In these times of uncertainty and constant readjustment, digital marketing has never been more important. Quarantine and stay-at-home orders may have affected your event plans, but there are countless ways to market your book online and on social media. Read on for some helpful and creative tips for marketing your book from home! Social Media Social media is crucial for promoting your book. Though platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook might seem intimidating at first, they are a great way to grow your audience, boost publicity for your book, and further establish you as an author. Social media is a space where you can be as creative as you want, and invite your readers along for the ride. Here are some ideas to get your readers engaged and your book selling! Using the “Live” Feature Most social media platforms, like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, have an option to “go live”, or livestream. This feature allows you to broadcast from your phone. Your livestream will be available for your followers to watch in real time, or to watch later if you choose to keep the livestream up on your profile page. This allows you to connect with your readers and supporters directly and personally. There are so many ways you can use this feature! Virtual Events Virtual events are an amazing way to actively promote your book through quarantine. Maybe you were planning a reading at a local bookstore, but it was canceled. No worries -- just set up your phone and you can host your very own event right from your living room! Looking for a fun way to show off your amazing book cover? Throw a virtual cover reveal party! Not only is this a great way to get your readers excited, it’s a wonderful tool to get your readers engaged. Let them join in on the fun! Virtual events can be accessed any time anywhere in the world. Without geographic barriers, so many more people will be able to attend your virtual event and hear all about your new book. Virtual Book Club Another way to keep your readers engaged is starting a virtual book club! You could even choose your own book, hosting a discussion where you can get feedback from your readers and even answer their questions. Not only does this encourage followers to buy and read your book, but it asks them to think critically and connect with the book on a deeper level. What better way to promote a book club than a Q&A with the author? Giveaways and Contests Hosting games like giveaways and contests is a great way to engage your followers and drum up excitement for the grand prize -- your book! There are so many ways you can get creative thinking of different rules and reveals. Maybe all your followers need to enter the contest is to use a special hashtag, or post a photo promoting your book, or simply follow your profile page. Giveaways and contests work well across all social media platforms, though Instagram encourages more direct communication and visual marketing. Collaboration Collaboration in quarantine? It’s easier than you think! Let’s go back to our earlier scenario -- a canceled reading at a local bookstore. You could host a reading on your own, or you could collaborate with that bookstore’s social media pages. You could “go live” on the live feature with the bookstore, take over their “story” feature for the day, or even just collaborate on a post for their profile that promotes your event and your book. Do you have a few writer friends? Throw a virtual festival! Have everyone read their latest story or poem, again on the “live” feature. Strengthening connections will not only help you promote your book, but develop a great network of fellow writers. Maximize Your Online Presence Right now is the perfect time to work on developing your online presence. Platforms like social media and a personal website will help readers find you and your book online. Check out our previous blog post, “A Guide to Starting Your Author Website” to walk you through creating a website and all the online services Brandylane Publishers provides. Blogging Blogging is a valuable way to communicate with your readers and start building a community. There are countless ways to make blogging work for you. You could update your readers about any book news, milestones in the publishing process, and ways they can support you and your book. If you have a website, regularly posting on a blog will incentivize readers to continue visiting your site. This will give your website more traffic, which will boost the site in search engines. Newsletters If you have lots of information or fun things to share, a newsletter is a creative and direct way to ensure your readers keep up to date with any news and events. Your newsletters don’t have to be purely informative however, you can get as creative as you want! Whether you send out a monthly wrap-up of writing, book news, and publicity or you send out a poem every day of the week, a newsletter allows you to solidify a subscriber base of readers and keep them engaged with you and your book. There are plenty of platforms where you can design, write, and send out your newsletter for free, like Mailchimp. You can also see the analytics of each newsletter, meaning you can see how many people sign up for your newsletter and read your emails. Reaching out to reviewers and publications Digital networking is so important right now, and a great way to grow your network is reaching out to reviewers and publications. There are countless reviewers, bloggers, and social media influencers in the book world. Reaching out to these reviewers will grow your network, boost publicity, and gain access to new audiences. While you’re at it, reach out to a few small publications as well. These publications could review your book, feature your submitted work, or interview you about your book. Marketing your book from home has never been more important. Luckily, it’s also never been easier. Marketing online and on social media can be daunting, but we hope these tips will inspire you to get creative and get posting!
