Book Promotion: What’s Hot, What’s Not

These days there are so many ways of promoting a book—yet also so many chances of that book not being noticed at all in the flood of promotion that washes over people daily. So as an author, what do you do? In this post I’m listing a few things that have worked—and not worked—for me. These are very personal observations of course; you may have had a totally different experience.

What’s hot:

Cover reveals on social media—accompanied by an intriguing ‘tag.’ These can start a buzz well before publication.

What’s not:

Book trailers on You Tube or similar channels. Heaps of fun to make but in terms of effects on sales, pretty much nil. You don’t get half as many people looking at them, compared to cover reveals. However, as long as they don’t cost you heaps of money and time to make, there’s no reason to not do it as it can be a nice adjunct.

What’s hot:

Interviews with local radio stations—a brilliant promotion, in my experience, although that may be because at our local radio station there are at least two presenters interested in books and publishing. They and their producers are very keen on local publishing/literary news stories. I have had many people over the years say they went to their local bookshop to find a book I’d spoken about on radio. If you have a similarly engaged presenter on local radio, cultivate them; it’s really worth it.

And by the way in my experience local TV can be good but is hard to get on board.

Book launch for ‘Jules Verne’s Mikhail Strogoff’. Photo by Sophie Masson

What’s not:

Blog tours. Great for the bloggers but a fairly large amount of work and time-consuming for the author doing the tour—as either you have to write separate guest posts or answer interview questions over the whole tour. And you can’t just recycle the same guest post, of course, or insist on the same interview questions. My experience is that the payoff in book recognition isn’t necessarily there, especially given the amount of work you have to do.

However, interviews/posts on blogs often work really well. I just think it’s better, for an author, to restrict them to one or two blogs at a time for any one book.

What’s hot:

In-person visits to schools and libraries. These small, single-author events often work much better, in my experience, than being included along with a whole lot of other authors in a festival program. Poets have long known that performance poetry events are a great place to sell books: it’s the same for authors in other genres. I like to get in touch with the local bookshop in the place I’m visiting, to see if they want to come along to the event and sell books: this is a good way of not only avoiding having to cart large numbers of books with you, but also the bookshop will continue selling them afterwards, as they have had the personal contact with you.

What’s not:

Facebook and Twitter ads. You might get thousands of ‘likes’ but not a single sale out of them; ‘organic’ or unpaid-for posts are much better, especially if you angle them less like ads and more human interest—with good photos! Instagram is a good option too, but only around photos and just a few intriguing words—not too promotey-sounding either.

What’s hot:

Reviews in good print and online journals, magazines and blogs. And good early reviews can be used as part of promotion for the book.

What’s not:

Don’t expect too much from local newspaper pieces about your new book. Unlike with radio interviews, for some reason, though people will often say they saw it in the paper, it doesn’t seem to unleash a ‘get thee to a bookshop’ type of reaction. Perhaps, as far as traditional media is concerned, the radio interview more closely resembles the ‘word of mouth’ or ‘viral’ effect that is the Holy Grail of promotion. However don’t let that put you off doing newspaper interviews—they are fun and are good to have on hand if you are putting together a promotions scrapbook.

What’s hot:

In-person book launches. They are still a lovely way to celebrate the book with your family and friends—worth organising for yourself: even if your publisher isn’t doing one, they can usually help with posters, flyers etc, electronic or print. You can also have a virtual launch of course but I’ve never organised one or found them satisfactory to attend. You may well have a different experience of course.

What’s not:

Book signings, unconnected with a launch—you rarely get enough people coming, unless it’s for an event.

What’s hot:

Posts on your own blog, if you have one, about the story behind the book—readers like to know not only about the inspiration but the process. I have found that making sure my blog has a mix of stuff about my own books and other people’s, and interviews not only with creators but also publishing professionals, brings in a lot of readers. Doing that makes the blog feel a lot less like self-promotion and more about being involved in the wider literary/publishing landscape. And that’s a lot more fun!

What’s not:

Flooding your social media networks—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, whatever—with promotional posts about your books. People stop looking after a while.

Over to you: What’s your experience of book promotion, and do you have any other tips for what’s hot and what’s not?

By
Source: writerunboxed.com

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