In my last ATK blog, I touched on using your blog to promote your writing, and I suggested expanding that to your social media outlets. But, how—right? How do I get involved with other authors for cross-promotion and what’s expected of me? How do I promote a book without becoming a promo-whore on social media?
3 Ways to Promote a Book
If you want to promote a book, there are three key tactics you can use to get started.
Social media promotion.
Simple enough, right? Let’s take a closer look!
1. Cross Promotion
Both cross and joint promo involve befriending other authors, and All The Kissing’s Facebook Community provides an excellent opportunity to do that. When authors promote each other’s books together, you not only expand your reach, but share any costs associated with promoting.
When you’re getting started, work with authors you know and have something in common with. Don’t be afraid to make the first move and ask if another author is interested in working with you.
- Interviews are a great way to get started. Focus on an interview series with authors who have something in common with you, and you can post them on your blog in exchange for the same exposure on their blogs.
- Author takeovers are popular, too. If you’d like to give your Facebook page an infusion of new followers, offer to let another author host in exchange for reciprocation, but make sure your audience gets something out of it: a giveaway or exclusive of some kind.
- Newsletters present opportunities as well. You could run a short promo, cover reveal, or buy link in your newsletter for another author’s work, and coordinate with them to do the same for you.
Example: I have a debut coming out in March, and I know another author at my publisher who has a book coming out the same month. I can offer to run her cover reveal on my blog with a buy link in my next newsletter, and ask her if she’d be willing to do the same for my own reveal. I’ve doubled my exposure by appearing in her newsletter.
Hot Tip: With cross promotion, it’s imperative you’re upfront about expecting full reciprocation. If you want to do interviews with debut authors just because you find their journeys fascinating, by all means do—you’ll draw some of their fans to your site. But if you want the same kind of exposure returned, make it clear that the opportunity is quid pro quo.
2. Joint Promotion
Joint promo is a little different than cross promo. Instead of promoting someone else’s book while they promote yours, you promote together.
If you coordinate an historical romance ARC giveaway with four authors instead of one, the giveaway becomes more attractive to HR readers. Anthologies are a great example of joint promotion when indie published. Each writer adds their story and you split all the costs associated with self-publishing the book.
Example: Goodreads charges an arm and a leg to run a promotion, but if you and three other authors advertise in one ad, it’s much more reasonable.
Hot Tip: When organizing giveaways, keep in mind that you want to create book sales, but also grow your following with fans that are invested in your work, not just interested in winning the Kindle Fire who will then dump your newsletter, unfollow your Twitter, and sell the Fire on Facebook. For that reason it can be best to stick to book- or author-related prizes.
These blogs by Diana Urban and Claribel Ortega have excellent ideas for implementing cross-promotion/joint-promotion strategies. The quickest and easiest way to be clear about your intentions is to use the terms Cross Promotion or Joint Promotion during your initial outreach.
3. Social Media Integration
This can be tricky. It’s a huge piece of promotion, yet nobody wants to follow someone when all they post are ads and buy links for their next book. Here’s a good rule of thumb to consider when you want to promote a book:
The 80/20 Rule
Not gonna lie. I stole this directly from Lisa Leoni’s podcast. Try to strike a balance with your social media promo and personal posts. A good rule of thumb is to post four personal-ish posts for each post promoting your sales/subscribers/newsletter/book.
What to Post and Where to Post It
Be creative and find things that mean something to you. Those type of posts get followers invested and more likely to share your info through word of mouth.
Say I find a huge coffee cup that relates to my coffee addiction while I’m out feeding my office supply fetish—that’s easy to turn into a post opportunity. I post my weirdo dogs because they are a motley crew that draw a lot of attention. I write about curvy women, and post selfies that because my book is #ownvoices.
None of these are obvious promotion, but they correlate to my debut, or who I am as a person, without giving out TMI. For more examples check out Mary Keliikoa on Instagram. She shares beautiful pics from Hawaii where she lives part of the time, and Anne Terpstra creates unique pottery in addition to writing.
Hot Tip: The more often you post life snippets, the easier it becomes to identify those postable moments in everyday life.
With Twitter’s fast pace, it’s easier to slip in promo more often, and interact more with followers/fans. Alexa Martin is great at sharing pics of her adorable kiddos (and yes, they’re that amazing in person). Lindsay Landgraf Hess is fabulous at sharing her taco love affair, and interacting with other writers through their threads.
With communities, it’s easy to carry on longer in-depth conversations with followers. Interacting regularly not only helps followers become invested, but can increase the likelihood they will share your writing through word of mouth.
Hot Tip: When posting with hashtags, be careful you don’t overuse certain tags and flood feeds with your own promo. It can cost you followers.
Promote a Book with Confidence
As an author, self promotion may not come easily, but the opportunities are everywhere. With a little imagination—which we have in spades—it’s not hard to find ways to connect with other authors to share audiences or find inspiration for social media posts.
What is important is that you reach out to your audience in a way that is authentic and gets them invested in not just your next book, but your platform.
It takes time to build a presence and network for promotion. None of this happens overnight. Start where you’re comfortable and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. It’s how we learn, after all. I’d love to hear what some of your favorite author social media accounts are, and about the cross- and joint-promo opportunities you’ve found most successful in the comments below.