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If you have published a science fiction or fantasy novel, you'll need to promote it on social media. I know the thought of engaging in yet more social media makes you cringe, but like it or not social media is here to stay. And you may, in fact, be pleasantly surprised at how effective it can be.

Here are some social media platforms that can help you promote your book for free. Although they allow promotion, most of these platforms are not strictly promotional. Their main purpose is to host discussion groups, book clubs, and writing critique groups.

In addition to the ever-present necessity of promoting your work, I would encourage you to take advantage of these non-promotional functions for two reasons: 1) As a writer, it's essential to participate in discussions about your craft and genre, and 2) You may make some valuable contacts with other authors in the course of those discussions. (I did.)

Facebook Groups

Facebook is a huge social media platform, which means it can produce dramatic results. First, set up a page for your book. (This is a must.) Then join writers' groups. The largest and most active writers' groups are listed here: 43 Facebook Groups for Authors. There are also several active Facebook groups geared specifically to science fiction and fantasy writers. These are:

Fantasy & Science Fiction Writers in America. (Closed group) This is for writers who focus their work mainly on science fiction and fantasy. The site is for writers to post small pieces of their work to get others' opinions on them, to offer or request advice about the art, craft, and business of writing, and to exchange interests concerning science fiction and fantasy writing with like-minded individuals.

Cyberpunk Science Fiction & Culture (Closed group) Group dedicated to all things related to cyberpunk: culture, literature, music, film, technology, games, fashion, lifestyle, etc.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors. This group is open for anyone who loves the genres of science fiction and fantasy. They welcome readers, writers, viewers and all lovers of the genres.

Science Fiction. (Closed group) For all those interested in science fiction and fantasy adventure reading.

Space Opera. Space opera is a sub-genre of science fiction dealing with stories of epic adventure and conflict on a grand scale. If you are a fan of authors like Poul Anderson, Peter F. Hamilton, Alastair Reynolds, E.E. Smith, David Drake, Neal Asher, John C. Wright, Iain M. Banks, Walter Jon Williams, Dan Simmons, Jack Vance, David Weber, Vernor Vinge, Stephen Baxter, Larry Niven, or Louis McMaster Bujold, this group is for you. Authors can promote their books through special promotion threads.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Books Fans. This is a virtual book club of fans of science fiction and fantasy.

SciFi,Horror,Endoftheworld,Truestory.,other,Books,Screen,Music,Writers. This group is for authors, novelists, screenwriters, and bloggers to share their pages and/or published work.

Goodreads

We PROMOTE Fantasy/Sci-Fi Writers/Authors - "If you need help promoting your work, my Sci-Fi/Fantasy Team can advertise your book in our active Facebook fantasy & sci-fi page with 117,000+ Likes, Twitter page with 20,000 Followers, and feature it in Fantascize.com. We can also help you reach thousands of readers through book reviews, author interviews, book trailers, and any other type of advertisment/promotion you may need. For more details, Email my team at fantasynscifi@gmail.com or me personally at berserkxxo@yahoo.com if you're interested."

SciFi and Fantasy Book Club (15669 members) - This is mainly a discussion group, but there is also a folder for authors to promote their books. Make sure to read the rules before posting. 

SciFi and Fantasy eBook Club (3538 members) - Self-promotion is allowed in the Authors' forum for active members.

Dystopia Land (2047 members) provides a folder where authors can post releases, giveaways, free books, and short stories.  

Twitter Hashtags

#SciFi
#SciFiChat
#scifibookclub
#speculativefiction
#fantasy
#sciencefiction
#DarkFantasy
#Fantasy
#Dystopian
#Paranormal
#PNR (Paranormal Romance)
#SteamPunk
#UrbanFantasy
#ScifiRTG or #SFRTG (Sci-fi Retweet Group)
#IFNRTG (Indie Fantasy Re-tweet Group)

General marketing:

#amreading
#indieauthors
#mustread
#kindle
#kindledeals
#BookMarketing
#IARTG (Indie Author Re-tweet Group)
#YA (Young Adult)
#indiebooksbeseen
#Amazon
#BYNR (Be your next read)
#BookGiveaway
#Free
#Freebie
#FreeBook
#FreeDownload
#FreebieFriday
#FreeReads
#KindleBargain

Google+

Google + communities are an ideal platform for book promotion. These communities are lively, and posting is effortless. (All you need to do is post a URL and a brief intro.) Before you start joining Google+ communities make sure you have set up an attractive profile on Google. It's easy to do, and I guarantee people will be visiting. (My profile has gotten over 5 million views.) You can also set up a page for your book. Don't forget to read the rules of the groups before posting!

Speculative Fiction Writers - This Community is a place where all writers of science fiction and fantasy, from brand new to published authors, can come together to share trials and triumphs in developing new worlds, human and nonhuman characters, and stories large and small. (No promos)

Science Fiction Writers - Any and all discussion related to science, fiction, or any intersection of the two is welcome. This community does not allow self-promotion, but feel free to post book reviews and announce the release of your latest work.
Science Fiction - Authors, please feel free to post information and links for your books, blogs or other promotions, but please be sure to do it into the correct category and be sure to limit your self-promotional posts to once per week.

Fantasy Writers - All active members who post and comment on writing-related topics are welcome to promo their work on Saturdays.

