Monday, November 28, 2011
Pam Throws a Wide Loop to Corral Social Media
Several months ago on the ACFW loop, someone asked how to promote ebooks on Kindle and Nook. I was in the middle of promoting my debut novel at the time, so my efforts were fresh on my mind. So I jumped in to share the following down and dirty tips for promotion.
Ride for the Brand
First and foremost, I have to mention Tyndale’s HUGE promotion network: It’s entirely possible (even probable) that the list below is my piddly attempt to promote myself when Tyndale House can tweet and post on facebook that Stealing Jake is available on Amazon, B&N & CBD, and loyal Tyndale fans flock to download it. So having a wonderful publisher behind me to promote my book is huge, huge, HUGE to me as a newbie.
My Seeker sisters and I promote each other on Facebook and Twitter by sharing and retweeting. We visit blogs where the others are guests and poke fun ... uh... I mean, support each other. The more you develop your online presence, the more comfortable you become, and the more readers reach out to you. Also, an aside: Seekerville has really helped me open up so that I can blog and comment with a measure of confidence. So, if you’re a bit shy about posting online, jump in now before you sell your first book. You’ll be glad you did!
Gather at Popular Watering Holes: Pam's Author Page on Facebook, Twitter
Accept friend requests on Facebook for everybody who’s a decent-looking sort. Friend people you know personally. Write on their wall. Say, "Howdy, pardner". Search for your church, high school, organizations, colleges, your kids’ daycare pages. When something amazing happens with your book, share it there. I shared my “Stunned to be #1” blog post on my local newspaper's fb page. The newspaper asked for an interview. AND the reporter had already downloaded Stealing Jake and didn’t know I was local. That was TOO cool!
Create an AUTHOR page on facebook. Wonder of wonders, I just created mine this weekend, so it's a cold, lonely cabin out in the middle of NOWHERE. Just click here to see what I mean. How about dropping by some furnishings to make it look a little more like home? A table or a chair. A three-legged stool. An old quilt for my rope bed. A coffee pot. (Ruthy, while I'd love a Keurig, I don't have any electricity in this 1880s cabin, so I'll have to make do with a enamel cofeepot!) I can't wait to see ya'll post on the page. If nothing else, a pound of coffee to get me through the winter would be nice.
Jaw Around the Campfire
Talk, then talk some more. I’m posting every 2-3 days on my personal blog, and Twitterfeed sends those posts and Seekerville posts to fb and twitter where they can be liked, shared, and retweeted. Sweet!
Tweetdeck. Okay, I’m depending on Edie Melson’s book Social Media Marketing for Writers: How To Blog, Tweet, & Peep Your Way Onto Amazon's Best Seller's List to walk me through Tweetdeck. I think I tried to sign up for it before, but couldn’t figure out exactly what to do. Edie explains how to make life a little easier with Tweetdeck. Be right back (Literally. I’m installing Tweetdeck now!) Okay, not quite there yet, but I'll wrestle this thing to the ground eventually!
Be Right Neighborly
Schedule a blog tour: You can hire someone to do a blog tour for you or you can do it yourself. I set up my own blog tour and visited about 50 blogs in 90 days. I, the spreadsheet queen, had them all carefully catalogued, the date, the blog, contact info, and whether I promo’d it on fb/twitter/yahoogroups. I also had a column on whether I was offering a giveaway, who won, and if the prize had been redeemed.
List your blog tour dates on your blog: This I never had time to do, but I needed to. I wanted to. Audra Harders TOLD me to. I just never had time. Sorry, Audra!
Share the Bounty
Giveaway with a twist: Instead of giving away lots of ebooks, I gave away a Kindle. And for ROLLING content to post online, I added Seeker books to the Kindle giveaway every few days. The lucky winner’s Kindle Touch shipped last week, and I “gifted” her with the 14 Seeker ebooks she also won. As far as I know, I was the first to do this type of giveaway (Kindle loaded with books), but maybe not. I just haven’t actually seen another giveaway like it.
Stay in Touch
Create a Newsletter: For a chance to win the Kindle, people had to sign up for my newsletter. First name and email addy only. This gives me a fan base.
