Books Forward February 2022 Newsletter

Check out the latest newsletter featuring our award-winning authors and industry news. This issue features upcoming book releases, recent media coverage and much more!

Read the February 2022 newsletter here!

BookBub

Tips and tricks for authors using BookBub

Whether you’re a new author or one who’s been around the block, the name BookBub has most likely come across your desk. “Well… what is it? Another website? Another login? Another password to remember?!” Oof, we know. There are a few… but don’t miss out on this one!

We here at Books Forward are big fans of BookBub and all the opportunities their services can provide. BookBub is one of the top tier bargain e-book newsletters, with one of the largest networks reaching millions of email subscribers everyday. Authors can advertise their discounted e-books and reach millions of readers who are willing to download cheaper books and try out new authors. In what BookBub calls their “Featured Deal” service, authors have seen their books hit #1 on Amazon. It also helps build numbers of reviews and rankings, and authors have seen downloads in the thousands.

Now despite all the amazing results and testimonials, BookBub isn’t necessarily your golden ticket to the bestseller lists, but can certainly help you build your readership! Here are a few of our tips to get started.

Create a profile: Having a presence on BookBub can help optimize your search engine results. Make sure to update your display picture, biography and even list some of your recommended reads. This is a great way to connect with your peers and to even see where you could advertise your book. (For example: if an author has a large amount of followers on BookBub and their readers would most likely vibe with your book, think about tapping into that network!) We recommend adding new books to your list, every other week or so.

BookBub Ads: BookBub allows you to target other authors on the platform (which is where the last tip can come in handy!) You can create ads by using the system’s templates or design your own. We recommend exploring your genre and targeting similar authors listed in that category.

Featured Deals: Featured deals are where you’ll get the most bang for your buck. But you do have to be patient! Featured Deals don’t happen right away and can take time and persistence. They can be pricey depending on the genre and the regions — if you get a deal within the U.S., expect to pay more. However, the payoff is worth it. Be considerate of the genre you are submitting in and don’t hesitate to try different genres and price points. Be sure to fill out the comment section with any accolades or awards the book has received! Once your feature deal is live, don’t be shy to advertise on other platforms — you can use this promotion to create some really great momentum.

Overall, the most important lesson to learn with BookBub (and book marketing in general!) is the more you put, in the more you’ll get back. If you decide to apply yourself to the BookBub platform, be sure to use it consistently — optimize your profile, try using ads and submit frequently to Featured Deals, and it will be worth the effort in the end! Every reader counts and BookBub is a great place to meet more.

publication day

What happens AFTER my book launches?

Authors jump through countless hoops leading up to their publication day. In fact, a massive part of publicity work is typically done before a book is even available for sale. Authors are encouraged to create a website, grow their social media following, send ARCs out for early reviews, set up pre-order campaigns, and coordinate a launch event, all before their book has hit shelves. So, when publication day finally arrives, many authors breathe a sigh of relief. You can kick back, relax, and celebrate all you’ve accomplished. As you should!

Then, after all the party hats are packed away, confusion — maybe even panic —sets in. No one told you how to continue supporting your book after publication day. What can you do to keep the momentum going?

Below are eight tips for what you can do after your book launch. And, if you are working with a professional publicity or marketing agency, they may be able to take some of these tasks off your plate. Ask them how they can support you post-launch!

Keep Posting on Social Media

  • Stay active! It’s important to keep up a consistent posting schedule so that your name stays on reader’s radars, especially when in-between book releases. If you’re worried about time-management, or feel as though you don’t have enough content ideas to fill out 3 posts per week, you can certainly post less frequently, as long as you stay consistent.
  • Share the positive reviews you’ve received. Remember to thank the bloggers and influencers who reviewed your book and posted about it on social media. This group is the backbone of book publicity, and most of the work they do is for free!
  • Host a post-pub day giveaway! Perhaps you have extra swag, bookplates, or signed copies sitting around? Time to clean up, and draw attention back to your new release.
  • Keep celebrating! Your book is in its infancy, and many good things are still to come. Did you hit number one in your category on Amazon? Has your book won a literary award? Will there be a limited-time sale? Is your publisher planning to release the book in new formats, such as paperback or audiobook? Keep sharing the good news!

