Authors often get so caught up in the process of writing and publishing their books that they often forget that the book is only 50 percent of the game. In fact, of equal weight and importance is the marketing and promotion. Truth in storytelling: you can publish a well-written, award-worthy book but if no one knows it exists than what's the point? It will gather dust on the bookshelf. So, here are three mission-critical tips to promote your book:
Virtual Blog Tours -- the blogging world has grown exponentially. The book review bloggers are an underground wealth of sales. Diehard reviewers from small one-person blogs to larger blogs such as Fresh Fiction can build a ground swell of interest in your book. I like to call this grassroots attention. You start with the smaller bloggers who like and recommend your book and then you get the attention of the larger blogs. It's like she told two friends and so on and so forth. A virtual blog tour also means you don't leave your desk. You literally do interviews and participate in the tour without having to travel, which is nice.
Distribute Advance Review Copies (ARCs) -- the problem I face with authors is impatience when it comes to the distribution of ARCs. Many authors won't give us a chance to do the ARC promotion -- they are eager to get the book on Amazon and earn those quick early sales. Words of wisdom, though, the ARCs are critical for the larger book reviewers who consider a book old once it's released on Amazon. They only want to see pre-releases, and your book will get overlooked since in their eyes it's suddenly old once it's on Amazon. ARCs typically go to larger tier 1 media that includes the likes of the New York Times, Redbook, More Magazine and other broadcast media such as the Today Show or Good Morning America. As a smaller author, these media outlets are difficult to get attention, but should you get their attention your book's sales could skyrocket so it's worth a try to get them an ARC.
Social Media -- Facebook and Twitter are two key social media sites worth building for an author's audience. Authors can use social media to promote and make announcements about media appearances, book reviews, and articles about their books. It can take a great deal of effort to build up social media connections, so it's best to start with a fan page on Facebook. You can also do event pages to promote book signings and launches. Be prepared to spend a great deal of effort to leverage social media, as it takes time to build and maintain, but it can definitely create viral interest in your book.