If you’re on Instagram, a giveaway can be an effective way to connect with your followers and develop your following. If you’re new to Instagram, a giveaway can help you to get a lot of followers quickly by attracting people to your profile. A giveaway can also help spread the word about your book by familiarizing people with its cover image. This is a great way to build a buzz around your book before or after its release. Decide what to give away. You can give away: a signed copy of your book any other book(s) selections from your bookshelf (winner’s choice from your bookshelf or from a specific stack you’ve curated for this purpose) bookish accessories (like bookmarks, book sleeves, or bookish merch) a gift card to a retailer (like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, etc.) General giveaways often have more appeal. People participate more when the prize is monetary and they can choose their own book in some way. However, giving away your own book will center all of the buzz around your work. Which works best for you? Figure out the logistics. Once you figure out what you are going to give away, it’s time to make some other important decisions. The most important one is deciding on a timeline. How long and when are you going to run this giveaway? Generally, we do not recommend running a contest for more than seven days. Most interest is drummed up in the first week, and after that it fades away. How will you keep your entries organized? This is especially important if you are going to permit bonus entries that include disappearing actions like posting to stories, as opposed to permanent posts you can return to later. Some people use spreadsheets or digital or written lists of all entries and assign each entrant a number. No matter your preference, you’ll need an easy way to randomly choose a giveaway winner when the time comes. What works for you? Where will this giveaway take place? If you want to host an international giveaway, be sure to familiarize yourself with international shipping rates. Some giveaway items, like a digital Amazon gift card, can be distributed anywhere, but shipping a hardcover book to Greenland may cost more than you would like to pay. If you don’t want to offer international shipping, be sure to state in the rules that this giveaway is only open to residents of your country. Develop rules for the entrants. Post clear and comprehensive rules for a giveaway to provide entrants with a straightforward understanding of what they have to do to win. LIKE-FOLLOW-COMMENT is the golden rule of Instagram giveaways. Here is an example of the rules for this typical giveaway structure: In order to participate: LIKE the post FOLLOW @brandylanepublishers *please do not follow to unfollow* COMMENT and tag 1-3 friends who would be interested in the giveaway. Instead of asking entrants to comment and tag friends, you can ask them to comment which book they would choose if they won, or answer a question related to the book you are giving away. (For example, if you were giving away a fantasy book, you could ask what special power they would have.) Bonus entries can be fun, but don’t forget that you will have to keep track of them diligently. Here are some examples of bonus entry options: Bonus Entries: SHARE the post in your story. You must TAG @brandylanepublishers for a bonus entry to count! SIGN UP for the Brandylane mailing list using the link in our bio *notify us via DM once completed* Tag up to 10 additional friends for one bonus entry per tag. Though not technically a “rule,” you will want to draft a brief disclaimer to post along with the rules. Here is an example of a giveaway disclaimer: Giveaway is not associated with Instagram/Amazon/Book Depository. Must be 18 or have parental consent to enter. Giveaway ends ______ at _____ EST. List the date and the time the giveaway will close, and don’t forget to include your time zone, since IG connects people all around the globe. If you have any other restrictions on who can win, be sure to add those: This giveaway is only open to residents of the US and Canada. Must be able to receive shipments from Amazon or Book Depository. Launch the giveaway. On your start date, share a post to let people know your giveaway has started! Share a picture of the prizes or another related picture. In the comments, post the comprehensive rules. Don’t forget to hashtag! Take a look at other people’s book giveaway posts that have had a lot of interaction and emulate their tags. Consider coming up with your own hashtag for the giveaway, like #brandysummergiveaway. Once you post your master giveaway post, share in your Instagram story and on other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. The goal is for as many people as possible to learn