In my post last week, I discussed part one of essential book marketing tips you need to know now (social media, blogging, email marketing, and advertising) in detail. Read that first, and then join us here for part two.
Today, I’ll review:
- promotional tools,
- street teams,
- and blog tours.
It’s true, there are a million different promo tools. How does one choose? It’s especially confusing for a new author — what works, what’s worth our hard-earned money and limited budget? Even if you’re with a publisher, you’re still going to have to spend some of your own money and definitely your own time promoting and marketing your book.
What follows is by no means meant as an endorsement of one service over another, simply a listing of services I’ve heard are useful, or that I’ve tried and found helpful — you’ll have to check them out yourself and if they work for you, great. If you’re not happy, that’s on you. (I mention this because I tried a company once and while they worked well for me, a few other writers didn’t have good results and blamed me — even though I had nothing at all to do with the company, the writer, the books, nada. Whatever (said in my best 80s Valley Girl voice).
If your book will be free or discounted, here’s the list of stuff to try if you want to and if you don’t fine and if you do and don’t like it don’t blame me (how’s that?):
AuthorMarketingTools.com: Free, though there is a paid option. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and you can click on all the sites to list your free book — this is a great timesaver!
BookMarketingTools.com: This is a paid option. Cost: $14.99 and worth every penny. You fill out one form, and then click your way through over THIRTY sites in less than a few minutes. You can do this for your free promotion, as well as discounted (most required .99 to $2.99).
FreeBooksy.com and BargainBooksy.com One of my favorite sites, Free and Bargain now offer genre-specific promotions also for romance, mystery, and even series. In addition, check out their free Facebook app. If you want to see what it looks like, I’ve installed it on my Rachel Thompson, Author Facebook page.
KindleNationDaily.com: Definitely pricey, but a number of great options (huge subscriber list, FB exposure with over 100K+ likes, large social media presence, and some kind of hook-up with Amazon via their BookGorilla deals — no idea what or how it works, but you can see the Book Gorilla links in many of Amazon’s newsletters.
BookBub.com: The Big Daddy, if you can get accepted, awesome. It’s very difficult, and they have a lot of restrictions. Click around the site, create an account and author profile (free, and you don’t have to have a book accepted to do so). I’ve been accepted once (I think for Broken Pieces?) and had tens of thousands of free downloads, which helped so much with my Amazon ranking when it ported back over to paid. My eBook still ranks highly and it’s been out since 2012.
SnicksList.com: only available on the day your book goes free, this discount site is only $1 per free listing, and seems to carry a lot of weight. Hey, for a buck, why not, right? A 5-day listing is only $2. Weird math, but whatever. They’ve very nice.
(If all this seems overwhelming, and it can be, I do offer a service where I do it all for you. You pay me for my time, and any associated fees charged by the sites. Contact me at BadRedheadMedia@gmail.com or go to my Services page).
If you’re not part of any groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Goodreads, or BookBub, you’re missing out on golden opportunities for networking and well as indirect book marketing — not only with other authors, but with readers, book bloggers, and book reviewers — influencers — as well. Many authors whine: I don’t have the time, I’m too busy writing.
I get it. As a single mother of two, author working on books six and seven, director of Social Media Services for AuthorBytes, creator of the weekly Twitter meme #MondayBlogs, and chats #SexAbuseChat and #BookMarketingChat, as well as the owner of my own company, BadRedhead Media, I get being busy.
Sadly, if you only write and ignore the pre-marketing, who’s going to know about your book when you release it? Busy is an excuse. You have to make it work. If I can, you can.
I’m part of many non-book groups: female entrepreneurs, speakers, sexual assault survivors, social media business owners, readers of various genres, mental health advocates…groups that don’t have to do with “promote my books, here’s a tweet!” because the goal is not to PROMOTE MY BOOK. The goal is to, once again, build relationships.
Let me ask you this: how long did it take you to write your book? Six months? Two years? Now, how long have you spent marketing your book? A few days, weeks, perhaps months? Why do you feel it should sell hundreds or thousands of copies immediately, if you’ve put little to no effort into the marketing? I just cannot wrap my head around that.
We are not puppies. Breathe, spend time building relationships with readers and influencers, and build your base. Groups are a wonderful way to do that. Why? Because when you do run some of those promotions I just mentioned upstairs, those folks you’ve connected with will be happy to share without you even having to ask. That’s the magic of networking.
Street teams are where you gather your fans into one place (usually a secret group on Facebook), who enthusiastically support your work, above and beyond the usual tweet or share.
You can read more about Street Teams here on Bibliocrunch.
I have a Street Team. If you’re interested in signing up, click here. Some street teams require their members to review their books, which I think is totally non-ethical. Don’t do that. It reeks of gaming the system.
Instead, I politely ask my group to share stuff (tweets, blog posts, other types of articles, promos and shares) if they want to, I share swag with them, I send them signed paperbacks (well, it’s on my to-do list — sorry, guys!), and share insider-only info with them. I draw from there for betareaders and ARCs, also. And they love it.
The point is: reward your ‘raving fans’ with cool, innovative information or things designed only for them, and in return, they will reward you back with ‘the love.’ Or not — some members aren’t all that into it for whatever reasons and don’t do much, but still love your work and are happy to review you anyway, because that’s what they do. Cool — as long as you don’t require a quid pro quo.
I’m a bit of a broken record about this, but I’ll say it here again: blog tours rarely if ever sell books. So why do them? A good blog tour can help massively with your visibility and exposure to readers and other influential book bloggers, help with your SEO/SMO in Google, as well as increase your reviews. That’s why.
My website admin and frequent #BookMarketingChat guest expert, Barb Drozdowich, created this amazing free tool, the BookBloggerList, which anyone can access and utilize. Again, you’re on your own, and if you’re unhappy with the results, that’s on you because you’re an adult, remember?
I’ve done many book tours and do recommend them, but here’s the thing: you can’t be lazy about it. Like anything else, do the work. You get what you give and you give what you get.
Tips: Interact with the bloggers — follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, leave comments, connect with them prior to and after, thank them, talk with readers who leave comments, utilize your street team or other fans to share the blog tour stops, create your own blog posts to help increase visibility about the blog tour — all that helps immensely. And don’t forget newsletters! Still a fabulous way to interact with readers.
I hope these two posts have helped you with your book marketing efforts. If you have more to add or questions, please leave them in comments below!