Reddit

Reddit is underutilized for promotional purposes, probably because the site actively discourages self-promotion and ads. Nevertheless, several authors have been "discovered" on Reddit, and have developed sizable fan bases, usually through r/books and its subreddits. (The trick to Reddit is knowing which sub-reddit is appropriate for your topic.)

r/books. This is a very active community dedicated to the world of books. There are no direct promotions allowed on this page, but they do have a “new releases” section where you can promote your book. You are allowed to promote your own writing in "new releases" as long as you follow these two rules:
  1. The books being discussed must have been published within the last three months OR are being published this month.
  2. No direct sales links.

All the sci-fi related subreddits have been collated into a Big list of SF-Related Subreddits. There are too many subreddits to list here, but if you take a quick look at the Big List you will find many in the "writing" section that will be useful. (Also make sure to check the genres list.) There are two sub-reddits that are particularly active, and which allow some self-promotion. (Please read the rules before promoting your work!)

r/scifi (238,420 readers) Saturdays “self-promo Saturdays,” so log in on Saturday to promote your book. If you look at the side bar you'll find numerous subreddits, and within those even more sub-subreddits. 

r/sciencefiction (34,189 readers) This reddit is for fans and creators of science fiction and related media in any form. 

Pinterest

Pinterest is a great tool for sharing information. You can set up a board for your own publications and include photos of your book covers, signing events, and anything else related to your writing. You can also set up a group board devoted to related science fiction or fantasy topics, such as self-published science fiction or your favorite classic science fiction books, and allow others to share their titles. You can join established boards as well. (This is a great way to get followers.) Here are some group science fiction and fantasy boards that welcome new pinners:

SciFi Books – Community Board

Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books

Bookaholics Anonymous

Indie Authors and Self Published

! Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books

For more detailed information about how you can make best use of Pinterest see:  How to Use Pinterest to Build an Audience (For Writers)

 
 
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Publishing a book is a big accomplishment, so why not throw a party? After all, you hold a party to celebrate your birth, and, frankly, writing your book took more effort. (Your mother probably has a different perspective on your birth. Just FYI.)

Basically, a book launch party is a book signing/reading with the added benefit of being fun - and newsworthy. A book launch party is an ideal opportunity for promotion, so don't waste it! The release of a book, especially a book by a local author, is considered news, which means you can get press coverage. It is also a great way to meet your fans, make new ones, and to connect with people who share your interests.

Tips on making your launch party a success

1) Plan ahead. Like all events, a launch party requires planning. Where will you hold it? Who will you invite? How will you advertise it? All of these considerations require planning at least three months prior to the release of your book.

2) Pick an appropriate venue. Bookstores are great places to hold launch parties, but there may be more appropriate venues, depending on what you've written. For example, if you've written a book for children, you may want to hold your launch in a children's museum. Libraries can also serve as good places for a launch party, particularly in larger cities. Consider a restaurant if you've written a cookbook, or a recreational supply store if you've written about the great outdoors. (One of the advantages to holding a launch party in a store is that they may be willing to carry your book.) Make sure to contact your venue several months in advance.

3) Advertise. Once you've picked a date and a location, contact local media. Ideally, you should send a press release. You can also call the appropriate editor (e.g. local news). Don't forget to list the event in your local media (newspapers, TV, radio). Do this well in advance. News media have submission deadlines that are often two months or more in advance of an event.

4) Invite friends and family to spread the word. Facebook is your friend. Tell everyone on all your social media about the party - even if they live in Zanzibar. (Assuming you don't.) Getting the word out is important, because it creates buzz.

5) Send invitations. This is a party! Send invitations to everyone you know, and to a lot of people you don't. Anyone who you think might be interested should be invited - that includes other local authors, publishers, and people who are involved in professions related to your topic. Invite local educators if your book is for children; invite health care professionals if you've written about health (or illness); invite local coaches or athletes if you've written about sports. A party is the perfect way for people of like mind to mingle. They will have a good time talking to one another, and you will make some contacts.

6) Prepare an EVENT. If the venue allows food, make sure you have something tasty for people to eat. And don't forget the music. If you've written a children's book, have some activities planned for children. Part of the event is your reading, so make sure there are chairs for people to sit on.

7) Dress to impress. On this occasion you are the belle (or beau) of the ball. Wear something memorable, and in keeping with your genre. (If you've written a thriller, sure, go for black. Otherwise, something that makes you look authoritative and/or friendly.) Anything that makes you stand out in a crowd will do. You will be photographed!!

8) Don't forget your books! If you are reading in a bookstore, they will prepare a display. But in non-traditional venues you may have to make your own. Make sure you have plenty of books on hand. It doesn't hurt to think about how you are going to sign them before you actually pick up your pen. (Enjoy! is good for fiction.)

9) Piggy-back. If there is another large event being planned, it may be worthwhile to approach them with the idea of combining forces. This will help you cut costs and save a lot of work.

10) After the party. Make sure you take lots of photos (and videos) to post on your website. Tell the whole world about your successful launch!

 
 
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Goodreads is one of the most powerful social networks for authors looking to connect with readers. At 30 million members, it is the world’s largest site for book recommendations, with readers adding 30,000 reviews to the site every day. What's more, those reviews get syndicated and appear on Google books, USA Today, the Los Angeles Public Library, WorldCat, Better World Books and other locations.


As an author, you are probably wondering how you can make use of this popular site.

1. First sign up for an account. This is easy. Just go to https://www.goodreads.com/ and enter your name, email address, and password. You can also sign up for an account with Facebook. Learn more HERE.

2. Second, open an author account. To do this, search for yourself and click on your published author name. The author name is listed below the title of your book in the search results. If you do not find your book in the database of published works, see who can join.
  
