9/17/09

Creating More Book Buzz by Joyce DiPastena (Guest Blog)

Joyce DiPastena is very active online and does a lot of "buzz marketing" of her books. She has graciously agreed to share some of her tips with us. Thanks, Joyce!


Some while back, LDS Publisher invited me to write a guest blog sharing some of the ways I have marketed my books online. First, I’d like to thank her for this opportunity and recommend that you begin by reading, if you haven’t already, her own blog on Creating the Buzz. I will try not to cover too much of the same ground.

As suggested by LDS Publisher’s blog title, marketing really begins with what’s called “buzz”. I have heard it said that a potential reader needs to read or hear the title of a book a minimum of ten times before he or she will consider buying a book by an unfamiliar author. Creating buzz is how we get the name of our books out there, so that eventually a potential buyer will begin to think, “I’m hearing and reading a lot about this book lately. Maybe it’s time I check it out!”

Here are some of the ideas I have used for creating “buzz” for my medieval novels, Loyalty’s Web and Illuminations of the Heart:

Create and maintain a website. Websites are more static than blogs and, in my opinion, not as much fun, but they are an important centralized source of information and will often be the first place a reader looks to learn more about you and your books.

Create and maintain a blog. Blogs are a lot more flexible, and in my opinion, much more fun than websites. Blogs are a good place to record random and not so random thoughts about your writing or anything in your life or the world that happens to strike your fancy. They’re good places to make announcements about your books, do interviews with other authors, write book reviews, and hold contests for copies of your books or other people’s books. Blogs are pretty much limited only by your imagination.

Celebrate the “milestones” of your book by holding contests. Hold a contest when you sign your book contract. (I gave away a box of Mrs. Cavanaugh’s chocolates when I signed mine.) Hold a contest to celebrate the unveiling of your cover art. (I gave away a framed print of a medieval-themed painting to celebrate the new “medieval” cover art for Loyalty’s Web.) Hold a contest to celebrate your book becoming available for pre-order or order on DeseretBook.com or Amazon. (I gave away gift certificates to both online bookstores towards the purchase of copies of Loyalty’s Web…and the winners were honest with their win and bought copies of my book. And at least one of those buys resulted in both a new fan and now a very good friend.)

Make up your own milestones and celebrate them with your potential readers!

NOTE: When holding a contest, ask a question about your book that forces the entrants to read your cover blurb or the first chapter of your book (posted on your website or blog) to find the answer, then have them email the answer to you to enter. That way, entrants might be intrigued enough by your book to buy a copy, even if they don’t win your contest.

Advertise your contests everywhere you can…on Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and LDS Publisher. Do the same when your book gets a good review. Even if people don’t enter your contests, just seeing you post about it creates a sense that “things are going on with your book”. I had a woman email me, saying she’d been following the progress of Illuminations of the Heart on Facebook (through my status updates), and offered to review a copy for her review blog, Library of Clean Reads and if she liked it (which she did), recommend it to her reading group. So you never know who might be watching those status updates of yours!

By the way, never refer to your book as “my book” when you advertise or blog about it. Always refer to it by its title. Remember, your goal is to get people familiar with the TITLE of your book, not merely the fact that you’ve written one.

Donate copies of your book for giveaways on other people’s blogs, and be willing to return the favor. Be satisfied with small turnouts for your contests. Another recent personal example: I held an online “book release party” on my blog for Illuminations of the Heart, where I gave away a small, “illumination” themed prize every hour for eight hours. I only had a very small handful of people actually enter my hourly contests. But one of the women who won a prize subsequently went out and bought a copy of Illuminations of the Heart. She liked it so much, she not only posted reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, but FIVE other book review sites that she found online. So again, you just never know…seemingly small turnouts may result in very large results! And again, the advertising will still catch people’s eyes.

Be observant. Look at what other people are doing to promote their books, then copy or adapt their ideas to your own needs. Remember ideas, like titles, are not copyrightable.

Here are some important links that can help you create “buzz” for your books:

Good luck and happy buzzing!

I'd just add a couple of things: make your book titles links to more information about the book or to where you can buy it; and always provide links to your website and blog when you do a guest blog somewhere. :)

See what Joyce has done to create buzz about her books at her website and her blog.

