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There are as many opinions about how to self-promote as there are authors trying each method. Is there one surefire quick-and-easy method to success? No! If there was, we’d all be using it, and we’d all be retiring to the tropical islands of our wildest dreams to live in unparalleled luxury for the remainder of our oh-so-pampered days.


Successful promotion takes a lot of time and effort...and if you’d simply rather be writing, then the method outlined below is probably not for you. Perhaps it would pay to hire a publicist on your behalf. But beware of the con artists who promise at least 500 new Likes on Facebook within the next week, or guarantee you a boost in sales. The first group is a total fraud because they simply create a bunch of bogus accounts and use them to Like your posts, which is tantamount to whistling into the wind. The second group are simply liars, because no one can guarantee anything when it comes to selling books.


The method below will take quite a bit of time and effort to set up, especially if you have multiple books you’d like to promote. But several of our authors have used it quite successfully, so we’d like to present it as a possible option for those interested and willing to spend the time.


Many thanks to Becca Sinh for allowing us to use her new book, “Compromising Clara,” as an example.

Tips & Tricks To Make Self-Promotion Successful

How many social media websites are there? You might as well ask, how many stars are there in the sky? Far too many to count, and more are being added all the time. Many of these fade away as quickly and quietly as they appeared, so it pays to concentrate on just the most popular ones unless you happen to be marketing to a specific corner niche that uses one of the borderline blogs.


Currently the most popular social media websites are Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Reddit. Each of these sites has its pros and cons; Facebook is becoming more and more restrictive about what content it will allow. Twitter only allows extremely short “tweets.” Tumblr and Reddit are wide-open, and will allow any posts as long as they don’t promote violence, hate crimes, etc.  But their very size can make them daunting, especially for beginners.


The first step to any social media campaign is, obviously, creating accounts at every site you plan to use, taking care to read through their Terms of Service first so you don’t violate them and get permanently banned.

Tumblr is most authors’ favorite site, for two simple reasons: They allow photos to be included in their posts (even if the photos are extremely graphic), and they will simultaneously submit your post to Facebook and Twitter.  This saves you considerable time and effort!


Reddit is also very popular because of its open-door policies regarding content and posts. But whereas, with Tumblr, your posts are blanketing the entire network and anyone who’s Friended you will see them, Reddit uses a blog-page structure. You can create your own Reddit page (many authors do), or post on a page that’s been created by another author. There are many Reddit pages devoted to every possible genre, so a quick search should provide you with a nice selection of pages to promote yourself, ask questions from other authors, and interact in a (hopefully) friendly atmosphere. (Before posting book excerpts, always make sure that Reddit page allows self-promotion…many do not. And should you decide to create your own Reddit page, if your content is adult-oriented, BE SURE to select the NSFW feature.)

So, let’s get started with your first book. The idea is to post excerpts that will pique a reader’s interest. If you’ve written an adventure story, this might be one of the hero’s death-defying leaps into the abyss. If you’re promoting a romance, you might choose some tender, romantic moment, or a humorous scene that makes the reader empathize with the main characters. If you’ve written a good book, there will be many such excerpts to choose from.


Choose an excerpt of about 300-350 words, copy it into a separate file, and label it however makes the most sense to you...for example, “Clara 001.”  Go down another page, find another excerpt that looks intriguing, and do the same. By the time you’re finished, you should have between several and several dozen (depending on the length of your book) excerpts saved.  Now go back and rename them in random order. “Clara 001” might become “Clara 006” and “Clara 012” might become “Clara 002.” It doesn’t matter what order they’re in, as long as it’s not sequential.

Next, add a link at the bottom of each excerpt that promotes where your book can be found. Since you’ll likely be published on multiple sites, choose the one that pays you the best royalty rate. If you have your own website with its own shopping cart, obviously you’ll want to choose that one. (Remember that if you’re publishing through a publishing company, they’re going to take their own cut on top of whatever the affiliate takes.)


The link might read something like: Want to read more? Click here! And work a hyperlink into part or all of the sentence.  DO NOT mention the book’s price.

The most time-consuming (but potentially the most fun) part of the process will be finding pictures online that match what’s happening in each excerpt. So if you post an excerpt where the heroine is slapping some jerk’s face, find a picture online that matches the action. If you’re promoting a sex scene, use a picture that shows exactly what you’re trying to describe...and yes, you can be very explicit on Tumblr.


Last, think up a funny or eye-catching tagline for your picture. If you’re clever with a graphics program, you can work the tagline into the picture. If not, just type it beneath the picture when you make your post. Copy the photo and the tagline into your excerpt document, and save it. Some visual examples are below:

Once you have all your excerpts compiled, along with good photos, taglines, and hyperlinks, it’s time to post the first one. Go to Tumblr, and follow the instructions to post a picture, the tagline, the story excerpt, and the hyperlink at the end. Once you’re happy with the way it looks, submit the post...and be sure to have it auto-submit to Twitter and Facebook, too. (Just remember that Facebook will not allow explicit photos, so plan your submissions accordingly.)


Next to go Reddit, and follow the same process. Once you’ve done it a few times, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is.


If you have your own blog page, or post on other social media sites, submit there at the same time.

A few hours later, pick the next excerpt in line (and now do you see why they should be in random order? So that anyone reading them will not be able to easily piece together the entire story!) and submit that to all your social media sites.  A few hours later, repeat the process with the third excerpt.  And so on.


If you have multiple books, interweave them so that you’re posting a different random excerpt from a different book each time.


When you reach the end...start again from the beginning. (And remember, once you’re familiar with the process, you can set up some sites to auto-submit on your behalf.)

Although it sounds like this process will take hours every day, in actual fact, it won’t once you get used to each program’s submission process. Copy, paste, submit. Copy, paste, submit. It will go very quickly. The time and effort is in putting together all the excerpts...and of course in maintaining a regular schedule for posting your excerpts across the board. Some authors only post a few times a day...morning and evening, for example…while more prolific authors may submit every two or three hours. The key is to keep it consistent, so that a new excerpt is being read regularly.

Don’t expect to see immediate results; no matter how provocative your photos and excerpts might be, you’re not going to be listed on the NY Times Bestseller List within a few hours, or even a few days. It might take weeks before your sales start to increase. And we won’t lie to you: there’s no guarantee that they ever will. But one thing we can guarantee: The more people who see your excerpts, the better your chances become. So don’t give up, even if the entire process becomes a discouraging routine. If your excerpts are good, and your photos are eye-catching, readers will take notice...and once they do, the chances of them clicking your link to read more will go way up.