Clicking on your name takes you to your basic author profile page. This page has your name at the top and "author profile" to the right of your name. This page is part of their database of books and authors and is separate from your member profile page. Scroll down to the bottom of the page. Click "Is this you? Let us know." to send a request to join the Author Program.

3. Set up your author profile. Your profile is very important. Anyone who is interested in reading your books (or reviews) will check you out, so make sure your photo is appealing and your bio informative. You can also add a link to your website, and videos.

4. Add your blog. As a Goodreads author, you can add your blog to the site. Your blog posts will automatically appear on your author profile when you publish them. Conversely, you can also simply write a blog on Goodreads.

5. Events. If you are doing a book signing, giving a talk, or presenting at a conference you can promote your event on Goodreads. Events appear on your profile.

6. Post reviews. Posting reviews is the best way to gain followers. People join Goodreads to share what they are reading and, based on those recommendations, find new books. As a writer, you have a unique advantage, not just because you understand the inner workings of composition, but because you can WRITE. Turn that talent to writing about what you are reading, especially books you have found most enjoyable. 

7. Ads. Goodreads offers paid ads. The click through rate is fairly low (.05%), but unlike Google Adwords, the people who frequent Goodreads are actually interested in buying books. The low cost of their ads combined with the huge number of readers make Goodreads an advertising platform that may be worthwhile. Learn more about Goodreads ads HERE.

8. Giveaways. Historically, authors and publishers have been allowed to post giveaways on Goodreads for physical books only. But on May 3rd, Goodreads announced that it is testing a beta program for Kindle giveaways. (Learn more HERE.) Unlike the print giveaway program, which is free, Goodreads will charge a fee of $119 for Kindle giveaways. Publishers and authors will set the time period for the promotion, however, unlike print giveaways, Goodreads will select winners and see to it they receive their books. The limit for giveaway books - print or Kindle -  is 100.

 
 
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What is a virtual book tour?

A  virtual book tour (aka blog tour) consists of lining up a series of bloggers to review your upcoming book (and/or conduct author interviews) during a time frame that corresponds to the release of your title. 

It is, as the name suggests, the internet version of an old-fashioned, in-the-flesh book tour.

Purpose of a virtual book tour

The purpose of a blog tour is to generate interest in your book. (This is called buzz.) That interest should pay off in sales, but it won't if you don't capitalize on it with other promotional tools such as giveaways, well-placed author interviews, and, of course, promotion of your blog tour on twitter, Facebook, and on your own blog and website. Building an audience takes time, energy and planning. A blog tour is just a part of your promotional plan.

How effective is a virtual book tour?

That depends entirely on where reviews and/or interviews are posted. Highly trafficked sites will be more effective than sites with just a few followers. If you plan it right, a book tour that includes influential sites can create considerable buzz. The difficulty many Indie authors face is that they don't have the time it takes to research well-trafficked sites. And, of course, tours require some planning. Review requests need to be sent out several months in advance of the release date.

Be aware that you will have to send out hundreds of email requests, as well as hundreds of ebook ARCs to get a decent number of reviews. (Unless you have written a steamy romance, the return rate is generally less than 10%.) But even 20 well-placed reviews and interviews can be highly effective. The reviews may not necessarily generate a lot of sales, but your name and the title of your book will have appeared on the net in 20 locations - hopefully with back links to your website - which will increase your exposure on search engines. (Don't forget to check if reviewers cross-post on Amazon and other venues, which will increase the reach of their review exponentially.)

To find bloggers in your genre see:

Top 12 Sites for Finding Reviewers

Top 5 Sites for Science Fiction Writers

Top 5 Sites For Mystery/Thriller Writers

Top 6 Sites for Romance Writers

Top 5 Online Resources for Children's and YA Book Writers

You can also do a google search on "[Your genre] book reviews." This will yield you thousands of hits.

Measuring success

Many authors measure the success of a blog tour by how many books they sell. (Be sure to look at your KDP, Nook or Smashwords dashboard before you embark on a tour so you will have a point of comparison.) But there are other ways to measure success. 

Getting your name out there is important, not just for your current book, but for future books. One way to determine if your blog tour is increasing your visibility is to sign up for Google Alerts, and create alerts for your name and for your book title. You can compare how often you are mentioned before and after the tour. Keep tracking to see if the buzz continues, and when it starts falling off. That will give you a time frame for how successful your tour has been, and will allow you gauge the success of your other promotions. What you want to see is steady conversation about you and your book for several weeks prior to the release, and a couple of weeks after. (Don't forget to arrange for pre-orders. Amazon has that feature as does Smashwords.)

Increased traffic to your blog and/or website is also a measurement of success. How many people visit your website during the tour, and are they following? (If you don't already have an email sign-up feature for your blog or website, now would be the time,) Followers are your fans! Don't be shy about sending them news. 

Book tour services

In light of the planing involved, some authors turn to book tour services rather than spend time organizing their own tours. There are a couple of advantages to using a book tour service: 1) You don't have to do all the work, and 2) Tour services have lists of hundreds of reviewers and social media outlets.

There are also disadvantages: 1) There is no guarantee that the reviewers the tour services have on their lists will actually review your book, 2) The review sites may not be well-trafficked, and 3) You have to pay, sometimes quite a bit, for the service.

What to look for in a book tour service

First, check out their stats. If their site ranks in the millions on Alexa, it means they get very little traffic. (The lower the number the better. Numbers in the hundreds of thousands are good.) Also check their daily visitors and page views on 7SecretSearch. Look to see how many followers the main tour site has. If there are fewer than one hundred, don't even think of using the service.

