in the previous post I wrote about why social media generally doesn't work for new novelists. What does work?
1: Get the book to the attention of book reviewers, mostly bloggers and podcasters who have a large following. Not easy, because they are approached by a lot of novelists, but possible. Follow them, make intelligent comments, praise them (ideally, mean it). In other words, let them get to know you a little before you ask them for anything.
2: Get an endorsement from a celebrity whose followers like to read. This eliminates most pop stars, many actors, etc. but that's fine. Set up your book as print-on-demand as well as an ebook so you can print some copies to send to celebrities who might find your book of interest.
Try to find some relevant link between them and the book--did they grow up in that location, did they play a role similar to that of your protagonist, have they expressed interest in helping end domestic violence (if that features in your book)? These may or may not be enough to pique their interest, but it's worth a try.
The ideal is if they Tweet about it, but if they have one of their minions send you a message saying, "Thanks for the book, I enjoyed it!" you can use that quote.
3. Create a video that is so entertaining that people will want to pass it along to their friends. Another challenging task, because in addition to being entertaining, it has to be relevant to your genre. A funny video of people slipping on banana peels might get a lot of views but I doubt that it would help sell a detective novel.
If yours happens to be a children's book, then a charming short video with a little story featuring the same characters might work.
If you happen to write romance novels, send your trailer to Robin Covington, who features selected romance book trailers at her USA Today site: send the link to [email protected]. Any subgenre is fine as long as it is a romance!
4. Do something that gets major media attention. The media don't care that you've written a book, so forget about trying to interest them in that per se.
Recently one publisher was lucky enough to have Facebook refuse to accept their book trailer ad because it included nudity--in the form of medieval and Renaissance paintings, drawings, and sculptures of female biblical characters. After Abel and Other Stories, by Michael Lemberger, is a series of Bible stories reimagined from the perspective of women. The Facebook explanation: "Ads are not allowed to promote the sale or use of adult products and services, including toys, videos, publications, live shows, or sexual enhancement products."
Naturally the publisher, Prospect Park Books, immediately fired off a press release and the resulting publicity will help them more than the Facebook ad ever would have.
In this case, it was just good luck. Generally you have to make an effort to get attention. Let's say you've written a funny novel about blind dates. You think of a blind date-related stunt--maybe a speed dating event in an unusual location, or one where singles bring their dogs, and if your dog likes the other person's dog you have to go on a date. That could get media coverage. Somewhere in that coverage it will mention your novel and its title. How many people who read the story will actually buy the novel? That's anybody's guess, but if the story makes a national news, it could pay off.