Whether you’re a blogger, a traditionally published author or plan to self/indie publish, you will need to increase your visibility and gain fans.
The sections that follow can apply to non-fiction and fiction alike, but the actions you take, the social media channels you choose, and the content you share will depend on your audience, your genre, and your preferences. Nothing works for every genre, age group, or even author.
Read the ideas below. Evaluate the options. Apply what you want and leave the rest for next month, next year, or not in this lifetime!
Short-form videos are big this year. There’s TikTok, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels, and of course YouTube. Even the social media platforms I didn’t list have video options to check out.
I’ve chosen LinkedIn as my primary platform, and though video isn’t the game changer we thought it would be, video is still an important piece in my strategic connection plan (aka marketing plan). And yes, if you go to my LinkedIn profile, you won’t see many videos at all. I consider myself an extreme introvert, and though I can bare my soul in writing in a blog post, video stresses me out. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do it. It just means I need to figure out how I can do it my way and do it consistently.
I like the reminder from Alexa Bigwarfe on the IBPA podcast, BookTok, Bookstagram & BookTube — The Latest Sensations to Market Your Books, that the video doesn’t have to be you as a talking head. There are other ways to create video content. I’ll be working on how I’m going improve my video game on LinkedIn and start my HYH YouTube channel, but again, doing it in a way I can enjoy (or learn to enjoy) and sustain for the long term.
Anyway, back to you. Is video on your 2023 to-do list? Check out these how-to articles:
If you are already doing videos, is there any resource you find helpful? Share it with us here!
As you build your video presence be sure to search for and use #hashtags.
You may have heard of…
Search for other hashtags that are relevant to your content. What genre are you writing in? What topics is your ideal reader interested in? What niche do you want to dominate? But wait… more is NOT better. I was taught that the sweet spot was three to five hashtags. As I wrote that, I decided to find current data on how many hashtags works best and what is “too many.” The bottom line…
20 hashtags receive the highest average reach rate
30 hashtags receive the most likes and comments (engagement rate)
I know, I didn’t give you any numbers backed up by data on TikTok, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter, but through all the articles I searched “they” keep saying three to five hashtags are best. As I come across up-to-date, actual, for real data, I’ll add it here.
But here’s the main points for using hashtags on social media:
Use relevant hashtags — think genre, topic, series name, and audience
Don’t over use hashtags
Look for relevant hashtags that are trending
Establish branded hashtags (your brand) and use them
Podcasts are a great way to build visibility. Whether you start your own podcast or you line up a podcast book tour, I’m seeing it working well for authors.
STARTING YOUR OWN PODCAST
Since starting a podcast has been in my IDEA box since 2007, I have yet to take the next step in starting my own podcast. However, I did develop a podcast for a client. I found Libsyn to be easy. “Easy” in that I still had to learn the terms and sometimes had to go back and click this or that button when it didn’t work, but it wasn’t difficult or impossible. But rather than sharing the beginner’s information I’ve gained, let me direct you to more detailed resources.
Libsyn — How to Start a Podcast
All the podcast resources above will give you information on the equipment you need, but before you shell out for the latest, the best or what your budget allows, check out local resources that may already have the equipment. Look into your local library. My library doesn’t have a recording studio, but other authors have reported that their libraries do. Also, check out co-working sites in your area. My co-working site ConnectWork on Main in Butler, PA offers a space and some equipment.
Don’t start a podcast unless the idea interests and excites you. If you can’t commit to being consistent on recording and publishing your podcast episodes, find something else to do to grow your reader base (including writing that next book).
BOOKING A PODCAST BOOK TOUR
How do you find the right podcast for your book tour?
What podcasts do you listen to that fit your book and audience?
This may be the best place to start because when you reach out to the podcaster offering to be a guest (having first confirmed their requirements), you can honestly say you love their podcast and give example episodes you’ve enjoyed.
Do any of your friends, colleagues, or clients host a podcast that is a fit for your book and audience?
Listen to a couple episodes and confirm you’re a fit for the podcast. Look for their guidelines on being a guest. Think of how you could bring value to their audience. Then reach out to them.
If your book is not a fit for their podcast, great! Ask them if they know other podcast hosts that might be a fit. Request an introduction.
Does anyone in your network know a podcast host? Is your book a fit for their audience?
Ask for an introduction once you’ve done your homework to confirm your book and your message are a fit for the podcast.
Find out what your ideal reader is listening to. Any fit there?
Ask your audience what they’re listening to. Post the question on social media, or add it to your newsletter. Then listen to some episodes. Confirm you’re a fit. Determine submission requirements. Reach out with the mindset of bringing value to the podcast and their audience. Show what’s in it for them.
Use a podcast matching service.
Here are a few to evaluate
PodMatch — several references identify this as free, but they’re charging now.