Next, check to see who is on their list of bloggers. How many bloggers are listed? (Make sure it's a lot.) Go to those sites and check how many followers each one has. This may be time consuming, but if the blog sites have few followers, it will do you little good to have them post an interview or review. While you are checking for followers, do a quick check for comments on posts, an "about" page, and other indications that the blogs are not "dummy blogs." (Some virtual book tour services have been known to set up fake blogs.)

Lastly, look for services that provide things you either can't or don't want to do yourself. These may include:
  • A banner
  • Posting on Net Galley
  • Distribution of a promotional package
Remember, tour services need to be for your genre. There is no point hiring a tour service that caters to romance bloggers if you write mysteries. So, examine the host blogs carefully.

Best services

Experiences with tour services vary tremendously, but there are a few (very few) that have been consistently recommended by authors. I've listed those which have decent site traffic, good social networking, and a large enough number of participating bloggers to make it worth your while.

Keep in mind that the success of a tour depends largely on how much an author is willing to contribute (e.g. contacting the blog hosts personally, making sure your website is current and mentions the tour, composing interviews and promotional material to send to hosts). Prices vary widely, and they do not always correspond with value.

For more information about paid blog tours see:

A Comparison of Book Blog Tour Services (Read the comment section)

Planning a Blog Tour? Think Twice (A critical review of blog tours)

7 Blog Tour sites 

Reaching Readers: Lessons Learned From Blog Tours
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Xpresso Book Tours

US Alexa rank: 300,347. Global rank: 587,555

Daily TrafficUnique Visitors: 3,674. Pageviews: 14, 696 

Genre: Young Adult and New Adult in all genres 

What they offer:

Cover Reveal $40
  • No limit on participants (average is 40 - 60)
  • One day
  • Maximum Social Media Exposure through participating blogs
  • Should be planned 3 to 4 weeks in advance
  • Only for covers that have not been released anywhere online

Book Blitz $90
  • One day or window to post
  • No limit on participants (average is 70-90)
  • Maximum Social Media Exposure through participating blogs
  • Should be planned 3 to 5 weeks in advance
  • Must include a giveaway (one per blog or one shared Rafflecopter prize–note that one per blog will get you the most participants = more exposure.)

Review Query $70
  • Connect your book with thousands of bloggers, readers, and reviewers from both our host list and 30k/month page views;
  • Save hours from querying bloggers individually;
  • No wait list for this service! Can be posted within 2 business days.

Packages

All of the following packages include:

Reviews to the max $170
  • 6 days
  • Maximum sign ups (up to 40 blogs)
  • May include giveaways *Encouraged*

Rock the Block $120
  • 1 week
  • ~15 tour stops

Rock the Town $170
  • 1 to 2 weeks (your choice)
  • ~20 tour stops

Rock the World $225
  • 1 to 3 weeks (your choice)
  • ~30 tour stops

Rock the Stars $280
  • 1 to 4 weeks (your choice)
  • ~40 tour stops
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YA Bound

US Alexa rank: 272,973. Global rank: 1,213,266
Genre: Young Adult

What they offer:
15 stops - $50
20 stops - $70
25 stops - $90
30 stops - $120
35 stops - $140
40 stops - $180
50 stops - $200
Book blitz (1 day or 1 week) - $30

Cover reveals are free.
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Pump Up Your Book Virtual Tours

Global Alexa rank: 672,407. Australia rank: 16,949

Genres: Fiction and nonfiction

What they provide (prices range from $199 to $799):
  • Bronze Tour Package – 10 stops (over the course of one month)
  • Silver Tour Package – 18-20 stops (over the course of one month)
  • Gold Tour Package – 30+ stops (over the course of two months)
  • Platinum Package – 45+ stops (over the course of three months)

All packages include:
  • Media Packet
  • Banner
  • Official tour page
  • Social network promotion
  • Inclusion in their PUYB Virtual Book Club on Goodreads

 
 
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Your book is about to be released, but how do you get the news out to the media? The first thing you need to do is to write an engaging press release. 

A press release is a news story. It is written in third person, has a catchy title and intro, an engaging discussion of the book's topic, and contains at least one quote. The thing to remember is that a press release is a story. What the book is about, why it is significant, and how it came to be written are all important components of a press release.

There are many templates for press releases online. (Type "press release book release" into a search.) Read the releases that have been distributed by publishing houses as well as the templates. (For example, search "Hachette press release.")

After you have honed your press release, the next step is to send it to media outlets via press release distributors. (Be sure to remember your local paper. Local authors are celebrities!) Don't wait until the last minute. If your local paper, for example, would like to include a photo, or get some quotes, you will need to give them sufficient advance notice - at least a couple of weeks.

Most press release services charge a fee - sometimes a hefty one - for distribution to the thousands of media channels that exist in print, on air, and on the net. But there are a few that are free, and some only charge a nominal fee. Depending on where you want your press release to be distributed, you don't have to spend a fortune.

Below are 17 press release services that don't charge a fee and which include an "arts and entertainment" category. Most of these also include paid services for broader distribution. It is worth the time to compare what each service offers in terms of paid and free distribution. Not only will a comparison give you an idea of how broadly your release can be distributed, it will let you know exactly where.

Recommended reading. (This is a great article comparing the effectiveness of different press release services.) 

60 Free Press Release Sites Tested – A Detailed Review

* An asterisk means registration is required.