Advance Your Skills on Your Social Accounts Website, and Newsletter

  • Branch out and learn new skills! The digital realm is complex and always evolving. Each year, there are brand new resources that authors can use to their advantage. Keep abreast of trends, and get inspired by how other authors are adapting and promoting their work online. Here are a few tools that are popular now:
  • Create a content calendar. This will allow you to schedule your social media posts in advance, saving you time and effort throughout the week.
  • Learn how to use Pinned Tweets on Twitter. A Pinned Tweet stays at the top of your page, so it should contain the most important information you’re trying to communicate — i.e. all the key information about your book and where/how to order a copy!
  • Learn how to use LinkTree and add it to your social media profiles. LinkTree helps you keep all your links in one place. You can add purchase links for your book to reduce the number of clicks it takes for a follower to buy your book. The fewer steps involved, the more likely it is that a reader will complete their purchase!
  • Create a TikTok account. TikTok hosts a vibrant community of readers — largely young adults — who are looking to connect over new books. If you are in the YA genre, this is definitely something you should explore!
  • Update your website and social media headers. After publication day, be sure to update your banners with language such as “on sale now” or “available everywhere!”
  • Set up an email newsletter for fans to subscribe to. You should incentivize sign-ups by giving away something for free. A sample of the book (a few chapters long) often works well.

Mobilize Your Personal Network

  • Ask friends, family, and fans to share reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.
  • Ask your network to request a copy of your book from their local library or indie bookstore. The higher the demand is for your book, the more likely it is that these professsionals will order copies in bulk.

Set Up Meet and Greets with Tastemakers

  • Approach booksellers about stocking your book. Bring your book and a copy of your press kit with you, and ask the bookseller for just a few minutes of their time. Give them your quick elevator pitch, and let them know why their customers would be interested in your book. If the store doesn’t agree to order copies right away, that’s OK. Continue supporting their store, and show them that you are serious about a mutual partnership.
  • Get in touch with libraries too! If you are stopping by in person, bring your book and a copy of your press kit. If you are not able to visit, consider mailing out postcards with information on your new release. Let the library know that you are interested in partnering with them, and helping them get more patrons through their doors.

Connect with Other Authors for Dual Promos

  • Partner up with another author for a dual event or panel. Having two authors for an event essentially doubles the audience size, which can make dual events very appealing to bookstores and libraries!
  • Set up a double giveaway. Offer your book along with a friend’s book for a dual giveaway on social media to increase awareness and participation!
  • Set up an IG or FB Live where you two chat, or agree to an interview hosted by a third party.
  • Try a newsletter feature swap! If you both have email newsletters, you can each promote the other’s book to help grow your audience and readership.

Pitch Yourself as an Expert

  • Author-focused media — online, print, radio or TV opportunities that may require you to speak on your expertise — can be set up months or even years after your book’s release. Especially if you are a nonfiction author, or an expert in your field, the media will be interested in what you have to say. So, consider pitching yourself as an expert to journalists and local TV programs!
  • Keep up to date with conferences and festivals, and apply to the ones that interest you. Many events are always looking for expert speakers!

Write Guest Articles

  • Guest articles are beneficial for author branding and are an effective way to keep your name in front of potential readers, especially while in between book releases. For a full list of tips on writing guest articles, check out our previous article here.

Consider an Ad Campaign

  • Digital marketing campaigns can start anytime and do not need to be tied to your publication date. Here are a few options you might consider:
  • Run ads in reader newsletters surrounding a special price drop on your ebook. If you’re going to be running a sale, you’ll want lots of readers to know about it. These ads help to boost exposure to tens of thousands of dedicated readers and tend to be very effective at increasing sales!
  • Plan seasonal ads. Are the holidays coming up? Run an ad campaign surrounding the season in order to take advantage of the festive gift giving. Or, if your book is addressing a serious topic such as Breast Cancer Awareness, consider running ads surrounding the related awareness month to boost exposure and draw attention to a good cause.
  • Check out marketing opportunities with your local bookseller association. If you want to reach booksellers directly, you can purchase an ad in a newsletter that will reach hundreds of indie booksellers in your local region.

As you can see, there are plenty of strategies for building your author brand and growing your readership while you’re in between book releases. Take stock of which strategies play to your strengths and pair well with your book’s genre, and follow that path!

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Links used: https://booksforward.com/tips-for-writing-great-guest-articles/

Books Forward January 2022 Newsletter

Check out the latest newsletter featuring our award-winning authors and industry news. This issue features upcoming book releases, recent media coverage and much more!

Read the January 2022 newsletter here!

A Writer’s Guide to Goodreads

Readers and authors alike flock to Goodreads to find new books, enter giveaways, rate books, write reviews, and monitor stats of the unending sea of books that can be found online. So, what are the key things to keep in mind as a writer who wants their book to gain traction on Goodreads? We’ve put together a list of tips that can be helpful for first time authors breaking into this site.

