Today, I want to give you a smorgasbord of five more ideas. Four of these can be done for free, while the fifth idea will probably cost you somewhere around $10. Some of these ideas might require you to do a little bit more legwork and research, but they could be worth it to round out your promotional planning.
This one probably requires the most work of the ideas in this article, so we’ll get it out of the way first. There are oodles of podcasts out there, and the people running them are always in need of new content for episodes. You can provide that content by approaching podcast hosts and asking if they’d like to interview you.
This gets a little bit tricky because you’re going to need to find good candidate podcasts. Some searching will get you to a number of directories listing podcasts of all shapes and sizes. The key is to find possibilities that are relevant to your book. It also doesn’t hurt if the podcast has done author interviews before, but that’s not absolutely necessary.
Once you’ve made your list, you’ll want to find a contact form or e-mail address. Be careful to make sure that the host wants to be contacted! Then send a polite, professional request introducing yourself and asking if the host would in interested in interviewing you. You might also ask if you can send the host a free e-book copy of your latest release.
Bonus tip: Offer to provide a free e-copy of your book that the host can give away on the show. If you have some spare marketing budget, make it a signed printed copy!
Host Another Author
This is the reverse of seeking out a podcast that will interview you: Invite another author to be interviewed or post a guest article on your blog.
Why would you do this to promote your book? Remember that when you host another author, they will spread the word about the post to their network. A good percentage of those people should come over to your website for a visit, and while they’re visiting they may subscribe to your mailing list, check out your book, and so on.
Here’s a big key to making this work: Invite someone outside your current network. If you have one of those lists in your sidebar of other authors you recommend, you probably don’t want to invite one of them. Chances are good that those authors’ readers are already aware of you.
So what do you do instead? Employ the concept of six degrees of separation to look for a new-to-you indie author. Try visiting the website of one of your recommended authors, then check out their recommended authors list. Pick somebody on their list who’s not on yours. If you want to take it a step further, check out that author’s list as well. Rinse and repeat until you have a list of potential guests for your blog. Then just work through your list to contact those guests and professionally ask if they’d like to do an interview with you.
This idea takes advantage of your network. If you know some other self-published authors, try organizing a group sale. Pick a date to simultaneously drop your prices (99¢ works well) or offer a coupon. If you plan it out right and maybe even design a snazzy graphic for your sale event, you could generate significant buzz.
Key to the success of this event is good coordination. You want to get every participating author to post about the sale on his or her blog and social media platforms. It may even be advantageous to schedule out everyone’s posts in sequence so that the message about your sale is sustained longer. You could make a chart like this one to help you keep track of who’s posting when:
As with the previous idea, remember that to really promote your book to new people, you need to expand beyond your own network. Suggest that your author friends invite their author friends to join the event. You’ll end up with a bigger sale and a bigger pool of people to reach.
Bonus tip: Pool your marketing budgets to increase your sale’s spread. You could try having everyone chip in for a large giveaway prize such as a gift card or Kindle. Or set up a schedule for each person to boost a Facebook post proclaiming the sale.
Post Review Quotes
If your book has some good reviews on Amazon, this is a great way to get those wonderful comments into the public eye. First, read through your book’s reviews on Amazon. Pick out some succinct pull-quotes. Keep it below 120 characters for Twitter, or a short paragraph for Facebook.
Now click the review’s heading on your book’s main Amazon page. This will take you to a page with only that review.
Copy the link at the bottom of the review labeled Permalink. This is the link to this specific review, which you can share in your post. (You may want to run it through a URL shortener if you’re posting on Twitter.)
Time to compose your post! Here’s an example tweet I created to link to a review of my book A Purple and Gold Afghan:
A Purple and Gold Afghan is “A quick and endearing read.” See the full review: http://amzn.to/1sKD5qB
You don’t want to do this too often or your social media stream will be a long line of “I got another positive review!” posts. But posting one review quote every week or two could do a lot to spread some positive word-of-mouth about your book.
The final idea in this article will cost you a little bit of money, but it’s very worth it. If you have printed copies of your book available, list a giveaway on Goodreads. You can offer as many copies as you like and choose where you’re willing to ship, so you can easily control how much it will cost.
What are the benefits? A lot of exposure for very little effort. Goodreads hosts a giveaways section where readers can easily discover new giveaways to enter. What happens is when somebody enters to win a book, that book is added to their to-read shelf. Think what happens after the giveaway when they scroll back through their to-read shelf and discover… “Oh yeah! I wanted to read that!”
You might think that you can’t find a big enough audience for the giveaway without doing a ton of promotion. That’s what I thought. But I wanted to try a Goodreads giveaway, so I created one and let it run for the recommended month. All I did was tweet about it two or three times, but I got 492 entries. I’m sure many of those went on to become sales later.
Hopefully, you now have plenty of ideas for promoting your book. Next time, we’ll look at how to plan out your promotions to make them even more effective.