So, you’re busy minding your own business, writing your next novel, planning to go out to the diner for some of Miss Mable’s chicken and dumplings and a slice of apple pie, or just strolling along the dusty street admiring cute bonnets in nearby false-fronted shops when all of a sudden a gunslinger steps out of the shadows and challenges you to a gunfight.
Not with pistols, but with promotion and marketing.
Maybe your best friend sends out a frantic call to help her spread the word that one of her ebooks is free for a limited time on Amazon. Or, like last week, Tyndale unveiled an amazing Crazy4fiction FIVE DAY giveaway that included my book, Claiming Mariah.
Get a load of the authors being promoted! Francine Rivers, Susan May Warren, and Joel C. Rosenberg. Now, doesn’t that make you want to break out in Yankee Doodle Dandy?
With an intense urge to spread the word about this amazing giveaway (and to let as many people as possible see that poster! Whoot!) I had no time to work on my fast draw promo, so what did I do? I slapped leather and whipped out my PR posse faster than any gunslinger in the old west ever thought about and set to work.
First, practice your fast draw promo before the gunslinger calls you out. 99% of the shots fired in fast draw promo are online. This is not the time to call up your local newspaper to schedule an interview, or to order print postcards that won’t arrive until next week. Hello???
Online social media is the go-to posse for those fast and furious announcements you need to make. So, long before you need a fast draw promo, form a posse with all your social media / online promo spots organized by category. My posse is in the form of a spreadsheet. (You saw that coming, didn’t you?)
I have my little doggies corralled in separate worksheets within the same Excel document. One tab is called “Online Media” and “Traditional Media”. Traditional is the boots-on-the-ground-face-to-face PR (magazines, festivals, newspapers, bookstores) that takes time to set up. Ignore it for fast draw promo and go straight to your Online Media tab.
Your column headings should look something like this, but you decide what works best for you and what kind of online promotion you’re comfortable doing. If you prefer texting half-a-dozen friends to spread the word, then that’s fine. Go for it!
*Media – the platform: twitter, facebook, yahoogroup, blogs, etc.
*Reach – the primary group this media reaches: readers, writers, mothers, farmers, truck drivers, homeschoolers, etc.
*Name or URL
*# of Followers – this is a good thing to jot down on your list for fb. When time is limited, it’ll help you decide where to promote.
*Contact Person – if applicable
*Email Address – ditto
I’m going to practice my fast draw in this post pretty much in the order I actually did it this past week when Tyndale’s Crazy4Fiction Giveaway burst on the scene.
The first thing I do for a fast draw promo campaign is copy my list to a new spreadsheet and save it because I’ll be checking things off on this list during the gunfight. I take stock of my list, and cut out the dead weight. My Online Media list is extensive, and a few sites won’t work for fast draws. For instance, with Tyndale’s Crazy4Fiction giveaway of print books, I moved blogs that list free ebooks, and facebook pages that require approval to the bottom of the pile.
Next, I added a column and put an X by the places I wanted to hit first. I deleted the obvious no-no’s and sorted the maybes to the bottom. Then I went to work loading my guns.
I started with Twitter. I already have a list of relative hashtags, reviews, and quotes ready, so I copied some of that over to the fast draw campaign. I sorted, organized, added some special promo hashtags for the Crazy4Fiction giveaway, then scheduled several days of tweets. You can check out the twitter madness at @PamHillman.
Now that I had Twitter in place and ready to fire, I turned my attention to Facebook. There’s been a lot of complaining about Facebook lately, but here’s the deal. There are hundreds… thousands…of people on Facebook who will never go visit my website or participate in a blog tour. It’s exciting to connect with former co-workers, school friends, church friends, and acquaintances you haven’t seen in years.
Facebook has a lot to offer, so I’ll try to hit the highlights. In a 3-5 day period, you don’t want to promote on your profile or pages you manage over and over and over, so just a couple of times on those places is fine. Facebook groups filled with readers? You betcha.
Spread your promotion efforts out over the entire campaign and gently pepper them with your new release, your friends’ free book, or that great giveaway your publisher put together. Pages and groups that have to be approved: if there’s time and the page has enough members, consider posting it. I shared the Crazy4fiction giveaway on my high school Facebook page (Go Generals!) and the moderator approved it as a “Support NCA Alum” post.
I chose not to create Facebook Profile or Page Events for the Crazy4Fiction giveaway. Time was limited and since I don’t want to wear out my welcome with my profile friends and page fans, I use Events sparingly. Instead, I’ll have one rocking virtual blowout Event for the official release of Claiming Mariah on February 1st.
Okay, I think that covers Facebook fairly well, doesn’t it?
Oh, one thing I forgot to mention. Since this campaign is a fast draw running from Wednesday through Monday, add a column and make a quick note where you’ve posted. I choose the day of the week in this case, so I could see when and where I’d been during the week.
Newsletter list. Some PR opps don’t lend themselves to sending out a newsletter. I send out a quarterly newsletter. I’ve finally gotten the hang of short and sweet by sharing no more than two items I’ll be doing each month in the quarter, maybe one writerly thing and one thing about family, ranching, or puppies. This helps alleviate the urge to give a full 13 week update!
My next newsletter isn’t due until March, but I sent out an eblast about Tyndale’s Crazy4Fiction giveaway to my subscribers because I thought it was something they would be interested in, and it wasn’t ALL about me. I didn’t hit them over the head with the butt of my six-shooter with more “buy my book” demands. Just a yippy-skippy FYI letting them know about the giveaway. And I threw in a picture of a cute baby calf for good measure. View Crazy4Fiction eBlast.
|Baby Faces Down on the Farm|
I’m not very active on Goodreads. It’s not that I don’t think it’s a viable place to interact with readers, it’s just that I don’t have time. But I do belong to several groups on there, so I posted about the giveaway in one group. Post to YahooGroups that you belong to if the members are readers. Don’t forget Pinterest.
Google+? LinkeIn? SnapChat? All these are Greek to me, but some of you know how to hit the bull’s eye with these sites.
I’m sure I’ve missed some really hot social media spot, but again you don’t have to do them all. You shouldn't try to. But if you’ll go ahead and have the list of places you’re comfortable promoting on, and where you can pull a fast draw, you won’t be caught unaware by a PR gunslinger when the chips are down.
Did my fast draw work? I don’t know. But I circled the wagons, hunkered down, and gave it my best shot. I’d like to think I had a hand in the FOUR thousand plus total entries in the Tyndale Crazy4Fiction Giveaway.
What fast draw promotion efforts did I miss?
I'm giving away one signed copy of Claiming Mariah, so let me know in the comments if you want to be in the drawing to win.