Writing How-To: Promo on the Cheap

Saturday, July 9, 2011
I know I’ve harped on promotion before, but it can be overwhelming for an author, especially a new one, to effectively do it. There are so many avenues out there, free and that will cost you, that it’s mind-numbing to make a decision.

Rest assured, you can do a lot of effective promoting without spending more than a few dollars to register a domain name.

1. Get a website. Preferably, your pen name in .com, .net, and possibly .org if it’s in your budget. (I recommend Godaddy.com for domain registration.)

2. Get a Gmail address for your pen name. Use ONLY that email address, for fan mail and publication. (This will help keep your private email private.) (Free.)

3. Get a blog. If you aren’t able to make a website, then go to Blogger (http://blogger.com) and register one there. (Free.)

4. Go to Godaddy.com (or wherever you registered your domain at) and POINT them (forward them, depends on the terminology) at the blog address. It will take probably up to a couple of hours to take effect.

5. There are HUNDREDS, if not thousands, of free Blogger templates out there you can use to customize your blog. If that’s beyond you, you can use one of the pre-installed templates.

6. BLOG your ass off. Not just about your upcoming release, but about whatever. (Seriously, I recommend staying away from politics and religion.) Try to post at least once a week. Use tags in your posts. When should you start promoting if this is your first release and it’s not even out yet? You should have already started getting your name out there.

7. Don’t just copy/paste your text from Word into your blog. Make SURE you go back and preview it to make sure there are paragraph breaks, no typos, etc. (PROOFREAD your blog!!)

8. Facebook. Set up a PAGE and promote THAT. (Once you get over 25 followers, you can change the name of it to an easy url.) Don’t promote your profile because as of now, you’re limited to 5,000 friends. The pages are better suited for author promotions. Use the NetworkedBlogs app to set it up so your blog posts automatically post to your Facebook account. (Free.)

9. Set up a Twitter account for your pen name. (Free.)

10. Use the TweetDeck application (Free) to post to your Twitter and Facebook page at the same time. (Wise use of time. There are other applications too, like HootSuite, and others.)

11. Go to Amazon.com once your book is available there and set up an author page. (Free.) Set your blog RSS feed and Twitter feed to post to it. (See where I’m going with this?)

12. Goodreads.com – Ditto. (Free.) Set it up to pick up your blog RSS feed.

Okay, so far, all this (except for the cost of registering your domain name) is FREE. Totally free. And you can set many of these things up to cross-post automatically. You blog, and it can post to Facebook, Amazon, and Goodreads. You can post a Tweet and Facebook update at the same time. You can also install apps on your blog to post your Tweets automatically, so you have that option as well.

Do you see where I’m going with this? If you set as much up to cross-pollinate, so to speak, it will allow you to promote not only for free, but in one fell swoop. This is all stuff I’ve talked about before, but it’s now easier than ever to accomplish it.

There are also smart phone apps for many of the applications, so if you’re on the go you can post updates.

I don’t want to hear you say, “I don’t have time to promote.” Once you get just these things set up, you can literally cover a wide swath of promotions in just a few minutes of time every week. Think of what you could accomplish if you spent an hour a week? Ten minutes a day for six days a week. How cool is that?

I’ve also talked about things like email lists (Yahoogroups), but you can also participate in Facebook pages and groups. There are reader sites like AllRomanceebooks.com, CoffeeTimeRomance.com, ManicReaders.com, RomanceDivas.com, RomanceJunkies.com, Longandshortreviews.com, NightOwlRomance.com, and many others. (And that’s just for romance, not counting non-romance sites out there.)

Yes, some of those sites have advertising packages, but many of them have discussion boards…FREE.

The important thing is to get out there, build a relationship with your readers, not just shoving your books in their faces, but getting to know them, letting them get to know you, interact with them.

Now get out there and promo your ass off! :)

2 reader comments:

  1. Anonymous said...:

    Thanks so much for sharing. This is some great advice. I started blogging and posting free stories and excerpts on my blog before my first novel was even accepted, so I definitely second blogging your ass off early and regularly.

    I've been reading your blog for a while now, but I'm usually kind of a lurker and don't comment much. I'd just like to say thank you for all the great advice. It's been a big help in motivating me to do more promo, which I had gotten very lazy about. Thanks again!

  1. Tj6james6 said...:

    You can also go to Google+ (still in beta but I can send you an invite) and since it, and blogger, etc., are all google products you can reach an even larger audience.