Monday, January 20, 2014

Your Digital Arsenal

My writing life includes a daily ritual in no particular order: caffeine infusion (coffee and/or chocolate), my girl powered playlist, searching out content for my Aspiring Author Daily e-newsletter, some encouragement from my Twitter tribe, and of course, writing. Today during my search for content, I came across a fascinating giveaway and two interesting book promotions that reminded me that attention must be paid to our digital selves, and that our arsenal must be plentiful.

The Domain Name Giveaway
K.M. Weiland is an accomplished author who shares principles of the writing craft on the Helping Writers Become Authors blog. Last week, she posted a giveaway that is insanely practical, but often overlooked by writers aspiring to become published authors. The prize: three free domain names.

Domain names help readers find you, and you in turn expand your reach by exposing your work to more readers. Here are a couple of sites that can help with domain names:

And, just for fun, here a couple of writers' websites that I stalk/envy/love: (Commercial Fiction) (Literary Fiction)

The world of publishing has evolved, and digital platforms are key to publishing success. Digital is no longer a niche, but rather a necessity. So, if authors are offering their stories in digital formats, it stands to reason that readers should be able to find them and their books through their digital platforms--websites and social media--and that they should be visually appealing, user friendly, and refreshed accordingly. 

By the way, there's still time to enter for your chance at winning the three free domain names. The winner will be drawn Friday, January 24. Good luck!

Tumblr Book Promotion

Also in our arsenal are a range of social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, YouTube, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and a few others I'm sure I've missed. Featured recently in Publishers Weekly, Random House unveiled how they used Tumblr to build buzz about a book without revealing too much about the plot. In preparation for the May 13 launch of We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (Delacorte), the publisher acted outside of the box and used a fresh approach to tease the characters, the setting, and the mood. The final product is visually enticing, memorable, and a promotional blueprint for novelists.

Facebook Book Launch Party

No party balloons here, but lots of bells and whistles. Designed to give authors exposure on Facebook through fan engagement, a Facebook launch party is an inexpensive tool to consider adding to your digital arsenal. Its purpose is simple: promotion. Book tours are a publicity staple for authors, along with press releases and author bios. A virtual book tour can help you engage with your readers on platforms where they are -- no driving to the bookstore, no rearranging your schedule, no long lines. Readers can access virtual book tours from their computers and hand-held devices from the comfort of their homes, offices, cars, or wherever they are in the moment.

A Facebook Book Launch Party can be a component of a virtual book tour. It's easy enough to handle on your own, but could probably gain more traction if managed by a company that specializes in virtual book tours. 

I discovered the Cloaked in Danger Facebook Launch Party being promoted through the A Bookish Affair blog. I registered because the plot of the story is enticing, but also to witness how a Facebook Book Launch Party is executed on the platform. 

As an aspiring author, I would likely choose to let the professionals handle this for me. They have the contacts in place, and the staff dedicated to the work, and the experience. If you're like me, here are a few companies that specialize in virtual book tours:

Websites and social media platforms are a writer's digital arsenal. Finding the perfect blend to showcase our stories will forever be the challenge. Greet this challenge in earnest, and remember the perspective of Margaret Laurence: “When I say work I only mean writing. Everything else is just odd jobs.”


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