Goodreads is a social network specifically designed for finding your next great read, and is a vital tool for authors! With over 125 million users, it provides authors with direct access to not only their current readers, but also potential new readers.
By claiming your Goodreads author account, you will be able to unlock a whole new world of Goodreads beyond ratings and reviewing books. Below, we’ve broken down these benefits for you to showcase why Goodreads should be one of the top platforms in your marketing plan!
And the winner is . . .
Every author dreams of receiving recognition and praise for their book, and with award season just around the corner, you may be thinking, How can I submit my book to awards? Well, we’ve broken it down into 5 easy steps!
Step 1: Determine which awards your book is eligible for
This seems pretty straight forward . . . most awards have categories for all genres to enter, but in some cases awards will focus on a specific genre. This is particularly seen with children’s books. That isn’t the only restrictive factor; you will also need to be sure you are looking at awards that are open to self-published authors. Fear not—there are many! In some cases you may also find national awards that focus on the author’s country of residence. Be sure to always read the terms of eligibility for the award you are submitting to.
Taking all these factors into account, here is a great resource for finding self-published book awards www.writersunion.ca/self-published-book-awards
QUICK TIP: Not all awards come with a monetary prize. Whether you’re looking for fame and fortune or simply some recognition, keep this in mind when considering which awards you submit to.
It’s hard to know if you’re “doing” social media right. I mean, yes, you post unique content, you respond to comments, and you regularly engage with other accounts in your niche by liking their posts or leaving comments in relevant threads. But is it working?? By working, we’re referring to people liking your posts, following your page, clicking your links and/or visiting your website.
To know if you really are using social media to benefit your brand as an author, you can track your success using your social media insights. That is, if you’ve signed up for a professional profile like the Facebook Business Page or Instagram Creator Account, which offer you tons of added benefits for building your brand. Once you’ve created your Facebook Page or Instagram Creator Account, experiment with posting for a couple weeks and then venture into the world of your social media insights.
Find your Insights on Facebook:
And on Instagram:
Alright, now take a look at three key ways to measure your success on social media using your social media insights!
Having a high follower count makes a good first impression, but if it isn’t growing week-over-week you need to change up your strategy. A steady increase in followers means your account is reaching more people organically as well as getting new people’s attention.
If your follower growth rate is only increasing by 1% a month, re-evaluate your content strategy.
Tracking your content interactions, i.e. how many likes, comments or saves your post and stories get is important. It lets you monitor just how interested your audience is in the content you are creating.
Your social media analytics will show your overall interactions as well as the interactions for each post.
Here’s what industry standards tell us:
- Less than 1% = low engagement rate
- Between 1% and 3.5% = average/good engagement rate
- Between 3.5% and 6% = high engagement rate
- Above 6% = very high engagement rate
How can you get from 1% to 3.5% or higher? We share a few tips for updating your social media content strategy below.
So you made the decision to create an author website – FANTASTIC! A website functions as a modern online business card, and not having one can impact credibility. You will use your website to share information and news about your book, let people know where they can buy it, and offer other ways of connecting with you by including your social media links. Ultimately, your website is the foundational building blocks of your brand! But, what should you be doing with it and how can you help get traffic (views) to the site?
Unless you are creating regular content in the form of a blog, uploading new resources, or doing something unique on your site, it can be hard to drive people to visit your author website frequently or at all. So what should you be doing?
Here are 4 key elements to follow to get the most out of your author website:
As we enter into the digital age, the key to success seems to be developing a strong online presence. By connecting with your audiences online, you have the potential to reach hundreds, even thousands, of potential readers with the click of a finger.
Picture this: you’ve just started your author Instagram profile! You’ve set up your Creator profile, you’re sharing fun and engaging content about your book, and you’re using a variety of hashtags to reach as many people as possible (#bookstagram and #indieauthor being some favourite of ours!). Suddenly, your direct messages are flooded with reviewers; all of them telling you how much they would love to read your book and how they can help you gain followers and awareness through their promoting – all for just one simple fee. But, who is a reviewer, and who is a “reviewer”? Who will actually deliver, and who is really just looking for an easy scam?
Don’t fret – we’re here to help!
Whether you are published, in the process, or only just thinking about it – here are some tips & tricks for all children’s authors.
1 . YOUR AUTHOR BRAND
Your author brand gives your readers insight into who you are! Creating something that showcases your personality is key. As a children’s author, you may also want to show off a bit more of your goofy side!
Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating your author brand:
- Make it eye-catching and fun!
- GET PLAYFUL
- Use a fun background or bright colors
- Don’t be afraid to make a silly face
- Let your personality shine through – both in your photo and bio
2 . YOUR COMMUNITY
The average buyer’s age of children’s books is between 30 and 44.
