As a fellow published author, I understand how daunting it can be to stand out when you’re trying to get your book into people’s hands. I have a solution for you, but let’s take a look at what you may be doing wrong first.
If you’re not using social media for promotion, you’re not even trying. But let’s assume you are. Whether you’re traditionally- or self-published, you probably belong to a number of groups on Facebook pertaining to writing, authors, books, readers, and the like. That can be a good start. But how are you promoting your work in these groups? Are you simply posting your Amazon link, and hoping readers will magically flock to your book? Even if you’re including a blurb with your post, I’ll bet you’re still finding it ineffective. That’s because you’re trying to get clicks in a group full of other authors trying to sell their books. You’re not finding an audience of readers when you do this.
Take a a long look at the posts in these groups. Most authors are just posting a link, hoping for the best — but without being a productive, engaging member of the group. Are you supporting fellow authors, even if it’s just a like on their post? Are you writing thoughtful, encouraging replies to other writers? You need to become a participating member of writing communities, and not just a spammer. Developing those relationships can go a long way, especially when you’d like other people to share your work. But remember to target readers, not other writers, when you’re trying to sell your book. While it makes sense to belong to writing groups, remember that these aren’t the people who are going to buy your book. Take your message to readers, not authors.
I, for one, ignore when people just post an Amazon link — or, even worse, have someone else do it for them, regardless of what type of group it is. It’s a great way to make someone scroll right past, and you’re wasting an opportunity to grab a reader. Don’t be lazy. Take the time to actually try to sell your book.
So, if you’re not getting results by just posting your link, what should you be doing instead? Have you considered a book trailer? It’s an absolutely top-notch way to stand out in a sea of authors whispering, “Please buy my book.”
Consider motion pictures for a moment. Chances are, it’s been a movie trailer that has driven you to see a film, rather than just seeing a poster or reading a short summary. Likewise, a book cover or blurb will not be enough to effectively promote your work. Bring it to life in a visual medium, and then you’ve really got something.
Here’s one I made for one of my own short stories that’s included in an anthology:
I have a background in filmmaking, so it’s something that comes easy to me. But not everyone has the skills or resources to edit together an effective trailer for their book (and I don’t recommend using an iMovie template, because everyone will know you made it yourself, and that seems amateurish). If that’s the case, you may want to consider hiring someone to do it for you.
In the spirit of full disclosure, it’s a service I provide on Fiverr. But I’m not telling you to buy from me — only that a book trailer is worth every penny, no matter who creates it for you. Just be sure you look at the provider’s portfolio samples to be sure they’re a good fit for what you’re looking for. They may specialize in certain genres. Others may only provide motion graphics, which is OK if you’re just looking for a cover reveal video.
But if you really want potential readers to get a taste of your delicious book, then a cinematic trailer is the way to go. I personally use a stock footage subscription, which includes royalty-free music, in order to craft a compelling video that tells viewers a little something about the story you’ve written. While stock footage has its limitations when it comes to models/actors looking exactly the way you picture them, remember that you’re selling a story, and not your character with purple hair and impossibly-blue eyes.
In short, take a moment to consider how few authors are using this innovative method to promote a book, and strike while the iron is hot!