A fellow Indie Author, Ruth Nestvold, has written a phenomenally comprehensive list of "things to do and places to go" whenever you have a book in the KDP Select program going on one of the 5 "free promo days" that are part of that program. I won't repeat all the links in today's Tuesday Tip because why reinvent the wheel? Click here to read Ruth's original blog post with all the clicky links.
Instead, my post will filter out the links and the lists of "where to post about your free Kindle book" and focus on the activities. I'll discuss 3 different kinds of special promo events you can do because, really, it's important to publicize any promotional event, not just "free days at Kindle." Sorry, Amazon, but you are not the only game in town. Then I'll discuss 8 ways to promote your event. Click through the jump-break to start now.
3 Types of Promo Events to Publicize
There are practically an unlimited number of variations on the type of "event" you could run to promote a book. Any event, no matter what it is, requires you to publicize it for it to be a success. If you want people to know you're doing something, you have to tell them. I know this might sound obvious, but oddly enough, far too many Indie Authors do run promotional activities and then fail to publicize the fact. To learn more about Publicity, read a bit of yesterday's Monday Marketing blog on Immutable Laws of Branding 3 and 4 (for Indie Authors) here.
Typically, this means you're giving away a free copy to one or some small, limited number of winners. It can also be a case of your deeply discounting the book for a limited time. The finite period of availability and the "gift" aspect are the key points. As such, you should publicize those two points. That's why they usually are advertised with slogans containing "for a limited time only!"
Giveaways can be done via Rafflecopter on Facebook, via Goodreads embedded feature (for paperbacks only but eBook giveaways are in beta), via coupons on Smashwords, via your own web site or another person's web site (fellow author, book blogger or "deal broadcaster" site like Ruth has listed) and of course, via Amazon's KDP Select program's "5 free days" per 90-day enrollment.
2) A Book Club Selection
If you can get a group on Goodreads to select your book for their monthly read (or even "secondary read"), you can get your book in front of more eyes--and on Goodreads, if Person A is reading a book and has 500 friends who follow their reviews, then Person A and their 500 friends will hear about your book. Goodreads shelves and group reads have an extremely viral effect but you have to take the steps to promote the effect.
Goodreads in particular has tools to make your book visible. You can make a topic (discussion thread) be "about" a book. If you fill that field in with your book, the discussion thread will show up on a list of "Topics about this Book" at the bottom of your book page. That means anyone viewing your book page has a chance to see the topics and join in. Goodreads also makes sure everyone's news feeds are filled with "news" about who's reading what and when (currently-reading, to-read, and read shelves are standard for every account plus users create customized shelves on the fly), as well as what they think of it so far (users can updated interim "status" remarks, basically reviewing a book, piecemeal, as they go along).
If you can get your local library to offer your book as a selection for a genre book club, you'll get exposure not only to the members of the club who read your book but anyone in the library at the time the club meets who notices the flyers posted about it or the group of people actually meeting. Library-based book club gatherings are getting fewer and further between but they still exist. You need to go out and find them. If you list your book with Smashwords, you can opt into the Baker & Taylor distribution to libraries in the United States.
3) Author Interview
If you can get yourself profiled as an Author, you can mention your book - obviously. Getting interviewed can be as simple as offering yourself up to book bloggers. If you don't know how to find book bloggers, join some groups on Goodreads and ask. There are book blogger groups on Goodreads, like the one I'm in, Creative Reviews, and these folks are always looking to do Author Interviews and Book launch features. It's book news so it's content for their site. You'll have to get onto a waiting list for the higher-traffic sites, but this is why we must plan ahead as Ruth noted. ^)^
Ruth's List of Promo Activites To Cover
Because Ruth wrote such a great, comprehensive list, some of you might have skimmed it or wondered what to do if your book's not in the KDP Select program. Ruth's list applies whether we're talking Kindle or not, you just have to Adjust your thinking (to borrow a phrase from my SciFi novel, Conditioned Response).
1) Twitter. Tweet, tweet, tweet some more. Not more than once an hour but be sure to compose at least 50 promo tweets (different from each other) and save them to a plain text file for future reuse. (Click here for a blog I did on how to write headline style tweets.) If you're not on Twitter, don't admit that "proudly"; rather, reconsider the enormous power of reaching that worldwide audience. It's the #1 fastest-growing social media site for a very good reason.
