(And Five Ways To Promote Your New Book On Social Media – A Blogger’s Guide)
Well, I must say I have been delighted, nay overwhelmed, by the wonderful reaction to the launch of the book, Every Record Tells A Story: A Vinyl Handbook (which you can pre-order exclusively by clicking this link. Pre-orders attract a small discount).
But as PG Wodehouse wrote: “Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to speak French.”
The modern day equivalent of this is perhaps the look of furtive shame, the shifty hangdog look which announces that a blogger is about to tell you they have a book coming out.
Not that I don’t look furtive and shifty when about to speak French, mind you.
But followers of the blog now know they must potentially endure something worse than lockdown with hyperactive toddlers, or (even worse) politicians. And that is, the uncomfortable social media onslaught of an author trying to persuade them to buy a book.
Instead of being a harmless blogger writing about music out of an inherent desire to spread the good word about the songs and stories that delight them, the writer becomes Pennywise the Dancing Clown or even someone more malevolent – perhaps Hugh Grant’s character in Paddington 2 – an evil mastermind or fairground carney who must be regarded with suspicion because now they want your money. The whole basis of trust between reader and writer has been broken – “it’s not personal, Sonny, it’s strictly business”.
For all the reader knows, the writer set up their blog in 2012 and wrote six hundred and fifty five articles purely so that eight years later he could trick – yes, trick! – them into handing over nine English pounds and ninety nine pence PLUS POSTAGE! for the fleeting, meaningless pleasure of pre-ordering (with a pound off) a beautiful new book full of entertaining stories, advice and laughter in the post.
SEE WHAT I DID THERE! I tricked you again, lulling you into a false sense of security and then doubled down on the sales tactics.
So for those unaware of the tricks used by authors to cynically promote their books, here’s a top five list of the techniques
I will be trying you should look out for.
And if you are an author – here’s some hints – for free – on how to effectively promote your book on social media…
1. Feign Interest In Your Reader’s Social Media Ramblings
Reply to any random tweet that might have the slightest link to something in your book and say “that’s fascinating. I wrote about that subject in my book, which comes out shortly. Then add a link to the online shop. People will think that’s both helpful and a sincere opportunity for them to increase their understanding of a subject they probably don’t know enough about without your help.
2. Leverage The Power of the Hashtag
People love #hashtags. In fact #peoplelovehashtags. A trending hashtag is a wonderful thing in the world of marketing. The biggest thing to remember is that people are rubbish at spelling, don’t have much patience and auto correct will play havoc with long words, so the shorter the title, the better. Whatever you do, don’t call your book #everyrecordtellsastoryavinylhandbook
Ah. Damn. Let’s go for #vinylhandbook maybe?
3. Share Photos of Random People You Have Bribed To Read Your Book
Clearly no self respecting person is going to take a selfie of themselves reading your book, (or even your #vinylhandbook, amirite?) but maybe you could trick them into doing so. If that fails, try photoshopping your book into photos of famous people. They definitely won’t mind their image being used to shamelessly promote someone else’s product.
In fact, here’s a photo of the Beatles’ Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr who love the book, are definitely reading a copy, and want you to buy it. Probably. Sort of. Well, okay, for legal reasons I should point out they’re not really…
4. Use Great Visuals
Readers want to recognise quality and your brand, so make sure everything looks attractive. Use appealing visuals and great looking photos. For my part, this requirement means I’m going to pretend my book was ghost written by George Clooney.
5. Be Topical
Readers like to see you are relevant to their lives – make sure you talk about things that they can relate to.
For example, try to avoid writing books that tell them stories about bands that split up forty years ago or about musical formats that died out in the nineties. No-one wants to read about that.
So there you have it. A guide to promoting your book, and for the reader, a few pointers to watch out for over the next few weeks as I dishonestly attempt to wheedle my way into your life solely to part you from your hard-earned money. You’ll be able to start trusting me again in a month or two once all the fuss dies down.
I’m just joking of course. In the meantime, that’s a lovely outfit you are wearing. Have you been working out?
You can pre-order Every Record Tells A Story: The Vinyl Handbook (sorry, #vinylhandbook) direct from publisher i40 – clicking this link will take you to their online shop. For a limited time, all pre-orders will attract a special discount.