Free Services

NPR

PR Log   * Free press release distribution service

PR.com   *

Free Press Release * Online distribution to search engines

Press Box (UK) *

Newswire * Free and paid services.

Open PR * German site

Free Press Release Center * European site

UK Prwire * UK news only

10 Free Press Index *

11 PR Urgent *

12 Press Exposure *

13 PR Mac * Listing on website, distribution to email list only. Offers paid services for broader distribution.

14 Online PR News * Appears on Google News. Offers paid services for broader distribution.

15 PR Fire * Based in UK

16 PR-Inside *

17 Big News.biz *

Paid services

PR Underground Offers syndication to 100+ News Sites. Very affordable at $39

Newswire * The paid service has a wide reach. Not cheap.

Pressat UK based, quite comprehensive. Plans start at £110

E-releases * Plans range from $249-$499. More pricey plans guarantee distribution to hundreds of news outlets.

 
 
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If you have the money to spare, and are building a marketing plan modeled after what a large publishing house would do, you will have to include paid review and promotional services. As an Indie author, you'll need to do your research first to discover which venues are worth the money. But if you choose wisely, and coordinate a paid campaign with a virtual book tour, you can see an immediate return for your expenditure.

You can use a couple of different strategies to promote your book, depending on whether you've placed it on multiple platforms or are using KDP Select. If you've gone the first route, and have print copies available, it may be worth it to pay for a Kirkus review. Kirkus is expensive, but it is the fastest way to reach a lot of crucial markets at once.

If you have decided to publish with Amazon's KDP Select, and want a good way to reach as many people as possible on your free days, there are several paid options open to you. Almost all of these are more effective than free services, though some are more pricey than others. (For a single book - not part of a series - you should stick to the cheaper options.)

No matter how you advertise, you will have to plan ahead of time to make sure reviewers are lined up before you begin a promotional campaign. It is always a good idea to coordinate your efforts, for example arranging talks at local libraries and bookstores, sending press releases announcing your upcoming release, and hitting every social media outlet and online reviewer so that your release makes a splash.

I've only listed below the services that authors have reported are the most effective for promoting their books. There are many, many more. For a full listing of paid sites see:

7 Strategies and 110 Tools to Help Indie Authors Find Readers and Reviewers

A word of caution: Be selective and research before you spend you money. Not every paid service is worth your hard-earned cash. If you are strapped, avoid paying for reviews altogether. There are plenty of reviewers who do not charge. Click on the link below for a list of nearly 300 reviewers who accept self-published books:

List of Online Reviewers Who Accept Self-Published Books

Related Post:

Free Publicity for Your KDP Select Free Days
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Kirkus Indie

Cost: $425

Bottom Line: You can get a lot of bang for your buck with a positive review. But a negative review from Kirkus is the kiss of death, so unless the review is glowing keep it private.

What they offer: Kirkus is the most prestigious book review service in the industry, and one of the oldest. All books are read by professional reviewers, who give an unbiased review of 250–350 words. Reviews for Kirkus Indie can be kept private or published. Because their reviews are distributed to Google, Barnes & Noble, Baker & Taylor, and Ingram, they reach librarians and major media reviewers (e.g. New York Times). Your review may also be selected to be featured in the Kirkus email newsletter, which is distributed to more than 50,000 industry professionals and consumers. The Kirkus website gets more than 1.5 million page views monthly

How to submit: You can request a review by clicking the Get Started link on the author services page. Provide as much information as possible about your book, choose whether you want to send Kirkus a printed (mailed) or digital (uploaded) submission, select either standard service (7-9 weeks) or express service (4-6 weeks) and pay for your review (standard service $425, express service $575). 

More information: Read an interview with Karen Schechner, Senior Indie Editor for Kirkus, about how self-publishers can best use their service here.
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Net Galley 

Cost: $300 for one-week of availability. There’s also an indie special at $399 to $599 for a six-month listing.

Bottom Line: If you can afford it, Net Galley is worth the money. But make sure you have reviews lined up elsewhere well in advance. Net Galley does not guarantee reviews.

What they offer: Net Galley offers ebook ARCs to reviewers. They work with publishers in Australia, Canada, the UK and USA. The service is widely used by well-trafficked review sites.
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BookBub

Cost: $40 - $1600, depending on the book's category and price.

Bottom Line: BookBub is recommended if you are giving away books, or selling them at 99 cents, but only in their top four categories: Mystery, Romance, Historical Fiction, and Thrillers.

What they offer: BookBub sends a daily email alerting its members to free and discounted titles matching their interests as they become available on retailers like Amazon's Kindle store, Barnes & Noble's Nook store, Apple's iBookstore, and others. The service is free for readers. With more than one million members, BookBub is the largest of the ebook promotion services. BookBub posts all of their pricing and sales statistics on a convenient table.

How to submit: BookBub requires error-free manuscripts and professional covers. They will only feature full-length novels (150 pages minimum). Books must be free or discounted by at least 50% for a limited time only. Read their submission tips here.

More information: Lindsay Buroker describes a positive experience with BookBub here. Michael R. Hicks reports on what a surprise BookBub's feature did for his book sales here.
____________________

E-Reader News Today

Cost: $60 for a book priced below $2.99 or $150 for a book priced $2.99 and above. All payments are made through Paypal – no exceptions.

Bottom Line: The price is not cheap, but authors have reported good results, depending on the genre. The demographics of ENT show that the highest percentage of readers are women between 35 and 55. Attractive covers are a must.

