I've read many times how important it is for authors to start their marketing campaigns well before their books come out, but rarely do those articles or blog posts give examples of what to do. Here's a specific tactic that's worked twice for me: Ask people to help you choose a cover.
My latest novel comes out in a couple months, so I asked for help in choosing the cover design. After I narrowed it down to two options I loved equally, here's what I did:
- I posted both covers on my personal Facebook page, along with a one-line description of the book, and asked all my real-life friends to weigh in
- I posted both options on my Facebook author fan page and asked all my fans to vote
- I had Waverly Bryson, the protagonist of my first four novels, post both options on herFacebook page
- I tweeted both options from @mariamurnane
- I sent both options to everyone on my mailing list (sign up on any page ofwww.mariamurnane.com)
- I blogged about the cover vote on my website and asked people to email me their choice
I set a clear deadline, then tallied all the votes and announced the winner to all of the above audiences. Many of those who participated have told me that they can't wait for the book to come out because they feel invested in the process--yay!
For your cover vote campaign, if it's your first book, the initial audience you reach might be small, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try it. Ask your Facebook friends to share the request with their friends, retweet it on Twitter, etc. Then build those channels as you go. You have to start somewhere, right?
Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.