Now that Tempt the Ocean is a published book, who will to read it?
For an author whose superpower is invisibility, marketing a new book that no one has heard about proves a serious challenge. I could panic, but all solid wisdom suggests that building a following takes time. There is no shortcut (short of pre-established fame). Hence, the only answer is to find a way to enjoy the building process, and embrace the adage of journey over destination.
Branding and social media are huge concepts that can’t be conquered overnight. However, I thought I would present a short whirlwind tour of where I have set foot on the information superhighway—aka the tubular express—as a map to others, and talk a little about how I am using those sites to spread the word. Some of the sites are still works in progress, so bear with me. All of the sites either come up frequently in marketing discussions or have been recommended by other authors. All of them offer some variation of cross-pollination.
If you are reading this post you are probably familiar with WordPress. There are other great blogging sites as well, but WordPress is where I started and where I’m comfortable. I use my WordPress Blog as my official site. My biggest challenge is to post regularly and consistently, at which I am not always successful. I am now adding two dedicated author pages to my site, one for each of my writing identities. Since publishing, I have added visibility by including a direct link at the top of the sidebar to Tempt the Ocean (remember: PROMOTE YOUR BOOK wherever possible), and every new blog post shows up on both my Amazon author page (see below) and my Facebook author page (see below).
Before publishing, I created an author page for Agnès de Savigny on Facebook. I can post directly to the Facebook page, as with my personal Facebook page, while followers (readers!) and other guests can post to a visitor’s tab. I can pin any post to the top of the feed, which I have done with the announcement of Tempt the Ocean‘s release (remember: make your book as EASY TO FIND as possible). The site includes a bio, and a link back to my WordPress blog as my “official” site. Through Facebook I created and shared my Tempt the Ocean launch event. All of my WordPress posts and Twitter tweets (see below) show up in my feed as well. Facebook has now added a Goodreads tab for those who have a Goodreads account (see below).
I swore the attraction of the 140 character post would fizzle out. In a sense I was right, but my own determination to not be a party to it fizzled out, too. As Agnès de Savigny, I posted my first tweet this year, and unlike my nasty blogging habits, I continue to tweet almost daily. Twitter is a perfect avenue for following and conversing with other authors on the fly, as well as publicizing little moments to readers. My Twitter page features a mini bio and a link to my home page (for now, my author page on Amazon, where my book is listed). To boost my visibility, my Twitter feed appears on both my Facebook author page and my Amazon author page (see below).
Goodreads, a popular site built for and fuelled by readers, has become an essential site for independent authors. The site provides a great place for authors to connect directly with readers, and to share ideas with other writers (via forums and groups). Only published authors are eligible to create an author page on Goodreads—and now that Tempt the Ocean has published, Agnès de Savigny is a Goodreads author. The Agnès de Savigny Goodreads author page includes a forum to respond to reader questions, a blog, a link to all editions of all my published book(s), and a link back to my WordPress site. My author photo remains a white silhouette for now. The unstifled howls of laughter from the boyfriend at seeing the photo I used on Amazon have inspired me to hold off until I acquire a better image of myself as Agnès. Goodreads also hosts a dedicated page for Tempt the Ocean, inviting Goodreads users to post their own ratings and reviews.
Amazon, through which I chose to publish, offers a home page to each of its authors on each of its mothership sites (i.e. UK, US, Japan, Germany, etc). The author pages are not linked to each other, making it necessary to build a new page for each host site. I built an author page for Agnès de Savigny on both Amazon.com and Amazon UK. (The Canadian branch of Amazon does not host author pages.) Besides a bio, a link to Tempt the Ocean, and a forum for reader discussions, the American site includes the feed from my WordPress blog, plus my Twitter feed.
Whew! That encompasses a lot of internet and social media flow, with the goal of picking up traffic at each site like a lumbering stage coach. Time will tell as to its success as a strategy.
Sticking to online publicity alone is ill-advised all over. Authors, especially new ones, have to get out and meet people and do book signings and speaking engagements and book talks, etc to really build a following—a frightening prospect for those of us who suffer from stage fright and/or anxiety and/or depression. Ultimately any means of spreading the word is useful. Jane Friedman recently re-posted an interview with literary agent April Eberhardt that concludes with the above advice, noting that “authors carry copies of their books and show them to people.” What a novel idea.
Next week: An excerpt from my current work-in-progress, the sweeping 18th century melodramatic epic Servitude.