about your giveaway! Promote and maintain the giveaway. Promote the giveaway daily in your Instagram stories to let people know it’s still going on. You can also share another regular post about your giveaway. Be sure to indicate if people have to enter on the original post, or if they can enter through followup posts. Continue to share on other social media platforms as well. Keep track of entries, especially if you are accepting bonus entries for things you may not remember or be able to access later. Stay organized, and you will thank yourself when you’re trying to pick a winner. You’re probably getting a lot of notifications by now, but it’s important not to disable your notifications. Stay diligent about checking your Instagram account regularly. If someone asks a question about the giveaway, answer within a few hours. When new people follow you, check out their accounts and follow them back if you like what you see. The best part about giveaways is making a ton of fun, new connections! Close the giveaway. When the giveaway ends, post right away to let your followers know it’s closed. If you’re closing your giveaway in the middle of the night, schedule that post using a tool like Buffer. Go back to your original giveaway post and add a line at the top: ***GIVEAWAY CLOSED***. Be sure not to accept entries that are posted after this time. When you’re ready to choose a winner, you may choose to assign entrants numbers and draw a random number. (If one person did bonus entries, add their name additional times under additional numbers.) You may have some other way you want to select a winner. However you do it, be sure to check to make sure the winner followed all of the contest rules. If they didn’t, keep drawing until you find someone who did. Once you find a winner, share them with the world! Have fun with this part. Maybe do a video with a random number generator picking the winner, or do it on Instagram Live. There are a ton of different ways you can draw in an audience with this. After you reveal the winner, message them individually to let them know they have won. Ask for any information you need (choice of book, shipping address, favorite color, etc.) and let them know how long they have to respond before another winner is chosen (24-72 hours is a good window for this.) Not everyone checks their Instagram every day, but you should not have to wait forever. Send the winner their reward! Make this fun! Wrap their book, add a thank-you card, and use stamps or stickers to decorate. Make the winner remember you and this wonderfully fun giveaway they have won! The prettier their package is, the more likely they are to share about it on their own accounts when they receive it. That’s a whole new audience for you and your book. Instagram giveaways can be complicated, so planning is key. They are a surefire way to build your audience, spread the word about yourself or your book, and connect with “Bookstagrammers” in a way everyone can get excited about.
Social media is a big part of contemporary marketing. Many of you already have a strong presence on one or more of the “big three” platforms—Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram—but, for this month’s marketing tips, we’d like to encourage you to branch out and diversify your presence on the internet. Below you’ll find a run-down of some alternative social media sites. Have fun exploring! YouTube You’ve probably seen a number of YouTube videos, but you may not be familiar with the work that goes on behind them. It takes a lot of time and commitment to “go viral” like some of the videos you may have seen; however, maintaining a fruitful channel may be easier than you think. YouTube provides a great opportunity for everyday people to experiment with broadcast media. As an author, you will already have some experience necessary for creating a polished, engaging channel. Your background in writing will give you a leg-up when planning videos, and your talents in storytelling will enrich more spontaneous videos like vlogs and Q&As. Famous YA author John Green doesn’t exclusively make videos about books; he has several videos in which he further explains themes or passages from his books, announces and promotes his books, and recommends other books. All of this generates excitement around his books and allows him to connect with his audience. Here are some general tips for getting started on YouTube: You don’t need fancy equipment to film and edit a video. Most smartphones have high-quality cameras and come with free editing programs. If you are filming outdoors or recording a live event, be sure to check the sound quality of your recording device (the microphone built into your smartphone) in this environment before you begin. People aren’t going to stick around to finish your videos if they can’t understand what’s being said. Editing can really help to develop raw footage into a crisp, clean video! Play around with different angles, sound clips, and transitions. There are many good editing programs out there for your phone and computer. Finding the right one and figuring out how to use it will take a bit of research, but the effort you put in will definitely be worth it. In the meantime, check out this video to learn some general editing tips. If you plan on being in front of the camera, expect to initially be a little camera-shy. It takes time to get comfortable with