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: https://twitter.com/maureenjohnson
Fiction Author Jennifer Weiner strikes a great balance between her book stuff and life stuff: https://twitter.com/jenniferweiner
Romance author Courtney Milan has her finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the romance industry: https://twitter.com/courtneymilan
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!): https://www.facebook.com/SusanElizabethPhillipsNovels
Our very own Julie Ann Walker shares photos of her fabulous vacations: https://www.facebook.com/jawalkerauthor?ref=ts&fref=ts
Katie MacAlister also strikes a fine balance between book stuff and life stuff (and hey—she’s one of our newest authors, too!): https://www.facebook.com/katie.mac.minions?ref=profile
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! http://www.pinterest.com/shanagalen/
YA Author Holly Black has a board for anything and everything: http://www.pinterest.com/hollyblack/
Humorist Jennifer Lawson shares the funniest stuff: http://www.pinterest.com/thebloggess/
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: http://instagram.com/erinmorgenstern#
YA Author John Green (though all the photos with famous people don’t hurt): http://instagram.com/johngreenwritesbooks#
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.