Publishing Guide

The complete details of our publishing process can be found in this guide. You can browse the chapters and sections using the contents menu below.

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SNAPCHAT

Snapchat is a social media platform that enables users to share photos and short videos with followers. These ‘Snaps’ are designed to be viewed in real time, so get deleted a few seconds after being viewed. You can also create a ‘Story’, by compiling Snaps and ordering them into a narrative.

Snapchat is primarily aimed at smartphone users; videos and images are displayed vertically and full-screen, so that viewers don’t have to rotate their phones to watch them. This could prove beneficial to authors who want to share book covers, for example.

As with most social media platforms, Snapchat first took off in the US, and is now growing in popularity in the UK. At present, more than 60% of 13-34 smartphone users in the US use Snapchat. Across the globe, there are almost 100 million daily Snapchat users, with 2 billion videos viewed each day.

Snapchat has a younger audience than most other social media platforms, so may be particularly suited to authors wishing to reach a young adult audience. A whopping 60% of users are under 24, and more 18-34 year old Americans watch videos on Snapchat than on any other platform.

To create a Snapchat account, you’ll first need to download the app from the iTunes App Store for iOS or from the Google Play Store for Android. Once downloaded, tap ‘sign-in’ to enter your email address and create your user name. You can’t change your user name once you’ve signed up, so do think carefully about which one to go for. It may be tempting to use the title of your latest book, but you don’t want to build up a community of followers only to have to start again when you have a new book out. For more details on using Snapchat, take a look at the guide to Learning the Basics: Snapchat Howto

Ideas for using Snapchat as an author

  • Ask fans to share a Snap of themselves holding your book.
  • Offer discount codes. Snaps are temporary, so the discount could be valid for just one day.
  • Create and share tutorials linked to your area of expertise.
  • Share memes with quotes or advice linked to your genre. Romance writers, for example, could share quotes about love. Just make sure that you credit the source.
  • Run competitions to win a copy of your book, or to give your readers the chance to choose a new character’s name, for example.
  • Share information about yourself, such as a photo with your publisher, or at a literary event, a picture of your workspace, or a video of you reading the first line of your next book.
  • Use Snaps to build your brand image, by sharing relevant content linked to your genre and developing your brand ‘voice’. Read more about branding.
  • Share a Snap of the first page of your new book. Do alert people with a Snap beforehand though, so that they can screengrab and save it.
  • Use the Story feature to tell a short story, using captions if needs be. Once you have enough followers, you could try following Mountain Dew’s example and let fans decide what direction the story takes.
  • Invite an influencer with a large social media following to take-over your Snapchat account for the day, creating relevant stories for followers. They will then promote it to their followers.
  • Invite fans to suggest alternative endings for your book, by sharing visual elements or screenshots of small amounts of text.
  • Ask people to vote for their favourite title for your next book.
  • Ask and then answer questions related to your book using the Story feature. For example, “What year was Henry VIII born?”
  • Start a story in Snapchat, then direct readers to your website to read the rest of it.

Things to consider

  • Snapchat is very visual. It’s not the place to share whole chapters.
  • That said, you can draw or write on photos, create memes, or add captions.
  • Videos need to be short and snappy. This isn’t YouTube.
  • Once a viewer opens a Snap, it disappears in 10 seconds, so it is very different from YouTube or Instagram. Viewers can, however, take a screenshot of the Snap, if they’re quick.
  • As Snaps are not designed to be replayed, don’t bombard a viewer with more information than they can take in on one go. 
  • Unless you’re taking out paid advertising, you will need to direct people to your Snapchat account, so it’s probably best suited to people who have already built up a following elsewhere.
  • As with other social media, Snapchat is a two-sided conversation. While it does have a chat feature, you’re more likely to engage in other ways, such as sending fans a ‘thank you’ photo if they mention your book. 
  • Users will quickly unfollow you if they think you’re just trying to sell them something. You need to offer them a reason to follow you, whether it’s making them laugh with memes, giving them useful advice or a discount, or helping them to learn something new. 

GOODREADS

GOODREADS

Goodreads is social networking site for book lovers. It provides authors with a platform for marketing directly to readers. The site is designed to allow users to rate or review any title. Over time it has developed genre-specific groups. The interaction between other social media platforms as well as the ability to share blog content, allows authors to build a decent profile and audience on this site. Goodreads reviews may be more valuable than Amazon because they show up on so many bookselling sites. Like so many social networking sites, regular interaction is needed to get the most out of it.

Since 2013 Goodreads has been owned by Amazon. Just like Amazon, Goodreads appeals to true book lovers and top reviewers. Goodreads has a dedicated author program; it is free to use, and allows authors to take control of their book(s) profile on the site. See here https://www.goodreads.com/author/program.

