1. Flying Geese
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    Flying Geese Contributing Member

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    How to build buzz

    Discussion in 'Marketing' started by Flying Geese, Dec 16, 2014.

    My second novel seems to be faring much better than my first. I really want to handle it like its my best work (because it is).

    How do you generate buzz about a book so that people start to prepare for it? I have tried the sample chapters thing with a book before (I posted on Facebook), and about 6 people showed interest. 0 of them got back with me. I have found it much better to talk to people in person and 'feel out' whether they are genuinely interested or will really follow through. It's worked a lot better.

    I don't have a blog to post about it and even if I did, my blog would have zero readers currently.

    What are some effective ways to generate buzz about a novel you are releasing?
     
  2. Okon
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    Okon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Unless you've proven to yourself in the past that you can meet a deadline, I'd suggest finishing the book before advertising it. A vague or 'when it's ready' release date makes me lose interest quickly.

    Next, how on earth do you know know that your blog would have zero readers? Blogging consistently is a spectacular way to achieve an audience. I think some self-pubbers also pay for ads on Amazon and such.

    Last, what do you mean 'start to prepare for it?' Sure, if this was the third book in your Song of Geese and Eggs anthology, and the first two were a success, then there would be anticipation. Otherwise, it is unlikely anyone cares about an author they don't know yet

    I suggest you just hunker down and finish it, then start worrying about getting your name out there:agreed:.
     
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  3. Flying Geese
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    Flying Geese Contributing Member

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    ^ I definitely proved that, Okon :)
     
  4. Flying Geese
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    Flying Geese Contributing Member

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    I'm not worried about meeting the deadline. I will. But what I am asking for is any insight or personal experience. I've started a blog twice, and I didn't have much to talk about either time so I couldn't post on a consistent basis. That was my blogging weakness. Is there not any other way?
     
  5. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    While there's nothing wrong with talking up your work(s), people/readers sort of expect you to say positive things and to be behind it. If you can get other to say positive things, that will carry more weight.

    If you can get good back of the book blurbs, from established authors, that can help. Reviewers reviewing your books never hurts (unless they give poor reviews) and the more interest a reviewer has, the better off you are.

    There are discounting sights that, for a fee, will list your book to their subscribers. One of the bigger ones is Book Bub, but they also are very selective of what discounted books they will promote, as are just about all of the similar venues. But such efforts can build buzz and/or momentum.

    Also, the next book you publish is probably one of the more important promotions for all of the previous works you've had published.

    But even getting the blurbs and early reviews by sending out ARCs (advance review copies), the novel has to be pretty much finished.
     
  6. Okon
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    Okon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I know I was vague there, but there's always going to be some investment of money/time. It might be best to ask yourself what you're willing to spend on advertising you.

    If money, then buy ads. If time and effort (equated to money eventually), then some kind of service is necessary. Be it reviews, niche topics, or whatever you can specialize in. Attention isn't free; there are so many other people out there who work hard on informative and/or entertaining blogs, and they are all selling something. I don't mean to sound dreary, though. It's always possible to gain a stage, and plenty of people do it.

    There are things that help with 'book buzz' after you've gained some initial interest, such as preview chapters and book trailers. I just don't find that those stand on their own. Of course, I guess a trailer wouldn't hurt?
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2014
  7. Flying Geese
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    Flying Geese Contributing Member

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    Ah, thanks! I still havent decided where to direct my attention yet for marketing myself, but I have a much better idea of what kind of path to take.
     
  8. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    It seems that the challenge of increasing a book's readership is the most difficult / most nontrivial of all challenges pertaining to writing. Is there any validity to that? Several pieces of general wisdom seem to indicate that this is indeed the case, especially the observation that we live in an attention economy, and the observation that fame leads to more fame.
     
  9. Vandor76
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    Vandor76 Contributing Member

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    You are a writer who has finished a book and nearly finished the second one. How can you NOT have much to talk about? You can write short stories, you can write a novella or even a novel in small chunks to make your readers come back regularly.
    Providing free content may sound to be wasted time but this way you build up a growing audience who will definitely be interested in your next book. A successful blog can also be used as reference (not the blog itself, the number of regular visitors) and help you to find an agent or a publisher.
     
  10. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Consider I often look at early reviews for video games, it never even hit me that this exists in the publishing world!
    I don't really look at book blogs or anything myself so maybe that's why.
    Hmm.. I might have to look into this when the time comes.
     
  11. Flying Geese
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    Flying Geese Contributing Member

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    I guess you're right, Vandor. Actually, I have plenty to talk about but there was a time where I had started a blog and a bunch of people from my church (all of them older) were following it and all they did was tell me how I didn't know what I was talking about ( oh, but I definitely did ). So that was really discouraging about 1.5 years ago. I sort of figured old Southern Baptists wouldn't like my point of view, but it wasn't intended for them. It was intended for people my age, but since I had been in church so long, all of my peers were people who went to church and served under the elders who did not like what I wrote, so I was labelled a "smartass".
     
