When I first began writing, I blogged a lot about the craft of writing and my thoughts on writing, pretty much as I went along. When I learned something, I shared. Then life with two careers got very busy and I stopped blogging in favor of writing novels. Now I want to get back to sharing my experiences in writing. Thus, my new weekly post, The Writer’s Eye.
This week, continuing with my “how to plan for your career in writing” topic, I wanted to touch on the need to promote both yourself and your books.’
Promotion should begin even before you have a published novel or novella. As an author, you need to consider how to get your name out to the public so that when your first book appears, your audience will already know who you are, what you write, and be ready, even eager, to buy your work. This can be done in several ways.
I created this blog, Jenna’s Journal, just after I began writing and have been posting to it at least once a week every year since. It’s a quick and easy way to get your name out there and let potential readers and writers of your genre get to know you. You don’t need to post every day of the week (you need to be writing your books too, you know) but once or twice a week will help keep your name out to the public. If you can join a weekly blog hop, this will help get your name out there, as well as joining readers and writers groups who you can then inform when you have a post. You can write about your life, your writing, about writing itself (like this post), or include excerpts of your WIP or finished works. This is an easy way to keep your name out there, especially if you link your blog posts to Facebook and Twitter.
And speaking of Social Media, the various platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn) are great places to visit and make your presence known. I post mostly to Facebook and Twitter, and I have plans for upping my game on Instagram as well. Actively pursue followers on these platforms (and on Bookbub as well once you are published) to get your name out there, make friends, and hopefully fans.
Once you have published a book, you’ll need to include that in your promotional plan and set a budget you can live with for each book. Take advantage of all the free publicity you can find—ask to be interviewed by fellow authors, ask for reviews of your book from fans and from genre specific websites. For example, The Romance Reviews has a website section where you can ask to have your book reviewed. They also have a logo advertising the website and if you agree to put it on your blog, they will give you a Headline Ad each month in exchange for posting their link. There are many free/low fee advertising tools you can avail yourself of: book signings, swag (promotional gifts), Facebook groups, writers groups, free advertising sites (Awesomegang comes first to mind, but there are others), and special interest groups based on your sub-genre.
When it comes to paid advertising, you need to find out which companies work best for you and your genre. Do a Google search for free and paid book promotion services and then research the ones you think fit your budget best and will give the best ROI (return on investment). The mother lode is the Bookbub ad, which is a mailing service that for a substantial fee, will send your book promotional ad out to its genre specific mailing list. Historical romance has a list of over 1 million readers and cost almost $700 dollars for the ad. However, the ROI for this service is huge. Almost everyone reports that book sales (even on books on sale) make back the initial investment and then some. Plus, the number of sales can create a great ranking of your book on Amazon. One of my earliest Bookbubs sent my book to #17 on Amazon. Other advertising sites that have a good return (at least for my promotions) have been Robin Reads, ERNT (E-Reader News Today), E-Book Hounds, Reader’s Alley, and Kindle Book Review.
When you have a new book coming out, it can be beneficial to arrange a blog tour where the book it set up to be placed with a particular number of blogs over a course of days that promote your genre. The service I most often use for this type of promotion is Goddess Fish. They can also arrange things like a one-day Book Blast, where the book is promoted on a number (perhaps 30) blogs all on one day (usually release day), as an immediate shout out about your book.
The list of promotional opportunities and companies goes on and on. My best advice to you when promoting your book or yourself, is to keep your ROI in mind. Keep in mind that promotions can be exciting, but if they end up costing more than you will make back on them, they are probably not the best investment you can make.
Next week I’m on to branding, which is another arm of promotion.
Until then, have a great week and keep writing!