I make heavy use of Facebook for my announcements, and to a lesser extent, Twitter (about half of my Facebook friends are readers). Mostly, I try to line up one or two release-day reviews from bloggers, and hopefully get featured at a high-traffic web site like Pixel Of Ink, Daily Cheap Reads and/or Ereader News Today. I often do a small giveaway as part of the release-day festivities. One thing I tried this last time was a contest/drawing. I asked users to guess the correct answer to a question that would be revealed in the upcoming book. It was a fun way to drum up pre-release interest.
I use Twitter mostly to scream at politicians about the latest silliness and tweet about True Blood on Sundays, but I do tweet book links with #free and #Kindle or #Nook hashtags from time to time. Facebook is a great place to meet readers and other writers. Reviews are critical. It’s a gift every time someone reviews a book, whether it’s on their own blog or Goodreads or just a few lines at Amazon or B&N. I have a list of bloggers who get review copies of my books. Recently I did my first blog tour with Bleeder (Apocalypto 3). That was a lot of work, but it was also a lot of fun. The tour hosts gave away copies of the book during the tour, and at the end we had a big prize of a $100 gift card to Amazon or B&N, winner’s choice. (Both winners picked Amazon.) Still, the best buzz comes from readers. I can beg “Please read my book!!!” forever, and I will never be as convincing as a reader who says, It's been a long time since I've read a book I literally couldn't put down. Bottom line – social media, giveaways, blog tours – they’re all great. But readers talking is the best.
Book bloggers and independent reviewers are wonderful. I've had great success with the Midwest Book Review, Mindfog, and others. Recently, I had a review posted in a local newspaper called The Jackson Free Press (of which I'm very proud and thankful to have received). Most of them like the books, and some of them don't, but the key is getting the exposure and the reviews. Beyond that, I've given away a Kindle 3G with Wifi, and, though I had a lot of fun doing it, I think the bloggers and reviewers have done much more than anything else. I've only just started to play on Twitter (@Brian_Kittrell), and I've engaged with readers on Facebook and through email. I haven't done any blog tours yet, but I do have some guest posts lined up for some interested parties.
Brian Kittrell, Late Nite Books
Indie/E-publishing is 20% writing and 80% promotion. I was traditionally published for many years. I wrote every day and when a book hit the shelves I would do speaking engagements, book signings, answer reader letters (yes, they actually came in the mail!) but reader/author contact was not a 24/7 event. When I transitioned to Indie publishing, I was initially overwhelmed by the new way of connecting with readers. Every changing social media was time consuming and confusing but it also presented a challenge because promotional lines became blurred with personal contact. It is hard to toot my own horn (proud as I am of my body of work) to people who have become friends. At some point, every author has to know how much she can do effectively and understand she can't do it all. The one thing that is not in question is how wonderful it is to be able to communicate so easily with readers and other authors who are exploring this amazing new world of publishing with me. I do use Twitter, Facebook, Linked in and Goodreads. I do seek out interviews and reviewers. I try to pay it forward whenever I can by reading other authors, participating in discussion boards and writing blogs. I am finding my footing. I will never be as adept as young authors but I will always try to learn.
I’ve always been one to try something new. So when my agent and I decided it was time to self-pub my debut thriller I did a lot of looking around at what others were doing. I followed suit with the basics: new website, blog, twitter account and a few sponsorships. My first stab at standing out from the crowd was with a book trailer. The professional version wasn’t going to be ready in time for my formal launch on Sept 1st, so I made a home-made version as a placeholder on the home page of my site. It features me as a little kid and it’s pretty funny. Bill Kenower, Editor & Chief of Author Magazine, said, “...excellent job on the trailer. You achieved what I consider the main goal of promotional videos: Entertainment first, promotion second.” It’s had around 600 hits on YouTube and I’ve received a number of positive comments. It’s provided some good exposure where before I had none. Coupled with a bunch of other promo’s I’m scheming up, including one that a lot of folks will be talking about by the time you read this post, the video is a great tool. More to follow! (Brainrush was ranked at 84,000 last week. It’s now in the 6-700’s.)
Debra L Martin
One of the best tools I use is this blog. Through my posts I reach over 350 followers, 800+ Facebook followers between my page and my author page and more than 900+ twitter followers as well as my Goodreads and LinkedIn feeds. When your blog is synced to all your social media, it’s a fantastic tool for getting the word out about your books. I love chatting with FB and Twitter followers. It's great to meet so many people. I’ve also done a short blog tour, but in the future, I will make sure that the blogs are targeting to SFF readers to get the maximum exposure. I’ve also paid for publicity spots on Kindle Author and Ereader News Today.
Getting the word out about your book is one of the hardest things an author has to do. It’s not good enough to write a good book. We must all be masters of social media as well if we want the readers to find us.
What do you do to let readers know about your book? Would love to share strategies with you.