Yahoogroups: I’m a member of about 30 yahoogroups. Some I can’t promote on, but there are about 15 I can. I let them know about my book release, my Kindle giveaway, and how to sign up for my newsletter.
Promote within Amazon: Create your author page on Amazon, and feed your blog to it. I know nothing about RSS feed, but apparently I did it right because Calico Trails is
feeding to my Amazon Author page. Whew, what a relief! Not sure if it's bringing folks to me, but it's another spot, another link back to me.
Post your name and your book online often. Post something on facebook, twitter, and goodreads to rotate your name/book on social media. Blog, search for your name/book and retweet it. Thank people for tweeting about you. Tweet about others. Like what others are saying. Share. Comment. Talk about others, and when appropriate, do a post about your book. Just don’t be obnoxious. In has a schedule for commenting on blogs, tweeting and posting on facebook so that she doesn’t get overwhelmed. Just a little bit each day keeps you in the game.
Find a Fresh Watering Hole
Look for facebook/twitter accounts that have to do with your book. I’m friends with some folks who wrote books on coal mining, orphans, street kids, kids working in coal mines, threads that my book includes. I haven’t had time to connect more with them, but the seeds are being sown.
Are you a member of Goodreads? I wish I had joined earlier because it takes me a while to figure out how things work in the different formats. But I LOVE Goodreads. Almost 500 folks had marked Stealing Jake as read or to-be-read. I check it every day. Yes, I'm pathetic. lol
What about The Book Club Network? Nora St. Laurent does a great job promoting Christian fiction. Visit TBCN and dip your toe in the waters over there. Nora is giving away 100 books in the first 20 days of December!! Can you imagine? I’m giving away two ebook for Kindle copies of Stealing Jake during TBCN's Christmas Party.
Are you a member of the ACFW Book Club? Stealing Jake is a January 2012 ACFW Book Club pick, so to celebrate, I’m giving away another Kindle on December 15th, 2011. It’s a KindlePalooza! The winner receives a Kindle and a minimum of 12 of the 2012 ACFW Book Club picks, so it’s a gift that keeps giving all year long!
Take advantage of the Amazon Bestsellers Rank subcategories. Here’s one more tip that I haven’t mastered, but I think I’m missing a great marketing opportunity. I’m not talking about the Tags that customers can put on the books, but the actual subcategories under the Product Details. From what I can gather from Amazon, the publisher is the one who works with Amazon to set these, not the author. If the book is self-published, then the author is the publisher and can request more subcategories. Still working on that one. If anyone has any input, I’d love to hear it.
Nobody likes a low-down outlaw!
Don’t be an obnoxious social media ignoramous. My agent pointed his readers to a great blog post on this very topic. Roni Loren’s post and the comments helped me refocus on how to balance building relationships and promotion in social media.
Don't hold your readers at gunpoint. Know when to cut back, slow down, and move on to the next project. I have to admit I haven’t mastered this, but a book isn’t “perpetually releasing”. There’s only so much saturation your market can take before readers turn to something new. I’m not saying not to talk about your backlist. Not at all. But pouring more advertising time and dollars into an old title FOREVER might not be in your best interests. So…what to do...
Build your Herd
There comes a point when the best thing an author can do is to write (and sell!) another book ASAP. A corral full of great fiction for readers to find is really worth more than continually promoting the one or two books you have out.
Networked blogs. I got nothing on this, but this is next on my list to check out!
You know, with a little more practice, I might be able to corral this social media mustang!
To read what some of the seasoned wranglers have to say about social media and marketing, check out these posts in Seekerville:
Shellie Johannes-Wells - Biggest Marketing Bang for your Buck
Cathy Shouse - Ten + Tips to Turbocharge Your Marketing
Sabrina Sumsion - Publicity 101
Award-winning author Pam Hillman writes inspirational fiction set in the turbulent times of the American West and the Gilded Age. Her debut book, Stealing Jake, won the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Genesis contest and was a finalist in Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Golden Heart contest. She lives in Mississippi with her husband and family. She can be found on the web at www.pamhillman.com
We're giving away a Christmas book today. The winner will have their choice of Stealing Jake (ebook only) by Pam Hillman, or any other Christmas book by a Seeker. Browse the Seeker Bookstore to see the choices. Please indicate in your comment if you would like to be included in the drawing. Thanks!