I have spent most of the last two and a half weeks promoting Softly Say Goodbye. Have I been successful? Royalties aren't in yet, but I've found another way to gauge success, and I feel I've done a tremendous job getting word of this book out from a fabulous publisher, Solstice Publishing, and an author from a small town in Northwest Georgia.
Just how did I figure out how to promote my book worldwide? Well, the first part of that answer lies in Twitter.
Twitter: You get 140 characters to put your message out, and you have to add hashtags, and other people/groups who are retweeting your work. Now your eyes have just popped wide open, and you're asking just how you get the message out about your book with all that hung on the end. The answer is simple. First, spend some time figuring out just what hashtags are best for your book. After much consideration, I decided on #YA to gather overall interest. #SCBWI was next, because I'm a member, and this organization of children's writers has thousands of members worldwide. At some point, they all see my tweets! Next was #ASMSG, but I was invited to use this hashtag, after retweeting for another author at Solstice who had the same invitation. Again, this group has many members, and they're helping get my message out.
The next way to get others tweeting your work is to assemble tweet teams with your publisher. Authors put three, or more, completed tweets into a database or on a spreadsheet. Everyone tweets for the others, and then you tweet your own stuff. Depending on how many authors are participating in a Tweet Team, you have just touched hundreds or thousands of other people via Twitter.
Finally, don't log off Twitter just yet. You're not finished. Oh no. Go through your most active followers. Look over what they're tweeting. Does some of it interest you, or maybe it's something other authors will appreciate knowing. Retweet these things immediately.
Now, before you say, that is far too much to do. I have my next great project to work on. Well, I can tell you from experience, I spend twenty minutes at the most tweeting daily. That includes the most important part of tweeting. When someone retweets your original tweet, thank them. It shows your appreciation. The person who did you a favor is more willing to continue to do so.
Blogging: I can hear the moans and groans now. Blogging is so last decade. No one blogs anymore.
Blogging for authors is a fabulous way to expand what you're doing on Twitter. Here, you can write to your heart's content. You aren't limited by how many characters go into a blog. Ah, the writerly heart is content. I don't have someone telling me to watch the word/character count.
So what do you blog? Good question. Here are a few ideas.
Your latest project. Talk about your research. Drop tidbits about the story: Introduce your characters, their quirks, their goals, their ambitions. Make your blog followers love them. Invite commentary. You never know – a comment about a character flaw you never noticed might bring more depth to your story.
Invite other authors to visit your blog. Do a blog hop and get out of your safe zone. These two items go hand-in-hand. Bringing other authors to your blog gives your followers to discover new horizons. Going to visit other blogs, getting the word out about your book brings new followers to your blog. Don't hide behind the computer screen – dive into internet land. It's a rather interesting and nifty place for the twenty-first century author.
Blog Tags: Ah, blog tags. Just how do you tag your blog? A few things are very easy. The title of your just released book, any books you're promoting and have been out for a while. Hmmm? What about the theme of your book? Things like teen romance and teen drinking are vital to letting people know about Softly Say Goodbye. They're on every blog tag when I include this book. Also, include your publisher's name, and Amazon/Barnes & Noble, wherever your book is available. Blog tags hit in internet searches, and here's where you have the chance to shine and attract more people to your work.
Facebook: This is the biggest social media group in existence, and it's not going away any time soon. So, if you don't already have an author page there, make one. Make this page separate from your personal page. Then get on there at least once a week, more often if your book has just been released, and talk, talk, talk. Talk about your numbers on Amazon, their Kindle sales position. Let people know others are interested in your book, and they're buying it. Post about your reviews. (make sure you spell the reviewer's name right!) Put up links to your book – as much as five times a day, if that's what it takes to generate interest. Post pictures of you promoting your book at different locations. Then, do yourself a favor, and highlight the important posts, so they're easy to find. How do you highlight a post? Hover over the right hand corner of the post. You'll see the word highlight. Click on it. Your post has now stretched to fill your timeline. And someone will see it immediately when they go to your page.
Now, here's the most important part of using Facebook to promote – go to your personal page, like your author page, and share it. Get the word out to your friends. They'll share, and before you know it, you'll have people liking your page.
Other Social Media: There are many more places where you can promote your work. It just takes a few searches to find smaller social media outlets to do this. I personally use Goodreads and JacketFlap.
Goodreads is pretty well known, but for those of you who don't know about it, it's a place for readers to list and rate the books they've read. So, it's important to get your book on Goodreads.
JacketFlap is a social media group for children's writers. In addition to having reviews of your book there, you can connect with other children's writers. They also have a connection to your blog, so make sure yours shows up there. There is a place to list the children's books you've read and review them. Again, another place to be seen and see what others are doing.
Review the books of other authors: Don't just review the books. Make sure your review stands out. Don't just give your opinion. How to Write a Book Review Read this article on properly writing a book review. Let the author know what you liked/loved and what didn't work for you. A poorly written review not only won't be taken seriously, you might find other authors shying away from reviewing your book.
Get your book reviewed: This may seem like the hardest part of promotion. You need reviews. Mostly, you need good reviews for people to buy your book. As an author, you have probably already connected with other authors all over the world. Ask them to do a review. Search the internet for book review sites, and then submit your book for review. Ideally, this should be done a month or two before the book releases, but don't back off if you didn't get on the bandwagon in time. Submit your book for review anyway. Reviews are a constant way to have your book promoted.
The biggest part to promoting your book is never give up. Promote every day. Take fifteen or twenty minutes every morning to tweet. Write a blog once a week, or once a month if you don't feel as if you have anything to say more often. Get on Facebook, on your author page, and promote, promote, promote!