Promotion—The Right and Wrong of Selling Your Book

Your book is finally ready for publication. The editor-in-chief has advised you to begin setting up your release promotion, and you have no idea what to do.

Yes, that is panic settling all over you like a bad smell. Grab your favorite caffeine drink and settle back. All will be good. Here are a few tips about preparing for a book release.

By this time, you should have been spending time on both Facebook and Twitter each day. You need to grow your pages. What that means is that you need likes and followers. If you set up those pages as soon as you signed your contract, you should have been encouraging people to stop by once in a while and looking over your witty commentary.

Facebook recently changed the way it allows fan pages to reach those on the social media giant. Now, if you want a larger reach, you usually have to pay to have your post boosted. Many authors are asking why Facebook doesn’t realize that authors don’t pull in those massive royalty checks for years after their first book has published. Many authors have spent most of 2014 scrambling to get the reach their posts had before the boost program when into affect.

Here’s a thought on how to boost your posts without attacking your checkbook. Set up a group of friends to help you. As soon as you post on your fan page, have them jump in to like and share the post. A couple should also comment. You won’t have thousands seeing your posts right away, but you will see your post going out to more and more people every time this happens.

Don’t just post links so someone can buy your book after they see your post. Many authors have noticed the posts without links garner more of a reach. However, if you feel the need to add a link, do it in the comment section. Not too often, though.

Add a music playlist that your main character or even your antagonist might listen to. Make sure the songs you select match the characters you’ve created, not songs that you love and want to share with people.

You’ve seen those memes all over Facebook. You know, those pictures with witty sayings on them. Do a search for writing memes. Gather up a few dozen of the ones you like best. Post those on your page. People love sharing and commenting on memes.

Twitter is a great way to talk about your book releasing soon. In fact, Twitter has made it so easy to have that particular tweet remain at the top of your feed, making it the first thing people see when they visit your page.

Embed this post is a very useful promotional tool. Set up a tweet, where you create a hashtag out of your title (#buymybook—but don’t ever use this comment in any kind of promotion) Then add in a comment from the book (evil catches up to Mandy). Next comes the tag you need so your publisher will retweet your hard work (@mypublisher) and finally those ever present hashtags (#thriller, #suspense, or #ASMSG). A well prepared tweet using these elements would look like this: #buymybook Evil catches up with Mandy @mypublisher #thriller #suspense #ASMSG. This particular tweet is a total of 77 characters, far below the maximum of 140 characters. Abbreviate words, or use numbers to say longer words (l8r for later, b4 for before, etc.). This gives you more characters to work with.

Website: some say a website isn’t necessary any longer, that a blog will work just as well. A website might not be necessary for your first book, but having one when your first book releases gives you time to set up the website properly and learn the best way to use it. Many authors use the website to chronicle their books, with a blurb, excerpt, the cover, and a book trailer all in one spot. You can even add a link over your book cover, so the person visiting your website can click that and go to a sales venue to purchase your book.

Blog: a blog tour has always been a great way to get the word out about your newly released book to potential readers. Getting the people to do said tour is another problem most authors avoid like they would the plague. Two methods exist where you can set up a blog tour. The first is to find one of those many companies or individuals who charge you to set up the tour. This can cost you anywhere from $35 to several hundred dollars, depending on what you want to do. Most authors don’t have a few hundred extra dollars hanging around to spend on promotion that isn’t guaranteed to garner them a lot of sales. Setting up a blog tour on your own, when you’ve never done one before can be just as challenging. One group of people has never failed to assist me with blog tours if I’ve asked for their assistance—the authors with your publishing company. They’re in the same boat you are and are usually more than willing to help out. To ensure this assistance, volunteer your blog for their book tours prior to your book’s release. Returning the favor is how we “pay” for our turn at the book release tour.

These are all suggestions on how to have a successful book launch. Utilizing Facebook and Twitter daily after your book releases will also help keep those sales going. This is where most authors slip in their promotion. They lose the momentum brought about by the release euphoria and then find their sales plummeting.

To keep people interested, you have to come up with new and interesting ways to present your book to potential customers. There is no set method to find those ways. Often, you’ll stumble upon an idea. Grab that idea and run with it. If it doesn’t work, look for the next idea. 


Anne Stenhouse said…
Kathi, this is great advice, succinctly put. anne stenhouse
Thank you for your continued advice, which is pertinent to my right at this moment in time.
EB Sullivan said…
Thanks for the neat tips.
Vanayssa Somers said…
Nice of you to post this, KC. I will try to figure it all out gradually. It takes practice to get good at most things.
KC Sprayberry said…
Thank you, everyone. Hopefully, what I've learned stumbling through my first few book promotions helps you.