recording yourself on video. Any nervousness you experience is normal and should not deter you from pursuing video work. Here are different types of videos that are popular on “BookTube,” but feel free to be creative and make something new! Book Review Book “Haul” Book “Tag”: themed questions about books you like or don’t like; there’s a tag for just about anything! (ex: fall book tag, Disney book tag, Halloween book tag, etc.) Writing Vlogs Learn more about YouTube Tumblr Tumblr is a great way to connect with other writers, artists, and fans through shared interests. However, the site can be a little daunting to newcomers. Although this platform is technically a blogging site, you won’t find many Tumblr accounts dedicated to the sort of “day in the life” posts typical of traditional blogs. Tumblr is a digital scrapbook and vision board where you can share pictures, quotes, videos, art, and anything else that reflects your interests. On Tumblr, you follow other users who post things that are relevant to your interests or your book, and you can repost your favorites onto your own Tumblr account. In turn, your followers will be able to repost these from you. For example, if you have written a fantasy novel, you may want to follow others who frequently post about world-building ideas, obscure myths, popular fantasy lore, cool paintings of dragons, and other applicable content. There are also several Tumblr blogs just dedicated to writing that include writing techniques, advice for other authors, writing prompts, and other things that might pique your interest as an author. You can also create content yourself. Before you go crazy with this, though, you may want to spend a bit of time on the site to see what sorts of posts are interesting to your potential readership. Then you can post sketches of your characters, excerpts from your upcoming novel, updates about a project you're working on, or whatever else you think your audience might enjoy! Be sure to tag your original posts with relevant keywords so new followers can find you easily. You can also field questions from followers by turning the question asking feature on and off as you please. Overall, your Tumblr should be a mix of original and reposted content that keeps your followers engaged and eager to check out your upcoming title. Still confused? Watch a tutorial of how to use this platform in this video. Learn more about Tumblr LinkedIn Like Facebook, LinkedIn endeavors to build your online social network. Instead of connecting you with friends and family, though, LinkedIn allows you to find work associates and make connections within your professional sphere. Having a LinkedIn typically lends a professional air to your social media presence. It is also a great way to stay in touch with people you meet in a professional capacity. Have you done a signing at a local bookstore? Connect with the owner on LinkedIn. Know a venue that’s always happy to host read-alouds and Q&As? See if they have an account on this site. LinkedIn has a built-in tutorial that will guide you through the process of setting up your account. Learn more about LinkedIn Pinterest You’ve probably seen Pinterest used for craft ideas and baking recipes, but did you know that it can be a handy tool for authors, too? Pinterest can help you promote and refine your writing. Like Tumblr, this platform allows you to browse other people's posts through tags. You can, for example, search “fantasy creatures,” “sci-fi fashion,” “victorian slang,” or whatever else might inspire your next writing piece. Once you have found a post you like, you can “pin” it, or save it, to one of your digital “boards.” You can have multiple boards organized by theme. For instance, you may have one board dedicated to writing tips, another committed to marketing advice, and one that helps you curate the aesthetic of your novel. Users who like your boards will follow you to see what you’ll pin next. You can also follow other users who save pins and create boards that you like. When you are ready, you may want to start posting content of your own. Post writing tips using examples from your book, post about the publishing process, or even post some illustrations from your story. Be sure your original content includes eye-catching graphics and links to your book! For more information on how to get started on Pinterest, check out this article. Learn more about Pinterest We hope you found our introductions to these social media sites helpful. If you do decide to build your presence on these platforms, please let us know! We will be happy to promote your content and help you along the way. And, of course, we are always here to answer questions the best we can.
