Prior to launching my first novel, One Blood (under the pseudonym Qwantu Amaru), I had the benefit of having done much of the pre-launch marketing work for 4 previous published novels, but the authors of those books never told me how “all-consuming” book promotion can be. At first I tried to organize myself with 6 daily tasks I would do to promote my book. I quickly realized I was leaving important things off my list so I came up with 5 other tasks and decided I would alternate between the two lists. Here are the tasks, naked and open for you to see:
Daily 6 Tasks:
- Connect with 5 potential interviewers
- Contact 5 potential reviewers
- 2 Posts on FB fan page
- 2 Tweets on Twitter
- Comment on 2 Blogs/FB Group posts/Page of interest
- Outreach to 1 Bookclub
Alternate Daily 6:
- Outreach to 1 Media Outlet
- Evaluate 1 Book Award or Contest for Entry
- Outreach to 1 BlogTalkradio host
- Develop 1 New Book Promo Idea
- Friend top reviewers on Shelfari and Library Thing
- Add Book to 5 Goodreads bookshelves
Pretty organized, right? And you would figure that I could blow through these lists in easily an hour or less and get back to my day, right?
Authors beware of the time-sucking traps that are Facebook and Twitter. Early on I found that I could not pull myself from the gravitational pull of these moons. I would post and wait. Post, and check for mentions. Post, and respond. All. Damn. Day. (even now as I compose this confession, I have checked FB 3 times and twitter 4).
It was very hard to post and move on to other more important activities, like finding early reviewers, which is much more time consuming but ultimately more rewarding. Reviews, author friends, are the lifeblood of a newbie author. Newbie author, for your information, is defined as any author with less than 5 published books or less than 25,000 books sold. Reviews are how our beloved readers find the proverbial golden needles in the haystacks of dreck and drivel being published on a daily basis.
Your mantra should be Reviews, Reviews, Reviews for the first 90 days post publishing a new title. You see, as an indie author, unless you build advanced review time into your production cycle (and let’s face it, few of us do), you will launch with a goose-egg in the review column on Amazon.com. And believe me, Amazon is keeping score, as are the 90% of e-book readers flocking there in droves each day. Reviews are one of the key drivers of the mystical Amazon ranking algorithm that you must master in order to be found by prospective readers.
Here are some tips to turn your ebook into a review generating tool:
I call this the call to action.
At the end of my novel you will find this page:
Thanks Again for Reading One Blood
What did you think of the ending? Register your feedback here: hyperlink
Authors need your reviews. Please click here to review One Blood on Amazon: hyperlink
Know someone who might enjoy this book? Help spread the word by e-mailing them and telling them about One Blood: I want to pass it on (hyperlink)!
To access exclusive behind the scenes content on One Blood and other works from Qwantu Amaru, check out his website: hyperlink
Inserting hyperlinks into your e-books is very straightforward and something I picked up from the Smashwords Style Guide by Mark Coker (which is free on smashwords btw).
I’ll summarize the technique below. But first I would like to add a word about short links. You may have seen these weird looking links on twitter and facebook from time to time. Check out a website called bitly.com. Short link services basically shrink the size of a hyperlink such as www.facebook.com to http://on.fb.me/PFkkoc. Why would you do this? Well bitly allows me to track clicks on my short links, so I can see how effective my messages are across the web and how much inbound activity I’m generating. Make sense?
Step 1 in adding hyperlinks to your book is to grab the links for your website, Amazon reviews page, and anything else you want your readers to click and shorten them using a service like bitly.
Step 2 is to simply copy and paste that shortlink into the word version of your typeset e-book. Did you know you can reupload your ebook to Amazon KDP and smashwords as many times as you want? If a reader finds a typo and lets you know, you can correct it, reupload the book and remove that pesky problem in minutes. Unfortunately, this doesn’t correct the issue for anyone who has bought the book prior, but new readers will not encounter it at least.
Step 3 is to highlight the text of your short link. Once it’s highlighted, go to the toolbar of MS Word and click Insert. You will see an image for hyperlink. Click on it. A screen will open up. You want to look for the address bar and paste the same shortlink you pasted into your document again in this bar. Click ok. Now go back to your document and you should see the shortlink underlined in blue.
Step 4 is to test all your links once you have them embedded. Make sure they open the websites you want them to by pressing the control key CTRL and clicking the link at the same time. Check your short link provider to make sure the service has tracked your test clicks.
The e-mail sharing hyperlink is a little different. I like this one a lot because I have a built in word-of-mouth marketing machine embedded into my book! For this hyperlink, I wrote the text, I want to pass it on! Then I highlighted this text, went to my hyperlink insert and inserted the following code:
mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org?subject=I just read a great book with an amazing ending!&body=check out one blood by qwantu amaru on amazon.com:http://amzn.to/M7D4ph“></a>
All you have to do to make this work for you is copy this link just as I’ve provided, replace one blood and my name with your book’s name and your name and the shortlink to your own book.
What happens is that when a reader clicks this hyperlink, it opens up their default e-mail program with the subject: I just read a great book with an amazing ending (you should customize this to read whatever you want). There is already an e-mail text in the body which reads Check out One Blood by Qwantu Amaru on Amazon.com http://amzn.to/M7D4ph (once again customize this piece). Basically, all the reader has to do is add the e-mail addresses of their friends and click send. Makes sharing your book via e-mail very simple and straightforward.
Now that we are aligned in the importance of generating reviews, allow me to introduce you to the indie community!