Today I am going to share the little I know about building a platform for promoting your product, service or whatever. This will be focused on the writing crowd but the concepts will apply to every and all commercial and personal endeavors.
For writers the big promotional tools are:
Twitter – it seems this is the number one social network for connecting with readers, writers, groups, book reviewers and anyone else interested in the indie – publishing revolution.
Before looking at other sites and social networks, let´s talk about how twitter works and what it can do for you.
The first thing you need to make twitter work for you is a following. This is not an easy task. While there are services that will provide you with a bunch of followers, if they are not real people interested in the same things you are interested in or people that will be unlikely to buy your product or service, what is the point? You need people to seek you out – the fastest way to do that is to tweet…..often.
Learn about hashtags – these are the sets of key words that begin with a # sign which allow people to search out and find your tweets.
Here are some popular hashtags for writers.
Books and Reading Hashtags
#Books … #BookWorm …. #GreatReads …. #IndieThursday … #MustRead … #Novel … #Paperbacks
#Storytelling … #WhatToRead
Book Industry News and Publishing Tips Hashtags
#AskAgent …. #AskAuthor … #AskEditor … #BookMarket … #BookMarketing … #GetPublished … #IAN1 (Independent Author Network) … #IndiePub … #PromoTip … #Publishing … #SelfPublishing … #WriteTip … #WritingTip
Hashtags to Connect With Other Writers
#1K1H (write one thousand words in one hour) … #AmWriting … #AmEditing … #AmRevising … #CopyWriting
#EditGoal … #Editing …. #IndieAuthor … #MyWANA (writer’s community created by Kirsten Lamb)
#NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month is held every November) … #RomanceWriter … #ScriptChat … #WIP
#WordCount … #WriteChat … #WriteGoal …. #WriteMotivation …. #WritersLIfe …. #WriterWednesday
#Writing … #WritingBlitz … #WritingPrompt … #WritersBlock … #WroteToday … #WW
ePublishing and eBooks
#Amazon … #eBook … #BookBuzzr …. #eReaders …. #ePubChat … #iPad … #Kindle … #KindleBargain
#Kobo … #KPD (Kindle Publishing Direct) … #Nook … #Pubit …. #SmashWords … #Sony …. #Webfic
Genre and Specialty Hashtags
Find readers and other writers who share your interests
#140Poem …. #Crime …. #Comedy …. #DarkFantasy …. #Dystopian …. #Erotica …. #HistFic …. #Historical …. #FaithLitChat …. #KidLitChat …. #Literature …. #LitFic …. #MemoirChat …. #MGLit (middle grades literature)
#Mystery …. #NonFiction …. #Paranormal …. #Poetry …. #PoetryMonth (Each April in the USA)
#Romantic …. #RomanticSuspence …. #TrueStories …. #ScienceFiction …. #SciFiChat …. #ShortStory
#SteamPunk …. #Suspense …. #UrbanFantasy…. #WomensFiction …. #YA …. #YALit
Promotion, Networking and Marketing Hashtags
#99c (to offer or pick up an eBook bargain) …. #AuthorRT …. #BookGiveaway …. #BookMarketing
#FollowFriday …. #FreebieFriday…. #FreeReads…. #Novelines (to quote your own work)
Whenever you tweet, add one or more of these hashtags to your posting to attract the right people.
Some other tips for growing your following.
Follow a bunch of people with similar interests. Be carefull of following too many people randomly. Twitter calls this flooding and they may suspend your account – this happened to me a few times before I learned how to play the game.
Retweet other people’s tweets. Everybody appreciates a little help and if you get the reputation for being helpful, you will recieve the help you need. Give a lot to get a little eventyally will grow your following AND inspire other to help you.
Make sure your profile is punchy and up to day with links to any blog or .com you may have.
Occasionally message (tweet directly to) a follower and reply to any messages you recieve. It takes time. Your first few months on twitter will be busy while you build your following.
Follow everyone who follows you. Many people will unfollow you if you don’t reciprocate.
There are dozens of pages out there to help you on your way with facebook. Here’s the last piece of advice – no matter which other social media or promo services you are using, make sure that every and all your social media is intelinked. Your facebook with your Youtube with your google+ with your .com etc.
Facebook, although the most popular social media platform, is not the best tool for promotion – unless of course your main concern is to make sure that Aunti May in Kokomo knows what you are up to.
You can however open a secondary facebook page strictly dedicated to your Novels and writing projects.
As you may notice from my example, blogging is a very cool way to pass the time and aside from it being an outlet where you can hone your writing skills, it is also a great promotional tool. Again, link everything to everything. Now, as a special bit of information …. and this is well worth your having read to this point, you should share all of your blog posts on Google+. This will raise your standing with Google and your ranking in the hierarchy of Google searches. These are the keys to the kingdom ….. I hope you are paying attention.
Google+ is as I just mentioned, key. Even with a following of only 15 or so followers, my visitors to this blog increased about 500% as soon as I began to share my posts on Google+. You can also share almost all your other achievements there as well.
This is more than just a video sharing site. It is a way to create a following that could easily make its way over to your other endeavors. I have a popular series of videos on Youtube for learning English. How many of those people have bought one of my English language Ebooks? I am sure a few. Get familiar with Windows Movie maker. Get a bunch of graphics and create a promo vid for your books. Again, be sure to add all your links to every video.
Goodreads and Amazon author pages. Make sure you are uploading your new books to both these pages. Review a lot of books on both Goodreads and Amazon.
Finally, and this is probably the final frontier for an up and coming writer – get yourself a .com to promote your books. I have yet to take this step since I am working on a zero investment plan. If and when I grow as a commercial writer, I will get a .com uploaded to the WWW.
Hope these are some good tips for any newbee who´s trying to get his platform together.
Finally, there are hundreds of sites out there that are trying to convince you to spend money wiith them for book promotion. It´s a dark alley full of charlatans. I´ve seen pages that actually offer to retweet your posts on twitter for $10 each. That´s a lot of money for very little promotion.
I recommend you talk to someone who has already used a service and has had good results. I have just joined a group and I am impressed with the initial results. $25 per year. The first result is that my twitter account went from 60 followers to 500 in one week. And these people retweet each other. So a tweet that would have been seen by 60 people (maybe) is now seen by the 500 and in many cases, a lot of their followers as well. There is a lot more they do for you for $25 a year.
Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org ……. Put Book Promo club in the subject line and I will send you the information. I make nothing off this as compensation. It does help my standing to bring new members – so you have full disclosure.
David Gordon Burke
Find my books on Amazon HERE!