Thursday, April 10, 2014

What Else Should I Do? (+ a Giveaway!)

By Danielle Dresser

One of the most frequent questions I get asked is what authors should be doing on their own when their book is finally available and also between releases to promote their books. These aren’t the easiest question to answer because everyone has their own schedules, and own levels of comfort when it comes to self-promotion, but here are some ideas:

When your book is FINALLY in stores…
This the time period when you are allowed to brag a little :) Reviews are coming in, so you should be receiving Google Alerts like crazy with links to wonderful reviews of your book. Share those! Most book blogs have an option to share the review through social media—Twitter, Facebook, etc. (for an example of what I’m talking about, look at the line of buttons near the bottom of this blog post… those buttons are all direct links to share this blog post via social media). This is an easy way to keep readers in the loop about what’s going on… it’s also a nice way to recognize the blogger who reviewed your book!

Are you on a blog tour? Running a contest with those blog tour posts (for Casa authors, the answer is yes!)? If there’s one thing readers love, it’s winning books, and mentioning this while promoting your stops is a way to get some attention on what’s going on.

Do you have favorite scenes or excerpts? Once your book has been in stores for a few weeks, share some of the excerpts that could be construed as slightly spoilery early on… and still disclaim them if something crucial is revealed! But showcasing your writing is another great way for readers to be exposed to your writing.

The one thing I stress everyone to think about is what will your readers find informational and fun. They are often just as excited about your new book being released into the world as you are, and will want to know when good things happen!

When your book isn’t so new anymore…
It’s crazy that the shelf life for romance is so quick. In-store promotions last a few weeks, online promotions are often shorter, and readers are ready for the next book as soon as they reach “the end” of yours. So what happens between releases? What should you talk about, what should you do? These are the difficult questions to answer, but the thing to remember is not be annoying (can that just be a mantra for life? Do not be annoying… do not be annoying…), and also take this time to develop your relationship with readers. The author/reader online relationship didn’t exist until recently, and is a wieldy relationship to manage. But here are a few of my favorite authors to follow on various forms of social media—and you’ll see that not all of them currently have books in stores!

Twitter can be a time suck, and really, do you really know if people saw your tweet at 11:34 this morning? But Twitter is a fun way to engage immediately with the romance community. It can be daunting at first, but spending some time on it and just looking at what other people are doing is the best way to learn:

YA Author Maureen Johnson is hilarious:
Fiction Author Jennifer Weiner strikes a great balance between her book stuff and life stuff:
Romance author Courtney Milan has her finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the romance industry:

Facebook is great, because a lot of us are on this anyway, right? This is a great place to share images and links to things about your books, but also a nice and easy way to interact with fans. Facebook is one of the first places readers will search for information about you beyond your website.

Romance Author Susan Elizabeth Phillips is always asking her readers questions (and they repond!):
Our very own Julie Ann Walker shares photos of her fabulous vacations:
Katie MacAlister also strikes a fine balance between book stuff and life stuff (and hey—she’s one of our newest authors, too!):

I love Pinterest. I spend far too much time on there! This is relatively new in the world of author promotion, but it’s a fun place to look for inspiration and again, to share what interests you in your own life.

Our own Shana Galen created board for each of her books and shares pretty things!
YA Author Holly Black has a board for anything and everything:
Humorist Jennifer Lawson shares the funniest stuff: 

Instagram is one I’m still figuring out—does it really move books or at least readers to find out more information? But if you like to take photos and show them off, this might be a good fit for you. I don’t know a ton of authors using it in a big way—mainly supplemental to other social media.
Fiction Author Erin Morgenstern:
YA Author John Green (though all the photos with famous people don’t hurt):

So what about all of you? Any authors you’ve seen in your social media meanderings that you admire for how they interact with readers? What do you look for between books by some of your own favorites? Two random commenters will get to choose a coming May title (they aren’t in stores yet!). US and Canada only, please leave an email address so you can be easily contacted, authors—this is open to you too, and the two winners will be chosen and emailed Friday afternoon.


