We find that a multi-pronged approach is the most effective strategy in building and maintaining readership.
Five Top Tips to Promote Your Book that You Can Do Today
1. Enter writing competitions – Don’t’ just take my word for it….
- “Whenever you win, it makes it easier to sell your works,” Jo Beverly, best-selling author, and “One of the great names of the genre.” Romantic Times.
- Publishers use award winning decals on printed books and digital pages because it makes books stand out in a crowded marketplace.
- Booksellers are more apt to order award winning titles.
- Readers tend to purchase award winning titles over others. Remember, your title will have to vie with five to seven thousands titles even at the corner Indie bookstore.
- Awards can be posted on your website and blog. And awards create rapport with your Readers. They share in the winning much like sport fans bask in the success of their favorite team or athlete.
- IF your work is resonates with the judges, they will become fans – avid fans from my experience.
- IF your work does place well in a contest, it is a cost-effective method of getting your name and title in front of a lot people. And the entry fee is a cost deductible business expense.
- “The exposure in winning a contest gives your work credibility and exposure you would not have otherwise…and increases sales and readership,” Janet K. Shawgo. Note: Ms. Shawgo repeatedly sells out at her author signings at Barnes & Noble.
- Contests give you a firm deadline to meet. Something that I know works that always works for me. Put a post-it sticker on your computer with the impending deadline.
2. Build your brand (aka Author’s Platform)
Yes, your author’s platform is much more than your website or blog posts. It is your brand.
A brand is a guarantee in marketing-ese. Readers and consumers like branding because it allows them to feel that they can take a chance on a new product or remain faithful to a product (read series/author/brand).
Everything that you put out to the world about your author persona should create a coherent brand. Be focused and consistent across the board from how you dress at author signings to your business cards.
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of cover art in creating your author brand. Spend time, and money for the best that you can afford. Cover pages are your most valuable real estate. Make every inch count from the front cover, the spine, the back cover, and the fold-down pages of the book jacket. Book cover art is a separate topic to be addressed in a different article.
One of my favorite authors, Ann Charles, is a wizard at this. Her award winning Deadwood series features Violet, a cowboy boot wearing real estate agent. You will rarely see Ann not wearing her trademark cowgirl hat and boots when you see her at book festivals, conventions, and conferences. And her books sell!
Your photo on your website, Google Authorship, social media posts, book covers, must consistently reflect your author persona. Everything dealing with your author persona should repeat and reflect your book brand.
Everything you say, do, present either adds to or subtracts from your brand, your author platform, your book’s reputation.
3. Have your work professionally assessed by several unbiased, objective editorial reviewers. If it is a positive review you can then use it to generate content for:
- Creating Social Media Posts (You aren’t telling everyone how great your book is, nor is your mother or your bestie. A professional editor is making the statement.
- Generating press releases.
- Publishing on your author platform and website.
- Blogging points. Take different aspects of the editorial review and blog about them in short and succinct blog-posts.
- Point of Sale Marketing with Shelf Talkers: quote from the editorial review.
- Interviewing points of reference (it gives interviewers discussion points).
Positive Book Reviews help your cohorts promote you and your works. You are not making them take up valuable time creating content to promote your book. They can glean parts of the book review to tweet and post. They can find the review “Helpful” on Amazon. Like it on FaceBook. And, they can pass the review on to their social media circles and networks. Professionally written, positive book reviews help your supporters and AERs to promote your works.
- Be sure to utilize review blurbs in the Editorial Review section of your title’s Amazon page.
- Book Cover blurbs (indispensable).
- Make sure that book distributors have access to your professional editorial reviews.
- Positive book reviews that are well written add to your author’s platform.
And, finally, professionally written book reviews are one of the most powerful tools available to authors for building audience.
4. Embrace the Age of the Internet
- Yes, you must actively and consistently participate in social media.
- Posting in social media is like brushing your teeth. It is much better to post twice a day for a few minutes than for three hours on Sunday.
- Support other authors and titles that you like and appreciate even if they are in a different genre. Be a mensch. However, do not promote another author’s works if it is not up to snuff. But remember what your mother taught you: if you can’t say anything good, don’t say anything. Always maintain your brand’s reputation and that when you say you LIKE something or plus +1, you are giving your guarantee, your stamp of approval. Your retweets, plus 1+, and LIKES should have value. It all adds to or subtracts from your brand, your book’s reputation.
- Check out Chanticleer’s articles on Google Plus, Facebook, Tweeting, social media etiquette, and other tips and tools for social media.
5. Be “insanely appreciative” of your AERs (acquired early readers).
- Be “insanely appreciative” (as Steve Jobs posited) of each and every one of your acquired early readers (AERs). I cannot emphasize this enough. Each reader has the potential to be an evangelist about your book. One of the most successful authors I know is successful because she acquires 1,000 beta readers for each title before they are published. She knows and connects with each one consistently. Imagine if you had a 1,000 reader fans on the day your book launches.
- How do you acquire 1,000 readers? One at a time. Cherish each reader by giving her an “insanely great experience” (quoting Jobs again) as a beta reader or an early reader. Make your reader feel special because they are special. Two million titles will hit the English reading market this year alone. That a reader decided to read your work is a tremendous compliment. Never forget that.
- ChantiReviews has a series of articles posted on acquiring early readers AERs along with the care and feeding of AERs.
We will post more in-depth articles about each of these five marketing tools.
Welcome to Chanticleer Community of Authors and Readers.