I can happily promote a blog post, but the idea of shouting about a book that I have written SCARES THE HELL OUT OF ME!
Below is me in cat form being told I will need to promote my book.
Book promotion feels like a different ball game to me.
Now, before I begin this post, please remember I am new to this. This is not a definitive guide to book promotion. I am at the start of my book journey. This will feel basic to some of you seasoned authors and I do apologise in advance. As I keep telling myself we all have to start somewhere.
I am a blogger and I feel a duty to share my experiences and hopefully someone somewhere will get some courage to do what I’ve done.
So, before my romance novel; Instructions For Falling In Love Again, was published, I had a stern word with myself. Book promotion is my weakness. I know left to my own devices I would go hide and rely on Amazon readers to stumble across my book…ranked somewhere in the vast book chart wilderness.
Also as I am an indie author I don’t have the eye-watering marketing budget the big book publishers can throw at promotion, so I know if left to my own devices I would use this as an excuse not to do any book promotion.
So, I reminded myself that my journey of publishing my romance book has been about scaring myself witless on a daily basis. If you don’t think putting a book out there is frightening, try it!
This is why I self-published because feeling scared makes me feel alive and lounging about in my comfort zone makes me slip into a form of creative unconsciousness.
Promoting my book is just another terrifying task to add to the pile.
So I began with BABY STEPS:
I wrote down all the scary things I had endured up to getting my book published; writing my book twelve times, sending the draft to a professional editor, sending my revised draft to a professional proof reader and editor, revealing my book cover and holding myself to a launch date. Once I had read the list several times I scribbled book promotion and marketing at the bottom of the page. I then reminded myself that I have overcome each task no matter how scary it has felt initially.
After this I wrote down a few ideas on promoting my book. Just looking at these ideas made the hairs on my neck stand and my gut muscles turn rigid.
I started with the social media I felt most comfortable with using; Facebook and the one I believe my readers regularly frequent. The last bit is important. Knowing where your readers are on social media is a biggie.
At the start of this journey I did not have a big personal Facebook following but I knew I had a group of FB friends who would support my dedicated author page. Putting my author page live was nerve wracking. I felt like I was making some big announcement to the world. But, it had to be done and I reminded myself it can’t be anymore scary than opening that first email back from my editor, the one where she had gone through my draft with a fine tooth comb. I asked my book designer to create a Facebook header and I went to the hairdressers, had my hair cut and then asked someone to take a photo of me looking like a writer (sat next to my book shelves). This would be my author profile pic. I then invited some of my FB friends. More friends than I expected started to like my new Facebook page.
Posting blog posts to my author FB page didn’t feel too stressful. In the posts I made sure I mentioned my book and added a promotional header, links to my Amazon page and mailing list. This was a fab piece of advice from Suzie, a blogging friend and Social Media Manager. Again more Facebook friends than I imagined started engaging with my posts. Some started sharing my posts within their own networks and I nearly wet myself.
I then built myself up to creating some Tweets with my book link in. Before doing this I asked my book designer for a Twitter header, updated my profile and pic etc. I still haven’t mastered promoting it on Twitter. I am confident about tweeting nonsense but when it comes to my book I go blank and want to hide. It is a bit hit and miss but I am trying to do it regularly. I am also trying to research book reader hashtags.
Feeling brave I decided to upgrade my book promotion fear levels – run a book promotion in my local pub!
Oh my goodness when this idea first came to me I had to have a soothing warm lavender bath to calm myself down.
This felt like a form of book promotion hell as it would mean….physically talking to local people about my book!
As I featured my local pub, Nags Head, in my book, I thought running a small promotion would be quite a good idea.
I decided to forget about the phrase book promotion and do what I do best; have a laugh and enjoy the moment. Best tip!
My pub is the perfect place for Pippa, my character, to reveal her secret to friends; Emma and Mel. This is what I do with my girlfriends. We sit round the same table on a regular basis and do exactly what is written below. It is such a friendly and homely place that I thought it would be perfect for Pippa.
Here’s the extract from my book:
My two best friends, Emma and Mel, and I are currently nestled at the back of our local pub. It seems fitting that us three are sitting here tonight, in the Nags Head. This old wooden table and the dark timber beams above our heads have been witness to all sorts of life changing news over the years: marriage proposals, engagements, failed engagements, pregnancy news (all mine), dating successes, many dating failures, promotions, sackings, significant weight losses on new diets, children securing places at good schools, house purchases, a cancer diagnosis, treatment updates, and plans for a charity parachute jump. Every fortnight we meet up in this pub and mainly dissect what we’ve already told each other, at length, on WhatsApp and texts.
I also included Simon, the landlord in my book, as the place wouldn’t be the same without him. He has a SMALL mention on page 20.
So, in a series of thought provoking images here is a glimpse into how my book promotion has gone:
This is my book promo barrel.
This is me with Simon, the landlord.
And this is Simon AUTOGRAPHING PAGE 20 of MY BOOK for interested readers. This made me laugh!
He has had readers actually requesting his autograph!
Tonight my husband and I went out for a quiet drink to the Nags Head and we had 3 readers come up to us asking me sign my book. Oh my goodness, signing a book is so nerve wracking! My handwriting is a bit of a messy scrawl so I need to work on that.
I have sold more copies than I could ever have imagined in the pub. Talking to people about why I wrote the book has not been that scary. It is has actually been quite enjoyable.
So, I want to say to other soon-to-be-authors out there who are dreading book promotion, don’t panic. You have got this! If I can get through it, so can you.
Remember taking baby steps is important.
Remind yourself about far you have come before you start promoting.
Think about where your readers hang out on social media.
Talk about your book in blog posts, include links and promo material.
Forget about the phrase, book promotion, and ENJOY the MOMENT!
I hope you have found this blog post useful.
Have a lovely day.
Here’s the link to my book if any of you are considering a read. Click here.