Power Book Publicity Tips September 2014


Marketing Your Book on Goodreads

By Cynthia Shannon Goodreads Author Marketing Coordinator

“Go where the readers are” is the standard advice for authors contemplating how to best market their books. With more than 30 million members, Goodreads is the world’s largest community of readers. Even better, Goodreads’ mission is to help readers find and share books they love. For authors, it provides a platform to interact with readers in a way not possible just a few years ago.

Here are some ways to effectively integrate Goodreads into your marketing campaign, whether you’re a debut author or an established one, traditionally published or self-published:

Claim your author profile. This is necessary for you to access the tools available to you to promote your work and connect with readers. Search for your book via ISBN or ASIN, then click on your name; scroll to the bottom of the profile page and click on “Is this you? Let us know!” and complete the information. You’ll receive a “Welcome” email once the request has been approved and get access to your author dashboard, where you’ll see many of the promotional tools you’ll use on Goodreads.

Edit your author profile. Give readers the chance to learn as much as possible about you with a robust profile. Once you’ve claimed your profile, complete it with as much information as possible. Upload your author photo, include a detailed bio, and provide information about your Twitter, Facebook, and blog accounts. For the bio, avoid the corporate-sounding bio and use your writing talent to create something personable! Some good examples to check out are Patrick Rothfuss, Nalini Singh and Liane Moriaty.

Switch on “Ask the Author.” This is a new feature that allows readers to ask authors questions. It’s a great way to create content that will delight and engage readers. Again, we encourage you to make the most of this opportunity to connect with your readers and let your personality shine through! Think of each question as a writing prompt, and give thoughtful answers. Some good examples of authors using this feature are Michael Cunningham, Anne Lamott, and Chuck Wendig.

You have complete control over which questions to answer. Questions are sent directly to the author dashboard and it’s only when you answer a question that the question and its answer are shown. To get you started, Goodreads provides some initial questions for you to answer, such as “Where did you get the idea for your latest book?” These questions will remain until you choose to answer them.

We recommend including a message that specifies when and how often you will be answering questions. Your answers show up in the news feed of your followers, are archived on your author profile and also on the unique landing page for Ask the Author. One question answered per day or every day or two is a good rhythm, but find what works best with your schedule.

Review some books, not just your own. Readers love finding out what their favorite authors love to read. Help them learn more about you by sharing your thoughts about the books you’re currently reading, or the ones that inspired you to become a writer. You can also rate your favorite children’s books, or comment on the classics. Don’t worry about writing a full review – simply shelving and rating books is fine, too.

Schedule a giveaway.  Giveaways are a great way to generate reviews, but also awareness of your book. Here are some tips on making the most of your giveaways:

Remember that you are not limited to one giveaway per book. You can run giveaways for your older books too!

You can run as many giveaways as you want for any book. Of course, you will want to spread them out so you reach different people. Also, you are not limited to just your latest book. You can also run giveaways for your older books to reignite awareness and interest. 

Run at least one giveaway in advance to your publication date.      

This will help build advance buzz for your book, as even readers who don’t win the book may add it to their To-Read shelf for consideration at a later date.

Run the giveaway for at least a month. This will give you time to promote the giveaway, and allows more readers to discover it as they see their friends entering.

Include a short description, and ask readers to follow you on Goodreads. A paragraph or two should suffice in describing your book, and you should also state whether the books will be signed or not. If you want to offer special deals to winners after the giveaway has ended, you can do so by posting that information on your blog, which your followers will see.

Promote the giveaway. Spread the word about your giveaway via your newsletter, Twitter account and website.

Send books to winners. This seems like an obvious one, but you never know what things come up to prevent you from sending the books to winners. If you have any questions or delays, let the Goodreads Support team know.

Giveaways are for print books only. Some authors who are only selling e-book editions of their books will use a print-on-demand service to create print copies for giveaways.

Participate in groups. Groups provide the opportunity for in-depth conversations about topics of interest, whether that’s “History and Medicine” or “Vampire Love Stories.”   It’s very important to understand that groups are not the place for a sales pitch, but rather for getting to know readers and discussing books with them. Remember to read the rules of any group you join to learn about the etiquette of how and where things are discussed. If your goal is purely to promote your books on Goodreads, joining a group is not the right strategy for you. If you are interested in slowly building up long-term connections with readers interested in the same topics as you, it’s worth investigating some groups.

Invest in a small advertising campaign. Any of the aforementioned activities can be enhanced with an advertisement campaign. We recommend starting out with a $50 – $150 initial investment in your first campaign, and following these tips:

Create multiple ads within the same campaign. This allows you to test different ads to different audiences to see which resonates best.  

Create a specific call to action. Tell viewers of your ad exactly what you want them to do next, whether it’s “Add to your shelf!” or “Read an excerpt!” Note though that “Buy my book” is not a great call to action.

