While the marketing team is busy introducing your book to its targeted audience through a variety of channels, there are many ways for you to use social media to help with your book’s promotion. Personal branding is a critical tool for getting your book recognized in today’s book market. Even if you are new to Facebook or have never sent a “tweet”, here are some simple, low-cost (and often free) ways to connect electronically with readers in a meaningful and engaging manner.
Please note that you are not required to do any of these social media activities. We do, however, strongly advise creating an Amazon Author Central page at the very least. We then suggest choosing as many social media outlets that you will enjoy using and can fully commit to keeping fresh and updated. It’s critical in social media to stay active and not let your content go stale or your engagement wane.
Create your Amazon.com author page for free: authorcentral.amazon.com.
Incredibly simple and quick to set up.
Amazon walks you through each step to add your bio, photos, link to your blog or website, and your homepage on Amazon.com
Author-trained staff available by email or phone to answer questions.
Ask your friends to “like” your book and also post positive reviews.
If you already have a personal account, consider setting up a separate book/author page if you would like to keep your author life and personal life separate.
Complete your profile—at least the basics: current city, birthday (can exclude the year), bio, education, work, and any contact info you are comfortable publicizing. Remember that you are trying to connect with your audience, so you need to make it easy for people to find you and learn more about you and your book.
Use your book cover as your profile picture. You can always change your profile picture if you publish something new in the future.
Find current friends, old friends from high school and college, colleagues, and acquaintances. When sending friend requests to other writers, readers, students, etc. consider including a personal message in your invitation.
Stay active and update your status regularly (once per day or a few times per week is good), but be careful about over promoting your book (eg, don’t post daily with a plea to purchase your book).
Comment on current events that relate to your area of research/interest. These posts can help stimulate conversation.
Consider posting a little of your personal side—readers love to get a glimpse into authors’ lives. Just be smart and mindful of your postings.
Join relevant groups like professional organizations and publishers to connect with other writers and readers.
Connect with JHUP and cross-post items.
Protect yourself by reviewing account privacy options and settings often.
Twitter is an online social networking service that enables users to send and read text-based messages of up to 140 characters, known as "tweets.”
Select a handle with a version of your name that readers will easily be able to find. Examples: @JaneAusten, @Jane_Austen, @JAusten.
In this medium, you want to be yourself, not your book. Upload a profile picture of yourself (professionally taken if possible), not your book cover like you did for Facebook. People are more likely to follow a person. If you publish another book in the future, you won’t need to change your account and start from scratch.
Provide a brief bio and a link to your website, the book’s website, your Facebook page, and your blog.
Make a few tweets, and then start following people. They will hopefully follow you in return.
When following others, be sure to “retweet” items that are relevant to your book or area of interest. “Retweeting” will allow for increased broadcasting of the information and hopefully get you connected to more followers.
Tweet about how your new book is doing, upcoming readings/signings, links to reviews, current events etc.
Don’t worry if you have only a few followers; it’s about quality vs. quantity and getting the right people to follow you.
Respond to tweets about your book—if someone tweets that they’ve read your book, tweet a response question like “What was your favorite chapter?” or “What did you like about it?” to start a conversation that other followers will hopefully join.
Create a hash tag (a relevant word preceded by the # symbol) to make it easier for Twitter users to search for and discover your tweets.
Start following JHUP on Twitter and make sure to include us on any tweets about upcoming book promotions.
Don’t try too hard to sell your book—if you post interesting tweets, people will investigate your book on their own.
The JHUP Blog discusses the world of scholarly publishing, our publications and related current events, and life inside JHUP.
Additionally, we provide a regular forum for the authors and editors of our publications to comment on their work and discipline(s) and how it relates to the news of the day.
From time to time, we will invite you to write for our blog.
The JHUP Blog is hosted by WordPress.
You can easily start your own blog at the WordPress resource site: http://wordpress.com/.
A blog is a place to keep the conversation going about your book topic during and after your book publishes.
Your blog can become your core presence in the social media world. It is a great way to get your book found by search engines.
To blog about your book, pull out excerpts of new writing you are working on, links to articles you’ve published recently, your writing process, and updates on how your book is doing. The whole point of a blog is to create an ongoing dialogue about your book’s topic.
Try to stick to a schedule and set aside the same time each week to blog. That way your followers can anticipate and look forward to your next entry.
Create buzz by filming a trailer for your book.
Much like a movie trailer, a book trailer should get the viewer excited about purchasing and reading your book.
Should be brief (1-2 minutes), featuring an interview with you, perhaps posing questions that entice the reader to wonder about and want to read your book. Select images (eg, book cover, illustrations from book) and music appropriately, always considering copyright restrictions.
If you don’t have a budget to get a book trailer made by a professional company (upwards of $1000), consider friends or family members who have some filming experience or post an ad to Craigslist to find someone (perhaps a film student at a local university) to record and edit your book trailer for much less.
Post and tag your book trailer to YouTube: www.youtube.com. Send your trailer to JHUP so we can post it everywhere as well. Also make sure to let your Facebook, Twitter, and Blog followers know you’ve posted it.
In this film clip, Marine illustrator Val Kells (Field Guide to Fishes of the Chesapeake Bay) showcases her talent: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=abALLjiL-6c
In this full-length interview, Marian Moser Jones explains her motivation for researching and writing her book, The American Red Cross; From Clara Barton to the New Deal: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnHz9fudp3c
Ron Coddington, author of three books on faces of the Civil War has book trailer which incorporates all three titles: http://www.facesofwar.com/book-trailer.htm
Sign up for a free account: www.linkedin.com.
Even though Linkedin is technically a professional (not social) networking site, it can be suitable for connecting with readers in your field of work.
Since this is a professional network, be extra considerate about your postings. Announcing the publication of your book and book events is appropriate.
Consider sending personal emails to your LinkedIn connections instead of posting an update.
Goodreads is a free website for book lovers. Friends share what they are reading and look at each other’s “virtual bookshelves” for recommendations and conversations.
Option to sign up through Facebook so your bookshelves can be shared.
Sign up for the free Author Program: www.goodreads.com/author/program.
Author Program helps promote your book similarly to the Amazon Author Central page.
Pinterest is a digital scrapbook that allows you to create different “boards” for your interests (travel, home decorating, sports, food, and much more). It is similar to Twitter, but for pictures and videos.
You need to be invited to get an account. Go to www.pinterest.com and request an invitation or ask a friend who already has an account to invite you. You also have to sign in through Facebook or Twitter, so you’ll need one of these accounts first.
Pinterest is currently the fastest growing standalone website in history—lots of people spend time on Pinterest, so this is worth a small investment of your time.
Create various “boards”: book covers, photographs from your book (be sure to consider any copyright restrictions first), pictures from book events, pictures that inspired your writing, other books that you like, etc, etc.
Follow other users and invite friends.
Investigate purchasing website builder software or hiring a web designer if you don’t have programming experience.
Select a domain name that is simple and easy to remember.
Consider creating a logo.
Sample JHUP author websites:
Ron Coddington, author of three books on faces of the Civil War:http://www.facesofwar.com/
Marian Moser Jones, author of The American Red Cross: From Clara Barton to the New Deal has designed the following website: www.redcrossbook.com
Sandlot Stats: Learning Statistics with Baseball by Stanley Rothman:http://www.sandlotstats.com/