What they offer: Your book will get sent out to over 475,000 Facebook fans and 150,000 email subscribers who are avid Kindle readers.
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Kindle Nation Daily

Cost: $30 - $160. Accepts Paypal and credit cards.

Bottom Line: KND offers a wide variety of promotional services, which allows authors to customize. Best results are for free books.

What they offer: KND has a list of 170,000 readers. The site provides tracking tools, which is useful for measuring the success of your promotion. KND also posts monthly stats so you can check to see which genres perform the best.
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The Fussy Librarian

Cost: $8 - $17, depending on the genre.

Bottom Line: The Fussy Librarian is for discerning readers, which is an advantage for those who have their books professionally edited. The price is reasonable, although the chances of getting a significant number of readers from a single email is remote.

What they offer: The Fussy Librarian sends 115,000 subscribers a daily email, which is where your ebook will be featured once. The number of subscribers in each genre varies - you can find the latest stats on the prices page on the right. Your book will be included in their searchable database for 30 days as part of your fee.

In order to be considered, your ebook must have:
  • 10 reviews and a 4.0 rating on Amazon OR 10 reviews and a 4.0 rating on Barnes and Noble, 11 to 19 reviews and a 4.0 rating, or 20 reviews and a 3.5 rating. If you have 10 reviews split between Amazon's various stores - like US and UK - your book is eligible.
  • A price of $5.99 or less.
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More information on paid promotions:

Book Marketing Using Paid Advertising - A Study – Part 1: The Good News

Marketing Your Indie Book – A Rough Nautical Map In A Sea Of Advertising Options

 
 
PictureBefore Facebook, authors could only meet on Wednesdays.
Facebook groups are a great way to connect with readers and other authors. In addition, they provide a venue for announcing your new release, promoting your free days on Amazon, discussing topics related to publishing, and marketing and writing tips, and anything else related to books.

Do read each group's rules before you join, and make sure to follow them. (You will be banned if you spam the group with multiple posts, or if you stray off topic, e.g. you decide to post an ad for your hand-knitted dog sweaters.) 

Note that when you are on a group's Facebook page, similar groups will pop up in the right hand column. You may find some niche groups there for your particular genre or interest.

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General Reading and Book Promo Groups
  1. Amazon Book Clubs: https://www.facebook.com/groups/AmazonBookClubs/
  2. Great Deals on Amazon Kindle: https://www.facebook.com/groups/kindle.deals/
  3. Books: https://www.facebook.com/groups/29851114873/
  4. All About Books: https://www.facebook.com/groups/9476163038/
  5. KindleMojo: https://www.facebook.com/groups/kindlemojo/
  6. We Love Books: https://www.facebook.com/groups/332043700233334/
  7. Books: https://www.facebook.com/groups/497598173615103/ (book links only– no contests, etc.)
  8. Books #2: https://www.facebook.com/groups/174224899314282/
  9. Books #3: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2213398116
  10. Passion for Books: https://www.facebook.com/groups/13284802558/
  11. Books Gone Viral: https://www.facebook.com/groups/booksgoneviral/
  12. Books, Books and More Books: https://www.facebook.com/groups/320356974732142/
  13. Ready to Read: https://www.facebook.com/groups/469592073074586 (new releases)
  14. BOOK PLACE: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bookplace/
  15. I Luv Books: https://www.facebook.com/groups/iluvbooks/10152026776808989/
  16. Book Junkies: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bookjunkiepromotions
  17. Book Promotion: https://www.facebook.com/groups/725631810822368/

Free Book Promos

  1. Free eBooks for Kindle, Nook and More:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/FreeEbooksGroup/
  2. Free Today on Kindle and Beyond: https://www.facebook.com/groups/freetoday/
  3. Free Kindle and Nook Books for Readers:https://www.facebook.com/groups/293618244055941/

99-Cent Book Promotions
  1. Author 99cent Book Promotions: https://www.facebook.com/groups/444695995585913/
  2. 99 cent Kindle Deals: https://www.facebook.com/groups/215681398501172/


Author Groups
  1. Author & Book Lover Discussion Group:https://www.facebook.com/groups/authorspostyourbooks/
  2. Indie Authors International: https://www.facebook.com/groups/160213917377540/
  3. Author Meeting Place: https://www.facebook.com/groups/authormeetingplace
  4. Authors, Agents, and Aspiring Writers: https://www.facebook.com/groups/204725947524
  5. Authors: https://www.facebook.com/groups/179494068820033/
  6. Marketing Ideas for Authors: https://www.facebook.com/groups/146813612165228
  7. Aspiring Authors: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2204546223
  8. Author Exchange: https://www.facebook.com/groups/200396383343774/
  9. Writers' Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/memberswritersgroup/
  10. Kindle Authors Helping Authors: https://www.facebook.com/groups/KindleAuthorsHelping/

 
 
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The bottom line for any writer is not how much money a book makes, but how many people have read it.

If you are writing a novel and would like some unofficial "beta" readers - or if you have published a short story, and the readership of the literary magazine has run its course - it's not a bad idea to post your work on a site that has a devoted readership.

Reading and writing communities can be a great way to get feedback on your writing. They also host competitions for the most popular stories, which are then publicized. On some of the larger sites, notably Wattpad and authonomy, there are tie-ins with media, publishing houses, and, in the case of WEbook, a service that helps writers pitch directly to agents.

Be sure to read the "about" and "FAQs" sections of the sites before you start posting. Each community offers something a little different, so, given that when you post your work it will be made available to thousands, if not millions, of readers, it is important that your goals mesh with what the community has to offer.

