Imagine this scenario. Your writer friend, an agency mate, or one of your favorite authors has a book coming out. Even though you’re eager to spread the word, the book won’t be released for several months. The wait seems endless, but you want to do something. Now.
I’ve faced this dilemma many times. In the past I toughed it out, contenting myself with sending encouraging messages to the author, tweeting about how eager I was to read the book when it hit the shelves, and admiring the cover on the booksellers’ sites.
All that changed this week. My friend and agency mate Katie Ganshert has a book coming out in May, and I want to do all I can to help her promote it. Fed up with nibbling my nails while waiting for the release, I engaged my gray matter, coupled my brainstorming with creativity and tenacity, and found 12 ways to help promote Katie’s book, Wildflowers from Winter, before the booksellers begin shipping it to eager readers.
1. Place a pre-order on a bookseller’s site. I chose to place my pre-order for Wildflowers from Winter on Amazon. The pre-order will help boost Katie’s sales. On the release day (or perhaps sooner), Amazon will fill all the pre-orders at one time, creating a surge in the book’s stats and moving it higher on the best sellers ranking. That can help draw attention to Katie’s book, leading to more sales, which will make Katie and her publisher happy.
2. “Like” the book on Amazon. The cute little “like” icon is found beneath the book’s title. All it takes is one click, and you’re done. The more likes there are, the more likely a person taking a peek at Katie’s book is to read the book’s blurb and place a pre-order.
3. “Tag” the book on Amazon. Tags are words that customers associate with a book and are likely to use when they perform searches. If you look at the page for Katie’s book, Wildflowers from Winter, and scroll down to the “Tags Customers Associate with This Product” section, you’ll see at least six tags. I know, because I added them.
The more people who agree with the tags that are there, the more likely it is that Katie’s book will appear when readers perform searches using those tags. It’s easy to agree with the tags that are already there. Just click the box in front of each tag. There’s a place at the bottom of the section to add additional tags if you’d like.
4. Share the book’s Amazon page with others. You will find buttons under the pre-order box on the right. There’s an envelope button. Pressing it will give you a window in which to compose an email message. Using the Facebook button enables you to post the book’s information to your wall. The Twitter button gives you an easy way to share a link to the book’s page with your followers.
5. Share the book’s Barnes & Noble page with others. On the Wildflowers from Winter page at Barnes and Noble, you will find a +1 button for Google Plus and a Facebook like button just below the title on the right hand side of the book’s page. Pressing the buttons will help you spread the word about the book on those two sites.
6. Share the book’s Christianbook.com page with others. Because Katie’s book is an inspirational romance, you can find Wildflowers from Winter on Christianbook.com. In the middle of the page below the book’s title and price information, you’ll see four buttons, which enable you to share the link to the page via email, Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus.
7. Share the book’s Goodreads page with others. If you’re a member of Goodreads, a site where readers hang out and discuss books, visit the Goodreads’ page for Wildflowers from Winter. In the “Share This Book” section in the sidebar on the right, you’ll be able to press the buttons, which enable you to share the link to the book’s Goodreads’ page on Facebook, Twitter, or your website. You can +1 it on Google and “like” it on Facebook, too.
8. Add the book to your shelves on Goodreads. Go to the Wildflowers from Winter Goodreads page. Underneath the book’s cover, locate the “Add to My Books” button, and choose the “to-read” option. The more people who list the book as one they’re looking forward to reading, the better the chances are that others will take notice of the book and place a pre-order for it on one of the booksellers’ sites.
9. Become a fan of the author on Goodreads. Go to Katie Ganshert’s author page on Goodreads. Underneath her stunning photo, click the “Become a Fan” button. The more fans she has, the more she’ll attract the attention of potential readers.
10. “Like” the author’s Facebook group page. Search for the author’s name on Facebook and see if there is a group page. The titles of the pages will vary. Some authors use their names with Fan Page after them. Others precede or follow their names with Author. Still others use Reader Group after their names. It’s easy to tell if the author has a group page because, if so, the name will appear at the bottom of the search findings under the “Pages” heading. The name of Katie’s Facebook group page is Author, Katie Ganshert.
11. Invite the author to be your blog guest when the book releases. Contact the author and issue an invitation to be a guest on your blog. Be sure to specify what kind of post you’re offering: an interview, an article spot, etc. Authors know they have a small window in which to generate interest in their books, so they like to plan interviews for that time well in advance. While their schedules may already be full when you approach them, they’ll be grateful you did even if they haven’t any openings left.
12. Offer to serve as an influencer. It can be daunting for authors to ask people to read their books, especially a debut novel. It’s a bit like saying, “Will you agree to read my story and say nice things about it?” Receiving a request to fill an influencer spot can help take some of the pressure off. However, bear in mind that authors receive a limited number of author copies and may not be able to honor all the requests they receive.
These are some ways we can help authors with their promotion efforts as they await the release of their books, although the list is far from complete. Can you think of other ways?