In the last post I shared a simple book launch framework. Now I want to break down some of the specifics related to promotion, because this is where people really struggle. Because this is a huge topic, this post focuses on getting other people to share your work.
Having other people share your work? Well, that sounds smarmy. Isn’t this the blog and podcast all about NOT being smarmy?
Yes. Yes it is.
But there is a way to ask others to share your work that is NOT smarmy. I heavily rely on other people sharing my fiction books for Emma St. Clair, and I’ve built some amazing relationships along the way. I’m going to break this down a bit, but if you want more on how to work well with others in non-smarmy ways, you should really check out Creative Collaborations. Yeah, I’m plugging my book. But literally, that’s what the book is about. So if you want more… get it.
LISTEN TO EPISODE 141 – HOW TO GET OTHER PEOPLE TO SHARE YOUR BOOKS
It sounds simple to say that you should ask people to share for you. But if you’re starting out and aren’t sure how to do this, it sounds weird and gross, like those 100 emails I get every day from strangers asking me to add this super relevant link to my blog post! (Nope.)
The two main ways to do this are:
- simply asking people that you have a relationship with (including newsletter swaps)
- having an affiliate program for your thing
Let’s go a little deeper into the details so you can put this into action! But first… a few quick reminders. If you didn’t already check out the first part of How to Launch Your Book, you should do that. I’ll give you a summary of the three main kinds of promotion:
- sharing with your people (email, social media, etc)
- asking other people to share with their people (what this post is talking about!)
- paying for ads and promos
Clearly, we are focusing on part two. But I’ll go back to part one and also we’ll look at ads and promos in the future. (If you want a head start on email lists, you can check out my email list resources!)
YOUR MINDSET ABOUT PROMOTION
Also before we start, let’s get your head right. If you hate thinking about promotion and marketing, you need a mindset shift. Stop thinking of this in those terms if you don’t like them.
Marketing and promotion is basically YOU connecting with your ideal audience and readers. Don’t you want to do that?
Don’t you want to get emails from people saying they loved your book and your course and think you are the best thing ever?
Don’t you want people joining your email list after they read your great blog post?
Don’t you want to know that readers were up all night reading your book?
Marketing and promotion are just fancy words for you finding your ideal people who want your stuff. Doesn’t that sound much better, albeit less fancy?
Now, then. Let’s move on.
HOW TO GET OTHER PEOPLE TO SHARE YOUR WORK
Start with relationship
I hear from people a lot who do not know other authors in their niche. Or other bloggers. Y’all! We HAVE to connect. We can’t exist in a vacuum and expect to succeed! The moment I started connecting with other bloggers through conferences and Facebook groups, I started seeing an impact. You need to be starting these relationships and forming them before you ask for something.
Because I want to avoid being smarmy, for me this looks like giving in advance without expecting a return. I can HOPE for something back, but I’m not doing something nice JUST so I’m owed something. That feels gross to me.
Join groups. Share for others. Find a buddy. Be kind. Show up consistently. Email other people to encourage them that you like their work. BE AWESOME.
This is where it starts.
Share in groups (newsletter swaps, blog share groups)
Newsletter swaps are the bread and butter of the indie author world. There are some great groups that are specifically for this purpose. When people set up newsletter swaps, it essentially means that an author will ask for others to share their book on certain dates and in return will share something for those authors on other dates.
If you are going to utilize this strategy, here are a few tips:
Join a group and pay attention to the group before you start asking for swaps. Go in a group, look around at posts. See how people ask and what they do. See how people respond. Maybe share for other people some without asking for anything in return. Know the group rules as well. Usually they are in the description or pinned post or announcement.
Make sure you’ve got the niche/genre correct. You don’t want to ask clean romance writers to share your book with cussing in it. If you cuss, that’s cool. Clean romance writers likely won’t want to share your book as they’ll get angry emails from their readers. Know your book and where it fits in the market. Find a swap group related to that market.
Be specific about expectations. Related to the previous tip, when you ask for a swap, you’ll want to say what kind of book it is. (Some groups, even in a niche like clean romance, have other sub-niches, like clean historical romance or sports romance.) The more clear you can be, the better.
When you fail at doing this well, you might mess up relationships. This is not good, since the bigger goal is to build relationships with authors and others in your niche that may extend outside of just a swap.
For blogging and other things you might be doing, there are other Facebook groups for that! There are some lovely blog sharing groups. Connect with others in your field. Ask around.
When you have relationships, you can ask people to share directly. I really feel this works best when you have a real connection established. I HATE the daily emails I get about sharing stuff I don’t care about from people I don’t know. (It’s commonly called the skyscraper method and I abhor it.) Don’t do that. Even if you call the person gorgeous. (That happened as I was writing this post…)
What you should do is work to connect with others in your field. Build relationship and goodwill. When you get to a point where there’s more of a trust built and you feel like it’s okay, why not email them to ask if they’ll share about your book or blog post or new course? Let them know you’re happy to return the favor.
Set up an Affiliate program for your thing
This doesn’t work so well for Amazon, as you can’t share those affiliate links in email. But if you are selling books directly on your website or have a course or membership program or coaching program, you could set up an affiliate program and ask people to share that way.
The benefit of this is that people get paid. The downside is that sometimes people are overrun sharing affiliate things. (I mostly say no and would sometimes rather just share for free.) Also some affiliate programs are out of control, asking people to share daily during launch times.
As always, find what works for you. I implore you: don’t be smarmy! This is a particular area where it’s easy to cross that line. Don’t. Lasting relationships built on trust will last longer than that one big person sharing your post/book/thing.
Creative Collaborations – seriously, so much goodness here