Guest Post: 5 Steps to Promote Your YA Novel
Today’s post is from talented YA writer Lauren Klever. Lauren is the author of Visions, the first in a series about a teen named Owen who discovers he possesses a special ability (I won’t spoil it for you). Lauren shares her advice on marketing YA novels.
Let’s start with this… I’m a huge expert! Listen to me! (I see you rolling on the floor laughing – STOP that! Okay – you’re right, I’m new and I don’t know a lot but I’m happy to share what I do know and never forget that you get what you pay for!) We all have to start somewhere, so here is my advice to you.
You have family and friends, right? (If not, go right to step 2.) No, really – use these people, they already love you. How do you do that? Well, I’m gonna tell ‘ya! Ask nicely, be willing to take a ‘no’ and be willing to return the favor. Have them be Beta readers (early readers) of your work. Be open-minded enough to listen to their advice. I didn’t say you had to use it. Just listen and think about it. If they love your work, ask them to share it. Specifically, have them share on every social media platform that you can think of! (Facebook and Twitter are big right now but don’t forget Goodreads, MySpace, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumbler and others.) PS: you should be sharing in all those places too! Also have them ‘LIKE’ everything and post reviews everywhere they can. (Is your work available on Barnes and Noble or Amazon? Have them rate your book and post a review on those sites as well!)
Know where you potential fans hang out. Most of mine seem to be on Facebook and Twitter but that may not be true for you. Check it out. Would a well placed flyer near a skate park catch the eye of your audience? How about getting an invitation to a Literacy Night at your local school? Or even an invitation from a language arts teacher to talk to her class about writing? Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.
Build a website about YOU the author. On that site you can talk about your book, but the thing you really need to market is Y-O-U. When I started writing my first book, I knew nothing about SEO, backlinks, website design or Twitter. I was barely a Facebook user. (I can hear you laughing across cyberspace, but look at me now. An expert… not even close – a little smarter… you bet.) There are lots of choices out there so do some research and figure out what will work for you. I currently use Word Press. I like them a lot and find they’re user friendly but they’re not the only fish in the ocean and you may know a lot more about websites than I do.
Remember that you are now a brand. Keep continuity among all your social media and your website as much as you can. You are the brand so you want it to all feel the same. (We all recognize the Nike swoosh and McDonald’s golden arches, right?) How do you want people to know you? I once heard that if you aren’t willing to shout something into a megaphone across a football field then don’t post it. None of us are perfect but I do try to keep my sites clean. Since I write young adult, I expect young adults to look at my sites, hence and therefore; I keep them pretty much PG. I can’t think of even one PG-13 item, but I won’t promise you will never see it. I write for kids from twelve to one hundred and twelve – so there you go!
Now that you are a little more comfortable with what you’re doing keep researching and trying to improve yourself. Look for new ideas and recycle old ones you like. Start to follow some big names and see what they have to offer. I don’t know what your budget is, but mine was pretty much non-existent to start. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people. Being connected makes a big difference. Be sure to check out some awesome experts like… Kristen Lamb, Stacey Myers and Melissa Foster. These are three ladies I follow and read their tips and advice! I am still a work in progress. How about you?
My last thought… Be yourself but be your kindest self! Be sure to say please and thank you. Promote other authors and if someone does you a favor be willing to do one for them. As I like to say… We can all be better together! Just remember, in addition to your target audience, you should be thinking about those of us who write… bloggers and authors. As far as I can tell every single one of us is a big reader, too!
Big hugs and happy promotion of your book!
Lauren Klever is the author of The Secret Watcher series and a teacher. Please join her on her website and blog: http://thesecretwatchers.com, on Twitter @SecretWatchers and on Facebook. Her author page is found at http://facebook.com/authorLaurenKlever and The Secret Watchers Fan Page at http://facebook.com/OwenRyerseries