When preparing for book talks, signings, or other events, utilizing several promotional avenues can bring in a larger, more diverse group of attendees. Creating a “Facebook event” can generate hype and draw in multitudes. The venue or organization hosting you may make a Facebook event, but if they don’t, creating one yourself can be the promotional boost you need to make a good event great. What Is a Facebook Event? Facebook is an invaluable tool in connecting with people and spreading news. A Facebook event is a casual, high-speed equivalent of sending paper invitations and asking for RSVPs. On Facebook, you can list all event information in one place, answer questions, and spread the word beyond your immediate network. Hosting with Your Professional Author Page Facebook events have one or more “hosts,” who are listed for guests to see. If you have a professional author page, use it to “host” your event. This means your event will be “public,” and anyone with a Facebook account can see and RSVP to your event. Invited guests will be able to share your event with their friends, and those friends can share with their friends, and so on. People in your area browsing Facebook for upcoming events will see yours listed among others. If you don’t have a professional author page, but use Facebook personally, you can still make a Facebook event! When you create an event from your personal page, you can make it public or “private,” which means it won’t show up on strangers’ newsfeeds, and you can opt to not let guests invite friends. Getting Started You can create an event from your phone, tablet, or computer, though the steps will differ slightly. ON A COMPUTER: Go to www.facebook.com and stay on your homepage, or news feed. In the left column, under the “Explore” header, click on “Events.” In the left column, click on the blue button labelled “Create an Event.” Two options immediately pop up. Click “Create Public Event.” ON A PHONE OR TABLET: Open the Facebook app and go to your homepage, or news feed. Click on the three lines in the bottom right corner. Click on “Events” under the “Explore” header. Click on “Create” in the upper right corner. Three options pop up. Click “Create Public Event.” Be sure to click “Create Public Event” if you want to host from your professional Facebook page or if you want to make a public event from your own personal Facebook page. Click “Private” if you’d rather keep the audience small and intimate. Key Information You will now be prompted to fill in some information. These items may not appear in the order listed, depending on how you are viewing. Event Host: Using the drop-down menu, click on your professional or personal Facebook page. Pictures: Facebook will ask for a picture for the event. You can use: A Facebook-suggested image A photo that you took, own, or have permission to use A public domain image A graphic flyer you or someone else has designed for your event A themed image, which Facebook will suggest if you are throwing a private event Event Name: Ideal names are brief and contain key information. For example, “Book Signing at Barnes & Noble” is too vague. Some people may only read the title, so make it specific and to-the-point. For example, “Mary B. Authorton Book Signing at Barnes & Noble Short Pump” is much more informative. Come up with creative alternatives to get people’s attention! Be prepared with basic information: Location (often, if you type the name of a venue, Facebook will fill in the address) Date Start time at least, and end time if you have one Brief description of your event. Add an itinerary if there is one, detail what will take place, and include any fun details. Keep it short but compelling. Category. This applies to public Facebook events. Yours will probably be “Art,” but may fit better under another category, depending on the event. Keywords. Keywords help people who search for your event or similar events without knowing the name of your event. They may type in “book signing” or “book discussion,” so use these keywords to your advantage! Type in “book” and see what options are offered -- but you only get three, so make them count! Unfortunately, you have to choose from their list, so do your best to represent your event with Facebook’s provided language. Tickets. If there are tickets, let people know. Otherwise, simply skip over this section. Posting and Guest List. You will also be asked about post and guest list privacy, which you can change at your discretion. Co-hosts. You can list co-hosts -- for example, the venue, other participating authors, or your illustrator. Remember that any co-host will need to also have a professional Facebook page, or you will not be able to add them.When you are done, hit “Create” to publish your event on Facebook. You will be directed to the final event page. Take a look, and if there are errors, click “Edit” under the image. When you are done, hit “Create” to publish your event on Facebook. You will be directed to the final event page. Take a look, and if there are errors, click “Edit” under the image. Inviting people It’s time to invite people! Click the “Invite” button with an envelope image under your event header, or click “Share” and then “Invite friends.” Choose from your list of friends, then click “Share” or “Invite” to send them Facebook invitations. When you invite people to a Facebook event, they may RSVP “Going,” “Interested,” or “Not Going.” It is likely that many people will not respond. This is, unfortunately, Facebook culture. A “Going” does not guarantee that person will come; a “Not Going” is usually a hard no; someone who is “Interested” will often decide at the last minute. However, do not despair! This is the nature of Facebook, and not RSVPing doesn’t mean the person will not come. Spreading the Word After you make your Facebook event, share it! First, inform Brandylane that you have made a Facebook event. We can use this in our own marketing. Share the event. Periodically share on your professional Facebook page and share on your own personal Facebook page, so your friends can see it. You can also share your