As a freelance fiction editor with a degree in marketing, I’m passionate about helping authors publish the best book possible. Why? Because a great product (book) is your first and best marketing tool.
Basic Number One: Have a Great Book
As a book reviewer, I’m often approached to review published books that should never have been published. That’s not a matter of reader preference (although I am of the view that the world would be a better place without memoirs from people like reality TV “stars,” and most politicians).
Saying some books should not have been published is a statement of objective fact: some books are published before they are ready. For example, if a book repeatedly uses straight quotes and curly quotes in the same paragraph, then it hasn’t been adequately edited or proofread.
The problem for many first-time authors is that they don’t know what they don’t know. And many obsess about straight vs. curly quotes when they should be learning to show, not tell, or to use point of view consistently. (FYI, curly quotes are best, but you can use straight quotes if you prefer. But be consistent).
That’s why I’m offering one lucky commenter* the opportunity to have their first 5,000 words edited by a RITA®-winning romance editor (that would be me).
*I’m a fiction editor who specializes in Christian fiction, sweet romance, and women’s fiction. I’m sorry, If you’ve written dark horror, then I am not your dream editor. But I can point you to a great editor who loves horror.
So, the first step in successfully marketing your book is having a great book and publishing it professionally (Frances Caballo shares her top tips in this post).
Basic Number Two: Have an Author Platform
The second step is having a home base online: an author platform.
This might seem self-evident, especially if you’ve followed most or all of the #NaNoProMo posts this month. But I do come across published authors who don’t even have the basics in place: website, email list, and basic social media links.
It annoys reviewer-me when I want to promote an author but can’t, because the author doesn’t have anything for me to share or promote beyond an outdated Facebook page.
Yes, reviewers promote books. That’s why we’re called influencers, and why influencer marketing is such an important part of the modern marketing mix (and why the FTC has guidelines on influencer marketing).
Connecting With Book Reviewers and Book Bloggers
No, I’m not talking about authors paying Kylie Jenner $10,000 to post a picture of their book. I’m talking about providing reviewers and book bloggers with a free ebook in the hope they’ll review it.
Great bloggers do more than just read the book and write a review. They:
- Review on their own blog or website.
- Link to the author’s website (providing a valuable backlink).
- Review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble or other retail sites.
- Review on Goodreads, Litsy, or other bookish social networks.
- Share their review on their own social media profiles.
- Share their review in relevant Facebook groups.
- Create quote memes and share them on social media sites such as Instagram and Pinterest.
- Create beautiful #Bookstagram flat lays and share on Instagram and other social networks.
- Offer giveaways or other incentives for people to visit and comment on their blog post.]
- Share their giveaway graphic on social media.
A reviewer can easily spend 8-10 hours in reading, reviewing, and promoting their review. That’s time they’re spending promoting your book. Free.
There is a name for this kind of promotion: User Generated Content (UGC). It’s not spam, because it’s being shared by users—readers and reviewers and bloggers and influencers.
- If you create a meme featuring your favorite quote from your book, it’s promotion.
- If you create a dozen memes and share them every ten minutes on Twitter, it’s spam.
- If I create a meme featuring my favorite quote from your book, it’s influencing.
- If you like or share or retweet my comment and give me credit, then it’s sharing influencer content.
Which meme is more likely to get you (as a reader) to check out the book? The meme created by the author, or the meme created by a fan?
Yes, that’s UGC in action.
Sharing influencer content is self-promotion. But it’s not spam, because you didn’t create the content. You’re sharing someone else’s content—which means it’s about them as much as it’s about you. Sharing review and other user-generated content is a subtle form of self-promotion. As long as you don’t go overboard: too many retweets of reviews, and it will cross the line.
But, you have to have an active author platform to see this sharing and benefit from it.
For example, many book bloggers will link to your website in their review. This provides you with a backlink, which is good for SEO. You can return the favor by creating a page or post that links to your favorite reviews (which means your reviewers get a backlink as well).
And having a link to your website means readers can find and sign up to your email list. Because you do have an email list, right?
You also need profiles on the major social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. I’m surprised by how many authors aren’t on Twitter (a subject I address in this blog post: Dear Author, You Need to Be on Twitter).
Having a presence on the major platforms means you can monitor your mentions and Like or thank reviewers and influencers. Most authors don’t, so we remember and love the authors who do! But to find those mentions, you need to be on the network.
Basic Number Three: Pull It All Together
Website, Email List, and Social Media Profiles: Those are the basics of an author platform. It’s not hard—you can set it all up in a week if you know what to do. Now you have a start!
If you don’t have an author platform and don’t know where to start, check out my Kick-Start Your Author Platform Marketing Challenge. It's a 40-day email course that takes you through everything you need to do to identify your brand and develop a branded website and social media platform.
Want to win this giveaway? Simply leave a comment WHY below!
All comments must be left prior to midnight on Friday, May 31st, 2019 in order to be eligible to win. Winners for the week announced on Saturday, June 1st.
Iola Goulton is a New Zealand book reviewer, freelance editor, and author, writing contemporary Christian romance with a Kiwi twist.
Iola holds a degree in marketing, has a background in human resource consulting, works as a freelance editor, and has developed the Kick-Start Your Author Platform Marketing Challenge, an email course for authors wanting to establish their online platform.
When she’s not working, Iola is usually reading or writing her next book review. Iola lives in the beautiful Bay of Plenty in New Zealand (not far from Hobbiton) with her husband, son, and cat.
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