Today’s post comes from fellow epic fantasy writer, Daniel Adorno. He is the author of The Blade Heir which was released just a few months ago. Take it away, Daniel!
So you’ve spent months, maybe years, writing and editing your book so you can self-publish. The moment finally arrives when you decide to hit that Publish button and send your masterpiece off into the world, but once you’ve done that, you first thought might be similar to mine: “Now what?”
You’ve done an amazing thing by completing a novel and the accomplishment should never be understated, but as you’ll hear many veteran authors tell you, completing the book is only the first step in a really long journey. After the book is published, you’ve got to market and promote it otherwise nobody except your family and friends will ever know it’s out there swimming in the overcrowded sea of self-published works. There are no shortage of methods and strategies online for you to follow in promoting your book, but I want to focus on three simple ways you can get the word out about your book and maximize exposure.
Create a Goodreads giveaway or event
Goodreads is the social media equivalent of Facebook for readers. It’s the place to be if you’re an author because the discussion is always centered around books. You can easily connect your Facebook account to Goodreads and create a user profile from their homepage. Once you’ve done that, join their Author Program and get access to an author profile on the site. The author profile allows readers to connect with you and add your book to the site. It also gives you the option of creating a blog or syncing an existing blog to your profile, so readers can see the latest posts on your website. The best thing about Goodreads though is that you can create giveaways or events that readers can see.
Creating a giveaway involves offering up one or more physical copies of your book to readers who sign up. You add your book, set the length of time the giveaway is good for, and then Goodreads advertises it (for free!) on their Giveaways page. The benefit of giving away copies of your book is that readers will usually add it to their reading lists and this activity will be shown on their feeds for all their friends to see, so it exposes your book to a larger audience. Alternatively, the winners of the giveaway might review your book which will also increases visibility, but don’t ever expect this since it is entirely optional.
If you only have an ebook copy of your book to giveaway, don’t despair, you can still offer it to readers through an event. Creating an event is as simple as creating a giveaway. I would recommend you always create events for author signings, blog tours, etc. But you can also use the events feature to give away a free ebook. Invite everyone on your friends list who likes the genre you write in and set it up for a week or less. You can randomly choose a winners from your RSVP list and send them copies of the ebook. Whether you create a Goodreads giveaway or event, both options will significantly boost your book’s presence on the site and garner readers’ attentions. Refer to this video for more in-depth details on how to maximize engagement on Goodreads.
Twitter is a bustling social media marketplace and one of the easiest places to create valuable connections that benefit authors. If you’ve never hosted a Twitter party before, I would recommend you at least attend a few parties before you tackle hosting. The concept is simple: you invite guests to Twitter to tweet about your book or its genre and give away prizes to attendees. Create invitations for the party at least a week in advance; use a program like Photoshop or GIMP to make a compelling graphic that can be posted on social media sites like Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. You’ll also need to create a unique hashtag that your partygoers can use in their tweets. For example, at my debut novel’s party I used #BladeHeirparty. Having a hashtag will allow everyone to keep track of the discussion on Twitter and it will get the attention of your guests’ followers.
During the party, try to have discussion questions written out so when there’s a lull in the conversation you can spur more tweeting with a thoughtful question or comment. Don’t try to control the tweeting too much though. The tweets will come quick and there will be lots of side discussions going on, which is a good sign that people are enjoying the party! Try to have a set time for the party to start and end (usually an hour or two will suffice) and before its over, give out prizes to a few guests. Prizes can include a free copy of your book, a gift card, or something promotional like a signed poster of your book’s cover art. There’s no expectation to have an extravagant prize like a trip to Maui, just provide prizes relevant to your book and worth coming to your party. For more info on Twitter party strategies, read this insightful article.
Bundle your ebook with BitLit
One of the growing trends in the music and movie industries is the act of bundling. You rarely see a new movie released on DVD that isn’t bundled with a Blu-Ray disc and a digital copy for all kinds of devices. Similarly, more music albums on physical media are being bundled with vinyl records or iTunes download codes. So why not do the same with books? One company called BitLit is doing just that by allowing readers who own physical copies of a book to download the ebook version for free or at a reduced cost. Amazon provides a similar service under the MatchBook program, but if readers buy a paperback copy of your book at an independent bookstore or directly from your website, MatchBook is useless to them. This is where BitLit comes in with their wonderful app, whereby a reader can take a picture of the book’s copyright page and receive a link to download the ebook.
Why is this beneficial for an author?
Because it’s a simple way to promote your books and provide value to readers. Imagine being at an author signing selling paperbacks and encountering attendees who admit they read exclusively on their Kindle, Nook, or iPad and don’t buy physical books anymore. You can easily persuade them to purchase a paperback by informing them of BitLit and how they can get a free ebook by owning the physical copy. I think both BitLit and MatchBook provide unseen potential for authors to give readers more options and sell more books. If you want more info on BitLit and how to participate, check out this informative post on Pubslush.
Incorporating these three simple strategies after releasing your book into the world can move your new book from an obscure position in a crowded online marketplace to a visible blip on readers’ radars.
Daniel Adorno is an indie author who loves to write fantasy and sci-fi stories. He enjoys sharing writing tips and publishing advice to writers on his blog. His debut novel, The Blade Heir, is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.
What are your ideas for marketing your books? What venues have worked or not in gaining your book exposure? I’d love to hear from you so won’t you leave a question, idea or strategy in the comment section? I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today!
Thanks for reading!
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Stack of Library Books — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis