If you write a series of books with a protagonist that does something specific, then connect with people who have the same interest or do the same thing. And connect with those who are avid readers. I am using specific real examples of authors and books that are currently on the market, some indie/self-published, some traditionally published.
Start a good four to six months prior to the release date of your book (hint, this means don’t push the “publish button” online if you have your book ready but haven’t created a following of fans for yourself).
Find your tribe on social media
For example, if you set your murder mysteries in quarries, connect on social media with those in that profession. So, if you’re on LinkedIn, join any of these dozens of groups and start interacting as part of the conversation.
Likewise, if you have a book about food, create a page on Pinterest and connect with those who love the food you’re writing about. An example is Hummingbird Cake
Find your tribe in meet-up groups and professional organizations
Let’s say Civil War is your passion and you write historical fiction. Connect with groups in your area that delve into the topic and become an active member of the group, and reach out to other groups around the country to see if they would be interested in reading your book and reviewing it or doing a Q&A in their newsletter. Some members might even be interested in becoming beta readers or part of your “street team.” There are loads of groups to get involved with:
What could be better than finding professionals passionate about reading and the Civil War?
Attend writers’ conferences
There are writer workshops and writer conferences throughout the United States and beyond all year long. Ones that may be especially helpful include those that have agents and acquisition editors on panels and have the opportunity to sign-up for a one-on-one pitch period.
The panel discussions and workshops are important learning opportunities, but absolutely don’t underestimate the value of staying in the hotel where the event is being held to network and get to know the other writers in the bar or lobby or at any social events offered. Hiding in your room may cause you to miss the chance to meet an established author that may be willing to read your next manuscript and blurb your next book. If you show up for cocktails—and drink iced tea like I do, if you prefer—you may find that you hit it off with the acquisition editor that spoke at a panel you heard earlier, and he or she may become a fan of yours, even if they can’t publish your current manuscript.
Check out this great list from last week’s After The Manuscript column by Scott Lorenz.
Take everybody’s card you meet and do something with it
While you are fresh on their mind and you are fresh on theirs, put your new contact on your e-mail list for your book (e-mail lists are the hot thing in book promotion right now) and connect with them on social media, reminding them of how you met or connected.
So many people come back to me even five years later and remind me of how we originally connected on Facebook or Twitter or through one of my speaking engagements, and they ask for my advice or help. I have the same reaction other nice people in publishing have, it’s flattering to be remembered and the community is happy to give you a hand.
We have some fantastic authors on our roster. Know what else we have? Lots of award-winning authors. Peer-voted awards are determined by how good the writing and story is. However, I have yet to see a nasty ogre win one of the nationally coveted awards when their writing peers are voting. It’s just a fact of life. Our most successful authors are always the ones that their fans love, that spend time interacting with fans and that are willing to help a debut author a long.
Now, go get ‘em!
JULIE SCHOERKE founded JKS Communications in 2000. For the past 11 years the firm has specialized in books, her team has represented more than 1,000 books and 600 authors as well as several publishing houses.The firm specializes in creative, full-service campaigns that take their authors around the world and onto best seller lists, top media placement and into the hearts of readers everywhere. www.jkscommunications.com
Chris Hayden been working at City Book Review since 2012, so that makes him the keeper of knowledge. He manages the office and book reviewers (all 200 of them!), which is no small feat. If you’re looking at the book reviews here, you’re seeing them because he sent the books out for review. Without him, this place would fall apart, because no one else in the office knows how to use the postage machine. Two words: job security.