Facebook event on Twitter, LinkedIn, your personal blog, etc. You can do this from the “Share” button on your event page, or copy the link in your web browser. Paste it into your post on Twitter or another site just like a regular link. Use Instagram. Because Instagram is image-based, linking can be more difficult. However, you can get creative. You can temporarily change your Instagram bio link to lead to your Facebook event, and then post a graphic about your event -- perhaps the same one you used for your facebook event picture -- with the caption “Link in bio.” This is common Instagram language that followers will understand. Just don’t forget to change the link back to your website after the event is over! Leading Up to Event Post regularly. This helps build up excitement. Those who respond as “Interested” or “Going” will receive notifications about your event posts. Share flyers or other related images, fun facts, or updates directly in the event to get people interested. Consider releasing short book excerpts or other sneak-peeks. Post by going to the event page and scrolling down until you see “Write something” or “Write post,” much like you would post on your personal Facebook. Answer Comments. If anyone comments in your event page, be sure to answer! You should get a pop-up notification through your Facebook page or app whenever someone posts in your event page, so make a point to answer in a short timeframe. How Facebook Helps Facebook events have a lot of perks. As long as a person doesn’t RSVP “No,” the event gets put on their Facebook calendar. Some people even have their Facebook calendars linked to their Google calendars. The week of the event, they will get notifications reminding them of your event. On the day of the event, they will get notifications reminding them they have an event later that day. Finally, they will get reminders an hour before the event, and at its start time. Following Up After your event is over, Facebook will automatically archive your event. However, be sure to go back to it one last time, shortly after your event, to thank guests for attending. Congratulations! You’re ready to take your book marketing to the next level. Facebook can be complicated, so don’t hesitate to reach out with questions!
First, let’s answer the question: What is a blog? Well, a blog can be whatever you want! As blogbasics.com states, “A blog is a frequently updated online personal journal or diary. It is a place to express yourself to the world. A place to share your thoughts and your passions. Really, it’s anything you want it to be.” We want to be clear, though: we aren’t suggesting it’s necessary to put personal details about yourself out to the world. However, authors can use blogging as a tool to build their following and connect with readers on a more personal level, sharing details of their writing experience and their lives as authors. Before tackling your own blog, check out this article by Jerry Low, in which he defines the key blogging lingo you’ll need to know when it comes to creating your own site. Popular Blogging Sites Free Wordpress Rating: Intermediate This broadly-known and largely accessible platform has a wide variety of website templates that allow you to personalize the look, feel, and functionality of your blog. You must create both a domain name and a web hosting account before use. For more information, visit Wordpress, or view this instructional Youtube video by James Stafford. For an example of a Wordpress blog, check out BeKindRewrite. Premium options are available on Wordpress.org. Livejournal Rating: Novice This platform creates the feel of social networking meets forums meets blogging, with a bare-bones appearance. The site is self-hosted, meaning you will not have to create a domain name or a hosting account. It can be used as a blog, journal, or diary. For more information, visit Livejournal, or view this instructional video by Live Journal, Inc. Premium options are available. Weebly Rating: Novice-Intermediate This is a self-hosted site, requiring neither a personalized domain name (unless you upgrade to Premium) nor a third-party hosting site. It is user-friendly, customizable, and compatible with mobile devices; it can be linked to your social media accounts. For more information, visit Weebly, or view their instructional Youtube video. Premium options are available. Tumblr Rating: Novice To use this site, you must create a username, but you won’t need a domain name or a hosting account. It is great for mobile devices, quick, and easy to use. Tumblr creates a social media feel with easy commenting, liking, and reblogging (posting someone else’s post to your own blog) to help people interact with your content. For more information, visit Tumblr, or view this instructional Youtube video by Jake Edwards. For an example of a Tumblr blog, check out WritersandKitties. Blogger.com Rating: Novice-Intermediate Founded by Google, this blogging platform is proven to be popular, stable, and incredibly quick to set up. You are also given the option to manage multiple blogs and adjust your privacy/viewing settings. For more information, visit Blogger. or view this instructional Youtube video by DHBW Fans. For an example of a Blogger blog, check out ReadingforSanity. Premium options are available. Wix Rating: Novice This straightforward platform offers ready-made, customizable design templates that