MatchMaker — free
RadioGuestList — free
PodcastGuests.com — free
Yes, this process of building a book tour takes time. Start building that list of potential podcasts now. As your publication date gets closer, reach out and offer to be a guest. Be aware that their timeline may not coincide with your timeline. Some podcast episodes may be published days, weeks or even a month or more after you’re interviewed. Though that really isn’t a problem. Getting the word out about your book is good at any time.
If being a podcast guest feels like a great way to market your book, consider building a habit of marketing your book via podcast interviews by following Bruce Harpham’s suggestions in his article, Why Authors Need to Develop a Book Marketing Habit. Send out “one short outreach email to a podcast host each day.” That’s 30 podcasts in a month or if you only do it Monday through Friday, 20 podcasts!
And of course, here’s a short list of blogs to learn more.
Buzzsprout — How to Get Booked on Podcasts
One last thought. Be wary of podcasts that reach out to you to offer you a slot on their podcast for a fee. Do your due-diligence. Confirm the audience is the right fit and large enough to make the possibility of a return on your investment (ROI) worth it. Then go find other podcast options. Even a paid podcast matching service may give a better ROI.
YOUR Email List
You may have heard it a dozen times already, but I’ll say it for the nth time — own your list of fans. Don’t rely on your preferred social media channel as the only way to reach your fans. Grow your email list.
Plan to connect with your readers, prospective readers, clients, and fans. Every author who has a newsletter to offer does it differently. They make it their own and create a newsletter that works for them as well as the reader.
A few things to remember:
This isn’t about selling to your email subscriber list. It’s about connecting.
Whether it’s social media, podcasts, or newsletters — it’s about reaching and engaging your readers. Talk about the concepts in your book, share insights, disclose your writing progress, show pictures of your cat sitting on your keyboard, your dog looking at you sooooo pitifully, or your cockatoo chatting with you. TALK to your fans. It’s a conversation, not a sales pitch.
Don’t over commit. How much and how often can you realistically commit to writing, formatting, and publishing your newsletter or blog? Whether you’ve told your subscribers that you’ll reach out weekly, monthly, or some other time frame, be consistent. If they expect it on Tuesday morning, then make sure it happens.
How often should you publish? Every expert, newsletter writer, and blogger has their own answer for that. When I started my organizing tips & tricks, I did it monthly. That worked great for years until 2020 (enough said there) and now it’s quarterly(ish). When I wrote my small steps to healthier living, weekly was a cinch until it wasn’t. Now I’m writing The Organized Pen. Since weekly seemed too much and monthly not often enough, I went for every two weeks. Is it optimal? Maybe not for the reader, but it is for me. I can be consistent at this pace.
Two organizers I know, Julie Bestry & Hazel Thornton, both blog. They’ve been blogging for years. They know all the rules for blogging. They probably wrote some of those rules. And they each do it differently. Julie does long blogs. Hazel does short blogs. Julie publishes weekly. Hazel posts at least monthly but on her own time frame and adds additional blogs when she has something to say. But they both engage and connect with their readers.
I also know all the rules for blogging, too. Yet my blog length is somewhere in the middle, as is my publication interval. Some authors only share cat photos. Some authors’ blogs center around their business. Some authors share their writing journey (ups & downs, daily ins & outs). Some authors only write sporadically (yes, violating the consistency rule above) while others write two or three times a week. Regardless of how others write their newsletters, plan to do your blogs and newsletter how you want. Be different! Do you and do it unabashedly!
Developing your email list and writing your newsletter or blog is not a quick marketing strategy — this is intended to connect and build fans over time.
There are a number of email marketing platforms to choose from. Every book on marketing will give you a list of ones to check out. Here's my list
Check out other options - The Top 10 Email Marketing Software for Small Businesses in 2023
It’s hard to make money on just one book. One book is a tool. Two books are a start. And three books are a series of opportunities. Each time a new book comes out, you’re likely selling to an expanded audience. There will definitely be readers who haven’t heard of you before. Once they buy your latest book and like what you have to say, they’ll probably look for your previous books.
It’s okay if you never write another book. But if the writing bug has got you, and the painful memories of editing and getting that first book into readers’ hands have worn off, then go for your next book. Let’s paint the world with your words!
Shawndra Holmberg’s LinkedIn profile,
Barnes & Noble - dedicated to #BookTok
Libsyn — How to Start a Podcast
Buzzsprout — How to Get Booked on Podcasts
Sign up page for The Organized Pen
Paper Doll Blog — Julie Bestry
Organized for Life and Beyond — Hazel Thornton
Short-form videos are big this year
Find and use #hashtags related to your book
Start your own podcast or schedule a podcast book tour
Build your email list - you own it!
Your next book will sell your previous book.
When you're ready... 2 ways to move forward on your book journey:
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