Seven Secrets For Authors Promoting Their Books

The last couple of months have been a little hectic for me as I prepped to launch my second novel, The Chef's Secret, out into the world. I'm probably an anomaly in the world of writers, but I actually like the whole marketing and promotion aspect of it all. But I know that's not true of every writer, so I'm going to share a few tips that may help when you are out there trying to figure out how you are going to promote your book in a world of small publishing budgets, millions of competing books and a lack of personal time. 

These are tips that encompass a variety of platforms and free and paid possibilities. They are in no particular order of importance. You don't need to use all these tips, and what has worked for me may not always work for you. My tips may not apply in your situation. You might not use some of the channels I'm suggesting and there is nothing that says you have to start.I always recommend that you test out social techniques to see what you feel most comfortable with or what works for your schedule, for your type of book and your budget. 

So let's get going, shall we?

1. Switch to an Instagram business account. As an author, you are a small business and should think like one. Unlike business accounts in Facebook, there is no difference in reach. But the advantages are big. You'll have access to analytics, the ability to save your stories to highlights that appear on your profile page, and also very important, the ability to boost a post with advertising right from the app. Here's how you switch. And if for some reason you want to switch back, you can at any time, but know that you'll lose any legacy analytic insights.

2. Take advantage of that one link you have on Instagram. Turn it into an ultra link with a service like Link Tree. It's inexpensive and gives you the ability to showcase a variety of links:  https://linktr.ee  Your one link takes you to a page where you can showcase your books and latest offers to readers

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3. On any channel you use, consistency is key. Don't pop in and post here and there. Be regular in your posting on whatever channels you are using. The more you can post, even better. I will often post 4-5x a day on Facebook Author Page, which greatly ups my overall reach to my audience. The secret is that you shouldn't only be posting about you. That should be a solid 20% of your content, while the rest should be topical information about books, writing, what interests YOU as an author, and the world in which your characters live. I post a lot about Italy, about food, and history, for example, since I write historical fiction set in Italy about famous culinary figures. That gives me a wide pool of content to dive into when it comes to resharing. Use a tool like Feedly to aggregate blogs and news sites you care about to help you find content, and use a service like Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule all that content in advance. 

4. When it comes to advertising your books, Pinterest is a fantastic and potentially underutilized platform to get some extra hits to booksites or to your content. There is a big community of book lovers on Pinterest, and readers are often looking for recommendations. When testing the effectiveness of ads on Facebook vs. ads on Pinterest, I'm finding a much lower cost per click and more impressions delivered. It's worth doing a small test and seeing if it makes a difference for you. The good news is that you can run ads for small amounts of money, just like you can on Facebook.

5. Try other affiliate programs. It's tempting to only rely on Amazon if you are signed up for affiliate programs (and if you aren't, you should be--we authors don't make much, so take advantage of these types of services when you can). But Barnes & Noble and Apple also have affiliate programs. And good news! So does Indiebound, which gives you the ability to refer people to indie bookstores and still receive commissions. For Amazon and iTunes you can also join the affiliate programs in other countries, and use a service like GeniusLink to aggregate those links and easily just use one link that appropriately directs readers in other countries to the right place to buy your book. And it doesn't mean your book has to be translated for other countries. The US version might be sold on Amazon through the country sites, so check. 

6. Use Author, Author to buy your books in bulk. If you are a traditionally published author and need to buy books to sell at an event, you have a conundrum. Sure, you can get books at a steep discount from your publisher, but those sales don't always go toward your sales numbers or royalties (and you might even be forbidden to resell them). Instead, check out Author, Author.

7. Do Amazon giveaways regularly. This was a tip given to me by one of the editors at my publisher. You can do Amazon giveaways right from your book page at the bottom. Give away 2 or 3 books (which you purchase then) as a public giveaway. Make the requirement be that they follow you on Amazon. Share liberally in social, your email newsletter, and on your blog. Why do you want people to follow you on Amazon? Because when your next book comes out everyone that follows you will get a letter telling them your book is out in the world, which is very powerful if you have built up that following ahead of time. 

I hope these tips help you as much as they've helped me in my promotion process. If you have other tips and tricks, tweet me @crystallyn or on Facebook!

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About the Author

Crystal King is a 25-year marketing, social media and communications veteran, freelance writer and Pushcart-nominated poet. She is the author of the FEAST OF SORROW, about the ancient Roman gourmand, Apicius, and the forthcoming THE CHEF'S SECRET (February 12, 2019, Touchstone Books) about the famous Renaissance chef Bartolomeo Scappi. Currently Crystal works as a social media professor for HubSpot, a leading provider of Inbound marketing software. Crystal has taught classes in writing, creativity, and social media at Harvard Extension School, Boston University, Mass College of Art, UMass Boston and GrubStreet writing center. A former co-editor of the online literary arts journal Plum Ruby Review, Crystal received her MA in Critical and Creative Thinking from UMass Boston, where she developed a series of exercises and writing prompts to help fiction writers in media res. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or at her website: crystalking.com

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