can be personalized with drag-and-drop tools. You can also include apps and an online store, and link your social media profiles to it. For more information, visit Wix, or view this instructional Youtube video by Website Builders Critic. Premium options are available. Medium Rating: Novice Backed by the founders of Twitter, this platform is a sleek way to read, write, and post articles without the hassle of setting up and designing your own website. You can also send draft previews of your posts to individuals before officially publishing them. For more information, visit Medium, or view this instructional Youtube video by KQED Learning. Postach.io Rating: Novice Created by Evernote, a productivity app, this platform allows you to publish your content in blog format directly from your Evernote account. For more information, visit Postach.io, or view this instructional Youtube video by Jeff Herring. Premium options are available. Paid Squarespace Rating: Intermediate This platform is more for typical websites and geared toward small business owners, though you can blog through it as well. Try it out with a 14-day free trial before selecting your desired plan, which costs between $12 and $26 per month, depending on your preferences. For more information, visit Squarespace, or view this instructional Youtube video by Hop Creative. For an example of a Squarespace blog, check out AnomalyLiteraryJournal. Svbtle Rating: Novice This platform is the most basic form of blogging, intended solely for reading and writing purposes, with no customization options available. The monthly fee is $6. For more information, visit Svtble. Ghost Rating: Novice-Intermediate This platform provides a clean and simple approach to blogging, allowing you to schedule content to be published in advance and collaborate with others. Posts are edited using a simple shorthand coding system known as Markdown. You can try it out with a 14-day free trial before selecting a plan, which ranges from $19 to $199 per month, depending on preferences. For more information, visit Ghost or view this instructional Youtube video by TSOhost. Suggested Blog Topics After perusing the different blogging platform options and sample sites, you might want to consider some topics to write about! Here are a few suggestions: Describe your writing process. Tell us about what makes you tick! Do you have any special writing locations? Perhaps a specific method of conducting research for your book, developing your characters, or creating your plot? You can even discuss your general writing schedule and timeline. Other aspiring writers who might follow your blog would be interested in these details about your life as an author! Share a chapter of your book or a book in progress. Alternately, release chapters of your book at intervals like a serial radio drama to encourage readers to keep coming back. Elaborate on topics related to your book to spark interest in readers regarding what you write about. What were your inspirations for delving into certain topics? Are they from personal experience or interest? What is the broader significance or reach of the subjects you’ve broached in your work? This is a great way to share additional thoughts, feelings, and research that will bolster your book’s intrigue. Talk about your life and inspiration. Readers want to get to know your book and you! So share a bit about your background, your passions, interests, hobbies, and family. Why and when did you decide to become an author? Who/what were your biggest sources of encouragement? Share upcoming book plans, events, or projects. Do you have any promotional events coming up? Maybe you’ve got some plans for another book on the horizon; if so, let your readers know! Have you taken or received any great photos of your book with fans? Post those with an informative caption as well! Promoting Your Blog Once you’ve created content for your blog, it’s not enough just to post it and hope someone stumbles across it! You’ll want to link your blog to other platforms, or any of your other marketing efforts. You can also share your blog with us at Brandylane so we can subscribe and help direct readers your way! You should try to: Post links to your blog on your social media page(s). Share links to every blog entry after you post it. Include a link to your blog in any email updates or email blasts you may send out. If you don’t regularly send out email blasts, it would still be a good idea to share your blog with some of your personal email contacts and think about compiling an email list. Submit blog posts to Brandylane for review if you want someone to take a second look. Send excellent blog posts to other bloggers or media sites and ask them to reblog. Keep a journal or memo in your phone to note potential future blog topics. GENERAL SUGGESTIONS And finally, here are a couple of general things to keep in mind: Keep your blog writing and images clean, clear, and concise. The internet is all about quick, direct information. Use your blog to create the mood of your social media presence. This should go along with your personal brand. For example, if you are a children’s book author, you wouldn’t want your blog to be in black-and-white with no images! Or if you write dramas, you wouldn’t want your posts to be silly and carefree. Tie in photos of events, your book, etc. with posts. Blogging is visual, so images are a must! Try