Quick Tips for Authors- Self Promotion
by Roxanne Rhoads
Promotion- it’s a bad word for many authors…downright evil… but a necessary evil.
A small percentage of authors revel in the spotlight and have no problem talking, promoting, and selling.
But most of us…well we’d rather be writing. And not writing about our books or ourselves, we simply want to be writing our books.
What happened to the days when the reclusive author typed away in their little hermit like abode, sent the manuscript off to a publisher who handled everything and the author sat back and got rich while writing more books?
I think that image is a fairy tale, I’m not even sure if that author stereotype was ever a reality at all but when I was young that’s how I envisioned the author’s world. Then I started writing books- and thought that once a publisher accepted and published my work the hard part was over. Boy was I wrong.
The idea “if I write it, people will buy it” doesn’t get you very far. There are simply too many books flooding the market. Thanks to the internet and technology more books than ever are being published every day- and it is very easy to get loss in the ever growing a sea of pages and book covers.
What can an author do to stand out from the crowd?
Yes, there’s that damn word again but honestly it’s what can make or break your book. The other, I swear, is simply luck, and maybe a pact with the devil.
I’ve seen amazing books totally tank in sales and crap books, poorly written with sentences that run on and are hard to read, make the bestseller list on Amazon, repeatedly.
For the past several years I have been on a quest to learn everything I can about the book business and book world, from all angles- author, editor, publicist, reviewer, book blogger, even publisher -and I’ve learned a lot.
So what words of wisdom can I share with authors who are looking for the secrets to book success?
First of all- web presence.
What’s the first thing many people do when they hear about something- whether it’s a book, business, or new product?
They Google it.
That’s why an author should have a website- a good one, a professional one that showcases their author/book brand. If you write paranormal books your website should have a hint of the paranormal in it- should it showcase screaming skulls and blood dripping fangs? Probably not. Keep it tasteful and professional while making it clear you are a paranormal author, or romance author, or whatever.
Your website can sell you and your books 24 hours a day, 7 days a week all over the world. Nothing else can reach as wide an audience 24/7.
The author website should have 6 key things to be successful- a way to contact you, your bio, your bookshelf (if you write in different genres or have a couple different series then you should have separate pages for each genre or series), a calendar or schedule of author appearances whether in the real world or online, a page of fun stuff and/or links that relate to your books, and your media page which should contain an author photo, media ready bio, sample author Q and A, and your most recent book cover and blurb.
I also suggest having a regularly updated blog and newsletter that readers can subscribe to.
Also be sure to utilize Author Central at Amazon, you can add your links and blog feed to your author page.
Which brings me to the next thing an author needs to utilize…social media- Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads- these are some of the most popular social media outlets for connecting with readers and other authors. The idea is to build is solid foundation of reader and author followers. Do this by posting fun and informative tweets and updates- not just promo. And you can link all your accounts together through apps at Twitter and Facebook or through outside apps like HootSuite.
An author should also stay up to date on what’s popular and working in the online book world- for example: book trailers, book soundtracks, Twitter parties, virtual book tours.
Do book trailers or soundtracks sell books? In my opinion no, but they are great tools for sharing your book (these would fall under that fun stuff category above to include on your website).
Virtual book tours, however, are one of the best ways to spread the word about your book. You can reach a worldwide audience without ever leaving your home at a tiny fraction of the cost of a real world book tour.
The goal is not just book sales but reaching out and gaining new followers. After a book tour you should see the subscribers list to your newsletter has grown, you have more Twitter and Facebook followers, and the number of blog followers you have has increased- and hopefully your book sales have skyrocketed.
So what do you do during a book tour? You’ll write guest posts, fill out and interviews, and sometimes participate in live chats and podcast and radio interviews at different blogs and sites around the web. The book tour company will schedule everything.
The key is choosing the best company for your book- find a company that has handled many books in your genre and that shows a good track record. If you only see one or two previous tours done by this company perhaps you should move on to the next book tour company- and new ones pop up every day. Do your homework before laying down the cash. While no book tour business can guarantee sales or great reviews they should be able to provide you with proven capability, organization and a certain amount of tour stops based on what you paid for.
Are real live book events things of the past? No, not at all.
By all means go out to local book stores, libraries, seasonal and holiday events and set up signings, schedule fun events that will bring people in- work with other authors to create group things that draw a crowd.
For instance if you write paranormal books- get out there at Halloween events and sell your stuff. Set up tables for sales and signings at Halloween reading and parties at local libraries, (schools too if your book is kid oriented), hayrides, even haunted houses. Work with your community to promote your book. You might be surprised at how many local businesses and event planners will be thrilled to have something unique and special (like an author) be a guest at their holiday event.
And be sure to bring business cards, bookmarks or other promo materials to all your live book promotions. Pass them out at local libraries and bookstores too.
