From Premise to Published: Promotion and Social Media
Every publishing house will tell you that an author’s involvement in the promotion of their books is paramount to success. In other words, the more an author does in tandem with the publishing house, the more they will sell. To be successful in selling books, authors must figure out their “brand” and then give it a big push out the door into cyberspace then constantly stroke it to keep it alive.
In the same way that it helps to know which bookshelf your book belongs on, it helps to know in which direction you should go in social media. There is so much out there it’s easy to get lost. This is also very much a generational phenomena. I’m sure there are experts who can tell you just where the dividing line is, but I’m guessing it’s somewhere around 50 years of age. It’s not a problem really, it just means that some of us have to work a little harder at understanding what it is we are trying to accomplish…and how.
The general rule of thumb is to pick at least one social platform you are good at, start there, get some traction, and then move on to other platforms. I use Facebook. I have a Facebook author page. I post a couple of sentences of what my current blog is about and include a link to the blog. Hopefully, over time, I will get more and more visitors to my webpage who will get to know me, get to know my books, buy a book, ask me for a school visit, and so on.
Oh yeah, did I mention you will need a website?
Don’t panic. There is plenty of info out there on how to format a website, much of which is free. Google “free websites,” pick one, and begin. I use Wix, many use WordPress, but there are others. I started out with a free account and after a couple of years, I decided to pay about $125/year for a few more services.
The biggest problem? If you have no experience in this realm, it is hard to get to talk to actual people if and when you have a problem. You have to use their “chat” box, email your question, or sort through their FAQs to see if you can find the answer to your problem. It can be frustrating at times.
As for technical help, my best advice is to find a friend or family member who is great at this and ask them for help. If you can, pay them. If you can’t, trade them for something. Babysit, make a meal, do errands, whatever. You’re a writer, use your imagination. My daughter is a pro – literally. She does this sort of thing for the company she works for. She made my webpage look wonderful and helped me sort out my one too many Facebook accounts. She brought order into my chaos. Thanks, Tara!
Besides the technical aspect of creating a webpage, you will need the theme of your webpage. What’s your niche? Your genre? Who are you trying to reach?
I am a family-friendly author with books for young children. I’m a soccer-grandma, an entertainer, and a woman of faith. Everything on my website mirrors who I am.
When I started putting my webpage together, about five years ago, I visited other author websites to see how they did it. I appreciated the honesty of one writer who had written a few sporadic blogs over the past two years and said:
“Not sure what I’m supposed to be writing here, but when I figure it out, I’ll write it.”
If you’re young enough to have grown up with social media as your norm, none of this should be too difficult. But, if you’re old enough to have watched man’s first steps on the moon on an old black and white tv, then get ready - you’re going to ride the struggle bus for a bit. But it’s worth it.
Let’s see what you can do!