Writing, editing, and marketing it only half the battle. The other half? That’s getting people to actually read your book, and 99% of the world doesn’t even know who you are, much less that you’ve written a novel, so that’s no easy feat! Here’s some less than conventional ways to build your fan base and get your author brand and your book noticed.
1. Accessory Announcements
You’re an author, and you should make it known. After all, you’re building your brand and a key part of brand building is brand recognition. But how do you announce it without being that annoying guy that begins every conversation with “Well, I’m a writer…”?
By using your accessories to your advantage.
Whether it’s sporting a shirt that says some variation of “I’m a writer,” carrying your stuff in a tote that declares your authorship, or slapping an “Author” sticker on your laptop, you can broadcast your brand without being over the top. It also allows others a good conversation lead-in (“You’re an author? What do you write?”) and gets some of the pressure to slip it in yourself off of your shoulders.
(Want the bag above? You can get it and other writerly stuff here!)
2. Leveraging Social Proof
The single best way to get attention is to already have it. But if the only people who know your novel are a handful of friends and family, it’s hard to get the social proof numbers to spark genuine interest from others.
Interesting fact: there was once a social experiment done in a mall, where a very unfamous non-celebrity had a few friends pretend to recognize him as a member of a (totally fictitious) band. And an astonishing thing happened. Others in the mall that witnessed these “fans” recognize the “celebrity” suddenly wanted his autograph and photos with him. The simple social proof alone persuaded them that he was, in fact, a celebrity.
So how can you leverage that? Try the same experiment out, but this time be recognized as you for being the author of your own book.
But don’t stop there, the same thing applies only, but with numbers. If you haven’t made yourself a Facebook Business Page and Instagram and Pinterest business accounts, you need to as part of your author platform. Then it’s all a numbers game. Facebook users respond better to pages with a higher number of followers than those with only a few hundred or less. So it benefits you to get a thousand or more from the jump to build social proof that inspires others to follow on the basis that others deem you worthy of following. (You can learn how to do that in our PDF Guides.)
3. The Power of Swag
Authors tend to hear the word “swag” and think one of two things; giving away tons of products with their book cover plastered to them, or throwing away money. Sometimes it’s both.
But most authors miss a prime opportunity to market themselves in the easiest way possible to extremely targeted readers who you’d already know were interested in the genre your book is in.
This is done with the simplest, cheapest form of swag that exists:
Business cards and postcards.
But, you may think, I can’t just run around handing these to everyone on the street or leaving stacks of them at the local post office and cafe and expect anyone to respond well.
And you’d be right. Because you’d be distributing to a non targeted audience.
But you can target your audience in a place you know readers will be (at book stores and libraries) and whittle that down to your niche (your novel’s genre) by placing your business card or a postcard in books in that genre. By doing so, you’ll be providing your target audience with a means of finding you and adding value by giving them more of what you know they already like.
And by including not only the book your marketing but your author brand itself by adding your website and social media links to your swag, you give them a way to follow your current AND future works.
4. Using The Media
Some great advice for new writers launching their first book is to write to their local newspapers and radio stations and news channels and include their media kits. But that advice is missing a crucial bit of information.
No media outlet is going to care about your book launch unless it’s timely and relevant. Just because it’s your first book and you’re local makes it neither.
To make it appealing, you have to tie it in with something else that’s newsworthy or make a huge statement of your own with it.
For some, that may mean using an upcoming anniversary that will garner attention as a springboard due to it tying in with an overarching theme or setting or character in your novel. For others, that may mean starting a movement, fundraiser, or business. For even others, it may mean taking an unpopular position on a current news story that relates to your story.
5. Give to Get
It’s better to give than to receive. It’s been said again and again, and it holds water. Because when you give, you still get.
There’s a widely known correlation between how many books you give away for free and how many eventually sell.
But that’s not all, and that’s not the only way you can use the give to get philosophy. Another way is to give your time and energy, whether that be through giving other writers help and advice, being a beta reader, volunteering at a library, creating and giving away free resources, or donating to a book-related cause. Philanthropy is a great thing, and what you put out returns in spades because it communicates integrity, honesty, and authenticity. All great things for an author’s brand!
Have any other tips for growing your fan base? Leave them in the comments below!