Goodreads, like Amazon, allows the author to feature a sample of the book. Through your Goodreads author profile, you can either choose to link to your Amazon listing, where the Look Inside feature will appear approximately eight months ahead of publication, or you can upload a PDF of sample chapters of your book manually.

If you choose to do this manually: On the Marketing page, scroll down to 'Publicity' at the bottom of that section is a file PDF Review Copy.

The file that is loaded there is used as an electronic review copy.  Download that to your computer, select out the sections you want to feature at Goodreads and use that as your sample. Please ensure you limit the sample text, do not upload the entire PDF, we recommend 20% maximum.

Giveaways

Goodreads offers authors and publishers the opportunity to give away a free copy of their book (or multiple copies) to a genre specific audience. We recommend that you only give away a maximum of three books and be aware of the postage costs for the countries that you include in your promotion. There are reports from US authors who have had to pay huge costs to send books to winners outside the country along with the filling in of customs forms.

New rules state you need to arrange giveaways at least one week in advance for a minimum of one week. You can't overlap giveaways. If you wish to arrange more than one, then arrange the first one a week in advance then do the same again when that has ended. The general advice is to run giveaways at varied lengths (e.g. one week and one month).

In our experience, we have never seen a Goodreads giveaway have a noticeable impact on the sales of a title. There is also no guarantee that reviews will be forthcoming. As Goodreads have cracked down on private messages to people who are not your "friends" you can't get into correspondence with winners about them. To maximize your chances of gaining Amazon reviews (as some winners will post a review on both Goodreads and Amazon) arrange giveaways shortly before and after publication.

However, as stated before, the success of this site is in the interaction that you, as author, build up. If you have a specific genre, get involved in the discussion groups for that genre and share regular content, then you will increase your visibility to your specific audience. 

 

AUTHOR SAFETY

(From one of our publishers)

We are encouraging you all to get connected online. Social media is, by definition, social. You link up with friends. Everyone says nice stuff. It’s great.

BUT WAIT. Just like the dark days of school, just like unpleasant and toxic workplaces, the internet can also be a cruel place. And when you’ve relaxed and made “friends” it hurts double to be stabbed in the back by them.

The advice below is for people with Facebook profiles that also serve as their author promotion. If you are a “normal” person on Facebook, you’ll have your circle of friends, and that’s great. Once you are an “author” you might feel obliged to accept every friend request that comes your way because they might be potential authors, audience, fans, anything. Facebook authors using profiles can end up with huge lists of “friends” and here is where the problem starts…

  • Unless you have met the person in real life, been around their house, eaten their biscuits—you DO NOT KNOW THEM. We humans have a tendency to see similarities and then assume that person is all right. “She’s got a picture of a dog! Anyone who loves dogs can’t be bad.” The more information someone presents about themselves online the more we are fooled into thinking we know them. We don’t and we (maybe) never will.
  • Do not make yourself physically vulnerable. It’s basic—don’t post up your address or phone number. Check your privacy settings. It’s worth checking every few months. If you run a mailing list, to adhere to anti-spam law in the USA, you need a mailing address at the bottom of your email newsletters—consider a PO Box. These are cheap at rural POs in the USA but horrifically expensive in the UK—alternatives are the online mailing address/virtual address services. We can’t recommend any specific ones. Research.
  • Do not make yourself emotionally vulnerable. I think this is hugely important and I’ve seen too many sad, distressing and unnecessary public meltdowns. If you are a bit low, posting an update asking for help on Facebook is fantastic. You’ll get lots of sympathy. BUT if you are in a very bad place, then consider reaching out to a few select friends, not publicly. If you struggle (as one in four of us do, at some point) with mental-health issues, it can impair one’s judgement and there are always sharks out there, watching to exploit others at times of crisis. You can tailor your Facebook posts to a custom audience (the little button to the bottom right) so make yourself a support group to post to. I’m not saying “keep it all in” but I am saying “be selective.” (Obviously if your Facebook profile is just your real friends, this advice does not apply.)
  • On Facebook and also, more particularly, on forums such as kboards, be VERY circumspect about sharing detailed sales data. There has been a hoo-haa recently on kboards with some well-known authors speaking opening about sales and income, and they are always subsequently hit with a rash of one-star reviews. It’s sad. Popular authors sharing their success is incredibly motivating for the rest of us, but it opens up to all those jealous haters too.
  • Learn to differentiate between the different types of criticism—that which is offered to help you improve, and that which is simply a reflection of the critic’s own character. That said, anyone who offers you “help and advice” completely out of the blue is somewhat dodgy. Or at the very least, rude. That works both ways. If someone posts up a link to their blurb, but they have NOT asked for input or feedback, then don’t wade in with criticism. Yes, it’s tempting. If there are typos, send the author a private message. But avoid giving unasked-for feedback because the recipient isn’t prepared for it. And it can lead to fights online as everyone else wades in with an opinion and it all gets very circular and everyone wants their own say. Can of worms.
  • As soon as you publish a book, as soon as you create a profile, as soon as you make a remark online—you are public property. You have lost a little control. Just as when you walk down a street you cannot control how someone judges your footwear, when you are online, you are judged, rightly or wrongly. Regardless of your privacy settings, it is worth bearing in mind that you should not type anything—on Facebook or wherever—that you would not be happy seeing on the front page of your local paper.
  • You can block people on Facebook. Have no hesitation in doing so if someone’s posts constantly upset you. Why listen to it? Life is short, and don’t waste it getting caught up in petty online arguments that seem dreadfully important when you’re sitting at the computer. Walk away, go outside, see things that are real and meaningful and permanent.
  • Ultimately, social media is a tool—do not let it control you.

