing groups allows you to gain followers but also to learn about your particular genre and gain a reader base. When someone is interested in your genre they ‘search’ for more posts, articles, links and books within that specific field. While you are doing that follow 10 ‘friends’ of friends on Facebook and 100 people on Twitter – this can gain a wider audience. However, in light of these two platforms losing participants also follow people on Instagram. (We have to keep up with the ‘in’ thing!)
- Improve your author bio on all platforms to entice and inform as many followers as possible on all sales sites, your blog and social media platforms. Ask yourself – does it reflect you as a writer as well as a person. Readers want to know you as well as your books, so be generous about your writing life, creativity and upcoming events.
- Use hash tags specific to writing, authors, books, and genre and associated links – look at what other authors use.
Here are a few, but the list continues to grow:
#amwriting #amediting #writingtip or
#writetip #writingprompt #book #novel #nonficiton #fiction #paperbacks #ebooks #shortstory or #shortstories #shortreads #litfic #histfic and #histnovel #womensfiction #scifi #romance #paranormal #crime #suspense #kidlit #childrensfiction #writing #creativity #wordcount #writechat #writegoal #WIP #storystarter #mustread #novelines #Fridayreads #TeaserTues #Writerslife #5amwritersclub #WritingCommunity #readercommunity
- Then there is the personal touch. Due to the current COVID restrictions, this is not as easy to do currently, but there are virtual options available. You can organize or become involved in author readings, attend virtual book events and participate in Q&A panels. Search your local area for book related events, get to know your local bookstores, inquire at your library, join a local writing group, the wider your reach the easier it will be to find avenues of sale for your book.
- Merchandise is another way of promoting your book. It can be as simple as custom bookmarks to T-shirts with the book cover/main character on the front. Make up a prize basket for a contest to be collected at an event or mailed out. These events are a good photo opportunity to use on social media, so ask the winner to send a photograph once they receive their prize. You can also create an online contest for a free autographed copy of your book. Ask for a character name for your WIP and mention the winner in the dedication and/or send a copy of the book to them. An easy promotion is to leave five of your author business cards in local businesses, at the doctor’s or dentist’s office, or anywhere you visit on a regular basis. Many places have community boards too so pin some cards or a poster of an event you are attending there too. Some grocery stores also have leaflet hand out options, where a pamphlet can be slipped into a bag at the checkout.
- Host a live author reading on one of your social media sites. Find the most enticing section of your book, which gives details of the characters, location and an inciting action scene to excite the viewers to buy the book. You will have to promote this event prior to doing the reading to ensure there are viewers.
- Have a book trailer made. There will be a cost to this, but they do engage readers.
- Create a newsletter for your book and an insight into you the author. You can decide on a schedule that is manageable. Several sites allow you to draft your content and save it, so you can work on it when you have time instead of rushing it.
- Share reviews of your books on your platforms.
- Create a blog/website specifically for you and your book.
Opal Writers Magazine