to blog once a month at the absolute minimum; once a week is a good goal. Blogs that post infrequently can often be mistaken for “abandoned”. Be realistic about blogging goals. Blogging is writing, but you don’t want it to cut into your actual writing time. You might aim to give each post a week for development and editing. If you want to maintain a more frequent presence, try peppering your blog with shorter pieces, even general musings or snippets of creative writing. Important information pertaining to an event or announcement about your work should be given ample time and consideration to be as clean and concise as possible. Take your time, double-check all facts, and post with enough advance that your followers can plan to be at your events. You can also include images and write descriptions in the caption box to minimize writing time if you’re in a crunch, but continue to keep your posts dynamic and interesting.
Goodreads has been called “the Facebook for books”— in simple terms, Goodreads is a social media website centered on books. While the main site exists for readers to keep track of their favorite authors and update their own reading lists, Goodreads also has unique features for authors to promote their work and connect with their readers. The site offers a program specifically for authors fittingly called “The Author Program,” which exists for people with published books, or those who are in the process of publishing a book. It is best if your work is on a bookseller’s website, like Amazon or Barnes and Noble, but they will accept any author who has published, or is publishing, a book. The best news is: this program is totally free! To join this program: You must sign up for a Goodreads account (no sign-up fee) Search for yourself and click on your published author name. This will be listed below the title of your book in the search results. If your book is available on a site like Amazon.com or BN.com, it should show up in the search results. Clicking on your name will take you to your basic author profile page. Go to the bottom of the page and click “Is this you?” This will send a request to join the Author Program. It will take a few days for your request to process, and you will receive email confirmation when they upgrade your user account to an author account (no upgrade fee). This email will provide further instructions for managing your profile Once signed up for an account, you can edit your profile, add book cover pictures, write and maintain a blog, update events, and more. Below are the two different types of profile pages with which you will interact. Book profile pages These are pages that exist specifically for your book. If your book is on a website (e.g. Amazon.com, BN.com), it will have an existing book profile page. You as the author will have ability to edit this page, but do not have to create it yourself— it will already be on the website since Goodreads is linked to these book-selling websites. You can send and post the links for these pages anywhere. Readers can access book profile pages in order to find out the following information about a book: A picture of the book cover A synopsis A short excerpt as a preview Links to purchase the book (Kindle, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, libraries, etc.) Quotes from the book Overall average user rating (on a 5 star rating scale) Reader reviews (similar to Amazon.com reviews) A list of awards (e.g. Best Cover Art, National Book Awards) Discussion boards set up by readers A list of recommendations for other books a reader might enjoy The option to recommend the book to a reader’s “friend” on Goodreads Author profile pages These are pages that you as the author can edit and are available to readers. You can send and post the link to these pages anywhere. Author profile pages give readers the following information about an author: The option to “follow” the author— this means the reader will be given updates on the author’s new books and events, or any other updates the author may make on their page A biography A photo of the author Overall average user rating (based off of the ratings on the author’s books) Links to the author’s website, blog, Facebook page, etc. Interviews A list of all the books the author has written (links to each individual book page) Upcoming author events (can be added by the author or by a reader) Quotes from the author The option to post videos Other authors the author “follows” or suggests Hold “giveaways” to promote your work Other features for authors As part of the Author Program, you will also have these options: Advertising Goodreads has a program called “Self-Serve Advertising” which is targeted for authors with “less than $500 per month” to spend on advertising. With this platform, you can create your own ad campaign, target it to the people you want to reach, and track its success. Groups Goodreads also has “A Featured Author Group,” a special group that only Goodreads Authors can create. It’s a forum where you can talk with your readers and discuss your books, writings, career, etc. This is a great place to interact with readers and promote your book! Sign up for the author newsletter, which will give advice on how to best utilize the Goodreads Author Program, including how to deal with negative comments or users, how to better connect with readers, and how to best use the program to promote your work.