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I can remember being in a class in the 6 th grade where, for whatever assignment it was, I crafted a work of fiction. I poured my creativity into that piece, and to this day, I still remember details. It was a tale of two alien girls—Harmony and Melody—who had to face the consequences of one of them drinking. What were the consequences? Okay, that part I don’t altogether remember! Whatever the finish of the story was though, I do recall that it sparked interest from a fellow student or two and that my teacher had kind words to say about it.
I can’t say that this story was the moment that my love of writing started because I was already rewriting lyrics and such back in at least the 4 th grade, but this story represents my first memorable endeavor into the world of writing outside of verse. Since then, I’ve written a number of short stories, and my interest in creating fictional storylines has led to a series of published novels.
It’s not a bad resume to have been sparked by two fictitious alien girls, but the detail of being an author comes with its own need for future tasks—like book promotion! The reasoning for that aspect of an author’s life is simple: If people don’t know you (or your book) are out there, how can they buy your book? And if they don’t buy your book... Well, then, they’re not buying your book!
In order to promote the creative endeavor that your book is, you can employ some creative methods! But if you’re author who needs a little boost in brainstorming to successfully promote your book, take a look at some of these possible avenues for getting an audience’s attention!
Host a Facebook or Google Plus party—but be aware of the rules! People like to get things and to socialize, so hosting an online party where readers can interact with each other—and with an author—while contributing to competitions can be a great idea. By creating one of these events for the release of your book, you’re drawing the attention of everyone who becomes aware of the event to the book that sparked the event in the first place. If 500 people get invited, then 500 people get a hint that something is happening in the literary world that day—which, of course, is your book’s release! If you find that you’re not ready to host your own party, keep an eye out for other book events that are occurring to sign up as a guest author for a time slot. If you can, even though you won’t be the main reason for the event, you can be a secondary focal point for a space of time! Be aware of the site’s rules though to abide by them. If giveaways aren’t allowed, focus on other aspects of the event—like building up your mailing list. Speaking of which…
Create and send out your own newsletter. How many books have you read that you really liked? Out of that number, how many of those books had you regularly checking an author’s websites to see if a new work was available? If you’re like me, only a select number of authors merit the check-to-see-if-there’s-anything-new list, and even then, spaces of time can pass between checks. That’s where a newsletter can come in! All a reader needs to do is add their name to the mailing list, and updates will be sent to them via email about what’s new with your books or author career without them having to search for the information. In a way, this is your ticket to building your audience because it’s a direct connection to keep them updated. Don’t overlook this one, and check for opportunities through book websites to be a part of their newsletters. If you write Young Adult fiction, being on a list of new Young Adult books from a site with an established fanbase could get your book some great exposure!
Do a giveaway through Goodreads or Amazon—or a blog you’re appearing on. Remember when I said that people like to get things? Yeah, that’s still true! If you offer someone a free copy of your book, somebody is planned to get that copy, and that person might end up loving it enough to sign up for your newsletter and continue to buy your books. As for the people who don’t get the book, they’re still temporarily being made aware of its existence to think about putting it on their own to-read lists (or join your mailing list for updates). In fact, if readers enter a giveaway on Goodreads, the site will automatically add that book to their to-read lists unless they select otherwise. That way, the book stays on a list on their account, boosting the odds that they’ll think of it again, try it, and love it.
Participate in something online-based to draw attention to yourself. This can be done through simple actions, like partaking in a Twitter chat through a hash tag, being a part of an author scavenger hunt, or doing the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. These kinds of events are designed to have public involvement, so you’re tossing your name into the midst of other participants and viewers by being active in them. Just imagine all of the people who are involved in these possibilities—all who could be introduced to you as an author, and therefore your books. That’s a significant number of possible new readers, so go after them!
Add your latest book to your email signature. While this detail is very small, it’s not one that you should overlook! Think about all of the emails you send out during the week, and realize that each one of those is a promotion possibility waiting at your fingertips. By adding a relevant email signature, each and every time you hit the send button, you’re promoting your book! For best results, you might want to add your book link, main page link, and newsletter sign-up link. Remember—that newsletter’s your lifeline!
Keep your accounts active year-round. If you don’t have people following your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, it won’t make much difference if you decide to promote your book via those avenues. For that reason, make sure to provide consistent, interesting content on your sites to keep your followers and subscribers from leaving you behind. Additionally, you should give updates that aren’t always about your books since continuously hearing about them could become tedious to people. You should post about other things quite often, then sprinkle in those book details here and there. That way, your followers and subscribers aren’t having your books shoved in their faces all of the time. Instead, they’re being engaged through unrelated content, and because that content has kept them around, they’ll be there to see your book updates.
Do a live event. Last but not least, involving yourself in a live event is a book promotion strategy that can take many forms. It could be through a multi author book signing, or a local happening that’s far more low-key, like a reading at your local library or a table at a flea market. The attention you get will potentially vary with the addition of the low-key events, but keep in mind that any one person you encounter at any of these events could turn out to be a loyal reader—one who might tell other readers about your book. You honestly can’t tell who will be exposed to your book at a live event, even to the extent of a Hollywood filmmaker who falls in love with it, so don’t neglect those live event possibilities to get your book into as many hands as possible—no matter how low-key the event might be.
These are seven strategies that can have you gaining and keeping readers, so be sure to add them to your book promotion itinerary since the harder you promote your book, the more success you might find with the creative work you poured your time into! You worked to write it! Now, work to promote it!