Please note that not all of these sites block the copy/paste function.

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Wattpad

With over 18 million users, Wattpad is the world's largest reading and writing online community. It began in 2006, as the result of a collaboration between Allen Lau and Ivan Yuen. In February 2007, Wattpad added over 17,000 eBooks from Project Gutenberg making them available to mobile users. Over 64,000 stories are uploaded to Wattpad or expanded every day. Wattpad is mainly geared to a young audience, with a large number of readers in the Philippines, where several Wattpad stories have been adapted into teleseries. Wattpad blocks the copy/paste function, so you can post unpublished works on the site.

Scriggler

Scriggler describes itself as "a place where anyone can share their stories, opinion, essays, poetry, research, ideas or reflections without constraints on topic, genre, or length of publication." The start-up was founded in 2013 and is run by three partners in New York, London, and Russia.

Scriggler holds a monthly writing contest in four categories - opinion, story, poetry and author of the month. The piece with the highest popularity score (based on number of views, likes, comments, etc.) is promoted across multiple social networks, and gets featured in their newsletter (currently 1400 subscribers). While Scriggler does not yet have the number of readers that Wattpad and other established reading communities have attracted, its presentation is elegant, and the pieces submitted do not get lost in a sea of daily publications. Scriggler also emails a selected publication of the day to its members, which is a great way to reach readers. Scriggler does not block the copy/paste function. To be on the safe side, only post pieces that you have already published.

WEBook

WEbook is geared towards discovering new writers and helping them on their path to publication. It brings together writers, readers, and literary agents, WEbook was launched in 2008, with corporate offices based in New York City.

In addition to providing a venue for writers to reach an audience, WEbook actively helps writers find agents through their AgentinBox service. This service pre-screens query letters, guaranteeing that queries will meet industry standards, and allows writers to choose agents from the list of those interested in specific genres. Writers can also easily tailor manuscript samples to make sure every agent gets what they’re looking for—AgentInbox will automatically match each agent with the right sample version. Because the ultimate goal of writers joining WEbook is to get an agent (and get published), the copy/paste function is blocked on this website.

authonomy

Authonomy is owned and operated by HarperCollins. Unpublished and self-published authors may upload their manuscripts, in full or in part, for visitors to read and critique online. Every month, five authonomy manuscripts are selected to be reviewed by HC editors for possible publication. Users retain copyright. Authonomy also maintains a blog, features writing tips by published authors, and hosts forums for writers.

Booksie

"Booksie is a free social publishing site that provides a place where writers and readers can connect from across the globe. Over the past seven years, tens of thousands of writers have posted hundreds of thousands of short stories, novel, poems, articles and more. Booksie is for writers 13+ (no adult content). Booksie organizes your portfolio and gives you tools (including a micro-Blogger) to connect with your audience. You can Feature certain work in your portfolio, embed images and video, tell your writers about the latest news (micro-Blogging), and keep tabs of your fans." Note: A Booksie spin-off, Booksiesilk, is for erotica and adult content. Booksie blocks the copy/paste function.

Critters

"Critters is a member of the Critique.org family of on-line workshops/critique groups, and is for serious writers of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror. You get your work critiqued in exchange for critiquing the work of others, both of which are invaluable ways to improve your writing. It's run by Andrew Burt, former vice-president of SFWA and his army of software minions." Critters is listed as one of the 101 best websites for writers by Writer's Digest,

Critique Circle

CritiqueCircle.com officially opened on October 21, 2003. There are 3,112 active members. Over 100,000 stories and 475,661 critiques have been posted, with over 24 million visits to the site. "During your first visit to CC you will be a Trial user which means there are restrictions on what you can do. Once a CC Moderator has reviewed your application you will be upgraded to a full registered member and these restrictions will be lifted. This usually only takes a couple of hours. Critique Circle runs on a credit system. You "pay" three credits to submit a story, and receive credits for writing a critique of someone else's story. The credits you receive range from 1/2 to 2 per crit, depending on the length of the crit and the length of the story." Critique Circle is based in Iceland, where 1 in 10 people will publish a book.

Elfwood

Elfwood is a popular sci-fi and fantasy writing site owned and operated by a Swedish company called Usify. Elfwood claims that it currently gets around 3,500,000 page views a day and around 3 million unique visitors every month. Their terms of service include the right to "use, modify, delete from, add to, publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce and translate such content, including without limitation distributing part or all of the services in any media formats through any media channels and through third party services." In addition to providing a venue for stories and art, Elfwood offers a series of tutorials on writing and drawing. For ages 13 and up.

Figment

"Figment is an online community and self-publishing platform for young writers. Created by Jacob Lewis and Dana Goodyear, who both worked at The New Yorker, the site officially launched on December 6, 2010. Figment currently has over 300,000 registered users and over 370,000 'books', or pieces of writing. Other features include frequent writing contests, a blog, forums, and The Figment Review. On February 27, 2012, Figment announced it would purchase and merge user bases with its rival site, Inkpop.com. On March 1, 2012, the two sites merged userbases and works. In 2013, Figment was acquired by Random House Children's Group." Make sure you read their terms  of service before you sign up. 

Mibba

Mibba is a reading and writing community aimed at teens. Users can post stories, poems, blogs, articles, book reviews, and get feedback, Mibba hosts a forum, and provides writing tips and a grammar handbook. Good for budding writers.

