Monday, November 12, 2012

Tips & Tricks...

I've been looking into ways people promote their books these days. I'm gearing up and making notes for myself when the time comes. There are lots of good ideas out there.

Some of the things I notice, though, are lots of authors don't really know or understand how to use Twitter. I never really got into Twitter until recently and I find it fun. I'm learning as I go all the time.

For instance, I'm learning a bit of the lingo. Things like #FF, SO, #Amwriting and the like.

#FF = Follow Friday. This is where you list people you follow and feel like mentioning to help them get followers. I've been mentioned dozens of times and I'm close to reaching the 1,000 followers mark.

SO = Shout Out. I do this when I go under Connections to see who my new followers are. If I am already following them or choose to follow them at that point, I tweet a couple of shout out's to them, listing their user name. It helps a lot, especially when trying to build a follower base.

#Amwriting = just that. You're telling people you are currently writing. Share your word count. With the hashtag there, you're connecting with other people in this thread and more than just your followers can see this. There is also #amreading, #Amediting and similar things.

I've got lots of publishers, reviewers, editors and authors in my list of people who follow me and I follow back. I am just now finding people to follow who play Lord of the Rings Online. Even World of Warcraft. I've been trying to tweet every blog post I read, but sometimes forget. But I am trying to make it part of my routine. Oh, and if you don't know what a hashtag means on Twitter, Google it! I have found lists of definitions.

Other promotions I've seen are banners and book trailers. Two things I am currently gearing up to do. I have a couple of book trailers I've done for people (for free) simply because I'm learning and trying to get a feel of just how much to charge. Sorry, I don't have special equipment to make super spectacular, mini movie book trailers and so I feel $450 is just far too much. Yes, I know about the licensing needed, but again, I'm learning a LOT about this and still think that's too much money for some of the trailers I have watched. Seriously.

I also hear about bookmarks and postcards. I wonder, is this really something that is still a good promotional tool? Bookmarks, maybe. Postcards? Dunno. I would think, not so much. But I am going to do bookmarks and I already have my new author trading card from Word Weavers.

My Word Weavers Author Trading Card

At this stage, finding reviewers for my book is definitely not a problem. But what if you don't know reviewers? There are reviewers everywhere. There are review groups everywhere as well. If you are a reviewer, list where you are willing to post the reviews. When I review a book, I post it everywhere the author needs or wants me to post. The more exposure the better.

So what do you do? What do you think of Twitter? Do you do something out of the ordinary to promote your books?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

There are reviewers for every genre imaginable.
My publisher created both bookmarks and postcards for my books, so I guess they are still relevant.

Hart Johnson said...

I'm still a twit. I believe it might be easier to follow if I were on crack, but as it is, I have trouble. My current frustration is that I have hit the cap on how many I can follow unless I get more followers. I dived in too enthusiastically and just followed back every which way, and so now I can't follow people back, which is really frustrating.

I find it takes too concentrated an effort, though, too. I mean it's great for some--I have a friends who found her first several publishing opportunities there (calls for submissions at Samhain and Carina) so if you GET IT, I think it can be great. I just really don't.

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

When my book came out last year, I did have postcards made. And I mailed them to all the people from my past that I could think of - people I'd worked with etc. Also, mine is a kid's book, and I do classroom visits, so I like to have some to hand out. Bookmarks would work there, but either way. And, I'm having a signing at a B&B, and they will use the postcards to invite people to come. So, I think if you're creative, they are useful! I sent them even to even awful old bosses, because they might just be curious enough to buy the book! I'm trying to get the hang of how to really use twitter effectively. I think it makes sense to make a list of follower id's - folks with lots of FWs, and then put them at the end of your tweet.Usually, they will retweet. Boy, I said a lot = sorry!!

Mel Chesley said...

I've been wrong before, Alex and it won't be the last time. I like the idea of bookmarks and if postcards are still relevant, cool!

Hart, I think I am following you on Twitter, I will have to check. I can always try to send people your way. But I agree, that is super frustrating to not be able to follow anyone back.

Melissa Ann, No worries! I leave mini-novels as comments all the time. And that is so cool! Doing a signing at a B&B. Now that is where a postcard is a great promotional tool!

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

I have no idea what's good or relevant with marketing. I think making good friends with people online though is a sound place to start.

Unknown said...

I need to use writery Twitter hashtags more often and use it to connect with more people. Thanks, Mel :)


Carol Phipps said...

Hey Mel,

I've gotten pretty heavy into Twitter lately and have made a lot of friends and met some pretty cool people. I still find it hard to keep my message to 140 characters and still make sense! LOL! Hashtags are great, within reason. I've found some (a lot, really) tweets with a hashtag for practically every word and it makes their tweets fairly in comprehensible. I read a tweet that suggested you limit thew number of hashtags per tweet to no more than 3, so I've tried to follow that rule myself. So far, it has worked quite well.

Mel Chesley said...

Michael, I totally agree with that statement.

Jamie, my use of hashtags has increased my followers by quite a bit! Absolutely try it.

Carol, I've seen messages like that as well, with so many hashtags I can't read it. But I try not to do more than 3 at any given time anyway, so it works.

Allison said...

I tried Twitter for a while but I just couldn't stay interested. I can see why it is attractive as it does connect you with thousands of people.

Allison (Geek Banter)