  1. Great giveaway. And when authors are in between books, I try to find out what is the next book(s) coming out.

  2. I just patiently wait til the next books come out (or not so patiently - lol) of my favorite authors - but will check out their blogs to see what they may be working on next.

    I love Jill Shalvis' blog - she really is good with her readers.

  3. I love those pictures! So glamorous. I should go over to Pinterest and work on my boards more! The pressure!

  4. Love, love this post! My readers love hearing more about my "big" family in between books!

  5. Actually it's usually when they just talk to us. Whether it's on a blog or FB. I buy more books from authors I just plain like than any others. This blog is one of my favorites and there are a couple others that I visit daily. There's always some give and take.

  6. notice more when an author is rude or non-responsive
    look for upcoming books and publishing dates

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  7. I love seeing Susan Mallery on facebook. Always check out when authors are having new books coming out.

  8. I follow a lot of authors on various social media platforms and one of my favorites is Penny Reid. I love how down to earth she is, she's always entertaining and she does a lot of interacting with her fans. Also love following Jill Shalvis and Kristan Higgins - now there's an entertaining duo!

    ahui89 at hotmail dot com

  9. I like to see what is going on in authors' lives and what books that are working on. I love follow Julie James blog.

  10. I follow all my favorite authors on FB and Twitter. I do check on their blogs pretty often to see what they have going on.

  11. There are quite a few authors that I enjoy that do their promoting with a light hand. I like that they have other things to talk about as well as promoting. An couple of examples are Shana Galen, Anna Campbell and Teresa Medeiros. There are others that do get a bit annoying when you see post after post about a book coming out, then it's out, and there are more and more posts about it. Enough already. Talk about some other stuff as well or I lose interest.

  12. I love following my favorite authors on Facebook, it's very interactive and instantaneous. I get excited when they tease us with snippets of new books or cover reveals. Both Carly Phillips and Jill Shalvis do a good job of keeping their readers informed on their blogs and FB. I also follow many on Twitter, but not so much with Instagram or Pinterest (although I can spend way too much time looking through boards on Pinterest!) I also love following blog tours, it really builds the excitement of new book releases, and having a chance to win giveaways is an extra incentive. :-) And in-between books....I wait anxiously for the next one!

  13. I don't belong to most of the popular social media sites although I do blog. I love getting the opportunity to chat with authors at some of the non-Facebook chats and I have several blogs that I pop in on and follow various loops online. I usually have an enormous TBR mountain to work my way through so I don't ever lack for something else to read while I waiting for the next book in a series but I always appreciate receiving newsletters that state when new books are coming out or announcing giveaways (0:

    Thanks for the giveaway and the great post!

    elewkf1 at yahoo dot com

  14. The only place I follow religiously is facebook. I like following author pages where I can get highlights of their latest works and new ones coming out.
    I love helping authors out by doing reviews - and letting them know I love their books. It's fun to see authors as "normal" and interacting and having kid crisis like us. LOL
    lattebooks at hotmail dot com

  15. I admit to not being the most social media savvy writer out there. I don't tweet very often, and I was phobic about Facebook for several months after I pushed the wrong button at the wrong time and invited Every Single Person in my address book, regardless of what terms we were on! That made me gun-shy for a while--fortunately, I got over it in time, and found FB a good place to share my photos of this 'n' that. I post the occasional recipe too. Plus I blog, and I just set up a quarterly newsletter to announce upcoming releases and other good stuff. I enjoy interacting with readers, but I do think the best gift I can give them is a new book, so I'm hard at work on that as well. :-)

  16. John Green is amazing with the social media. He's my daughter's favorite author. I haven't disowned her yet. :)

  17. Thank you everyone for your thoughtful responses--they were very insightful! We'll figure out this social media stuff one day :)

    Our winners are
    Anonymous (pattyb43coral...)
    Helen L.

    I'll email you both a list of May titles to choose your prize!

    Thanks again, and have a great weekend!