Authors are always trying to determine the best use of their time and money. There are so many options for promoting our books that it can be overwhelming to sort through the choices and weigh the costs and benefits. Today, I’m releasing my eighth book, and I thought I’d share what I’ve learned about what I believe our goals in promoting our books are and how to meet them.
6 Book Promotions Goals:
• New Readers
• Name, Brand, Book Recognition
• Build Relationships with Readers
• Networking with Authors, Bloggers & Reviewers
In my opinion, our goals are bigger than just selling books, although of course that is a central goal and the one that makes our careers as writers possible! However, I believe recognizing this broader set of goals—not just sales, but gaining new readers, exposure and recognition, and building relationships—helps explain the importance of social media because, ultimately, the bottom five goals from the above list can and often do result in sales, even if not directly or in a way that can be quantified.
So, what are some social media tools you can use to meet those goals? Based on my own experience over the past year, here are a few tools for each of these goals:
Tools to Achieve: Facebook, Twitter, Blog Tours, Author Blog, Group Blogs, Amazon Tags/Categories, Shelfari, Goodreads, Author Newsletter
Readers love to support authors. They love to feel invested in their careers—not just their books—and that’s why Facebook Twitter, Blog Tours, Author Blogs, and Newsletters can lead to sales. Through them, authors offer special, sometimes exclusive content, build relationships with readers, and develop the friendships that will result in devoted readers who buy and talk about your books. I get messages all the time that something I did or said on Facebook or Twitter led a reader to buy a book, and I have data that my blog participation in a weekly excerpt meme leads to increased sales on whichever book I feature.
Tools to Achieve:Facebook, Twitter, Blog Tours, Blog Hops, Triberr, Group Blogs, Shelfari, Goodreads, Pinterest
Building relationships with existing readers is important, but authors also need to find new readers and expand their fanbase, too. Here’s where Facebook shares, Twitter retweets, and Pinterest repins become important, because those send your posts out to people with whom you haven’t yet connected. How to get shares, retweets, repins? Post fun, unique engaging content, to be sure. But sites like Triberr also facilitate those by joining tribes of bloggers together and creating a system whereby your blog post content can be retweet/shared en masse. I belong to five tribes on Triberr who collectively have 304,000 followers (individually, I have almost 3,000), so that’s a lot of new potential readers. Joining Blog Hops can also lead to new readers, especially the big hops, because hop participants will visit as many participating blogs as they can to try to win the offered prizes, and in the process, discover new authors who look interesting to them, especially if following your social media is required to enter to win. Find blog hops by looking for the blog hop badges listed on the sidebars of many book bloggers’ sites.
Tools to Achieve: Facebook, Twitter, Blog Tours, Blog Hops, Author Blog, Group Blogs, Author Profile Pages (at Amazon, Goodreads, Manic Reads, CoffeeTime, Savvy Authors etc.), Amazon Tags/Categories, Shelfari, Kindlegraph, Goodreads, Author Newsletter, Pinterest
Marketing professionals say it takes multiple views for a consumer to move from awareness to interest to purchase, making multiple exposures for your name and books important to sales. There are lots of ways to gain exposure. Some, like creating author profile pages everywhere you can and posting your book covers on Pinterest (if nothing else), are things you can do once and forget them, making them especially good investments of your time. Others, like blog tours, blog hops, and group blogs, get you and your book in front of lots of new people repeatedly, making them good avenues for exposure, too.
NAME, BRAND, BOOK RECOGNITION.
Tools to Achieve: Facebook, Twitter, Blog Tours, Blog Hops, Author Blog, Group Blogs, Triberr, Author Profile Pages (at Amazon, Goodreads, Manic Reads, CoffeeTime, Savvy Authors etc.), Shelfari, Author Newsletter, Pinterest
Name recognition is a step beyond exposure. You want people to know implicitly who you are, what you write, and what your books are all about—and that they like all those things. Name/brand/book recognition leads to auto-buys and personal recommendations of your books. Name recognition and exposure are related goals, so many of the same tools apply.
BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS WITH READERS.
Tools to Achieve: Facebook, Twitter, Blog Tours, Author Blog, Kindlegraph, Goodreads, Author Newsletter
The quickest way to auto-buys and personal recommendations is to build relationships with your established readers. Whereas the goals of exposure and name recognition lead you toward broadening your relationships, this one is about deepening your existing relationships. Giving readers lots of ways to access you and behind-the-scenes information about you gets them all the more interested in you and your books. AND, more importantly, responding—to their comments on your blog or blog tour posts, to their tweets to you, to their comments on your Facebook wall, and to their email messages—creates personal connections that also lead to auto-buys and personal recommendations, and frankly just makes it all more fun! Kindlegraph is another fun way to build relationships – give Kindle readers some personal attention by virtually signing their kindle books!
NETWORKING WITH AUTHORS, BLOGGERS AND REVIEWERS.
Tools to Achieve: Facebook, Twitter, Blog Tours, Blog Hops, Author Blog, Triberr, Group Blog, Goodreads
While readers are our main audience, you can’t deny the importance of good relationships with other authors, book bloggers and reviewers (who are also readers, of course, but wear other hats here, too). Our fellow authors can be great sources of promotion because each time they host you on their blog or share something about you or your book, they’re sharing you with their new-to-you readers and fans. And, because all authors need that kind of help, it’s a great way to engage in a little authors-helping-authors philosophy! Book bloggers/reviewers are a tremendous source of exposure, relationship building, new readers, and buzz—all of which leads to sales. With each book review they post and each blog tour they post, they’re creating free and often very powerful promotion for you. Can’t say enough about the importance of building good relationships with other authors and book bloggers. Ways to ensure relations with the latter are good: follow the bloggers’ review and hosting guidelines/interests, get them your content in a timely fashion, help promote your appearance, and interact with the commenters, and never respond to or publicly criticize a negative review.
So, did I miss any goals you’ve perceived in your book promotions? Or any additional social media ways to achieve the ones listed here? Also, feel free to list any questions you have about how the tools I listed but didn’t discuss help achieve a particular goal! And thanks for reading!
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About West of Want
Hearts of the Anemoi, Book 2
Betrayal is all he's ever known, but in her, he'll find a love strong enough to be trusted...
When Marcella Raines' twin brother dies, she honors his request to be buried at sea, never expecting the violent storm that swamps her boat. Though she's gravely injured--and still emotionally damaged from her recent divorce--Ella fights to survive.
Zephyros Martius is the Supreme God of the West Wind and Spring, but being the strongest Anemoi hasn't protected him from betrayal and loss. Worse, he's sure his brother Eurus is behind it. When Zeph's heartbreak whips up a storm that shipwrecks a human, his guilt forces him to save her.
Ella is drawn to the vulnerability Zeph hides beneath his otherworldly masculinity and ancient blue eyes. And her honesty, empathy, and unique, calming influence leave Zeph wanting...everything. When Eurus threatens Ella, she and Zeph struggle to let go of the past, defend their future, and embrace what they most want--a love that can be trusted.
About Laura Kaye:
Voted Breakout Author of the Year in the 2011 GraveTells Readers’ Choice Awards, Laura is the bestselling and award-winning author of over a half-dozen books in paranormal, contemporary and erotic romance. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with all things paranormal. A published non-fiction author, Laura’s work as an historian and training as an archaeologist help her create vivid and accurate portrayals of other times and places. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.