For those of you who don’t know, I published my YA Romance debut WHAT ARE FRIENDS FOR? on January 14th. One of the main questions I’ve gotten since it released to the world was how did I learn to market my book?
No, I didn’t use some fancy social media assistant.
No, I didn’t dump tons and tons of money into multiple ad campaigns.
No, this is not me saying that either of those things are bad things, I just didn’t do ’em pre-launch.
Well, I did one campaign-type thing, but I’ll go into that below.
However, I did do THIS:
I started a preorder campaign about two months before my publication date. Actually, I think it was two and a half months. The book was available for preorder on November 1st and release date was January 14th.
When I announced the preorder, I also finally revealed the cover. To help me reveal the cover, I enlisted all of my friends on Twitter and Instagram to shout out the pic and send it some love. This strategy helped me get a LOT of exposure, since I had the help of over thirty friends sharing my cover and preorder link. To those of you who helped me out on that, you ROCK! My socks are officially knocked off. I love you.
From then on out, I just focused on talking about my book. All. The. Time. And no, I don’t mean copy/pasting links every single chance I got. On Twitter, I posted a link maybe once or twice a week (at least in the months of November and December). I didn’t want to flood people with links and hashtags, though I was super epically excited. On Instagram, I tried to post pretty frequently about my book, but not just dropping the cover. I made some promotional images (you can find examples all over my page HERE) but I also took shots of my notebook, maybe little snippets from the book, as well as sharing a little insight into how I was planning. The real name-dropping of the book didn’t really pick up pace until mid-November, when I got my proof copies.
From there on, I posted pictures of me with my book, pictures of my book—you name it. I really tried to get the cover out there so it would be immediately recognizable to my friends and followers as MY book.
Another thing I did to market was invest in some bookmarks. Now, I don’t know about you, but I always love getting new bookmarks. This was a great promotional option for me, because I could use it as a bookmark but also as a business card. On the front was the image of my book, but on the back were the links where followers could find me. Which was awesome. I sent those out for free to people who wanted them.
BUT let’s talk about when I really started to pick up on the marketing pace, shall we?
January hits, and WHAT ARE FRIENDS FOR? is set to release in fourteen days. My butt immediately goes into high-gear of marketing. I organized a set of posts to start my countdown on 10 days away. On Instagram, I posted two times a day—a countdown post as well as a post about my book. Instagram got FLOODED with my book news, they were probably sick of me. But in each post I made sure to tell them where to find it (using the link in my bio) as well as directing them to Goodreads to add it to their shelves. That worked pretty well in terms of engagement. I also made sure to update my Instagram stories frequently, but made sure it was new content. Maybe a video of me talking, a Q&A, things like that. It was fun to keep that new and exciting.
Twitter was a little harder for me to navigate in these last few days, because I was so nervous about coming across as spammy. I didn’t promote my book there as much as I should’ve, perhaps, but I did make sure I posted about it a few times on release day and the following days after.
Another HUGE thing that helped with marketing were ARC reviewers. Guys, I swear by them. They’re the reason WHAT ARE FRIENDS FOR? has 16 reviews right now on Amazon. I actually sent out my own ARC copies to 12 people, but only 6 of them reviewed (I made a list of names, so if you signed up to be an ARC reviewer, got a copy, and didn’t review, I know who you are *evil laugh*), but the 6 that did review did it in a timely fashion. ARC reviews can be a risk though—you can’t control what star rating they give you, so if this is something you might be interested in, remember that!
But speaking of ARC reviews and tour companies (that I mentioned above), I want to talk about what company I DID use to help me promote my book. I contacted Xpresso Book Tours to see what their schedule looked like for a book tour around the time of my release date, but they were booked solid. They did, however, have spaces available for a Blitz, which is where bloggers share about my book on their sites. Some bloggers did ask for ARC copies to review, in which case I passed some on over. I offered a giveaway with this book blitz, and there were over 4,000 entries for the giveaway. Like, HOLY CRAP, right? I got mega exposure from that—so many adds on Goodreads—and that’s definitely something I’ll be utilizing in the future.
Right now as I’m writing this, it’s eight days since launch day, and I’m pretty happy with where I’m at. I’m looking more into AMS ads now, as well as a few other ad campaigns out there, so we’ll see how that goes. Perhaps I’ll have updates with my progress then!
If you have more questions about marketing—or anything book-related—let me know in the comments! I’d love to do a follow-up post or do a post solely from a question you asked.
My YA Romance, WHAT ARE FRIENDS FOR?, is out NOW! It's available on both ebook and paperback.