So, You've Published a Book ... Now What?

Ghostwriter was released five days ago and I'm now dipping my toes into the wonderful world of marketing. Being an introvert and trying to promote something isn't very easy, but I've discovered a few things along the way. (And, if you have any suggestions, please feel free to add them in the comments.)

Social networking

The publishing world is changing rapidly, and so is the way books are being marketed. Some articles claim that 80% of books are sold through word of mouth.

But social networking isn't a sales tool in the traditional sense. You can't post "BUY MY BOOK, BUY MY BOOK, BUY MY BOOK" in every Facebook group and expect results other than an annoyed audience. You need to use social networking to build a relationship with your readers. They say that 80% of what you post should have nothing to do with your book.

Authors never before had the opportunity to interact so closely with their readers. You can answer their questions, chat about books, post cat pictures ... have fun with it. You're making friends, not using it for a commercial platform. But, as readers get to know you, that precious word-of-mouth spreads.


Bloggers

Media has changed so much since I was young. Readers are no longer restricted to a few publications about new books, or a handful of columns in the newspaper on the weekends. There are thousands of book bloggers out there, some with a small audience, some with large. And they're all valuable when it comes to spreading the word about your book.

Your publisher will likely offer ARCs to reviewers and bloggers. My publisher created a blog tour for me, in which I gave interviews and wrote a few guest columns. I also participated in a Blog Hop, set up by the authors themselves.

There are many bloggers who would be happy to host a guest column. (I would.) Your column, however, probably shouldn't be about your book. Write about how you became published or the craft of writing itself, or books that have influenced you.

And don't just aim for the big guys. There are so many lovely little blogs that have a small but devoted audience that knows they can trust the reviews. If you'd like a reviewer, big or small, to review your book, simply ask. Check their review policy first; most have it posted on their site. In this regard, you'll probably have more success with the smaller blogs which aren't swamped with requests.

Reviewers

Reviewers are a vital aspect of your promotion. As I mentioned, your publisher will likely send out ARCs, but if you're self-published, this is something you'll have to do on your own. Every reader knows how important reviews are when selecting a book. (An interesting aside: a review is how I found the Twifandom.)

Don't be afraid of bad reviews; they're valuable too, because it proves that it's not just your friends who are reading it. A few bad reviews often won't turn off a reader; they often give them a fuller picture of what to expect from the book. The aspects which bothered the reviewer might be something that won't trouble the prospective reader.

Book Sites

Goodreads and Shelfari are a combination of book reviews and social networking.

Goodreads has a lot of fun, free features that can help promote your book. Add trivia and quotes from your book, as well as widgets to your blog that show off your reviews, host discussions of your book on your page, or have a giveaway. You can even upload a sample of your writing, such as a first chapter, if your publisher allows it.

Shelfari is a sort of Wikipedia for books. It allows you to add all sorts of tidbits about your book, the characters, the plot and even your influences. There are a multitude of discussion boards and groups you can join. I just set mine up so there's not much activity yet, but you can get an idea of all of the stuff you can add.

Your Fellow Authors

Don't ignore this wonderful resource. Your fellow authors can help you on your journey. They are not your competitors; they're your co-workers. They can give you valuable tips and information which will help you build your audience. And don't forget to help others who are just starting the process. Just a word of encouragement can mean the world to someone.
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2 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing Lissa! Great information on your post! I appreciate it!!!

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    1. Thanks, Brenda! I'm glad you found it useful.

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