Lately, so many loops have been talking about "what works" for promotion. Of course, the reply is usually, “Try lots of different methods!” And that's my approach. But in reviewing my website statistics the past few months, I've had some insights into some things that seem to be working for me, so I thought I'd share. I'm too new an author to track book buying trends and link them to specific promo successes, but overall, I'm happy with my sales, so something's working.
Before I get started, I should mention that so far I’ve been promoting e-books. My friends who have books out with NY publishers are doing pretty much everything I list below. But they also tend to do a lot more with paper promotion (book marks to give out at conferences, book signings, press kits, ads in romance magazines, etc.). Some of my e-pubbed friends have done a good deal of paper promotion, too, but I’ve opted not to at this point because of the added expense.
The following list of promo ideas and insights isn’t in any particular order. If I were going to prioritize, then I’d list websites first, since that’s the piece of promo every author in today’s market has to have. Also, I’ve added promo strategies bit by bit over time. If I’d done all of this at once, I’d have gone stark raving mad! And I’m still adding pieces, still learning.
My book trailer, which I just put up a few days ago. I put off making one because I thought they'd be really hard to do, and it's quite expensive to have someone make one for you. But I googled the topic, and read several author blogs on how to make one. Who knew I had Windows Movie Maker right on my computer? Here's what I came up with Click Here for Trailer. What's cool is that within the first few days of having the trailer up, I'm getting a significant number of website hits coming from You Tube (you can post your website link in your You Tube channel profile). I'm also getting traffic on my "trailers" page on my website, and more traffic to my MySpace page since the trailer went up. All very cool.
Blogs. I've had significant hits to my website coming from all three blogs I'm involved in as jumping off points. The group blogs tend to produce more hits than my individual author blog, but they all produce enough website traffic to make blogging worth my while.
Chats. Everytime I do a big loop chat with my fellow Loose Id authors, or with my writer friends, I get a big spike in website hits. Rock on! I've also met people on chats who have followed up later and told me how much they like my books.
MySpace. I've had fans who've already read my books friend me on MySpace, and I've had MySpace friends who haven't read my books yet buy them after getting to know me on MySpace. It's also a great place to post trailers and all sorts of other personalized info, promote new releases with event invitations and bulletins, and it's a lot of fun getting to know more people. I’ve also found it a great resource for networking with other authors I wouldn’t have gotten to know otherwise.
Paid ads with romance review sites, such as Romance Junkies, The Romance Studio, Coffee Time Romance, and Fallen Angels Reviews. I've been especially happy with the results of my Romance Junkies Feature Ad (lots of website hits, plus a snippet of my review and a buy link and two cover photos posted with the ad, and it's really inexpensive).
Yahoo loop promo. Get on KyAnn's promotion loop schedule! It's a very helpful reminder of which Yahoo loops you can post to on which days, and has simplified promo for me immensely. Yahoo loop promo has been working for me, because every time I post to the loops, I get more people signing up for my author newsletter.
Author newsletter. I've had great interactions with people who've signed up for my newsletter, especially those who win my contests (which I use to promote my newsletter and gain new members). I use a yahoo announcement only loop for my newsletter, and everyone who signs up qualifies for all my future contests. For prizes, I’ve used things like a DVD related to my book, a gift card to a national book store chain, and copies of my books.
Oh, and this tip is for people at absolute square one in the promo game--your website will be the cornerstone of your promo efforts. I've had website traffic that comes from Japanese, Spanish, UK, and German search engines, plus from all the usual places you'd expect, such as U.S. Google and Yahoo searches.
Just thought I'd share, since promo's such a headache, especially when you're first getting started.
Have a great day!