The key is- get out and promote- whether virtually, in real life, or both. You are not going to get anywhere as an author being a hermit and hiding in your house tapping away at the keys of your computer.
Publication is only the beginning of the process…promotion is the road to success.
Quick Tips for Authors Guide
Not sure where to start or exactly what an online tour will entail?
Roxanne Rhoads, book publicist and owner of Bewitching Book Tours, shares her virtual tour expertise in this Quick Tips for Authors Guide.
Secrets of Successful Virtual Book Tours will guide you in utilizing the best marketing tool available- a virtual book tour, which can create online exposure for your book, jumpstart your book sales, help build your author brand, and expand your network.
In this guide you’ll learn:
•what you should do before a tour
•the components of a great author website
•the best social media outlets for authors to utilize
•tips for building your author brand
•how to write great guest blogs
•what to expect from an online book tour
•the secrets of successful book tours
•how to schedule your own virtual book tour
And you’ll receive in-depth details about what to do during a virtual book tour to guarantee success.
What Readers Are Saying About Secrets of Successful Book Tours
“As a book blogger, I am often surprised by the number of new authors I meet that do not really promote their books. There are a lot of inexpensive and free ways for them to do so. Roxanne Rhoads does an excellent job of laying these ideas out. The book is well-organized and easy to follow. She points out author mistakes and faux pas. She speaks from her past experiences. I have a background in marketing. Roxanne Rhoads has a strong understanding of marketing and does a great job of explaining her suggestions and ideas. I highly suggest this book to all authors. There are many great ideas in this book that can help brand you as an author as well as get your books noticed. There are so many books out there. It is absolutely necessary for an author to promote themselves.” ~ Diane Lynch, Book Blogger
“Jam-packed with useful tips that had be scrambling for my calendar. And the conciseness is frankly another selling point for a busy authorpreneur. Who has time to wade through a bunch of fluff? Not me. And Roxanne doesn't waste our time with that -- she gets straight to the business of book tours. Want to run your own tour? No problem. The book provides advice on DIY'ers as well. From lists of blog ideas to the legal in's and out's of using images, Secrets of Successful Virtual Book Tours has something for novices and old hands like myself. And I believe her branding advice was spot on.” ~ Kirsten Weiss, Author
“This is a must have for any author planning to do a virtual book tour. Most of us wouldn't even think of half this stuff. Roxanne's advice is golden.” ~ Serena Synn, Author
“This book is packed with information on how to not only promote your book but also promote yourself as an author.” ~ Bonnie Amazon Review
I have been doing blog tours with Roxanne for quite some time now and I can say her organization and skills are without a doubt top notch. If I ever actually get around to writing my novel I can assure you that I will use this as a guide. She covers everything from building your brand to what to expect on a blog tour.
Her knowledge is well shared and I think every author that wants to build their brand should read this guy. Simply put this is a must read for any author that wants to exposure that can come with a blog tour. ~Jen Brooks The Cubicle Escapee
In this era of self-publishing, an author needs to do as much as they can to get themselves noticed. Enter the virtual book tour, a tour of blogs on the Internet - as opposed to visiting book stores - with the aim of increasing an author's online presence and ultimately increasing book sales. Roxanne Rhoads guides you through the dos and don'ts of virtual book tours, with great advice on providing fresh material for each tour stop. She covers both tours run by established tour companies and tours you plan yourself, and she includes a list of sites where you can find book bloggers to contact. She also gives you some great advice about setting up your online and social media presence, as well as social media mistakes to avoid.
Roxanne Rhoads is the guru behind Bewitching Book Tours, the first book tour company I ever signed up with. If you're interested in a well-organized blog tour, be sure to check out Bewitching Book Tours. As Roxanne states, "Publication is only the beginning of the process ... promotion is the road to success."
An excellent quick guide for all authors. ~ Lynda Dickson - Books Direct
Recommended reading for anyone considering a blog tour. There is information here that I didn't know and have never come across before. If you want to do-it-yourself, there is a section to help with that as well. How to write a good guest blog, do's and don'ts, even copyright information. It changed the way I think about blog tours and I will be doing things differently the next time around. ~ kmontemayor Amazon Review
This little gem was borne out of Ms. Rhoads' experiences and speaks for itself. It is a must-have reference for authors old and new. ~ AoBibliophile
Secrets of Successful Virtual Book Tours is fantastic compilation of tips, tricks, and learning tools for ensuring your book tour is to your liking. The guide is filled with do's and don'ts as you navigate your tour whether it's your first or your 10th. Learn what a book tour is all about, how to market your author brand, write guest posts, and much, much more. Highly recommended for authors and bloggers, alike. ~Amber Marr Saph’s Book Blog