2) Post to your Facebook Page. If you only have a personal Profile and have not yet created a Page, take this opportunity to be your impetus to create one now. The Page will become attached to your Profile; it's not a separate account but it behaves differently. A Page is a community-builder. A Profile is for personal "friends." You are a public figure. Create a public Page, not a personal space. (Read a blog I did on the differences between Pages and Profiles and another here about the new Timeline format.)
3) Modify the tags on your book--not just on Amazon, everywhere. If you go to other bookseller sites where your book is offered for sale, you have the option to enter or update the tags associated with that book. If you cannot figure out how to do it as the Author, just log in as a "reader" and tag the book. Add tags relevant to your promotional activity ("free," or "giveaway" are a good start. Ruth has other suggestions in her original post).
4) If you don't already have your book set up on Amazon's Shelfari, do it now. This second. You can promote your book using Shelfari Book Extras. Personally, I prefer Goodreads for community and reading clubs, but Shelfari Book Extras are amazing. (Click here to read a 2-part blog I did on Shelfari Book Extras - or if you prefer direct links, here's Part 1 and Part 2).
5) Be sure to add an announcement of your special event to your Goodreads Blog (Click here to add one if you don't already have one started). If you're a member of LilbraryThing, be sure to announce your promo there, too. I don't know much about LibraryThing yet. It doesn't seem very user-friendly to me. It's actually less-appealing than Shelfari if that's possible. I'm biased. I'm a huge fan of Goodreads. If you know of or are a member of any other book-reading site, announce your book's promo event there.
CAUTIONARY NOTE: Make sure you don't blitz-attack your potential reader community. If you want to make a comment in an ongoing group discussion about your book, and it's relevant to the ongoing discussion, fine. Otherwise, only post in the "advertisements" folder. Most groups will have created a place for Authors to go and place their advertisements. Most groups are so fed up with Authors sales-pitching and advertising outside of those folders, they'll summarily delete your posts elsewhere and, if you persist in reposting them, they'll delete you from the group. That is not the way to get readers. Be gentle. Be present and participatory before you broadcast your spammy sales pitches. Be a person not a seller, and the readers will listen.
6) Create a Google+ Hangout to announce your promo event. Since Google decided to delete my Webbiegrrl presence on GooglePlus as a "not a real person" account, I have not had any opportunity to get to know anything but the negatives about GooglePlus. I know they are invasive and data-track every move you make. I know the ad-heavy environment is set up to be sales-pitch centric. I know the pixel-tagging will definitely slow down I/O heavy activities like video playback. I have no clue what, if any, good comes from creating and using a Hangout. Seems like a lame attempt to create a Facebook Page crossed with a discussion forum. Except Google listens into and tracks every character typed there. No thanks. I'll pass.
7) Create a LinkedIn profile and add a publications section for your books. If you haven't already done this for each of your books, do it now. Click here to read the thin help on LinkedIn about how to create this new section. It's not very complicated though. I did it. Click here to see mine for Dicky's Story. The key step is that, after you create the section, be sure to edit your profile and click/drag the section up to the top, to make it visible. You can even create a new section (not a publication) just for the promo event, like adding a banner ad on your profile.
8) Post anywhere else you can think of -- such as, Addicted to eBooks. I've never used them, but they sure look interesting. Thanks, Ruth! If you post on Twitter using any of the Author-related hashtags, you can probably find endless lists of accounts that want to tweet about "bargain books." If your book's going to be free, be sure to contact them all. Use Ruth's list of links to start, but do your own research, too. There are a LOT of book-related tweets going around Twitter. You just have to spend a few hours to extract some of them. Do it once and save the list to a file (or be generous and share it in a blog post, like Ruth did :-))
Next Monday's Marketing blog will address Immutable Law of Branding 5 (for Indie Authors): Law of the Word. Hah! Should be a good one, right? ^_^ Hope to see you then.
Next Tuesday's Tip will look at how to digitally autograph your eBooks for giveaways and special gifts using the freeware tool Calibre. If you haven't ever seen or used this tool, get a copy here.