Greetings, authors and all those looking to publish! Following my past two years of planning and marketing fiction, I’ve come across several trends across social media and general digital advertising that I’ve found lucrative for the steady (steady=key word here) growth of indie projects. Although book promotion remains a continuous process, the following steps have personally proven invaluable toward gaining new readers:
1) Social Media Promotion
Facebook: Create an author page. You may also additionally create a page dedicated to your book, though take care not to bombard followers with updates or invites from both. The author page can act as a platform for information about your book (keep readers engaged with more quotes and personal genre-related questions rather than endless promos) as well as occasional tidbits about you as an author.
A sample engaging question might be: “How many authors here have recently finished a first novel?” OR “How do readers feel about slow-burn romance?”
To avoid pestering followers while still keeping discussions going, keep posts to every other day. Remember, folks are typically looking to engage in discussion and talk about themselves first and foremost rather than receive updates with links on how to spend money on a product.
Twitter: #Hashtags. These will help to focus your tweets and keep your head above water among the masses of other posts on similar topics. Suggested book/genre-related hashtags would be: #indiebook(s) #IndieBooksBeSeen #IndieBookPromos #indieauthor, #IARTG, #Monday(any other week/end day) Motivation, #FridayReads, #Readers, #Writers, #writerslife, #WritersLifeChat, #Kindle, #ReadersFavorite, #amwriting, #amwritingscifi, #amwritingfantasy, #amwritingromance, #scifi, #SciFiFri, #scifisat, #SciFiSunday, #scifibook, #Authors, #fantasy, #horror, #romance…to name just a few. Whenever possible, always make use of trending hashtags (visible on the left-hand side of Twitter homepage).
Other than hashtags, it’s always helpful to throw in a visual such as an image of your book cover or a relevant GIF. As always, keep the links to only once a week so as not to bombard followers with purchase requests. Finally, follow other folks tweeting about these topics and retweet all posts you find interesting! Hashtags work really well with Facebook too!
LinkedIn: Might seem bizarre, but it’s a surprisingly good platform for getting your work out there to the masses, especially once you reach 500+ connections. I would suggest keeping book-related posts to once a month and focus on photos with your book cover (preferably you and your book cover/you holding the book) as well as pictures of you at conventions tabling for your book. This gives a professional flair and shows viewers that you take your role as an author professionally.
2) Book Awards
Apply for any and all book awards you can. Being a winner or even a finalist can get you publicity and a hashtag to post alongside your book’s title when promoting on Facebook and Twitter. Many annual contests will match your genre. After entering sci-fi debut “Apex Five” into a series of such competitions, I was fortunate enough to become semi-finalist for the Cygnus International Book Awards, a prestigious award specifically geared toward emerging authors. An example list of such contests follows: https://thewritelife.com/writing-contests/
3) Physical Promotion
Book Readings: Try to find and attend all book readings in your local region. These include local writers’ groups, library readings and conventions, such as Worldcon or Comicon. Fans love to see authors promoting their work live, complete with a visually enthralling poster, table and physical book copies. Remember to always prepare a mailing list so prospective readers can sign up to receive book announcements from you. Finally, business cards with book title, cover image, purchase platform (Amazon, etc), and social media information are essential.
4) Become an Influencer and/or Contact Influencers
Some authors already have a blog or YouTube channel and following prior to releasing their first book. While this helps raise the chances of faster promotion, it’s never too late to start your own blog using WordPress, Weebly, Wix or other free/low cost platforms. That said, if blogging isn’t your cup of tea, there are literally pages of established bloggers who might jump at the chance to promote your work! Check out this list of free book bloggers and peruse their preferred genres to see if there might be a match. Remember – always tailor every query email/message to each individual blogger, so that they don’t feel like just one amidst a giant query blast. If possible, follow bloggers on Twitter and like their Facebook pages prior to contacting them – that way, they feel special and are more likely to respond to your query!
As always, if any of you have other techniques you’ve found helpful, please share in the comments below!
For 2019 reading, check out sci-fi debut Apex Five!