What if you’re too shy to tell people to do a favor for you in order to get the word out about your books?
Reading Alex Frey’s guest post gave me an idea for writing a post on how I would social network and use the snowballing effect to my advantage. There are several ways to do something, and I thought while Alex’s way might work for some, for those who are more introverted (like me), another approach might work better. I couldn’t ask someone to tweet or blog or even review my book. I’m not comfortable doing that because that method is not a good fit for my personality. However, I do believe in the idea of snowballing. So after thinking about it, I came up with this post.
I agree that the current way of pitching books on Twitter and Facebook aren’t very effective. So he and I agree on a lot of points. I’ve also “liked” Facebook pages but never went back to them. Why? Because there was no reason to.
After a couple years of fiddling with different ideas on Twitter and Facebook, this is what I’ve come up with in regards to snowballing.
The first thing I do is have a WordPress blog which people can subscribe to, so make sure that “follow” button is up for them to click. That way, they can get an email whenever you make a post, and this will remind them you exist.
Now, what do you put on this blog? I used to have a first draft blog on mine. After my run-in with copyright infringement, I post a book that is already published, which means I have the US Copyright registration form in my hand so I can run down to the copyright lawyer should the need arise. The minus is that the readers are no longer involved in the creative process, which I admit was a lot of fun and made me more aware of what they wanted than anything else I’ve done. But you know, that’s what beta readers are for.
What is the benefit to posting your book on a blog? I believe your best marketing tool is your book. What do readers get excited about? The book. They might be interested in you as a person, but until they enjoy your work, I don’t think they’re going to be overly concerned with you personally. It all starts with a book and the desire to read more of your books.
A story blog allows them to find you. But…how do you get the word out?
This is where my version of the snowball effect takes place.
1. Make a 500-700 word post on your story blog. (This can be first draft or the finished product. It’s up to you.)
2. Put the link to this post on Twitter and your Facebook Page.
I used to post the first draft blog posts on my main Facebook page, but now I have a blog dedicated to updates on what I’m doing, character interviews, and excerpts from my works in progress. I use this blog to post on my main Facebook page.
I also have a “Ruth Ann Nordin’s Author Page” (aka my fan page) on Facebook. I use my story blog to daily posts of 500-700 words a day from an already published and copyright registered book. And when each post is done, I link it to my author page on Facebook.
I think it’s important to make it the Facebook Author Page a general one, meaning it’s just your author name like “Ruth Ann Nordin’s Author Page”. I see authors doing a page for every book, but honestly, I don’t have the time it takes to update every page for all of my books. When you have one or two books, it’s easy enough, but 23 romances and counting? Life is easier if you simplify and make a basic author page for all of your books.
3. Your readers can share your story posts on Facebook and Twitter with their friends.
I agree that word of mouth is far more effective than anything we can do, and it’s the one thing that you can’t pay for or do yourself. You have to rely on others to do this for you. The free story on your blog is incentive to get people to check your work out, and since you’re making posts every day, it’s an ongoing process, which allows more and more readers to find you and spread the word. It’s a slow process and will take about six months to a year to gain serious traction, but I believe if you stick with it, offer a compelling book that makes them want to keep reading, and are dependable with posting every day or three days a week (whatever you choose), you can make it work.
5. Another idea is character interviews or a tabloid paper.
I use character interviews for my upcoming books, and I’ve found these posts to be very popular with my readers who then get excited about the upcoming books. (As a side note: I usually do an excerpt from my work in progress and then do a character interview so the characters can talk about the excerpt.) On this blog, I also post updates on my writing and announce when I publish a new book. I also have widgets to the right that lets everyone know how far along I’m in my works in progress. I also state when the first draft is done, when it’s with the editor, when I’m tweaking on it, when it’s with proofreaders, when it’s in the final stage (last look-through) and then when it’s published. The widgets keep people updated on the new books at a glance. I will make blog posts to update in more detail, but for the most part, the widgets are the “Hey guys, a new book is coming soon!” promotion that I do. I also have the book covers already made to help gain enthusiasm (for me and for the reader) because a cover is worth a million words and helps gain an impression of the book before it’s even read. It’s also good to gain familiarity with it so it’s easily recognizable when you publish it. I already linked the blog, but I’ll do it again in case you didn’t click on the link before or want a better look at what I do over there.
(As a side note, you can do updates on the story blog, but I’d make it a quick blurb before the post. So you can say, “I just published book X and it’s available at…..” and then do the 500 to 700 word daily post.)
Regarding a tabloid, Stephannie Beman does awesome tabloid posts. They take events that happen in her books and makes them sound exciting. You can see what I mean by going to her site. They’re brief and uses keywords that entice readers to want to know more. I wouldn’t do well in this area, but I do better with character interviews. She said she doesn’t do well with characters interviews but loves doing this. So this is why I say different methods work for different authors. But see, she shares her posts on Facebook and Twitter where her readers can share them with others, and that helps to get a snowball rolling as well.
6. The key is to talk about your books, not sales or writing trends, etc.
Your readers are interested in your books. They don’t care what reviews you get, how much you sell, what’s going on with publishing, etc. They want content. If you want to share your writing experiences (and I do, too), make a blog dedicated to writers, and keep this separate from the one you dedicate to your readers. And you can promote your books without saying “buy it”. Make the books intriguing. Maybe a character writes a scene that never made it into the book or wants to tell you off because you did something differently than what they wanted. Characters arguing with the writer can provide a lot of humor. Give life to your characters outside the book. Chances are, your readers have developed an emotional connection with them, so seeing them again or even before the next book in a series is published can be a lot of fun.