Friday, September 25, 2015

Book Promo!

It's been a hectic week. My newest book, ACAPULCO NIGHTS, was released on Tuesday, September 22nd. Some may believe you just write a great book, slap a cover on it, and the money starts rolling in.

Oh, contraire, my friends.

Not only are you more likely guaranteed to make very little off of your writing, you can't even count on your family & friends to buy your book (and I'm not complaining, mind you, I'm just telling you the truth).

Your family & friends are there to support you, but not finance you. Why would Uncle Joe buy my book about a woman seeking a divorce from her long-lost husband? Doesn't sound like something he'd want to read, or even have on his bookshelf, frankly. Plus, Uncle Joe would have the added pressure of pretending to like/read my book, because he might assume I'll ask him about it and want his 'opinion' on my latest work of fiction.

I would NEVER do that to anyone! I want people to buy and read my book because it actually sounds interesting to them and is in a category of fiction that they read.

This leads directly into the topic of my blog post: book promotion.

Although I've been published since 2009, 6 years later, I'm just now getting the hang of promoting my book to strangers. Most writers are not outgoing people. We tend to be introverts that sit in front of our computers with the door shut. We like living with our characters in the make-believe worlds we create, rather than deal with real people! The thought of chatting up my book with strangers is uncomfortable for me...but I've had to get used to the idea, because how else is anyone going to know about my book?

With ACAPULCO NIGHTS, I wanted to change my usual 'hide in the corner and hope someone finds my book' attitude. Here are some things I have learned in the past month or so about how to promote yourself. These are not ALL the possibilities, mind you, but just what I've discovered so far.

1) Get your book into print. If you are self-publishing, this is a MUST. Having physical copies available allows you to do a couple of other promotional ideas that come later in my list. I used CreateSpace, but there are others:
 (FYI, I know nothing about the 3 sites above, but they looked legit, and I have heard of people using Lulu before.)

2) Make sure your book is listed in GoodReads or another site for readers (like LibraryThing). This allows readers to mark your book for reading. I would also recommend you make yourself an account on GoodReads and start participating on there by writing reviews, adding your books, etc.

3) Once you've gotten print copies made, sign up for a GoodReads Giveaway. This was a new one for me. Not only are you getting books into the hands of strangers (the winners of the giveaway), you also get exposure to the rest of the GoodReads community. People will add your book to their list of things they wish to read. Your name is out there. You never know when that will turn into a sale.

4) Start getting reviews. Okay, this was a whole new world to me. I had NO idea how people did this. I assumed it was more about 'who you know' or that someone lucked into your book somehow (I know, naive). BUT, I stumbled across this incredible resource, which has changed my outlook on book promotions: Book Reviewer Yellow Pages.

I am sure there are other resources like this one, but this is the reference I purchased. It is an amazing resource! They come out with a new one every year, so the information is very up-to-date.

What's inside? Well, it contains dozens and dozens of book review websites and blogs. It details what genres each reviewer is interested in, what their likes and dislikes are, whether they take self-published books, contact information, etc.

I received my reference about 2 weeks ago. I read through the whole thing, marking which
reviewers read romance, women's fiction and chick lit (the 3 closest genres for my book) and then sent out about 50 review requests to the best candidates. So far, I have had 6 review requests and one contact turned into a free promotion opportunity (which went live today):

Beck Valley Books promoted my book today!

These review sites also offer additional opportunities for ad buys, blog tours, author interviews, etc. This book has literally changed how I view being an author and what my 'job' actually is. Yes, writing the book is important, but selling that book is probably MORE important.

5) Lastly, social media. We all know about Facebook. But that is only the tip of the iceberg. You can have a Twitter account, Instagram account, Tumblr account, and Pinterest account, among others. I only recently learned about the value of having a Pinterest account from a very informative podcast from the Author U website.

Please follow me on Pinterest!

Now I use Pinterest to create inspiration boards for my books. I have a board for my science fiction thriller in the works, FIRST CUT IS THE DEEPEST. And also created one for an inkling of an idea I had for a book set in Nome, Alaska. I never thought about using Pinterest in this way before. I also have a board for all of my books, clothing interests (for Stitch Fix) and recipes.

Those are my 5 tips for you. I am sure there are other ways to get noticed, but I'm still learning myself. It may take some time for reviews to start appearing online for my book, but I'm hopeful that readers will be more likely to take a chance on my book once those reviews appear.

Thanks for stopping by! If you have any other ways to promote your books, please let me know in the comments. What worked for you? What have you tried?

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