“Self-Promo” seems to be every author’s least-favorite phrase. But arguably, it is also the most important. If you don’t promote your work, who will? Well, okay – for those of you lucky enough to have a publicist working on your behalf, this may be slightly less of a concern. But you’ve still gotta be willing and able to stand confidently behind your hard work. And as indie publishing becomes widely available to more people, that means standing out in the crowd gets a lot more difficult. At the end of the day, it’s a numbers game – and to get the attention from readers that you deserve, you’ve gotta bring your A-game. In this week’s article, I’m sharing five fantastic flamingo favorites to let your freak flag fly. At least in the publishing world, anyway.
1. Be yourself.
The most repetitive theme that I learned in my college marketing classes was to be human. By this, I mean that you’ve got to let your demographic know that you’re a real person with feelings, likes, dislikes, and a personality beyond just the “buy my book” posts. Show off your pet, your new novelty coffee mug, or even just your fresh new hairdo. Readers will follow you because you’re real – so treat them a bit like your real-life friends. And hey, you never know – sometimes those online friends become real-life friends. That’s always an incredible thing to experience – and I would know. If you’re lacking confidence in that area, this recent article HERE about publishing in general might take some of the pressure off.
2. Share knowledge and new skills in your promo.
Give your followers something they can keep with them – be it writing advice, a new mindset, or a new tool. You’re the expert in your field, so offer little gems you wish you had known about the publishing world. Odds are, the people scrolling through your Instagram are looking to learn more about what you do. Show them how it’s done. That being said, don’t BS things. Tell it like it is, but with a good dose of positivity and encouragement. Make your page a place you’d want to visit. Interact with your followers so they feel more connected and will be more likely to promote your work.
3. Go where your people are.
This greatly depends on the genre you write in. If you’re YA, Tiktok and Instagram are the biggest places to get readers. Meanwhile, for older demographics interested in women’s fiction or historical fiction, Facebook and Twitter seem to be the hot spots you should focus on. Of course, this is far from an exhaustive list, but it’s important not to bite off more than you can chew – especially in the marketing realm. Otherwise, you’ll spread yourself too thin and not do any promo very well. So take the time do some market research, and then learn the latest trends that you see. This is another reason why I love being a part of Facebook groups, because you can learn a lot from the hive mind.
4. Do something no one else is doing.
My friend’s fiancé went viral on TikTok recently, and he now has 2.2 million followers. I actually asked him about it, and he said that sometimes it just happens by accident, but consistency is key. Stick to a schedule that works for you, even if it’s only posting once a week. I also spoke to a prominent handmade art influencer I know from Instagram, who hit the big time because he’s a guy in his twenties mixing crochet with punk culture. Both of these influencers stumbled upon something no one else was doing, and that paid off in massive dividends. The key is to find your niche, and then push it as far as you can. Bring your unique voice to the world, and promote it on relevant platforms in ways that only you can do.
5. Embrace trial and error.
Not everything you do is going to take off, but that shouldn’t keep you from trying. Use your failure to motivate you even further. Push the boundaries of what you thought you could accomplish – maybe you’ll even surprise yourself! Remember that the people who are successful are basically just the ones who never give up. Try new promo avenues, ask around, and put yourself (and your work) out there. Contests are supposedly a great outlet for getting visibility on a book, but I can’t personally vouch for that yet. My latest book was entered into a couple contests, but I won’t hear anything about it for at least a few months. But in the meantime, try any and all opportunities that cross your path!