Let the Buzz Begin
Some days you wrote feverishly, other days you stared at a blank page. After much procrastination and then finally a stroke of genius, you finished the story that’s haunted you months, maybe even years. You probably didn’t know at the time completing the manuscript was only the beginning. The journey to “getting the call” can be heart wrenching.
You may be one of the writers who receives the call not long after the submission process. Or you can be the one of thousands of writers (including some very famous published authors) who received one rejection letter after another. Either way, when you get the call, it will be joyous time. As you begin to settle back down to earth, don’t get caught up in the myth.
Yes, the one where now all you have to do is let the book sell itself. NOT! Save yourself from heartache later. Be smart and start making the switch in your mind to marketing.
Depending on your publisher, you may receive a marketing budget or you may have to set aside a bit of your advance for marketing. There are some ideas you can implement that won’t affect your budget, but may take a bit of time management.
These days an online presence is a must. The most important starting point for your online presence is a website. You should plan to have your site online at least six months or more before your book is released. Before you received the call, you may have had a free website or blog. You should plan for a professional look for your online presence. Remember with free sites, they offer a certain amount of templates. There will probably be others using the same template as you are for their website. Set yourself apart with a customized look.
I highly recommend, if you haven’t already, secure the domain name you desire. The domain name is usually yourname.com or yourpenname.com. Even if you need to use a free website for awhile, using your domain name will enable you to start utilizing it on print materials like postcards, bookmarks and business cards.
It used to be a time when individuals started a website and waited for the crowd to find them via Yahoo or Google. With Web 2.0, it’s all about community and relationship building. There are various ways an author can establish a community using social media. Here are few ideas to consider alongside your website.
Use a Blog to Build a Platform
Having a platform is really emphasized for nonfiction writers, but this can work for fiction writers as well. If you can establish yourself as an expert on a certain topic, this could help you bring attention to your book in a subtle way.
Authors are always asking about blogging. “Should I have a blog? Do I have time to write blog posts? Will blogging be a waste of time?” If you are considering blogging, think about the subject matter of your upcoming release. Can you build on the themes of the book and create an entire blog around it? Yes, you can.
A great example of building buzz around a book was started a few months ago by author, Mary DeMuth. Her book, Daisy Chain, was recently released and she started the following blog, http://blog.myfamilysecrets.org/. Her book discusses family secrets and she collected family secrets anonymously for the blog. This was a genius way of marketing a book.
Create a Group (A Fan Club)
Many authors cringe about self-promotion, so creating your own fan club may seem a bit on the ego-tripping side. If you don’t want to set-up a group yourself, request a good friend, a book club or hire a virtual assistant to manage the group for you. I highly recommend choosing one of the popular social networks to create a group, but using a mailing list can work as well.
(a) Mailing List (ex. Yahoo Groups)
Email Group – Yahoo has had mailing list groups around probably since their existence. Many authors are more comfortable with email versus social networks. Email still remains the dominant form of communication despite the rise in Twitter and Facebook. If this describes you, go for this option. Just make sure it’s not all about you. I’ve seen a few writers coordinate giveaways and in some cases teach mini-classes or seminars.
Newsletter – The newsletter is more one way communication than an interactive mailing list group. With the newsletters, you would simply collect email addresses and send updates to the list periodically.
(b) Social Network
Facebook.com – Facebook surpassed MySpace as the most popular social network. There are a ton of authors on both, but Facebook seems to be the one where more “socializing” is actually taking place.
Authors can create either a group or fan page. The fan pages work more like a regular Facebook pages where members can post to the wall. The group pages allow for more discussion with forums.
Ning.com – Ning hit one million social networks a few weeks ago. They also have had several major improvements. If you really want a more intimate community, Ning is the best for creating your own social network. If you are a new author, I would consider building your network around a theme. Some great examples of author sites are: http://jamespatterson.ning.com/ and http://dhfanclub.ning.com/.
Shelfari.com, GoodReads.com – What better place to create a group than around book lovers. Ask your fans to post book reviews or set-up a discussion session about the book.
All of these community building ideas won’t cause you a single penny (unless you want to avoid ads). Week by week, you can build your group or community. The most important rule is to make sure you are participating and building relationships. Take the time to try out several methods. You may find one or two will really work for you. The goal - by the time your book is released, you will have quite a fan base of potential readers.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tyora Moody is a writer and web developer. The owner of Tywebbin Creations is also a social network enthusiast. You can find her online at two of her favorite networks, Facebook and Twitter. For more marketing tips and ideas, be sure to stop by the NEXT LEVEL Marketing blog at http://www.tywebbin.com/next.