Review your ad performance weekly. At the end of each week, take a look at how your ads performed taking into account the click-through-rate (the number of clicks divided by impressions, also known as CTR). The average CTR for the self-serve ads on Goodreads is 0.05%.

Edit often. If ads aren’t performing as expected, change them! This also prevents what’s known as “ad fatigue” for viewers who may see your ad more than once.

Pause an ad when it’s not working. Pausing an ad will disable it from running and potentially using funding. Unfortunately we cannot delete ads or campaigns.

Include Goodreads on your website. Many authors overlook this obvious task, providing information about their Facebook and Twitter accounts, but no mention of their presence on Goodreads. Include the Goodreads button along with your other social media. Once you have some reviews to show off, add our reviews widget (found on your author dashboard). You can customize this to only show reviews of a certain star rating.

With any activity you do, keep the reader in mind. Ask yourself what you can do to delight your readers. If you have any questions about anything on Goodreads, email us at support@goodreads.com or find us on Twitter @goodreads.

Cynthia Shannon is author marketing coordinator at Goodreads, where she supports authors and publishers who use the author program and the site’s other promotional opportunities. Before joining Goodreads, Cynthia worked as a book publicist at Wiley/Jossey-Bass, Berrett-Koehler, and Other Press. She is currently on the leadership team of the Bay Area Book Festival, was a founding member of the Young to Publishing Group Bay Area Chapter, and previously served on the board of the Book Promotion Forum (formerly Northern California Book Publicity and Marketing Association).


Crowdfunding in Your Book Publicity Campaign

By Justine Schofield, Development Director of Pubslush

You might already know this, but I’m going to say it anyway. Publishing a book is hard. If you didn’t already know this, I’m not sure if I should apologize or say ‘you’re welcome.’ There’s a lot that goes into publishing. Not only do you have to write the book (and we all thought that was the hard part!), now, as an author, you have to build a platform, establish your audience, market both yourself and your book and, if you’re self-publishing, compile a publishing team to produce the book. Phew.

Don’t worry, it’s not all as intimidating as it sounds, and there are a lot of very helpful tools available to authors to help them publish more successfully. One emerging trend in the industry is crowdfunding. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, crowdfunding is a way for entrepreneurs and creatives to raise funds and awareness for upcoming or potential projects. By collecting many smaller financial pledges from a large number of people through online platforms, crowdfunding has helped millions of people bring projects to life through the support of the crowd.

The market is over saturated with millions of books published every year, so it’s important for authors to stand out from the crowd with high-quality books and well-planned marketing efforts. Crowdfunding not only provides a solution to the financial burden of publishing, but other aspects of the process, as well. Let’s take a look at how crowdfunding can help an author to publish more successfully.

Advanced funds = higher quality books. This is the basis of crowdfunding in that it allows those without funds to publish. And for those with funds, it allows them to publish higher-quality products. Receiving funding in advance of publication, rather than trying recoup hard earned dollars through book sales, gives independent authors the ability to publish books that can compete in the mainstream market.

Did someone say rewards? Crowdfunding is reward-based. This means the supporters of a campaign receive something in return for their financial pledge. In addition to exclusive goodies and offers, most campaigns offer the final product which, of course for an author, is his/her book. By offering the upcoming book as a reward, authors are essentially able to jumpstart the sales of their books.

Brand development in a brand new way. If an author is serious about success, he must treat his book like a business…and every business needs a brand. A store that has a little bit for everyone, rather than a specific focus, won’t have a solid customer base. The same is true in the book market. Authors need to determine what they’re offering to their readers and how to best showcase their brand in an enticing way. By creating reward levels, authors formulate what else they have to offer their readers in addition to their book, which helps to create and define their brand.

Market now, smile later. It’s crucial that marketing efforts for a book start well before the book is published. Marketing an upcoming product isn’t easy, but a crowdfunding campaign provides a platform to drive traffic to and connect with potential readers. Crowdfunding helps authors establish a marathon marketing plan, rather than a sprint, so to speak, and helps to spread the marketing efforts out over time, as opposed to weighing down on the author come publication time.

Know thy readers, know thyself. Okay, this one may be a little too philosophical, but knowing who the audience is for a book is essential in order to effectively market. A crowdfunding campaign provides market analytics and reader data for campaign supporters so an author can be better informed for future marketing efforts.

Crowdfunding should generally take place 3-6 months before a book is published and can provide a lot of valuable insight for an author on the road to publication.  Conducting a successful campaign does require a lot of planning and determination, but then again so does writing and selling a book. If you’re an author, crowdfunding is worth the work. Your book deserves to be in the hands of readers, so start with the first step to success.

For more information about how to crowdfund successfully, sign up to join the Pubslush community using the promo code SMITH to receive The Guide: Tips To Successful Crowdfunding.

