Almost two years ago, I launched my début novel, The Hating Game. Published traditionally by a small press, we decided to release the e-book first, ahead of print — a strategy that was relatively new at the time.
Kindle had just hit the UK market and although it was growing rapidly in popularity, it was possible to make a big impact in the relatively uncrowded market. By organising a ‘Take On Amazon’ websplash, I managed to get my novel into the Top 50 on Amazon UK and into the top 500 on Amazon.com, on the day of its launch. Using similar strategies, I had success with other novels, too.
Fast forward to the present. Twitter is awash with writers promoting their books; the blogosphere is overflowing with blog tours, and it seems every second person has published a novel. Big UK publishers have got in the game, dropping their prices as low as 49p to garner sales. With so much competition now, how can you stand out from the crowd?
This week, as I published my new novel, Construct A Couple, I faced this question. With so many writers clamouring to make their book visible, I found myself reticent to employ my previous technique of making a big splash on a certain day. It seems to me people are becoming a little tired of the constant flow of launches happening on social media. I know I am!
So I’ve decided to go with the old ‘slow and steady’ approach this time around. I’ll still have a low-key celebration on my blog on ‘launch day’ this Wednesday, as well as hold contests on my Facebook page, but I’m not going to focus all my efforts on one day. Instead, I have giveaways and blog posts lined up over the new few months, and I’m hoping they’ll work to keep interest in my new novel consistent.
With so much shouting happening on social media, I believe relationships are even more important. I’ve worked hard to build a base of readers, newsletter subscribers, as well as blog and Twitter followers, and these are the people I want to focus on. Screaming every five minutes about my book on a certain day certainly isn’t going to motivate them to support me — in fact, it’ll probably result in the opposite.
It’s important to raise awareness of your ‘brand’ and your novels. But now more than ever, doing it the right way is critical. Bombarding everyone and their dog on launch day might make you and your book known, yes — in a negative way. Think carefully about the strategies you use and make sure they reflect you in a professional, positive light. Remember, it’s not just about one book. It’s about you and your future career, too.
What strategies do you use to raise awareness of your novels?