Thursday Thirteen - 279 - 13 More Author Promo Ideas

by Julia Phillips Smith

Last month, I posted about promotional ideas for authors: blogging, starting your web site, securing your own domain name, starting up your own Facebook Author Page, a Twitter author account, a Pinterest page, a Goodreads Author Page, holding online Facebook and Twitter parties, taking part in real-life events like Fan Expo and Hal-Con, and the traditional in-store book signing event.

As soon as I hit 'publish' on that post, I pushed aside all of the 'but I didn't include this' and 'I forgot that'. I figured I'd get back to it soon enough, and voila! Here we are.

1 –  One of the less obvious methods of creating interest in You as a Brand is to take part in activities in which you know your readers take a passionate interest. While taking part, make sure to document your involvement, most importantly through taking photos. If you're a Twitter user, live tweet during the event with hashtags that connect you to others who also follow the event.

Make sure to add these photos to your web site, blog or newsletter so your readers can see that you love the same things that they do.

For example, if your latest release is a contemporary romance where the main character is a quilter, visit a local quilt sale or quilt exhibition and take lots of photos of yourself near the quilts. Chances are, something about quilting drew you to give that passion to your main character in the first place, and your readers are most likely now also interested in it, or were already attracted to quilting when they picked up your book.

Encourage interactive participation: when posting your photos or when tweeting, ask your readers about their favorite quilting patterns, favorite quilting tips and tricks, or sentimental quilts they've made or owned. 

That's a picture of my husband and I unveiling a quilt made for our wedding by my husband's Aunt Carol.

2 – Take part in forum discussions that deal with topics you write about. For example, within Goodreads you can vote on lists that will take in your book's category, for example Best Vampire Novel. You can take part in a discussion on post-Roman Britain if that's the era you're writing about.

3 – Act upon events you might stumble upon as you make your way through social media. I discovered the Authors' Social Media Support Group Like / Follow Extravaganza because my writers' group friend Shawna Romkey joined it and posted about it on her Facebook page.

This event began on April 20th and continues until May 31st. We're all liking / following everyone's Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and Goodreads pages. I'm meeting tons of wonderful fellow writers and getting so many new likes and follows, I was the 10th most-followed person on Goodreads for a week.

4 – Things to remember while wearing your author hat in Social Media Land:

While it may seem counter-productive to leave your book out of posts and tweets, social media is first and foremost social. It's the great ethereal cocktail party. Simply join the conversation, give people a chance to get to know you, and don't forget to get to know other people as you mill around.

By all means, when an event attached to your book comes around, post and share and tweet about it. Until then, simply be yourself and don't drive potential readers away by constantly providing looped info about your books.
5 – If you haven't started up an author newsletter, consider launching one, especially if you're not attracted to blogging. You can coincide newsletter releases with upcoming events to generate reader participation, or you can regularly schedule newsletter editions quarterly to keep in touch with your readers.

6 – Hold contests. You can do this online on your blog, through your newsletter, on your web site, and promote the giveaway through your social media. I'm currently holding a giveaway through Rafflecopter.

Because my Dark Ages vampire novel is also a superhero origin story, I'm giving away e-copies and paperback copies of SAINT SANGUINUS, as well as six limited-edition prints of artist Ted Heeley's illustration of main character Peredur. This contest began on Free Comic Book Day, as my character has superhero aspects that appeal to comic fans as well as vampire fiction readers.

7 - Are you part of a writers' group? Brainstorm activities your group can do together, then promote yourselves with your author hats on.

My writers' group Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada recently held three panels at our local library, where we spoke to the public on different aspects of our publishing experiences, craft of writing and the writer's life. We all brought promotional materials, had a background slide show of our books and physical brochures available.

8 – Take part in events like the Brenda Novak Online Auction which raises funds for diabetes research. My writers' group has donated a fully loaded Kobo mini, stocked with e-books from our published authors.

To check out our item, CLICK HERE

9 – Book yourself onto an online blog tour.

You can tailor your tour to suit your needs. The one I just did through Black Lion Virtual Book Tours was an interview-and-review tour. For my next tour I'm going to focus exclusively on reviews.

Book tours obviously cost money if you go through a tour company, but for me the opportunity of reaching bloggers and readers outside of my normal social media circle is worth the fee. I consider it part of my ongoing promotional budget.

However, if you want to organize a free online book tour through your own blogger contacts, the only cost to you will be the time and organization, and you need those for the paid tours, as well. I did one of those for my debut release, and the fun part of that was the celebration aspect among friends.

10 – Be prepared to give away copies of your book. These can be physical Advanced Reading Copies, author copies, e-copies or free promotions through Amazon or other online retailers. You're trying to create buzz, and the money you've 'lost' on not selling these copies becomes money you've spent on promotion, the same as you would have spent it on any other form of PR.

If, for example, your limited free Amazon promotion leads to thousands of downloads which then pushes your book onto the Top 10 Free bestseller list, your book will show up in thousands of customer views of 'if you liked this author, you'll also like this author' recommendations.

Many authors who have done this recommend waiting until you have a second book in a series before offering your free promotion. Once your new readers have gobbled up Book 1 for free, they will be overjoyed to pay for Book 2. 

11 – Seek out reviews. Ask your readers to post reviews for you on the back page of your indie release, remind readers to post reviews on your social media pages and ask readers in person to post reviews. Many of your non-author friends who were overjoyed to read your book may think that only professional reviewers post reviews, or that they have to come up with an English-essay-style piece of reporting, when all you need is a few lines in the customer review section.

The more reviews, the merrier as far as online algorithms are concerned.  
12 – Find an online book podcast and do an interview. I've done two so far, and they've been fun.

13 – Produce a book trailer for your new release. I've done three of them so far, which I wrote and directed (produced by Charlie Mac Productions.)


What are your promo tips?

Photo by Helen Tansey

Visit my web site

Find me on Facebook

Follow me on Twitter

Find me on Pinterest


  1. I don't have any promo ideas. I'm bookmarking your site for tips when I publish. Thanks.

  2. Good tips. Being present at a cocktail party is a good way to think about social media. No one wants to talk to the salesman who only wants to sell. I guess it depends on the model. For poetry there's more on on one sales than say, romance novels or vampire novels that tend to move more volume because they are consumed more quickly.

    Being part of the community is doing reviews too. A newspaper column that provides useful or entertaining contnet may get your name out there. Being off-topic and a person is good, if not a ploy to move your product. It's a tricky navigation to remain genuine person and not care about sales while also making sales possible. Always carry a book with you, well-protected so it doesn't get dinged around. I'll look it up may never become a sale. Maybe having it on you won't either but it may be memorable.

    LinkedIn has writers forums but they're mostly newbie self-publishing. FB has writer forums. There's blogger meetups and writers conferences, writers workshops. Those tend to be peer-to-peer rather than writer to mass audience. You can do signings in book store chains, arrange readings with a few other writers so that the audience of each becomes the audience of all the group at least for the reading. Visibility may make more sales but might not translate to sales.

  3. I love this Julia! I am not so awesome at promo. I struggle but these are some fantastic ideas.
    Branding is a HUGE issue and I have worked on that. Excellent post.

  4. Great post Julia! I am definitely bookmarking this for future reference!


Post a Comment

We would love to hear from you but hope you are a real person and not a spammer. :)

Popular Posts