I may have 3 novels, 2 novellas, and 1 collection of short stories published and be considered by some to be “experienced” at this book marketing thing. With everything about “the market” changing daily, I consider myself to be still learning.
So, after a concerted review of several marketing things I cross-referenced with the corresponding time period’s sales, I’ve learned a few new things just this last month about what really sells a book. i’ve talked before about what to blog about to connect with readers. I’ve also mentioned connecting your blog to several social media and using hashtags.
Today’s tip is probably a general “duh”, but I hope details of what to include in an excerpt will help more:
share excerpts of your words
I was just on a chat today as a matter of fact and was talking about how building an audience starts with marketing yourself. Your writing is what people are buying, so give them a taste.
- works best when starting from a theme. (“today is national hamburger day… I love grilling burgers… here’s a scene from my story where the MC masters the grill and shares a burger with their LI.”
- works best if you can tie it to trending or popular hashtags on the various social media outlets. (#TGIF…check out this Friday night date I wrote in my book)
- works best if you can get a regular run of them… every day for a week, or every Sunday for a month, for example. Do change up the posting times though so you reach different time zones at their “peak hours.”
using hashtags: While there are some writer-friendly hashtags like “excerpt” or “amwritingromance” most readers don’t scan for those. And, honestly, as much as writers read, there are actually many more “just readers” out there so you need to reach them more than you need to reach other writers.
excerpt length: I’m still working out what length excerpt works best, but I do know a single dialogue exchange or a paragraph is definitely not enough.
A scene holds a reader’s attention better, but you don’t want endless text, so have something to say about it. Give it a bit of a lead-in, talk up your theme or your process. Break in the middle for a comment (this also allows you to leave out bits of a scene that might contain a key twist or reveal (see next paragraph). Then end the excerpt with a tantalizing question or a comment where you think the story might be going next (if you’re sharing draft bits).
I do not recommend posting any scene that contains a key twist or the climax.
graphics help: obviously the cover to the book is great to include on your post, but relevant memes, character collages, colorful banners, and inspirational quotes also serve to break up the blocks of text and make the page view more attractive.
include the link: do include a buy link to the (related) book. Though I would not recommend a “straight up” sales pitch sentence. If possible the most ideal is a picture of the cover that is a linked image. Also generate a universal buy link on a service like booklinker or bookstobuy or link to your sales info page else where on your site where a reader can go to choose among formats or sales sites. A “stack” of links is messy and screams “BUY ME!” A single underlined link is best, especially if it’s just something like “This is a scene I wrote for the sequel to X book.” If the excerpt creates intrigue, the reader will click that link.
present your best: That’s the final piece of advice. Make sure your excerpt/draft is an excellent example of your ability to write. After all, your writing should move the reader from “eh” to “Yes! I need (more of) this!”
So, there you have it, a lesson in book marketing 101. I’ll categorize this post as “book marketing 101” and go back through past posts and add the relevant ones to the same category. That way you can find all the other things I’ve figured out.
If something I suggest helps you, be sure to let me know.