By Tina Coleman Bausinger
My book, Cold Coffee and Speed Limits hit #6 on Amazon’s “Hot New Releases” Parenting and Family Humor category. It was released less than a week ago and I don’t have any major publishers or big-time book reviewers backing me. For brief shining moment, my book was in front of Whoopi Goldberg’s and Jim Gaffigan’s books!
My little geek self is still in awe. I published my first novel through a traditional small press publisher (so yes, someone bought it and I signed an actual contract), but when it was time to put out my second book I decided to do it Indie-style–on my own. I crossed over into Best Sellers (so briefly, so no, Ma, I’m not “rich yet”), as well as the Top Rated book list. It’s week 3 and I’m still on the Hot New Releases list, in two categories.
Here’s what I’ve done–and it’s WORKED.
1. Social Media: USE IT! My favorites are Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. This includes tiny teasers on my Facebook posts as well as individual pages just for this book. Because I have Fiction and Books pages on Pinterest, I put it on there as well. I also put it on my Writer’s Café page on Facebook where I’ve accumulated over 1000 followers. It’s free advertising. I chatted it up to my friends, who also chatted it up with their friends. Word of mouth goes a long way!
2. I’ve been blogging my butt off. This has cost me nothing but my time, although I have invested in a nice-looking template and a few other goodies. Blogging has helped establish me as an “expert” in my field as well as given me material for my book. In addition, it helps my “Google-ability” or my social media presence. I don’t blog only about my book—that’s boring and people will dump you like last night’s leftovers. I blog about my family, about writing, about teaching—all of which are organic topics for me. I’ve also gained readers who are interested in my blog about parenting teens, so naturally many of these same readers are also interested in buying a book about the same topic. If you spend time giving people valuable information (or inspiration, or entertainment), they will come back for more.
3. Don’t try to skip a professional cover. When I was working on my draft, I had a really cute picture of my son and his girlfriend for the temporary cover, then I asked my friend who’s a pro in graphics and marketing to help me. I paid him in ENCHILADAS, people. I mean, they’re pretty good enchiladas, but I know he was on the losing end of this deal. A professionally designed cover sets you apart and gives you an edge.
4. I asked for help. Not psychological help (but who knows how long that will last), but help editing and promoting my book. In exchange for an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC), readers promised to 1) give me HONEST feedback 2) tell me of any spelling/grammar/continuity issues 3) write a short review and 4) help me promote my book on social media. It’s a cheap price to pay, AND I placed excerpts of the reviews in the beginning of the book so that people who were just checking it out might be motivated to KEEP READING. This cost me nothing but my pride. When my book was released, I asked these ladies (as well as others) to go on Amazon and post a review there. Reviews (even less than 5 stars!) add a legitimacy to your book.
So remember, PLAN AHEAD. You don’t have big bucks for promotion, but you do have to spend some time. It’s all worth it to see your book on the list!
Tina Coleman Bausinger has a Master’s degree in English and is the author of War Eagle Women, a Southern gothic novel and Cold Coffee and Speed Limits. She’s a contributing writer in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, publishing in two of their books--Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Dad: 101 Stories of Gratitude, Love, and Good Times and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Runners: 101 Inspirational Stories of Energy, Endurance, and Endorphins. She writes features, travel pieces and book reviews for IN Magazine, the Tyler Paper, Freelancewriting.com and enjoys blogging at tinabausinger.com . She teaches English Composition at a local junior college. She lives in Tyler, Texas with her husband, three kids, a bully Chihuahua and a German shepherd with anxiety issues. Contact Tina on any of her pages. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tina.bausinger, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.
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