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How to Create an Online Book Tour With Social Media

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You thought that writing your book was going to be hard work, right? Well, the work begins when you publish. Whether you are a traditionally published author, hybrid author or independently self-publishing, you will need to market your book and online is the place to do it. Social media marketing is the hip version of the old book tours where authors trekked from city to city selling their books. Today, publishers don't have the budget and only the biggest authors get this treatment. Have no fear, you can recreate this with less money and some elbow grease.

In the months leading up to your book launch, you will need to be planning for what I call the modern-day book tour. Hopefully, you've spent time building your author platform and boosting your online presence so people are going to be interested when you launch your book.

Some of the tools you can use to build your book tour:

  • YouTube videos
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Articles for your blog and guest posts
  • Google+ posts and Hangouts
  • Slideshare presentations
  • Tumblr
  • Podcasts
  • Mailing list

You want people to hear about your book in as many ways as possible. Create a media blitz with as many of these as you can so people can share them with their networks.

These are a few examples of what you can do to make a big splash on your launch day.

Be ready to work hard

Working with Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch on APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur - How to Publish a Book, we planned many events online for the post-launch social media marketing. Guy and Shawn were guests on Google+ Hangouts and were interviewed about the self-publishing process sharing what they learned writing the book and self-publishing it. We were guests on Twitter chats and hosted our own Twitter chats. We chose the #ApetheBook hashtag and used that consistently since the book launch. Guy did up to three interviews per day via Skype, phone, or Google+ Hangout for months.

How you can do this:

• Find people who host Twitter chats and contact them to let them know you'd like to be a guest.

• Check to see if there are any regular Google+ Hangout shows that are related to your topic and connect with the host.

• Let people know that you are available for interviews, Hangouts, chats and any other online media.

• Use an easy to remember, relevant hashtag for your book. This will tie your content together across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+.

• Be prepared to put in the time to get the word out about your book.

Build your own buzz

Another way to build buzz is to create your own event. Jennifer Miller, author of The Year of the Gadfly, has created several unique marketing events for her book. Jennifer is a traditionally published author who is building the buzz for her books with social media. She created the month of the Gadfly and her goal was to hit 100 book clubs in thirty days to break a world record. She got a lot of great press for this. Jennifer was my guest for #MyBookClub chat  on Twitter and wrote about it on The Huffington Post in an article called Savvy Authors Surfing the Web to Bridge the Digital Divide.

How you can do this:

• Brainstorm and come up with something unique for your book. Then do it!

• Use online tools such as Togather to organize your event. Togather connects authors and readers online and in person.

Create a media blitz

Jay Baer did a fantastic job with his book: Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is about Help not Hype. Jay, although traditionally published, built a team of people to work on his marketing pre-book launch. Full disclosure, I worked on a project with Jay for Youtility, but I learned post launch that Jay had a whole crew. This was very smart. This gave Jay a whole crew of people ready to cheer on his project and want to it be successful.

Jay used the following marketing pieces (and probably more) a book trailer, a SlideShare presentation, and at least twenty-five articles excerpted from his book that were published on high-profile blogs. Jay has spent time building a network of friends who are at the same level in their career as he is: published authors, high-profile speaker and fully vested in their social media platforms. He also built trust and readership with his popular blog: Convince and Convert.

How you can do this:

• Put in the time needed to build a strong online persona that people trust and look to for information. No short cut here.

• Blog regularly on your niche topic to build your base audience.

•  Network with authors in your genre.
• Work with others to help you get your social media marketing assets built prelaunch so you are ready post-launch to hit the ground running.

Share your adventure

New York Times best-selling author Hugh Howey started as an indie writer and is now a hybrid author. He has built an enviable fan base online that is watching the progress meters on this current writing projects with bated breath. How does he do this? He is 100% himself and shares interesting content. He creates fun unboxing videos when he gets copies of his books or products, shares photos from his travels at book signings and events as well as truly engaging with his fans.

How you can do this:

• Create media by taking photos and share them on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Build a Pinterest presence to catalog your writer's life. More about how writers can use Pinterest here.

(Disclosure: I work with Hugh's on his Pinterest account)

• Post questions, share reviews and let people learn about your journey as an author

• Have fun! You can tell that Hugh is living his dream and truly enjoying being a writer.

Make a media kit

You'll need to build your digital assets prior to your launch so you are ready when people want to interview you. Sarah Robinson did a great job on her book website and media kit for her self-published book Fierce Loyalty: Unlocking the DNA of Wildly Successful Communities. You'll need:
  1. A short and long bio
  2. High resolution photo
  3. Links to your social media profiles
  4. High resolution book covers
How you can do this:

• Make it easy for people to spread the word about your book.

• Create a media kit at least a month prior to your launch.

I hope this gives you some ideas on how you can prep for your big day when your book launches. A book launch is a marathon not a sprint and doesn't stop the day after your book is released. Invest the time in your social media marketing to create an interesting presence. You'll notice that none of these are hard sell methods of marketing or sales pitches. Social media marketing is not a sales pitch, as a writer your goal is to help people find your books and learn about you as a writer.

What are you waiting for? Get started!
Photo credit: Big Stock Photos
Article by Peg Fitzpatrick

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