How do you get people talking about and wanting your book before it’s released? If you’re a multi-published author with a track record of releasing high quality reads, it’s easier because you’ve already built your brand. What about new authors? What about those authors who may not be as new to the game but need a little boost? I think we could all use a refresher on building book buzz every now and again.
One of the great things about creating buzz is it isn’t expensive. What it is and must do is call attention to your book. Your writing. YOU (the author)! Once the buzz grabs the attention, it should create excitement and wanting for your book. So how do we do that?
Yes, the dreaded “R” word. You must do your research and find your target audience. Why waste all of your wonderfulness on people who don’t want what you have to sell in the hopes of finding those few who do want it. Instead, set yourself up for success. Find large groups of your target audience and get to buzzing there. How, you ask? The web has been a great place to find pockets of target audience since well before Facebook and Twitter. Long ago before the social media craze there were Yahoo Groups, MSN Groups and other types of groups online. Find groups specific to your genre.
Many authors are focused on taking over the World Wide Web, that they forget to start at home. Find your local target audience. I love the site http://www.MeetUp.com. You can also do an Internet search for literary events and groups in your area.
Get to know the readers who love your genre and let them get to know you, because these are the most important ones who will be spreading the buzz about your book. Yes. You need to be personable. Many authors are like me. Introverts. But when I talk books, I open up. Warning, don’t just talk about your book. Show the readers you are about more than just you all the time. Show your interest in other’s works in the genre.
Compile a list of authors and bloggers who write and/or focus on your genre. Eventually you’ll be asking these folks to buzz about your book via their blogs and such.
Compile a list of reviewers for your genre.
So now that you know where to find the readers, authors, and bloggers who will buzz for you, what’s next? Give them something to buzz about.
Many years ago, when I began my publishing journey, there was no Facebook or Twitter and many people didn’t have computers or know much about going on the Internet. There were also no smart phones… It was a very different time. Though times have changed, people haven’t. They still love getting free stuff. Back in the day, I wrote several short stories and had them edited. Stories that fit my genre. As you get to know readers, give them a free story. The best are prequels to your upcoming title. Get them invested in your characters and wanting to hear their whole story. Warning: Be sure to have these edited. This is your brand. Don’t just throw anything out there. You want it to represent what they can expect to see from you. If the readers enjoy your free story, trust me, they’ll be telling other readers about it (buzzing).
I like to upload free stories at http://www.Smashwords.com then have them distribute it elsewhere. It can take MONTHS to finally appear on Amazon and BN, but I’d rather do that than give Amazon exclusivity. I also like to post the free books on my website to draw traffic there so readers can see my other titles also.
Post a sample chapter on your website. Yes, you need to have a website where you aren’t in competition with all the noise on social media. Where you control the tone and content of the pages. Of course share your sample chapter online and everywhere else people want to hear about it.
CREATE A CONTEST
Have fun with the readers. Create contests.
A few years back, I wrote a series about four brothers. I allowed the readers to decide what order the books were written in.
I’ve had contest where I allowed readers to submit Titles for the book.
Scavenger hunts are fun. This is where you ask questions that are easy to find on your website. The reader who answers the questions correctly wins.
Stay away from contest such as rewarding for giving a review. That looks like you are paying for reviews.
Break out that list of authors and bloggers you compiled and get to making guest appearances. Write posts related to your title.
Street teams are great in some aspects but bad in others. Street teams are readers who you get to promote your book to other readers. These are great for spreading the word about your book quickly. On the other hand, many readers are starting to ignore the posts from street team members. It’s like they are starting to be considered promoters instead of readers. It’s great to have readers who are enthusiastic about your books. It’s SMART to ask them to spread the word, but if you organize a street team, make sure you don’t have them hitting the same places. Make sure they are hitting places that they usually frequent about things other than YOUR book, so when they talk about your book, it doesn’t look like they are a promoter instead of a reader.
The first thing you did was research, now go where your readers are. Everyone wants to do everything online. There’s nothing wrong with online, but when you can, get out and MEET the readers. You don’t have to conquer the world in a day or spend a lot of money. Start the buzz locally and allow it to grow organically. The readers you get to know locally usually have broader connections. You can also create events.
Obtaining reviews from review groups is a pain, but a great way to spread the word. I’m not a fan of paid reviews, but some people swear by them. Do what works for you. Obtaining reviews can take months, but go for it anyway.
When posting online, be sure to have great visuals to draw the attention of readers and be engaging. Posting a “Buy My Book” type promo falls on deaf ears. Post something of substance about a topic in your book and have a discussion. ENGAGE the readers. Keep them coming back for more and BUZZ will follow.
The most important thing about building buzz is to be genuine. I love reading and writing my genre. I am a reader first. So I always try to look at things from a reader’s point of view. Why do I tell people about so and so’s book? What draws me to so and so’s book? What will makes me want so and so’s book now? Get to know the readers and let them get to know you.