  12. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    How to build buzz:

     
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  13. Vandor76
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    Vandor76 Contributing Member

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    If you start a blog you need to know your target audience and find them on the internet (for example by joining to existing discussions about topics you are planing to write about) and do not need to tell people you know that you are blogging.

    upload_2014-12-19_7-42-35.png
     
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  14. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Just winging in with some thoughts, coming from somebody who has been thinking about the issue a lot recently, but hasn't yet begun the process. I have no experience (yet) of promoting my own book, because I'm at the moment just preparing it for Kindle release. I also plan to release it in a print-on-demand format, probably via Lulu.

    Would it make sense to get a few paper copies printed out to send to magazines or newspapers that review books?—in hopes they will give you a review? A good cover letter might induce them to at least have a look at your story, and hopefully the quality of your writing will grab them if they do.

    The worst that will happen is they won't do a review, and you're out the money the book cost you to print. (Well the absolute worst would be if they give you an awful review ...but that's mostly beyond your control! Your only control is to make sure your book actually IS good and is written to a very high, professional-looking standard. A magazine/newspaper reviewer will NOT be kind if they don't like what you've done.)

    If they do review the book, you will get tons of interest generated from it. And furthermore, a review like that is a trustworthy thing, because an Amazon/online reviewer can be your best friend. A magazine or newspaper reviewer will already be known for reviews, and if they like your book, the readership will know it's a genuine review. This promotion will be as effective as taking out an ad for your book AND will provide a reference for any other promotions you might want to do.

    Just in passing, I would NEVER self-publish without offering a print on demand option in addition to an eReader format. I know so many people already who want to read my book who don't have a Kindle or another e-Reader. A print copy can also be circulated, so more people can read it and become interested in it. You can even give a copy or two to your local library.
     
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  15. Flying Geese
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    Flying Geese Contributing Member

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    Great advice Jannert, I think I will do that!
     
  16. Herro Raymond
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    Herro Raymond Member

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    Just stick to free social media tools. You really shouldn't have to spend any money if you are savvy enough. Youtube is great. and try to find an app that links all your sites together so you don't have to do them individually.
     
  17. Rickey D. Clay Jr.
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    Rickey D. Clay Jr. Member

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    I'm just starting the process of marketing myself, literally. Yes, my manuscript is in the beta reading and editing/revision stages now. However, most people feel like they should hold their breath until the product is complete before marketing. I disagree with that notion.

    I market myself (me, the author) because I am a writer that has tons of content and things to discuss. I blog because I enjoy to write. This makes it easy for me to use that content and link people to it. Eventually I hope that develops into a readership, fan base, and/or personal and business relationships with others in the industry.

    I use YouTube because...it's 2016. I just posted my first vlog about a month ago. It was fun and I received a lot of praise from it. Yes, the views are low at this point, but it's not disheartening to see that so early on.

    One thing I noticed (and have been told by other successful published authors who are friends of mine) is that my content will find its way to the people if I'm diligent. Think about when you first discover someone or something you really like. You delve into a search for more; Blogs, Vlogs, websites, or the product itself. Marketing can either gradually grow, or can be stagnant until the right catalyst makes it pop, or can be instantaneous through happenstance, skill, or even luck.

    It is like a job though. There are so many outlets that you have to stay active on. Because people don't know me so it's easy for them to forget. I make it easier for them to forget if I'm not active. If you can find a way to make marketing fun--I think it'll be an easier, less worrisome, and more productive process for you. I like post production, so video editing is fun for me. I like writing and building with people so blogs, writers groups, local events, and forums like these are fun to me as well.

    Good luck!
     
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  18. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Start a new blog and don't tell the church. Blog regularly, like clockwork. My impression is that blogging once a week is a kinda-good interval; less often than that and people may fade away and stop reading, more often than that probably doesn't buy you a whole lot. (Unless you blog SO often that people can count on you always having new material almost as if you're a newspaper--for example, one of the top perfume blogs, Now Smell This, has many posts a day.)

    The age of your blog is supposedly a factor in your search engine status; the sooner you start that blog, the better. My blog is six years old and has very few readers (a hundred if you believe my stats; maybe a dozen if you count up the number of people who have commented in the past year) but an artificially high pagerank based, I think, just on age and perhaps a lack of various spammy negatives.

    Is it too late to use a pen name, to completely separate your writing from your personal life?

    I also have to say that if you think this book is good, I very strongly suggest that you try to get it traditionally published. But if you insist on self-publishing, then it seems unwise to tie yourself to your church if your church reduces your confidence. (For that matter, if you go with traditional publishing, a pen name still seems like a good idea.)
     
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  19. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    You could always shake the bee hives for some heavy amounts of buzz :rofl::rofl::rofl:.
     
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  20. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Never change your Deadpool avatar ;) EVER!

    The joke wouldn't work nearly as well :D
     
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  21. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Depending on the genre, you may have more luck by using other people's blogs rather than your own...

