You’ve finally published your book. After you’ve completed an obligatory happy dance, you can finally shout the release on your website, blog the link, tweet the news, launch your blog tour, and make every family member and friend you ever met promise to buy a copy. However, once the initial fervor winds down, finding the next steps to keep the momentum rolling can be overwhelming. You may find yourself asking: what now?
Authors have an amazing marketing advantage since the dawn of the social media age. Whether your book is published through traditional or independent methods, you have the opportunity to instantly connect with a community of people—as long as you can get their attention. With today’s information overload, standing out from all the other tweets and posts and tumbles is challenging. That’s the bad news. The good news is that you already have a secret weapon in your arsenal to provide readers with new content—your published novel.
Because the Internet is a 24/7 business, we are always craving something new to “like,” “star,” or comment. And while your book is already out there, there’s no limit to the new content you can offer readers, and social media is the perfect vehicle to release it to the masses.
If you’re beginning to feel the buzz around your book is beginning to fade, try one of these six ideas boost your book’s social media presence:
- Create a Book Trailer: Like a movie trailer, the purpose of a book trailer is to provide a visual description of the story. Video isn’t going away, and it’ll continue to be a favored media format as long as YouTube is out there. A book trailer can be an involved production (with high cost) or a simple video you film with your phone and put together with free editing software. Releasing the trailer through your platforms is a fun way to engage with your community, and why not show them what it’s about instead of telling? One caveat to mention: if you are a traditionally published author, speak to your agent and publicist (if applicable) about creating a trailer. Additionally, make copyright a consideration. See the April 2015 SCBWI Bulletin for a great article on book trailers and copyright.
- Share Deleted Scenes: Most often used in the film industry, deleted scenes offer additional content that didn’t make it into the final cut of a movie. This is a cool method to resuscitate some of your scrapped scenes while sharing more of your book with your fans. It also doesn’t require a huge investment of your time. Again, if you’re a traditionally published author, talk this over with your agent and publicist. The scenes you choose shouldn’t include spoilers or wreak havoc on the plot of your novel, but run parallel with the story.
- Write a Related Short Story or Novella: You already know your characters, so why not write them a new adventure, or rewrite scenes from another character perspective (such as Four: A Divergent Collection by Veronica Roth)? While this does take a bigger investment of time, the word count can range from 2,000 words (short story) or 10,000 words (novella). And you may find it soothing to revisit your fictional family, especially if letting go has been particularly hard. Like the deleted scenes, new content should run parallel with your book’s plot. You might even consider using letters or journal entries as a format to change things up a bit. Once written, release the short story or novella as a free e-book or charge a small fee. Either way, offering another slice of life for your readers to devour promotes the original novel—and your fans will enjoy continuing the journey with your characters.
- Create a Soundtrack: Music is a source of inspiration for many writers, and if you’ve got a list of songs you listened to on repeat while writing your book, then tell your fans what they are so they can share the experience. Not only does it bring more depth to your book, but you, as the author, get to peek out from behind the pages and say, “Yes, I exist!” There are many variations on this method, such as choosing specific songs for characters or scenes, or songs that reflect the overall mood of your novel. This article http://bookriot.com/2015/02/23/rock-book-ya-novels-soundtracks/ on Book Riot provides links to how current YA authors are using book soundtracks.
- Develop a Map of Your Fictional World: Books that are set in a fantasy world can come to life through creating a map. While this will require working with an artist, the result will really solidify the setting of your story and give readers a visual experience of your world. You may consider printing maps and promoting them as a special addition to a book giveaway. Book Riot also has some great examples of fictional maps of literary places here (http://bookriot.com/2015/01/06/cool-maps-fictional-literary-places/) and here (http://bookriot.com/2015/01/21/cool-maps-fictional-literary-places-2/) if you need inspiration.
- …But the Kitchen Sink: There are no limits to ways you can take your book and use it as inspiration for social media. A few examples include:
- If your book has a road trip element, take photos and post a character photojournal on your favorite platform.
- Post photos of celebrities who you would cast as characters in the movie version of your novel.
- Host a fan art contest—ask your community of readers to make fan art and post it to your Tumblr or Facebook page; the winner gets a prize.
- Post quotes from your book with a “Tweet” option so people can immediately share it with their tribe.
I hope these ideas inspire you to take a look at your book and see it as a fountain of opportunities. You worked hard writing your novel and establishing your social media platforms, so it only makes sense to use these tools to connect with your fans, generate word of mouth, and create the potential for finding new readers.
What creative ways have you used social media to promote your work?