MEMES

What are Memes?

(ps; there's a chapter on memes in The Master Communicators Handbook, published in the Changemakers imprint).

We will produce one or two memes for your book around publication date. Social media sites respond well to visual posts with no external links. Facebook algorithms enable such visual posts to get more widely distributed to your audience than text or links. So producing visual memes during publicity is a good use of time when doing social media work.We will also create memes at 500+ PR. The memes work best with strong visuals and good book quotations. We ask you to supply us with an A4 page of quotes from your book in Word. One to two sentences that are thought provoking or enticing. Please upload this item to The Marketing Page under Publicity - Articles.

If your publicist produces a meme or several memes, they will upload them to your Marketing Page under Publicity - Articles. You are free to download and use them in your own social media. Below are instructions and sites to enable you to produce your own memes.

"Memes" are good ways to get a book or author noticed online. A meme is an image with a quote or idea from the book itself. It can also include an image of the book cover to further reinforce the theme of your image. For example, on a book about chakras, you could use a background image of crystals with an image of the book cover and a quote from the book itself: "By understanding and healing my own chakras I changed myself and my life for the better."

An example from publisher  Maria Barry

Why Use Memes?

Social Media is all about the images. We've all heard the phrase "A picture speaks a thousand words". Researchers have found that it takes only three seconds for someone to decide whether your image is worthy of further inspection (click through, open or share) or whether to keep on scrolling the big, wide web for something more interesting. Over at Hubspot (Where Marketers Go to Grow) they ascertained that in 2016 "Researchers found that colored visuals increase people's willingness to read a piece of content by 80%."

Example from Publisher Maria Barry

The important thing to remember is that just because you built it: it doesn't mean people will come. Lots of people spend hours creating beautiful social media posts and then ask "Why didn't it get any views or likes?". The short answer is, social media is all about cross promotion. You have to make people aware of your online presence. In order to do this, spend time liking, commenting and sharing other peoples pages. Nine times out of ten they will return the favour.

How to Create Memes for Social Media/Blogs/Websites

Please ensure, that if you intend to use images from the internet, that they are copyright free. You can use sites such as Pixabay and Unsplash for free usage. 

You can create stand alone images in any of the well known digital programs such as Photoshop, InDesign, CoralDraw, Illustrator etc. But unless you are in the world of digital design, likelihood is that you just don't have the resources or knowledge to use these programs. Luckily, there are a wide number of programs available online that can produce a very good standard image. On the plus side; most of them are FREE or you can pay a small monthly fee if you would like unlimited access to their online catalogue of stock images, fonts and editing tools. Here are our top 3 programs:

www.picmonkey.com - FREE or £4.99* per month

www.canva.com - FREE

www.fotor.com  - FREE or from $4.89* er month

*prices are relevant at the time of writing this article but may be subject to change by the third party companies.

Created using image from unsplash, Emma Penny

Before creating an image, you need to think about what the end usage will be (Facebook/Twitter/Blog etc). One size DOES NOT fit all. Each social media platform uses different sized images and if you do not size them correctly or in the correct format (jpeg/PNG) they will not appear correctly on screen. Using an image that is too big will end up being cropped, images that are too small will be stretched and pixelated. The good thing is that most of the online picture editing programs nowadays have automated template sizes for individual social media platforms. However, to explain this in more detail, please see the following link for up-to-date social media image size guidelines:

http://makeawebsitehub.com/social-media-image-sizes-cheat-sheet/

When you have completed your image, you need to decide what format to save your image in (JPEG/PNG etc). The simple rule of thumb, without getting too technical, is: if it is a simple image with no text, then JPEG is the one. If it is an image with text within it or with a transparent background, save your image as a PNG. This will stop your text being pixelated online. ALSO, very important, when you have saved your image, right click on it in the folder and click on 'Properties'. The image needs to be less than 100KB. Anymore than this and the powers at Facebook will reduce your image size (to save memory space on their system) and your image will look squashed and once again, pixelated.