Protagonize

"Protagonize is an online creative writing community based in Vancouver, BC, Canada which was established in 2007 . It is owned and operated by Taunt Media. The site caters to both amateur and experienced authors interested in online collaborative creative writing, and is currently home to over 32,100 pieces of writing and 126,000 pages, and has over 22,000 members from around the world." Protagonize has FAQs that give detailed information about how the site works, which sets it apart from many other less well-organized writing communities.

Scribophile

Scribophile is an online community where writers can post their work and get critiques from other writers. The site works on a "karma" system. Before you can post your work, you must earn karma points either by critiquing someone else's work, or when other members like your critiques. The longer your critique, the more karma you earn. You "spend" these karma points when you post your work, Posting on Scribophile does not affect first publication rights, as your work can only be read by members, For more information, read their FAQs.

Twimagination

"Twimagination is a free Twitter application that allows you to share your imagination through Twitter like you used to share your opinions, experiences or media. With Twimagination you can instantly publish your writings such as fiction short stories, poems, novels, fairy tales, fantasies, dreams or any other products of your imagination. Even without login you can: read short stories and poems online in various languages on the main page (using language filter); view authors' timelines; mark any posts you like and then export them using 'Export' link in the top menu. There you can convert the posts to your favorite reader format. Output formats are: html, epub (iPad and many others), lit (MS Reader), pdf (for printing), mobi (Kindle)." 

Twimagination is an interesting concept, but because it allows all formats, including printing, and because everything you post will be available on Twitter, I would suggest limiting your posts to work you have already published.

Writing.com

With 1,137,125 members, writing.com is one of the largest online writing communities. Started by a husband and wife team, writing.com promotes a friendly environment for writers.   The site offers writing portfolios, email, a newsfeed, groups, contests, survey forms, madlibs, and submission tracking, as well as tutorials. Writing.com is geared to amateur writers.

Young Writers Society

"Formed in 2004, the Young Writers Society serves as a keynote global community for young writers. We aim to promote creative writing as a pastime, prepare aspiring authors for future publication, and create lasting bonds across continents and cultures alike." Membership is geared to writers between the ages of 13 and 25.

 
 
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The Author's Guild is promoting an event to support independent bookstores on Saturday, November 29. If you are an author, do consider participating. Independent bookstores have been hard hit, first by the national chains, and then by online retailers. Every time bookstore closes, there is one less outlet for our work, one lost venue for a book signing, and a hole in the community of book lovers.
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From the Author's Guild

We all know that books make the best gifts. So do our friends at the American Booksellers Association, who have brought back a winning initiative this holiday season to help spread the word in support of independent bookstores.

That’s right, Indies First returns to your local independent on November 29, otherwise known as Small Business Saturday (think of it as the grassroots Black Friday). The brainchild of Guild Council member and self-confessed “book nerd” Sherman Alexie, Indies First recruits authors to spend Thanksgiving Saturday hand-selling books at their favorite independent bookshops. Last year—its first—over 1,100 authors participated in the program.

This year Indies First will be helmed by Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer. Take a look at their letter about the project here. Per Gaiman and Palmer, directions are as follows:

Choose your independent bookshop, talk to the owner or manager, and agree on what you are going to do that day. If you have a website, put that store’s buy button in a prominent place on your website, above the Amazon button and the IndieBound button. If you prefer, you can sign up on the author registry so that a store can contact you.

We wish everyone involved the absolute best. There’s still time to sign up on the author registry. While you’re at it, take a look at IndieBound’s map to see participating stores. Hundreds of authors have signed up so far, including David Baldacci, Roz Chast, and Jeanne Birdsall.

Even if you can’t participate, remember that books make great gifts. Support your local independent this holiday season.

The Authors Guild | 31 E 32nd St | Fl 7 | New York, NY 10016 | United States 

 
 
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The first person to suggest that I use Twitter was my 82-year-old mother. "No, I certainly will not tweet," I told her.

As much as I hate to admit it, my mother was right. I now tweet with gusto, and not only is it fun, it's effective - perhaps more effective than emails, Facebook, or any of the forums I used to frequent.

The reason is obvious: It's brief. As our schedules get busier and busier, it's easier to deal with 140 characters than it is to read an email. (If an agent you are interested in approaching has a Twitter account, by all means, follow.)

It's also incredibly easy to get the word out on your promotions, blog posts, giveaways, and anything else writing-related via tweets.

As a case in point, visitors to this blog have increased dramatically since I started actively building a following. Now, a substantial number of visitors arrive via tweets.

So, read Joel Friedlander's article below. The man knows what he is talking about.
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How to Build an Awesome and Relevant Twitter Following in 6 Minutes a Day

By Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer

If you’re like lots of other authors, you might feel a bit conflicted about Twitter. On one hand, you know that Twitter has become something more than just another social media network. It has started to function as the information network of choice for millions of people around the world.

These days, you even see Twitter feeds on television, and journalists, politicians, and celebrities make use of Twitter’s ability to communicate quite a lot in just 140 characters.

You know it’s a great place to interact with readers and colleagues. And with more and more people joining Twitter every day, you also know it’s a great place to promote your book, your blog and your other activities.

Right now, as Twitter gets ready to “go public” we know that they report over 218 million active monthly users, and that Twitter grew almost 48% in the year between March 2012 and March 2013. This trend shows no signs of slowing down.

On the other hand, Twitter can seem both cryptic and confusing when you first get started.

For one thing, there are lots of people just like you who already seem to have hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands of followers. How will you ever catch up?

Read the rest of this informative article HERE.

 

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