A common query Becca and I get is, “Why do you do what you do?” It’s a fair question, because in order for us to coach writers through our books, speaking, and our One Stop for Writers site, we’ve had to temporarily put our fiction-writing on hold. Not an easy decision. But the fact is we love to see dreams realized. This is why we do it. As writers ourselves, we know the power of THIS particular dream–a book in hand, our name paired with the title, and the knowledge that readers are losing themselves in a world we’ve created.
We celebrate each time someone we know achieves this dream–and how could we not? It’s so wonderful to see all that hard work pay off! Today, we are celebrating because our friend Kristen Lamb has just released her first mystery thriller, The Devil’s Dance.
Many of you know Kristen and the giant heart she has for writers. She has such passion for those of us in this industry and gives her all every day through her blog and the relationships she builds. So when someone so authentic and genuine rounds the fiction horn, well, we can’t help but cheer especially loud!
I’ve been away the last month in Italy, but the book is on my kindle now and I can’t wait to read it. I hope you’ll check it out too. But first, let’s look more at book releases in general and talk about what we can do to help the authors we know.
Launching a Book: Behind the Scenes
When an author releases a book, it’s all smiles and excitement…on the outside. What we don’t see is the anxiety going on within: will this book find its readers? Will it become lost in the glut of fiction available? If I share my excitement too freely, will people see it as unwanted promotion?
These worries are universal among authors. And, with the saturation of promotion these days, it’s important we don’t push a book too hard ourselves. Inside, we hope others will step up and help.
(And BOOM, this is what community is about, right? Stepping up!)
So if you know an author like Kristen who is releasing a book and you want to help, here’s a few things you can do (beyond the obvious of purchasing the book).
1: Ask your local library to bring the book in. Many libraries have an online form and they often pay attention to requests. Click here to find a library near you…and why not request Kristen’s book while you’re at it? 🙂 If it is an ebook release, first encourage your author friend to make the ebook available to a service like OverDrive.
2: Leave a review. This is the clear obvious one, but often people stop at only submitting it to Goodreads or Amazon. Please cut and paste the review to all the main sites the book is being sold (Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and if it applies, Smashwords.) For example, you can review The Devil’s Dance on Amazon and Goodreads. It wasn’t at LibraryThing, so I added it (if you’ve read this book, please give it some review love?)
3: Place the book on appropriate lists. If you loved reading the book, help others find it. Goodreads has many great lists you can add books to, or start your own. Using Kristen as an example, you’ll see her reviews are excellent. Think of how much it will help her if reviewers add The Devil’s Dance to some of the “best” lists so others also find it.
4: Visit Pinterest and pin the book & link to appropriate boards. We want to get that cover and link out there, right? If you have a board for books you love, add it. Look for group boards you can contribute it to (if the book’s genre is a match or it covers an area of interest that the board is about). Another tip: if you write a similar book as your author friend, then pin their book to boards where yours is. Why? Well, looking at Kristen as an example, she’s got a very strong brand. If I wrote in the Murder Mystery/Suspense/Thriller genre and my book was similar to hers, I would want our books to show up together as it may help my own book gain visibility.
5: Blog about the book or author. If your blog audience is readers who may like this book, please blog about the book. It doesn’t have to be full of promo–just tell your readers what made it special, and link to the book and the author. Or ask the author for an interview, or to guest post. These posts can then be shared on social media, finding even more readers. In Kristen’s case, featuring her and her book is also good for you too, because it is easier for her to share a post on YOUR blog than her own. She’ll send readers your way so they discover you as well!
6: Share the author’s content when it fits your audience. Authors are in many places, which gives us an opportunity to help their content be found by retweeting and reposting…as long as it matches our audience. Chances are, your author friend may have many social accounts. You can help them find their readership by connecting with them in these places. Let’s take a peek at Kristen. A social media maven, she has many accounts: twitter, facebook, an amazon author page, a goodreads profile, instagram, Google +, she’s at linked in, and has a you tube account. Like most authors she has a website…but she also has another space, the WANA tribe.) So wherever your author friend is online, find them. If you use the same networks, reach out, and share their content to help people discover them. Our industry is all about relationships and we help one another become more discoverable. If you are passionate about your friend’s book you can also share it on Instagram as it’s a great visual platform for book covers.
7: Up vote their best reviews on Amazon so they rise to the top. This is a simple thing that can really help! Simply “like” the best reviews that you agree with so these are the first ones potential readers see.
8: “Stumble” the author’s blog pages which will best help readers find them. StumbleUpon is something that’s been around forever. This site allows you to submit pages to be “stumbled,” meaning that people who are interested in that page’s content (which you create tags for) may find it when they use the Stumble it tool. You can submit your own posts (which I do) and traffic comes from those pages & tags FOREVER. Handy right?
So sign up for an account, and find a page or two from your author friend’s blog that tie into their book. Submit these by clicking a toolbar Thumb’s Up icon you’ll add to your toolbar, and create appropriate tags. Here’s what I did for Kristen’s book page.
9: Use your connections. Sooner or later we all realize that marketing is all about relationships, not promotion. You know people. I know people. Chances are, these aren’t the same people. If you can think about a connection you have (in real life, online, in media, etc.) that might help your author friend, then do what you can to make a match. Trust me, what goes around comes around. Even with someone like Kristen who is super-ultra-mega connected, Becca and I do what we can to help her–for example, to frequently recommend her as a speaker for conferences and workshops. To date this has been more with a writing or social media and marketing realm focus, so we’ll have to now figure out how to best try and raise her visibility with influencers in the mystery/thriller market specifically.
10: Ask what they need. This one is the most important, and I don’t know about you, but I am pretty terrible about asking people for help. (I like to be the helper, not ask for help, and frankly this hurts me a bit.) I think a lot of authors are like me so if you have an author friend who has a book out, ask them how you can best help. Marketing a book is tricky. Often other people can promote more directly than the author themselves can. Your offer of help will likely erase some of the anxiety that hits when your author friend is grappling with book marketing.
We’re all in this together. Let’s help one another out the best we can!
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