Promotion, part 1

I have been thinking about doing a whole series about book/brand promotion for some time but only get around to it now.

No matter if it is a big company operating worldwide or a one-person indie publisher, promotion is the most important part of any brand and product. The only difference is the budget. Where a big company like Penguin Publishing can invest millions into promoting a new book or author, you a single income indie publisher with your first book might have ten bucks. Which is why I will start out with things you can do on your own and without investing anything or not much.

The first promotion tool I want to talk about is social media, which can give you lots and lots of exposure but is time-consuming.

We live in a world connected by social media, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Pinterest, LinkedIn, or Myspace and much more. Each platform has their own target group, their own way of spreading the word. I’m doing this for two years now and still haven’t figured it all out. So if you just started and your eyes are crossing while looking at the options, don’t worry that’s normal.

What I learned in those years is that not every platform is for you, but a widespread social media net is helpful. I tried most of the bigger ones and developed my own routine, in time you will do the same. Try them all out, see which ones you like best and focus on those. For me, it’s Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. However, all the others are used as well, just not directly. I know that sounds confusing, so let me explain.

I have a blog, a simple WordPress blog, which you know because that’s where you are reading this piece. So, if you scroll down to the end of the post, you’ll see a row of share buttons, they are a vital part of the promotion. I got them from AdToAny, which is a very handy add-on that can be used with WordPress or with your website. Keep those buttons in mind, I come back to them soon.

Now, Facebook is what I use the most. A Facebook account is free, so is having a page with Facebook. So in addition to my normal account, I created an author page dedicated to nothing but my work as an author. I have others as well, but for this let’s focus on the author page. That author page is (for me) promotion central. There I post updates, release dates, book covers, can start giveaways and much more. It’s the place where my readers can contact me easily, read my bio, get informed of sales or day’s were a book is free. In addition, Facebook has many groups dedicated to reading, publishing and promoting your books. At the moment I have around 100 groups I regularly post in, reaching about 750 000 people that way on average. Of which maybe a third are actually readers and not other authors doing the same. Still, it’s free and spreads the word, it also leads back to your author page.

Then there is Twitter, in my mind it’s a great tool but also tiresome and time-consuming. Unless you link it with your Facebook page, which will save you a lot of time. How you link it depends on which platform you like more to use, don’t make the mistake and link them both ways, I did that at first and ended up with a posting loop that cost me followers and likes. If you work with Facebook more often, you let Facebook post on your Twitter, and if you like Twitter better you let Twitter post on your Facebook page. Another thing that makes Twitter more useful are Tweet schedulers, but I will talk about those in a separate article. Because they are a little tricky.

Moving on to Pinterest, which is specialized in pictures that you post on boards. Each picture you post can have a caption, meaning you can add information to the picture and what you think others should know about it. For example, you could post your book cover with a short description and a link to Amazon. If you use blurb cards, banners or posters, you can post those to your boards and have additional exposure.

Now as I said there are more social media out there, but those are the three I use regularly. Yet most of the time I actually only post on my blog and Facebook, but share it with all my social media accounts. How and Why?

Let’s answer the Why first. A widespread social media net catches more people gives you more exposure and more chance of sales. But posting in each separately will take you forever.

pictogram social media
Now to the how. Let’s use a graphic for that.

Ok, remember the share buttons I told you about at the start, now we get back to those. In the center, you see my blog with those share buttons. I write my most important information’s and updates and post them on my blog. Then I use the share to any buttons, sharing my post with all my social media accounts, except for Twitter, because my Facebook is linked to that and the moment I share it with Facebook, automatically share it on Twitter as well.

Other stuff that is mostly directed to Facebook users I only post on Facebook and share it automatically on Twitter.

With a set up like this, you can reach hundreds of thousands of people, and if you’re lucky some of them might buy your book. Yet before you jump around and clap your hands in joy, let me dampen that a bit, it’s still hard work, and still takes time and most of all it’s not a guaranty of selling a lot. However, if the content you share is of interest you will build up a readership and the likeliness of sales will increase in time.

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