Females make up more than 70% of these buyers. They are also more likely to discuss and recommend a book they and their kids enjoyed. In fact, buyers of children’s books are more easily influenced by the recommendations of family and friends than any other book category. For this reason, it is really important to build a loyal community of parents and teachers that enjoy and support your book.
Consider building an ambassador program or launch team! Also, get involved in your local community and make time to meet your readers.
Meet your readers!
- Pursue classroom visits
- Join children’s book festivals
- Participate in library events such as a read-along!
When meeting with author Irony James about her upcoming inspirational novel #imatter: Unicorns Live Here, she posed the question of not only what resources were available to her as an author, but also what resources were available to her as an author of colour. Irony is passionate about being a black, female author, and wanted to connect with fellow POC creatives within the industry to share her story.
This conversation prompted a deep dive into festivals, organizations, and platforms that pride themselves on giving black authors a voice, and allowing them to make connections with other POC creatives.
We wanted to share some of our awesome findings with you!
The StoryGraph is an up and coming virtual library platform! Created by Nadia Odunayo in late 2019, The StoryGraph prides itself on being ethnically diverse with it’s authors and content, instead of focusing on only mainstream books. Similar to Goodreads, The StoryGraph provides readers with a place to find great new reads, and review their favourite books.
When signing up for the website, readers are prompted to fill out a survey discussing their reading preferences including favourite genres, favourite book characteristics, genres that they would be uninterested in, and what they don’t like about certain books. The StoryGraph uses these preference tags to recommend different books to users across the platform, so readers can request to see books that only feature POC Characters, LGTBQ Characters, books written by POC authors, etc.! Readers are also prompted to rate books based on criteria like themes, moods, pace, and the characters themselves (such as character development, how diverse the characters are, whether or not the characters are loveable, or if their flaws are on display, etc.), so the ratings can’t be skewed or biased.
Similar to Goodreads, The StoryGraph provides users with the option to create reading challenges that are accessible to the whole community. They have a a whole section of these challenges dedicated to reading #OwnVoices, with challenges such as 100 Black Novelist You Should Read, Inclusivity Reading Challenge, and Reading Writers of Colour 2021, among others.
The StoryGraph is definitely a platform to keep an eye on, as it’s going to be one of the most important virtual libraries around!
Categories and keywords are the words and phrases used by online retailers such as Amazon or Indigo to help categorize your book among similar titles, similar to how a bookstore shelves books with others of the same genre. This is the metadata linked to your online book listing.
Choosing relevant keywords and categories will help readers interested in the subject matter to find your book among similar titles when searching online retailers, which can help you sell more books.
Selecting your categories can be as simple as scrolling through the available categories (or BISAC codes) and picking the ones that most closely fit your book’s content.
- Pick categories that actually match your book’s content.
- Pick the most specific categories available.
- Follow the guidelines below:
By Cassie Smith
Having an author website is a bit like a business card – it establishes credibility, a point of contact, and an opportunity to showcase your work.
It can be well-agreed that in 2020, having an online presence as an author is essential, and an author website no exception.
As an author, you might have even envisioned what you want to put on your website – maybe a blog; an annotated gallery; links to events etc. What you might not have considered, however, is your domain name.
What is a Domain Name?
A domain name is the address of your website that people type in the browser URL bar to visit your website.
In simple terms, if your website was a house, then your domain name will be its address.
An example of a domain name is: www.google.com
Now that we have an understanding of what a domain name is, let’s move on to determining what the right one is for you!
Physical distancing, self-isolation and quarantines during the coronavirus pandemic have completely altered our lives. We’ve all had to reimagine the ways we connect and engage with each other. With so much fear and uncertainty circulating during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a great need for breaks from the news cycle. We are also spending more time at home now than, perhaps, ever in our lifetime. Indulging in a good story is one of the oldest and most enjoyable forms of escapism. Hopeful, cheerful, funny or just straight-up weird and quirky content can lighten our mood and make us feel so much better.
For authors, it’s a great time to promote and market your book. While holding book launches, book tours, book signings and school visits are not possible in a physical setting, you can take these activities online. Authors are using social media, and platforms like Zoom, to hold live events, digital book tours, and Q&As. They are partnering with other authors, book bloggers, booktubers and influencers in their space to share their stories and engage with their audiences.
Here are some ideas and strategies to consider on how to market and promote your book during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Book launch → Digital book launch
Considering using Facebook live to launch your book. It’s free and relatively easy to setup. Almost everyone has a Facebook account together and it’s likely the people you would invite to a physical book launch event will already be your Facebook friend. Facebook Live can also accommodate another person which is great if you would like a co-host, emcee or someone to introduce you.
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