May is Marketing Month on RWchat, and this week we’re talking about giveaways and promo. Check out Kimberly Bell’s take on giveaways, and read on for promo tips compiled by Alexis Daria.
I’m kind of a conference junkie. It’s fun to hang out with other authors, readers, and industry professionals, swapping book recs and writing advice. But as much as I love the social aspect, that’s not the only reason why I’m there. I’m there to learn. My favorite thing about writing conferences is the opportunity to attend workshops and classes led by people who have built up a wealth of knowledge about all aspects of the life and business of being a writer, either through formal education or trial and error. Yes, a lot of this info can be found online, but there’s something special about being in the same room with an author whose career you admire, hearing them speak about their own experiences, and then getting to ask questions.
Before I attend a conference, I set a goal for what I want to learn. In March, I attended the Liberty States Fiction Writers’ “Create Something Magical” Conference with the goal of learning about marketing and promotion. The workshops did not disappoint. Last week, I posted what I learned about newsletters. This week, I’ve compiled some tips on promo from two workshops: “Buzzing Your Book & Building Your Brand,” led by Jillian Stein and Liz Berry (1001 Dark Nights), and “The Six Goals of Online Book Promotions (& the Tools to Achieve Them)” led by Laura Kaye (Raven Riders series).
“Buzzing Your Book & Building Your Brand,” Liz Berry and Jillian Stein
Having a recognizable brand is as important as having a fantastic book. It sets you apart. The challenge: to create a cohesive brand. The components of your brand are your website, newsletter, social media, swag, and cover art. All should match. But what about when publishers design your cover? Control what you can control. Try to at least manage the font used for your author name.
Make sure book info, buy links, and series order are easily found on your website. Protip: you don’t want a click to take your viewer off your site. Have it open in a new tab. And be sure to include a contact form on your site. You want to give readers a proactive way to reach you. (Social media is reactive.) And respond to reader mail! A contact form also goes through a portal and won’t end up in your spam folder.
Claim your book on Amazon, Goodreads, etc. so it’s connected with your author name/brand.
Social media is social! Have an author page on FB. Please. A page can’t tag a person’s profile, only another page, and profiles have a limit to how many friends you can have.
If you don’t like social media, set a timer for 10 minutes to log in. During that time, engage and connect. Then get back to writing.
Observe the 80/20 rule—80% content, 20% promo. Regarding content, remember that your fans like to know what you’re up to. And post at least once a day.
7 tips for Buzzing Your Book and Building Your Brand:
- Give your brand a tagline.
- Consistency of message. Books in a series should look the same, but different. Not the same graphics or colors, but font and composition.
- Name recognition. Get a specific font for your name and use it everywhere.
- Advertise one book at a time. If you have under 10,000 FB followers, 70/30 book/page, US only, separate for other countries. Re: age: don’t start at 18 (captures people younger) and don’t end at 65+ (caps everyone 65+ including dormant accounts). They usually specify 24-63. YA is different because those readers aren’t on FB. Twitter is not the place to sell a book, it just keeps your people happy. Same with Instagram.
- Use your email signature everywhere, and include your tagline/quote/blurb/whatever.
- Swag—make sure it matches all your branding.
- Don’t get creative until you’re branded. Think about your brand as much as your plots.
Give your brand respect or you’ll end up spending time and money redoing it later.
“The Six Goals of Online Book Promotions (& the Tools to Achieve Them),” Laura Kaye
Online promo involves building relationships and genuine connections with readers and bloggers. The easiest way to sell books is to not be the only one selling them. Build your network, but also help others. Be genuine and authentic. Cross promotion is one of the best things go build into your biz model. Readers like to see authors supporting each other. Multi-author FB pages, groups, promos, blogs, etc are great ways to achieve the 6 goals of online book promo (listed below).
Facebook and Twitter are the bread & butter of social media promo. But they don’t have identical audiences. FB is where the readers are. If you have to pick one to start with, pick FB. A Facebook presence is single best way to reach readers. Make sure to start with a FB page, because people won’t want to have to move later. A profile has a maximum of 5,000 friends, and is not set up for business purposes. Twitter is where you can connect with “influencers,” like bloggers, industry people, reviewers, and publishers.
Question from the audience: What do you post? Answer: people love pets. You could also try hot guy memes, giveaways, or stuff about your characters. Study the pages of authors who are doing stuff you like. See what they’re doing & how you can learn and incorporate their techniques into your own promo. Lots of authors are creating FB groups for their readers, whether solo or in a group. Join a few, interact, and gather ideas.
Start building a newsletter/email list as soon as you can. It’s a big commitment from the reader. They’re more likely to interact with the newsletter than any other social media content. Just start! Maybe send once a month.
The Six Goals of Online Book Promotions:
- New readers
- Facebook & Twitter: hit all six goals.
- Pinterest and Instagram: hit four. (I didn’t catch which ones.) Laura Kaye has boards for her covers, covers of books she’s blurbed, & international covers. Instagram hits on the same 4 goals as Pinterest, but has higher engagement & retention, and the platform shows growth with readers. But keep in mind that links in IG posts aren’t clickable, so it’s probably not leading to many sales, but is good for exposure.
- Personal author blog: site traffic, people need to know there will be new content for them to visit.
- FB/Blog/Twitter hops: good cross promo.
- Blog tours: probably more effective two years ago than they are now.
- Reviews & excerpts: more useful than specialized content (like dream casting) & often blog tour content posted on FB. Laura Kaye usually does a release day blast & 10 days of reviews/excerpts blog tour.
- Amazon author page: Set it and forget it. Link your social media. Gives new readers, exposure, recognition. Looks more professional, and gives readers more info about you in a place where we know readers are.
- Goodreads author page: Set it and forget it, and don’t read the reviews! On GR you can also do giveaways, lists, trivia and quizzes, etc. You can link your blog there, too.
Nothing happens overnight, and things take time to build. You can’t get brand recognition without brand consistency.
Let us know what kind of book promo works best for you! We’ve got a short questionnaire here, and we hope you’ll join us for tonight’s chat!
Golden Heart® finalist Alexis Daria’s debut contemporary romance will be released in 2017 from SMP Swerve. On Sunday evenings, Alexis co-hosts #RWchat, a weekly Twitter chat for romance writers. She also serves as PRO Liaison for the New York City chapter of RWA, and Municipal Liaison for the NYC region of National Novel Writing Month. She loves social media, and you can find her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, and follow her blog.