All writers know it’s a challenge to keep our book in the spotlight after the rush of a book launch has passed. Author Lizbeth Meredith passes on 5 suggestions to focus on as you work on your next book.
For ninety days following my memoir’s release, I had the fierce support of my PR team. They had pumped me full of positivity, put me front and center on big book lists, nominated me for awards, and made it seem that despite the near million books released that year, mine was the only one that mattered.
And then it ended. I felt like a toddler thrown into the deep end of the swimming pool.
But I’m a dog-paddler. I’ve always needed a life-preserver.
Like most writers, I have a day job and other commitments. My struggle was not unique.
How would I maintain the buzz about my book? How do we writers learn to become our own marketing maestros after the launch is over?
At first, I froze. But through trial and error, I found a system that’s fit neatly into my life. Here are five tips to help you grow your audience after your book has launched.
1) Actively engage in social media.
I interact on two social media channels (Twitter and Facebook) and post at least four times a week about my writing life. On Twitter, I also try to retweet other authors’ work and often they return the favor, introducing my work to new readers. As I build relationships, I may be asked to do blog interviews by them.
On my Facebook author page, I post events, accomplishments, and writing tools and resources. Now and then, I’ll share a picture of a character in my book or something else of interest to my specific readers. Membership in a few private author Facebook groups has resulted in new friendships, support, and a fountain of ideas and advice. We Love Memoirs and Women Writers, Women’s Books have been a good fit for me.
To find the right groups for you and your genre, do a few keyword searches, and make a point of engaging with the group rather than simply boasting about your work or posting your blogs. You can do some of that, but it shouldn’t be the only reason why you join a group.
2) Join HARO (Help a Reporter Out).
This free subscription sends 3 emails a day out from journalists looking for sources on all topics, including subjects which tie into your book. You could be that source!
It may take a while to find the right gig to pitch, but keep trying. It will come. It took a year before I’d mastered pitching to source opportunities. Now, I skim their emails on work breaks, looking for topics related to my book like domestic violence or post-traumatic stress disorder. I later expanded my searches and answered requests for sources on women over 50 with a side hustle and single parenting advice, topics covered in my upcoming books. Some of the places I’ve been mentioned are Reader’s Digest and Tonic (Canada), Deseret News, Mamapedia, and Thriveworks. Often, my full name is mentioned in the article with a link to my book or author website. And each time I’m a source, I post the interview link to social media and add it to my website’s news link and about page.
3) Publish essays on diverse topics in a variety of places.
Conventional wisdom is to write essays about themes in your published book to introduce the right sort of readers to your writing and draw them to your website. And while my memoir is a work I’m proud of, my life now has more dimension than being a survivor of domestic violence and international child abduction, so while I tackle those topics, I also craft essays about writing, publishing, and parenting adult kids. Each time one’s been published, I’m contacted by new readers and sometimes see a spike in my sales. And how do I celebrate this? By mentioning it on social media and adding it to my website, of course!
I began blogging years before my book was published. Because I have a busy day job, I am only able to post about twice a month, and one of those posts is often an author interview that will fit my reader’s interests. Knowing my target audience–people who enjoy stories about an underdog that prevails–helps me decide who in my author peer group I ought to host.
Interviews are great for the author, nice for the reader, and will draw new readers to my own work as my guests will publicize the post through their own social media channels. Doing this successfully also landed me my own interview through HARO about attracting guest bloggers to my website.
5) Listen to podcasts for continuing education.
The year before my book released my publisher, She Writes Press, insisted their authors participate in monthly author calls about every aspect of publishing. This was very helpful. I’ve continued to swap ideas with author friends on private Facebook groups post-publication, and rely on the podcasts for help with writing techniques, changes in the publishing world, and opportunities for creative marketing. Here are a few of the excellent ones I follow:
And when it’s a particularly valuable podcast, I pass on that link to others.
My memoir will turn two soon and my efforts have paid off. Sales have remained steady and the promotion process has opened doors for new opportunities for writing and speaking events.
In today’s flooded market, getting attention for your book is more challenging than ever. I hope these tips help you as they have helped me, allowing time to both grow my platform and work toward my next book’s release.
What tricks have you learned to keep the buzz alive about your book(s)?
Lizbeth Meredith‘s memoir, Pieces of Me: Rescuing My Kidnapped Daughters, has won the silver medal for memoir in the 2018 Reader’s Favorites Book Award and is now available as an audiobook. Her work has appeared in Feminine Collective, Author’s Publish, and in Jane Friedman’s blog. You can find her at her website, on Twitter (@LizbethMeredith,) and on Facebook.
Pieces of Me: Rescuing My Kidnapped Daughters recounts the author’s two year struggle to bring home her internationally abducted daughters from Greece to Alaska. It’s the story of a 29 year-old woman whose life was marked by domestic violence and childhood kidnapping who faced a $100,000 problem on a $10 an hour budget.
More than simply a missing children’s story, Pieces of Me is also the story of the generous community in Anchorage, Alaska and a growing support system in Greece who joined Lizbeth’s efforts to make the impossible a reality.
For further help with marketing, we recommend:
Build Book Buzz (an excellent site full of marketing tips)
How Authors Can Find Their Ideal Reading Audience (Jane Friedman’s blog)
How to Find and Reach Influencers to Help Promote Your Book (Jane Friedman’s blog)
Need Online Exposure? Asking Bloggers For Help (Writers Helping Writers)