By Marika Flatt —
Step one in book publicity is branding, and yet so many self-published authors and independent publishers miss it. Don’t do anything else until you have established your online platform. Authors who have a robust social media platform appear more credible to their fans and are stronger interview candidates to the media. Here are some top tips for building your online brand and social media platform:
Both consumers and media will visit your website before making a commitment. So make sure your online persona is ready to go prior to launch time. It should reflect you and your book accurately and look professional. You’ll be judged on design quality and content, so invest in professional help.
Your website should have these key pages: Blog, Press/Media, About the Author, About the Book, Appearances, Contact. It should also be integrated with your social media platforms.
Author website examples:
Start blogging long before the book launch, at least several months in advance. As an author, you already know it’s all about having great content. Having a blog is the perfect platform to update your readers on events you are participating in, giveaways, updates on any upcoming books and any other musings you may want to share with your audience. The blog can be considered your central hub for updates and then promoted through the other social media platforms, linking back to your blog.
If you don’t have a blog integrated on your website, some of our recommended platforms are WordPress or Tumblr.
Tips for connecting with other bloggers
Online book reviews are a great way to raise your SEO and boost your book’s visibility.
There are dozens of online articles about blog tours, so if you’re going the DIY route, start early and allow significant time for research, shipping, and follow through.
If a blogger reviews your book, return the favor by promoting their review through your social media channels. Post it on your website too.
The reasons to hire a publicist for your blog tour are many:
Because publicists work hard to build networks of bloggers for all kinds of book tours, you’re more likely to get better results (in quality and quantity).
Blog tours are labor-intensive and require close attention to detail and full-time follow up.
Publicists know how to package a book review pitch with all the right elements to secure quality reviews. They’ll work creatively to get you the best possible exposure.
Start building your social media network early—don’t wait for your pub date to be active on social media. With over 1 billion users, you can see why it’s important to be searchable on Facebook.
Let Facebook walk you through the steps of setting up an author page (which you’ll find under “Artist, Band, or Public Figure”).
Good content to share on Facebook includes articles related to your topic, giveaways, photos (images get more clicks and likes than text-only posts!), videos, and events.
Twitter makes it easy to search and find your audience. A lot of people are afraid Twitter will take up too much time, but 140 characters is much quicker to type than an 800-word blog post! If you enjoy speedy conversations and keeping your finger on the pulse of trending topics (especially in the book world), then you’ll have fun with Twitter. On Twitter, you’ll find people breaking news before it’s reported anywhere else, journalists looking for interview sources, endless articles to read and calendar events to join, and conversations happening between everyone from your neighbor to Margaret Atwood.
Mashable has a great comprehensive guide to using Twitter.
For creating a banner and background image, here is a social media image maker tool that allows you to upload photos, then crops and sizes them to fit the appropriate place.
Utilize Twitter lists to keep track of the people you want to pay attention to, connect with, or have an impact on. Lists can help you sort Twitter into a manageable piece of your day.
If you’re an author with a day job (most are), you’re probably using LinkedIn to network in your other career. Don’t forget about networking yourself as an author and expert.
Journalists use LinkedIn to search for experts on various subjects, so make sure you have your book’s topic prominently listed in your professional headline.
Learn more about representing yourself as an author on LinkedIn from Social Media Today.
6.) Amazon Author Page
Having a completed author page on Amazon is one step that authors frequently miss. Linking your books on Amazon to a central author page gives you some control over how the online retail giant represents your brand. After adding your photo and bio, be sure to link your Twitter feed, blog, and upload any videos you have. Visit Amazon Author Central.
How to Organize an Amazon Friends & Family launch
Rally your personal contacts for a special one-day Amazon push that can help push your ranking to the top. Entice your friends & family to participate by hosting a contest.
- Ask them to post a review, share it on Facebook & Twitter. For each post or purchase, they get another entry for prizes.
- Give away a Kindle, iPad, free consult, or something relates to your book.
- A publicist will manage this process and help you engage your network creatively and effectively.
About the Author: Marika launched PR by the Book, LLC in 2002, combining her love of the media, public relations and books. Prior to that, Marika spent seven years leading the publicity team of an Austin-based book publicity firm. She received a Gold Bulldog Award for a publicity campaign that resulted in exposure in over 700 media outlets. Marika is a past-president of Women Communicators of Austin, serves as an Expert for IBPA, is listed on Twitter’s Women in Publishing (#womeninpublishing) and serves on the selection committee for the Texas Book Festival. As a hobby, Marika has been a freelance travel writer for over a decade and serves as the Travel Editor for Austin Lifestyle magazine.