  1. Use The Site
    This may seem obvious, but the most important part of entering a new digital space is understanding how it works. Participate as a reader and look at other author pages to build an idea of what your page might look like. Rate and review books, enter some giveaways to see how they work, check out the array of lists readers can vote books onto, and join the community. Integrating yourself first allows you to not only understand the site, but also understand the kinds of people who use it.
  2. Build Your Author Profile
    Create an author profile page that gives all the information you want to share with your readers to make finding you and your book easier. Include a short bio, a professional headshot, the genres you write in, and links to any website or social media accounts you have. You want them to be able to follow you easily across the web for updated book information so be sure to use links that are updated.
  3. Optimize and Claim Your Book Page
    In order for people to find your book, you will need to input its information. Be sure to include a good quality cover photo, an optimized description, and updated metadata like ISBN, publishing information, and price. Then you will need to claim the book as your own from your author profile so that it is connected to your account. If you are interested in what we can help with on the Goodreads optimization side, let us know, and we can tell you what we’ve done for our previous authors.
  4. Set Up a Giveaway
    One of the best ways to get your book in front of more readers on Goodreads is to offer a giveaway. You are able to list both print and online giveaways and you can set the number of copies you are willing to give. The great thing about giveaways is that whoever enters the giveaway keeps the book in their “want to read” list whether they win or not. This means that your book will be on their mind for future book purchases they will make, and it shows up in their friends’ feeds. It’s great exposure and can really help you gain interest.
  5. Add Your Book to Lists
    Goodreads has hundreds of lists that you can vote your book onto. Some fairly generic like “100 Must Read Books” and others that are hyper specific like “Fictitious Shipwrecks.” The more people that vote for the book on these lists, the higher they move and the more visibility your book has. Doing a mix of both broader and more specific lists is the best way to approach this aspect of Goodreads. Get your friends and family to help you raise your ranking and post about them on your socials to get readers involved.
  6. Engage with Readers
    Goodreads is a social platform so don’t forget to be social! Respond to positive reviews or post them on your other socials. Host Author Q&As on your Goodreads profile to answer questions about your writing process or your characters. Continue to use the site as a reader as well to stay current on what books and authors are popular at the moment. Social channels are always changing so staying up to date is your best chance for success!

 

Tips for building mood boards and create brand aesthetics

A big part of author branding is making sure your personal social media and blogging efforts follow a particular theme, or have a certain aesthetic that associates your book with something that readers will notice and in turn, associate with you!

As a blogger myself, my aesthetic has often been described as colorful and coffee-obsessed. I almost always include a coffee mug and some sort of hot beverage in my photos, and I allow my photos to be bright, often including plants and greenery. I’ve had so many readers send me coffee-related posts and gifs from other bloggers, which warms my heart, knowing that they have gleaned something about me and thought of me in context with something I love.

Below, you’ll find tips and tricks for creating your own aesthetic, and opportunities to work on your brand!

Express Yourself

This sounds like it should be obvious, but I have a lot of authors that ask about sharing too much of their personality on social media, wondering if their platform should be book-specific. To that I say, sort of. Of course, we want the book to be present, you are an author! But if there are other things you enjoy, hobbies, professions, etc. – post those things too! They make you unique, and they might attract non-traditional readers who connect with something other than books, and that can open you up to a completely different audience! Don’t be afraid to show YOU without the pen in hand!

Be Consistent

Consistency is KEY, especially in a visual sense. It’s important for readers to see recurring patterns in your posts. For me, it’s the greenery. When friends come over, they always remark that they’ve seen my plants in all of my photos, and are often so excited to see “where the magic happens”. I’ve had friends gift me plants because they know that’s something I really enjoy from how often they appear in my photos. You want your readers to get to know you in that way, and also to create that association for them, so that when they see something that reminds them of you, they are reminded of your books and have the desire to continue reading throughout your career!

Add in a Pop of Color

One of the easiest and most essential pieces of author branding comes down to color, and ensuring that you are using the same colors across your multiple platforms. It comes back to the idea of consistency, but it can be helpful when readers are seeing you in different places that they have an association with! Select colors that resonate with you or are featured on your book cover, and be sure to use those same shades and colors for your website and social media alike!

Presets

In the world of Instagram, presets are quite popular. Presets are essentially filters that you can add to each and every photo you take to ensure that they have a similar aesthetic and appear related and consistent. This can be a simple way to ensure your photos are consistent and appear clean to viewers. The only downside to presets is that you often have to pay for them. They aren’t entirely too expensive, but it is something to consider!

