I was supposed to lead a discussion at the North Louisiana Chapter of Sisters In Crime: Grave Expectations but a week of dealing with sciatica and a few sleepless nights made traveling a bit unappealing.
So, I decided to use my handout that I put together for my blog. I found a great blog post by Steff Green that laid out what I wanted to discuss with the group in a very organized manner.
Excerpts from “Using Author Blogs to Promote Your Books” written by Steff Green
Write for your Readers
Your readers don’t read your blog to find out how you market your book; they read it because they want to know more about the author and the world of their books. I actually have three blogs. This one, Creative Daze with Geri where I blog about my creative adventures, and 365 Days of Santa where I blog about my Santa crafting and collecting.
- Write a list of your favorite books in your genre. (I also recommend writing reviews or posting reviews that you’ve written for Amazon.com or Goodreads.)
- Share some book excerpts.
- Create a playlist of songs that inspired the book.
- Create a book FAQ.
- Articles about historical details in your books (if applicable). For example, the history of the type of sword used by the hero, or 10 little-known facts about the city your book is set in.
Make your blog awesome
- Main pages load properly and have no errors.
- Add and update book links, and included your book in the sidebar.
- Obvious button encouraging mailing list signups.
- Forms on contact page and newsletter signup page work.
- About Me page is up-to-date.
- Posts are free of spelling and grammatical errors.
- Images on posts are clear and interesting. (Is THIS one interesting enough?)
- Got any popular posts on topics relating to your book? Why not republish them with new dates so they are some of the first posts a new reader sees?
Plan your strategy
What you’re going to do on your own blog and what you’re going to do on other websites and platforms to draw attention to your blog.
- Excerpts from your book.
- Clippings from reviews.
- Inspiration for the book.
- Interviews with your characters.
- Bonus material such as free downloadable short stories.
- 10 interesting facts about one of your characters.
- A discussion about one of the central themes of your book.
- Post cool images inspired by your book’s setting on Facebook or Pinterest.
- Run competitions on social media or other sites, like Goodreads or Librarything.
- Run a blog tour.
- Tweet quotes from the book (works well if your book is humorous).
- Write guest posts on popular blogs.
- Host guest bloggers
- Interview other authors in your genre
- Write articles for magazines on topics related to your book.
Funnel readers into an Advance Reading Copy (ARC Readers) list
Using Mailchimp, set up an auto-responder on your primary mailing list.
After 3 days, all new signups are invited to join a second list – the ARC list.
Anyone on this list will receive a free Advance Reading Copy of your next book as soon as it’s ready, at least a month before it is due to come out. They can offer feedback and suggestions, and post early reviews on their preferred vendors. This a great tool for early reviews.
A gentle reminder to everyone on your ARC list the day before your launch will often result in several new reviews being posted – a clever way to shine a spotlight on your new release.
Create an FAQ for your book
- Why pre-order the book?
- When will I receive my pre-order book?
- Is the book available in paperback?
- Will the book be available on <insert vendor here>?
- Why is this book under a pen name?
- When will the second book in the series be released?
- I love this book! What can I do to help spread the word?
Share book excerpts
Choose your excerpts wisely. Don’t give away major plot points or surprises, and remember that your readers haven’t had a chance to develop a connection to your characters, so you can’t ask them to care deeply about them in an excerpt.
Choose 3 excerpts from the first act of the novel. One from the opening chapters sets up the story and the main character. The second introduces the antagonist, and the third showcases awesome action or shows off something cool about the world of the novel.
Create a BOOK related list
- My 10 favorite books in <insert genre here>
- 10 of my favorite romance heroines
- 20 of the coolest future technologies in science fiction novels
- 10 of my favorite murder mystery cases
Organize a book tour
Gone are the days when authors packed boxes of books into the trunk of a car and set off to sign their way across the country, fueled only by whisky, bad truck-stop food and a desire to reach as many readers as possible.
Today, a book tour can be done on a fraction of the budget.
A virtual book tour is a great way to increase exposure for your book during its launch, as well as gain more traffic to your blog and, ultimately, your book page.
You can set up a blog tour yourself, or use one of the many companies that offer such services like Enchanted Blog Tours. .
REACH OuT to Niche Bloggers
Niche bloggers are sites that cater to a specific aspect of your audience. For example, if you’ve written a romance set in a specific city, you might find lifestyle bloggers from that city who would love to write about your book. If travel features heavily in your book, contact travel bloggers. If it’s domestic abuse or disability, contact bloggers who deal with those topics.
Introduce yourself and your book and ask if they’d be interested in a copy for review. Mention that you’d be happy to be considered for an interview or to submit an article. You will soon find yourself active in these niche communities, where word of your book will quickly spread.
(I have had more bloggers that I have asked agree to feature me and my book on their blog than those who I never heard back from or said no.)
Make your BOOK Prominent across your Blog
People coming to your website aren’t just reading your most recent post. Many come from search engines to look at old posts, or might be linked to an old article from a friend.
If you want to get your book in front of their eyes, you will need to do add your book cover as a big clickable button in your blog sidebar. It s the most prominent sidebar image.
- Add book covers to the footer at the bottom or side bar of your page.
- Add links to your books and mailing list at the bottom of your posts.
- Create individual pages for each of your books with links to your book-related content (excerpts, FAQs, etc).
- Ensured your book pages are featured prominently in my navigation bar.