Written by Chantelle Atkins October 8th, 2015

3 Promotional Tools I’m Not Ignoring Anymore

When I first dived into the world of independent publishing, I was extremely naive about the amount of time, effort, and money needed to successfully promote my books. I started slowly, and have only recently started to pick up my pace.

This is all thanks to the advice, support and shared content of other authors. I cannot stress enough how important it is to listen and learn from those that have gone before you. I was clueless and out of my depth when I started this journey, just like most authors. I only wish I had paid attention sooner.

Over time, I have manged to get to grips with certain aspects of social media. I have put a lot of effort into my blog, and my Facebook author page, and for a long time I decided this was enough. After all, who has enough spare time to invest in all the promotional avenues available to you? It’s a total minefield. It can be an expensive one too.

Lately though I have finally started using three new promotional tools which I ignored for far too long.

A lot of people assume that Pinterest works better for artists, fashion designers, photographers and people who want to pin pictures of gardens, food or animals. However, authors ignore this rapidly growing social media phenomenon at their own peril. It is currently the fastest growing social media site with the most amount of active users.

When I first joined, I created a few boards connected to my personal interests, and one board with my book covers and links, and promptly forgot about it. Not so now. After listening to the advice of other authors, I have become more active on Pinterest and intend to keep it this way.

I’ve created visual storyboards for each of my titles with quotes, memes, and images from the books. I also have a ‘Bookish’ board for reading quotes, an ‘I Am A Writer’ board for writing quotes, and a ‘Recommended Reading’ board where I pin books I have read that are in a similar style and genre to my own.

I have just started an ‘Inspiration’ board as part of the promotion for my next book The Tree Of Rebels, with images and quotes that appear in the book. I have also started creating boards for individual characters, pinning who might play them in a film, images of their hobbies, home and so on. In this way, you can narrow things down, making it easier for the right audience to find your books. For instance, if one of your books has a musical theme, then create a board with pins related to that music. People who follow that kind of music will find your board and your book.

Unlike Facebook and Twitter feeds which move very fast, Pinterest is static and there forever. You just keep adding more pins and creating more boards. Pinterest is far more fun than any other social media site I can think of, but I warn you it is very addictive! To save time you can link it to Twitter and Facebook, so anything you pin is immediately visible on these main sites too. Give it a go if you haven’t already. Experiment, have fun, and broaden your audience in the process.

Street Teams
At one time, it was totally off-putting to even think of finding out what ‘Street Team’ even means. It was just one more phrase I had heard all over the place and didn’t have the time to look into. Luckily, just recently I changed my mind after reading an article posted by another author who had dived into the process. I then did my own research into what a street team is, and what a street team does.

Essentially, a street team is a team of people you put together to help you with promotion. It’s a way to reach more people when you link to a book, share a blog post, or advertise a giveaway. It means you are not on your own anymore! Intrigued, I decided to give it a go, and set up my own team as a group on Facebook. I shared the group to my author page, explained what it was and invited people to join.

So far I have eight members, which is not bad. I decided to view it as a promotional experiment. Depending on what happened, I could then write a blog post about it and share my experience. I am happy to report that it has all been very positive so far, and I can see the potential a street team has in helping you reach a bigger audience.

My team, in return for sharing, tweeting, linking and generally pushing me and my books onto anyone and everyone they know, get free books and sneak peeks. They also get to share the experience, which is great for some, who are also authors. People have been really receptive and eager to help so far. They have shared fresh ideas, and have plenty of enthusiasm when mine runs low.

A few of them have pages of their own with much bigger followings than mine and this worked in my favor recently when one of my books was free. I had a great response on my own page, and then an even bigger response on one of the teams art-based pages. I simply post in the group and let them know what I would like them to help me with. It is still early days, and we will really see how it works when the promotional drive for my next book begins, but I am happy to report that creating a street team is fun, easy enough to do, and has great potential for spreading the word about your books.

Blog Sharing
Writing a blog is something you really should be doing, if only to share teasers or exceprts of your writing. When I first started out, I quickly began to rely on my blog to share chapters of my unpublished work, in order to receive feedback. Since then I’ve grown in confidence, and often post about different aspects of writing, as well as posting my random musings on life itself.

As I have already pointed out above, content from other authors who have been where you are now can make essential reading material and should be sought out and actively researched. Listen to what they have to say, and learn from it. Many authors blog about writing and publishing. As your own journey progresses, you may feel the urge to do so yourself.

Don’t forget, there will always be people even newer than you, just reaching out for the first time, not knowing where to go next. Just as other authors writing blogs can be of use to you, yours can be of use to others. There are many groups out there who are willing to share your blog articles if you have written something other writers may be interested in.

Underground Book Reviews and Raven International Publishing are just two of many online presences who accept blog article submissions which they will then share on their social media platforms. Both of these organizations have readers and writers following them, so instead of sharing your blog article with just your own followers, you will be sharing with all of theirs as well.

This is just another way to spread your writing and entice new followers. I would definitely recommend submitting to websites and groups that are happy to share your blogs, or offering to write for other online blogs about writing.

In Conclusion
These three promotional tools are all free, and can all work alongside things you are already doing. They don’t take too much time to set up or look into, and once you have started, they are fairly easy and straightforward to stick with. Time is an issue for any writer, especially when you would much rather be just writing your book, but promoting your writing is just as important and should not be pushed aside.
Bio: Chantelle Atkins is the author of four novels including The Mess Of Me and recently released This Is Nowhere. She lives in Dorset, England with her husband and four children. Atkins work is often described as gritty and character driven, and she writes within both the adult and young adult genres. Connect with her on Facebook.


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