13 comments:

Kate said...

I'm so glad you're back to posting. I really missed it. Thanks for the helpful info on this post.

Anonymous said...

While Ms. DiPastena has some good ideas, I must caution against posting every time your book gets a good review and against having too many contests. I was getting so annoyed by being notified of every single "good" review on all the different sites mentioned like Facebook and Goodreads because it felt like I was being spammed every day for months. It got so bad I just starting deleting anything with her name on it without even looking at it. The same with the contests. Do a few, but don't make it so obvious that it's just a marketing ploy. The key is to walk the fine line of getting your name out there without completely turning off potential customers because their inbox is full of "contest" blurbs and notification after notification of new reviews. If you've got a great product, let word of mouth work, let your website list your good reviews, and let the book speak for itself without trying to over-hype it. Don't shoot yourself in the foot by alienating the very people who would possibly be interested in the book.

Danielle Thorne said...

Informative post, Joyce. I hope everyone takes it to heart. The sites you mentioned are a great way to make friends and contacts. People on them should know to expect lots of news and announcements. If they don't like that kind of information, they shouldn't sign up for it then.

Joyce DiPastena said...

I admit, I've been learning as I go along. I don't do nearly as many Goodreads announcements as I used to, because they do end up in email boxes and I can see how they would be annoying. However, listing reviews, contests, etc, on places like Facebook and Twitter status boxes don't clutter up anyone's email boxes and people who aren't interested are perfectly free not to read them, while people who are interested (especially those who love entering contests, and there are a lot of them out there) can read them if they want. None of these techniques is going to appeal to everyone, but each of them will appeal to SOME readers, and you don't want to ignore them, either. What you're looking for (in my opinion) is to find your personal "target group of readers", but since you don't just automatically know who these people are, there is always the risk of "sharing your news" with people who aren't interested, as well. That's what delete buttons were invented for. ;-)

And I do agree that ALL your status updates on Facebook/Twitter shouldn't be exclusively about reviews and contests, etc. They need to be interspersed with "real life" so potential readers can learn to feel they know you as a "person", as well as an "author".

Just a few more of my thoughts, for whatever they're worth. Use whatever ideas of mine you think will work for you, and by all means, ignore the rest!

Laurean Brooks said...

Hey Joyce, Danielle is right. This list contains great information and suggestions to help authors get the word out. Thanks for posting it!

Hugs!
Laurie

M. Gray said...

Great info! Thanks for sharing! I have a book in the works and want to refer to it by its title but my publisher (wisely) asks me not to. I can understand why--that the title may change during the editing process, but it does make it hard to create a buzz without its name.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

great information! I'll be sure to use it!

Rebecca Talley said...

Joyce is very good at online buzz. Thanks for posting this guest blog. I am always on the lookout for new ideas.

I gave away a copy of "Altared Plans" on Goodreads through their contest link. (Since my book is for the LDS market I'm a little nervous whether the winner will like it or not).

I believe that one of the best online avenues for books intended for the LDS market is right here on LDSPublisher (or LDSFiction). LDSP offers contests we can sponsor as well as paid spots. All good investments because the readership is interested in LDS fiction.

I also agree that getting your book on the daily chapter website is a great way to get exposure.

Donna Hatch said...

Great post, Joyce! I think it's fun to get updates on how well books are doing, even if I've already read it. Though I may not always read the entire email/twitter update or whatever, it's fun to see and celebrate someone's success. I wish you much success in Loyalty's Web and Illuminations of the Heart. They were both great books!!!

JoAnn Arnold said...

I appreciated the informative post. thank you for taking the time to share it with us. Some great ideas

Karen Gowen said...

I agree with you that blogging is fun. I just started a few months ago at the recommendation of my publisher, after years of resistance. Now I enjoy it so much I started a second.

Your ideas were all outlined so clearly in this post, and I appreciate your willingness to share what has worked for you.

Joyce DiPastena said...

Thanks for adding my links, LDSP. See? I learned something new, too! :-)

Cindy R. Williams said...

Thanks Joyce,

I have watched you shine with your books for the past couple of years. You are the "QUEEN BEE of the BUZZ" Hey, I may just call you that from now on! I appreciate having the opportunity to add my book to your contests. It has given me a bit of a buzz.