Justine Schofield is the development director of Pubslush, a global a pre-publication platform that allows authors and publishers to raise funds, collect pre-orders and tangibly market their upcoming book project. A writer at heart, Justine received her MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University. A prominent voice in the publishing industry and an advocate for educating authors and publishers about crowdfunding, she has contributed to IBPA’s Independent magazine, Self-Publishers Monthly, Book Marketing Magazine, Business Banter and many more online publications. She tweets for @pubslush.Connect with her on LinkedIn.


Using Social Media to Promote Your Book and Author Brand

If you are not very computer-savvy, social media marketing can seem daunting and often hard to comprehend. But it doesn’t have to be! Social media should be a fun, stress-free way to promote your book and author brand.

Using these three tips, you can begin your social media journey today!

1. Remember it takes time to grow your social media following. Do not get discouraged if you start with just a small following. It will take time for people to find you.

2. Don’t give up on posting on your social media sites. Even if you feel discouraged by a small following or think you are “doing it wrong,” do not give up. Keep posting about three times a week on platforms like Google+ and Facebook and about five times a day on Twitter. Consistency is a key element in establishing your virtual identity.

3. If you are running out of book-related content, post about your interests or hobbies.   Social media is not only about your book, it is about building your author brand. Your fans will want to learn about you as a person — not just about your book. So feel free to share your favorite blog or pictures from your weekend getaway.

If social media still seems a little too overwhelming Smith Publicity is here to help! Smith is now offering an Author Social Media Launch service to help authors set the stage for success on the most popular social media platforms. Visit our website for more information: Author Social Media Launch service!


Smith Publicity’s 2nd Book Marketing Scholarship for Persuasive Writing

Smith Publicity, one of the leading book marketing and book publicity firms in the publishing industry, is again offering a $1,000 scholarship to one high school or college/university student in the United States. The scholarship will be awarded to the student who writes the best essay on persuasive writing. We chose this topic because our book marketing services are in large part dependent upon persuasive written communication.

The Spring 2014 winner, Kelci Weidenaar said, “I truly love writing and it meant a lot to me to win this scholarship from an organization like Smith Publicity! It’s opportunities like this that are helping my educational dreams come true!” Kelci will be a freshman at Central Christian College of the Bible in Moberly, MO this fall.

For more information about the scholarship visit our website.

The Spring 2014 winner, Kelci Weidenaar said, “I truly love writing and it meant a lot to me to win this scholarship from an organization like Smith Publicity! It’s opportunities like this that are helping my educational dreams come true!” Kelci will be a freshman at Central Christian College of the Bible in Moberly, MO this fall.

For more information about the scholarship visit our website.


Congratulations to our first “You Wrote a Novel, Now What?” essay winner

Novelists who participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in 2013 were eligible to enter and win a publicity consultation and to have his or her book on NetGalley.

We would like to congratulate Tina Torrest, a NA romance author who completed the third book of her REMEMBER WHEN series. Torrest’s books are available on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble.


A New Look for SmithPublicity.com

Smith Publicity is happy to announce a brand new website. Our website is still filled with articles, tips and resources for authors but now with a fresh, sleek look. Visit it today!


Don’t Miss This Year’s Greenleaf Author Summit

Join us at the 2014 Greenleaf Author Summit™_in Austin, TX, September 25 and 26—to take your business to the next level. Greenleaf Book Group is an Inc. 500/5000 company with dozens of books on the New York Times Bestseller List. In an unstable publishing climate, Greenleaf and its authors have continued to thrive. Now Greenleaf is opening its doors to business leaders, speakers, and writers to present a two-day event centered around three core themes: Ideas, Influence, and Income™. World-class guest speakers (including Dan Smith and Sandra Poirier Smith of Smith Publicity!) and Greenleaf’s expert staff will present a program designed to teach authors and experts how to:

  • create differentiated content that builds their platforms as thought leaders,
  • spread their ideas and expertise, and
  • monetize those ideas and products.

Your ticket provides full access to expert advice and insider knowledge, with no up sell or obligation. The Greenleaf Author Summit™ will provide interactive learning sessions and networking opportunities via multiple sessions of actionable content designed to help experts define their market and product positioning and drive their expertise and ideas. These insights and connections will make a significant difference in your business within twelve months.

We at Smith Publicity have had the honor and privilege of promoting dozens and dozens of Greenleaf authors over the years. We cannot speak highly enough about the service, quality and support they provide their authors to help them reach their individual goals.

For more information about the Summit visit Greenleaf’s site.


Deadline to Have Your Book Displayed at the Frankfurt Book Fair—Largest Book Trade show in the World—September 12

September 12 is the last day to register to your book for display at the Frankfurt International Book Fair as a part of the Combined Book Exhibit. Visit Smith Publicity’s CBE page for more information and registration details.