Have Fun

None of this matters if you can’t have a bit of fun with it! Social media and branding, while a great way to connect with your audience, are still personal platforms where you are meant to be yourself. If your creative outlet looks different, allow for it to look different! You know yourself and your brand better than anyone! Don’t be afraid to try something outside of the box, especially if that means you’re going to find enjoyment!

Books Forward December 2021 Newsletter

Check out the latest newsletter featuring our award-winning authors and industry news. This issue features upcoming book releases, recent media coverage and much more!

Read the December 2021 newsletter here!

12 Tips for Writing Impactful Guest Articles

Today, we’re back again to discuss everyone’s favorite tool for author branding: guest articles! While each individual publication or blog will have its own set of rules you’ll need to follow, these general guidelines are designed to help you get started.

Side note: if you’re wondering what exactly guest articles are and why they’re worth your time, check out my previous article here. Then, return back to this page and read up on these specific writing tips.

Exclusivity matters

Most outlets want first-publication rights for an article — they’re looking for content that was written exclusively for them. This means that the article you submit should not have previously appeared anywhere else, in print or online. Once it’s published, you’re free to link to it on your website and social media pages.

Tailor Your Topic

Before you begin writing, brainstorm topic ideas that both fit within your realm of expertise and meet the expectations and interests of the publication you’ll be pitching.

Ask yourself: Who is going to read this article, and what are they interested in? What is a timely, relevant topic that I can write about? What qualifications do I have that make me an authority on this topic? What makes my perspective unique, something that no one else seems to be saying right now?

If your topic is unique, timely and tailored to both your expertise and the reader’s interests, then you’ve hit the jackpot.

Self-promotion is not always your friend

This is incredibly important. While it’s our job at Books Forward to promote you and your book, it’s not the job of an editor. Their job is to provide meaningful content to their readers. Guest articles and op-eds are meant to position you as an expert, give your name exposure and cement your brand. If an editor feels like you’re blatantly selling a product, it will likely turn them off.

That said, book bloggers are a different breed. They may not mind helping you promote your book via a guest article, because their audience is primarily interested in learning about authors and the books they write. They want to hear about a character’s development, the setting, your insights into your chosen genre, your experience as a writer and how this book came to be.

Keep and eye on word count

Most media outlets and blogs will provide a word count, so try your best to stick to it. Editors and bloggers know their readers better than anyone else, so that’s why they provide specific word count guidelines. If they don’t specify how long your article should be, take a look at other guest articles they’ve published in the past.

Cut the jargon

Write as if you’re having a conversation with someone. Write in terms that readers will understand and identify with. If the subject you’re writing on is complicated, give examples or explain the concept in detail. If people can’t interpret what they’re reading, they’ll move on without a second thought.

Craft a catchy but informative headline

The editor may or may not use what you suggest depending on their needs — SEO, anyone? — but it makes their lives easier if you give them a title to start with.

Tips and lists

People love “quick hit” information that they can apply to their own lives. If you can, provide some tips related to your topic or an easy-to-read bulleted list of takeaways.

Back up your claims

If there are statistics, case studies or real life examples that support your opinions, consider including them in your article. It will lend you credibility and readers will be more likely to trust what you have to say.

Provide links

If you’re referring to a specific news article, organization or anything that has a website associated with it, provide a link. This helps with website hits and can get more eyes on your piece!

Include a bio

Write a 2-3 sentence third-person bio to plug into the bottom of your article. This should at least include your name, expertise, your book title with the publication date, where you live and your website. If you’re sending along a headshot, make sure to include photo credits as well.

Prepare to make changes

If the editor or blogger looks over your article and asks you to make edits, be flexible and accommodating to their requests. It’s great news that they want to work with you on your piece! Let them know that you’re willing to meet them in the middle in order to provide the best article for their readership.

Show some love

After your piece is published, be sure to share it with your readers! This not only shows the publication or blog that you appreciate them for hosting your article but also helps your article get more attention.

With these tips in mind, you’re on your way to creating impactful guest articles. Double check that your article draft complies with the specifications outlined by the individual publication or blog you plan on pitching, and you’ll be all set!

Books Forward November 2021 Newsletter

Check out the latest newsletter featuring our award-winning authors and industry news. This issue features upcoming book releases, recent media coverage and much more!

Read the November 2021 newsletter here!

Books Forward October 2021 Newsletter

Check out the latest newsletter featuring our award-winning authors and industry news. This issue features upcoming book releases, recent media coverage and much more!

Read the October 2021 newsletter here!