    I had a book come out this week from an e-publisher with a good reputation for promo. All the promo stuff drives me up the wall, and I question whether some of the blogs have enough readership to really be worth my time, but... the publisher has a fairly long list of romance and YA blogs that are open to guest posts (most bloggers are hungry for content). So I did guest posts on various topics, interviews, my publisher sent out excerpts of various lengths, etc. This approach saves me the effort of having to keep my own blog active and exposes me to new readers, rather than the ones who already know my work (in order to have bothered following my blog).

    Again, it depends on the genre and your target audience, but I'd say it's often better to guest-blog rather than blog yourself.
     
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  22. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    I probably won't, i've always been a big fan of Deadpool :)
     
  23. Bill Platt
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    Bill Platt New Member

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    Ideally, you need to funnel those who are interested in your books to a place where you can talk to them directly in the future. Those places include: Facebook page, Twitter profile, author blog, and best of all, a mailing list.

    "Buzz" as it is known is getting people excited about your book and talking about it.

    If you think that you have nothing interesting to say, you will never be able to generate any buzz about your book.

    I know that it is sometimes hard for us as authors to know what to say, because we are too close to the story. We live and breathe the stories that we tell, for so long that we are no longer excited by the story itself.

    But in order to market our books, we need to learn how to step away from the story and see it through the eyes of our readers.

    We need to be able to create an emotional connection to our stories. And the more emotion we can create in the minds of our readers, the more buzz that will be seen as a result of the story.

    As a fiction author, you have a benefit that most of us nonfiction authors don't have.

    Nonfiction authors need to focus on appealing to the wants and needs of our buyers. We have to talk to our readers from the mindset of helping them solve a problem.

    Fiction authors only need to focus on creating empathy with and love for the characters, and drumming up the drama of the challenges that the characters will face within the story.

    People buy fiction books, because they are looking for an emotional ride that will allow them to live vicariously through the characters in the story.

    People want to like the characters in your stories, and they want to feel what the characters will feel when facing the challenges they will confront.

    This is what you must realize when you are trying to create buzz for your book -- create characters who readers will be able to relate, and create dramas that the character will have to face.

    Here is the thing when creating buzz. You don't necessarily want to extract prose from within your book to build that connection with the characters in the story. Instead, you want to retell the story of your characters in short pieces of prose, focusing on helping the reader make an emotional connection with the characters in your story.

    Help your reader identify with the character, then help the reader become involved in how the story will work out for the character.

    We can do this by writing short prequels (500-1000 words) that will pull the reader into the life of your character and the challenges the character faces.

    We can do this by writing short teasers (1-2 paragraphs) about the characters and the story that is about to unfold.

    On the one hand, we might want to create curiosity. On the other hand, we might want to create a cliffhanger.

    Our goal straight up is getting the reader to want to know more about the story, but more importantly, have a strong emotional desire to read the book to find out what happens to the characters.

    The more emotion that can be built into the teaser copy, the more likely a reader will want to read the story, and the more likely the reader will be to buy the book.

    It is your job as the author to make sure that the book delivers on the emotional ride that the readers want. It is also your job to make sure that once they have read the book, the reader is emotionally satisfied by the final outcome.

    People who love a book will tell others, allowing the buzz to grow by leaps and bounds.

    But ahead of book launch, all we can do is to create a desire in owning the book, so that readers can sit and pins-and-needles waiting for the book's release date.

    The better job you do at building drama and an emotional connection to the plight of your main characters, the more people will be willing to follow you on Facebook and Twitter, and even better, subscribe to your mailing list, to ensure that they will not miss the release of your book.

    If you want buzz, you got to get people talking about your book.

    And if you are a clever writer who understands how to build empathy with a character and build drama in a story, then you are clever enough to create a freight train of buzz about your upcoming books.
     
  24. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    This all sounds good in theory, but I'm a pretty avid reader AND fairly active on social media and I have never in my LIFE gotten excited about a book by an unknown author before it was published. I've never followed an author on Facebook or Twitter or anywhere else (except for after I started writing myself and then they followed me first), I've never subscribed to an author newsletter or in any other way opened myself up to marketing efforts.

    There are so many already written, already published books out there waiting for my attention - why would I waste my time on something that doesn't even exist yet?

    So, I could have just brushed off your post and let it go, but I feel like I should speak up because I have interacted with too many self-published authors who hardly sold any copies of their books and they feel like failures, like losers because they couldn't figure out how to sell their book. And I think that feeling, to some extent, comes from posts like this. (I don't mean you personally, and I assume that you honestly believe everything you're saying is true. I'm not sure WHY you believe it, ie. what experience you've had with marketing self-published novels, but I assume you're not irresponsible enough to be making these claims with absolutely nothing to back you up.)

    But I wanted to post and remind people that getting attention for self-published books is really, really hard. If you aren't able to "create a freight train of buzz about your upcoming books" it doesn't mean you aren't clever, it doesn't mean you didn't do youR job. It means the market is flooded with hundreds of thousands of self-published authors all fighting for the same reader attention. Some authors are able to break through, and other authors aren't. I really don't think it has all that much to do with the authors' cleverness or effort.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2016
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