Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Promote That Book!

Hi, I'm Michelle Hughes and I'm an insane book promoter!  I decided to take a minute and share all my book promotion tips that I've used over the last three years.  WARNING!  Following this advice may lead to eye stress, headaches, and insanity, but so far it's worked!

I recently began using book templates for the interior format of my books.  It made creating a paperback and ebook easier, and looked great!  For my templates I turned to the folks at Book Design Templates

The minute a book is published I list it on Library Thing, Shelfari, and Goodreads. I take the time to fill out all the information about my book, and I share it with all the contacts I have on those sites.  I use GoDaddy email marketing, since I surpassed the 2,000 member email allowance for tinyletter, sending out a email and having one set up on your blog to me is essential.  Just remember to have a link to your email newsletter prominently displayed on your site.

For every new book I debut, I have a giveaway to garner interest.  For those giveaways I use Rafflecopter.  It's easy and can be integrated into Facebook. And since I mentioned Facebook, make sure you have an author page there.  You can help build up likes on your Facebook page by visiting World Literary Cafe, not to mention they have some great articles.

This isn't promotion, but common sense.  I have every book that I write registered with the US Copyright Office, trust me it was a lesson I learned the hard way.  I also apply for a LCN from the Library of Congress.  Making sure no low-life crook can claim your work is worth the small fee.  On the LCN I do believe you need to have a paperback version of your book, which leads us to the next thing I do.

CreateSpace makes it easy to create a paperback version of your book.  If you use the template above you'll snap through this process quickly, and I personally believe it helps to sell your electronic version.  Believe it or not, there are still people who don't read eBooks, so having a format that those readers enjoy is another way to promote your work.

Let's talk about Pinterest!  Pinterest is a great way of sharing your book covers, and excerpts from your book.  Create a board, give it your book title, and have some fun.  I like to find pictures that relate to scenes in my books and give a little sample from my book.  It's easy and fun, and you can share it to all your social media sites.

Virtual Book Tours, let me just say that this is the one promotion tool that has never failed me.  What a VBT does is sends your books out to readers that you may not reach on your own.  Just remember some of the booking times for these tours can be 5-6 months in advance.  For my last release, I used Pump up Your Book and I was more than impressed with the service.

Press Release, I do this for every new release, and I think people should never overlook this idea.  The folks at 123 Com did a great job and were affordable.  If you can't afford to pay for a press release, do a free one, just do one!  Do a google search on the author you love that writes in your genre, and see what they did for their press release to get ideas.  I'm a huge google aholic and believe you can learn much by seeing how others have done it before you!

If you don't already have a blog, get one!  You need a place where people can come learn more about you and find your books.  SEO I use it. In every blog post I put out I try to find keywords that google states gets more hits. I put it in the labels in my blog.  I am not a techy, so I'll give a link that you can follow to learn more about doing this for your blog posts:  http://writingbytheseatofmypants.com/category/marketing/seo/

I'm not done yet!  Two of the best promotional tools I've found are Twitter and Facebook.  So how do I use them?  When I release a new book, I search facebook for places to post my Amazon book links.  I post the book wherever I'm allowed two sites that work for me (because I write steamy romance) is What to Read After Fifty Shades and Erotic Book Club.  Now obviously if you've written a Christian anthology, these sites wouldn't work for you, so you need to research.

With Twitter, the first thing I did was create a landing page that branded me as an author.  You can check out my page at www.twitter.com/michellehughes_ and get an idea of how I did that.  I used Gimp to create my own and it was rather simple.  Start with a new image at 2560 x 1600, this will be your background.  For the logo branding you will need an image that is 339 x 663.  This will be added onto your background at the top right and you will need to leave a .5 margin on the sides and top.  Save the inserted image on your background as a JPG file and upload it as your background on twitter.  It will take some work, but it's really not that hard!

One of my favorite tools, and some people will tell you it's a no no, is feed140.com  I created 50 automatic tweets on the feed so twitter is promoting for me even when I sleep.  One of the things you DON'T want to do is rely on that only and never show up on twitter to talk!  I also use hashtags # on twitter.  An example tweet I've used is Sensual literature for sexy readers - Romance Book Club #Romantic http://bit.ly/13SiGmB  It's short, to the point, and can be retweeted!  Using hashtags allows you to reach twitter users that may not be following you.

Another thing I've just started doing is uploading my first chapter to Scribd.  It gives me a place to link readers who want to know more about my book, and is another great way to share.  Always include your book buy links at the bottom of the chapter so people who want to read more can easily click.

So those are my tips!  Please feel free to reblog this with my permission as long as the article remains intact.  I hope this helps you kickstart your book promotion!  Please stop in and let me know if any of these tips helped you!

Michelle Hughes is a romance author and owns Tears of Crimson Publishing.  She promotes indie authors, and can be reached for consultations at Tears of Crimson Email

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