PINTEREST

Pinterest is the fourth largest social network with more than 250,000,000 users after Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In. It is worth promoting your book here and building your author brand as pinners are also buyers. Pinterest works as a virtual pin board and allows you to share photos, illustrations and videos you find on the web. According to Mashable, social media platforms Instagram and Pinterest nearly doubled their users between 2012 and 2015 — and Pinterest is winning with 31 percent of all adults who go online using it, against 28 percent on Instagram. It's also worth noting that the life of a Pin is about three and half months whereas a Tweet is about twenty-five minutes. 

JHP (general and fiction) is on Pinterest. Follow us here:

https://www.pinterest.com/jhpublishing/

https://www.pinterest.com/jhpfiction/

https://www.pinterest.com/jhpchildrenya/

Your Marketing Strategy

  • Spend time defining your audience such as those interested in science fiction, MBS, or history. Research the competition, especially those within your target audience.
  • Build a relationship with your audience with compelling images that they will want to share.
  • Do not Pin dump. Spread your activity out. Use the most optimum time for pinning, e.g. mid-afternoon, evenings, and weekends. Be topical and use tie-ins and cross-promotion.
  • Periodically post that you are now on Pinterest to your Facebook and Twitter accounts.
  • Take a relaxed and creative approach. If a pin becomes popular (this could simply be a great cover as Pinterest is about the power of images) you'll get a decent amount of traffic. If you are linking to Amazon this is great because if someone clicks on the image it will take them directly to Amazon. 
  • Participate in other people's boards and share their pins. 
  • Bear in mind that Pinterest is more popular with women.

How to Begin

  • Start by signing up under whatever name you want to use; for example our Relax Kids series on the Our Street Books imprint uses simply Relax Kids as it is already a brand. Use a profile photo that you across your social media platforms. Try to be consistent in user name across social media too as it will be easier for people to find you. Write a compelling description about your brand and link to your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Remember to add your website URL and Check your privacy settings.
  • You can add a Pin It button to your browser bar. If you hit this button while browsing it will find images on that page for you to post. Scroll to find the image you want.
  • Add a "Pin It" icon to your website or blog to encourage people to follow you.

Create a Board

  • Click on your name in the top right-hand corner, it will bring up the boards. You will see an empty board with Create a Board with a + sign. Click on this. Fill in the details – name of board, and short description of what pins readers can find there. Add a category by selecting whatever is closest. Use keywords.
  • Give boards a good, short, but strong name such as "Inspirational Quotes" or "Child's Play". Be creative or at the very least, clear. Any idea for a board will work. Do consider SEO (search engine optimization) when you choose a title. Again use keywords.
  • Make a few boards to start with over a few days, so you have something on your page. You can make a board for your YouTube channel, trailers, quotes, reviews, blogs and articles, illustrations, animals, education, humour, quotes and so forth. If Pinterest is your author profile then add things that interest you, but connect in some way to your book/s.

Post a Pin

  • To post a pin, simply choose a picture and upload it to add to the board (a list of boards will come up, choose the appropriate one and click on "Pin It"). You can upload a photo direct or link to one. For example, you can go into Amazon and click on the Pinterest icon there to share the page.
  • Add a description to the box and use keywords and popular hashtags such as #books #yalit #sciencefiction #inspirationalquote. These will be clickable within a post. You can also add your URL to it so people can look further.
  • Post a mixture of pins about your book and any subjects around it. Follow others who have good marketing strategies to gain an idea of this. 
  • You can post videos (trailers and promos) as well as photos, blogs links, tips and advice. You can also pin the same picture more than once as long as it has relevance, from board to board, but try to link for another site (i.e. say it was pinned previously from Amazon UK then pin from Amazon US). 
  • You can include a screen shot of your pin in newsletters. Use a clickable link to take people to your pin. Request that your readers "Pin It".
  • As with any social media platform, you need to be active to make the most of it. Try to pin two to three times a week. Add the link to emails. It's worth a go and doesn't cost you anything to promote except of course your time. 

WATTPAD

Wattpad is a social network for readers and writers. Wattpad has an estimated 40 million users, of which approximately two million are writers. The site is most popular with the 13-18 age group but has a growing proportion of 18-30 users and older. It can be a great way to build a fan base as long as you keep active within it.

Wattpad is most often used by authors to post their work in progress, raise their profile, and to help sell existing books. There is certainly much writing on this network that needs a good edit and, needless to say, there will be authors who wouldn't dream of putting their own work up there. However, author Margaret Atwood says in a Guardian interview:

"But Margaret," you can hear them whispering. "You're a literary icon at the height of your powers; it says so on your book covers. Why are you sneaking out with an online story-sharing site heavy on romance, vampires and werewolves? You should be endorsing Literature, capital L. Get back up on that pedestal! Strike a serious pose! Turn to stone!"

Maybe my dates with Wattpad are a bit undignified. But at my age you can afford to be undignified. You're free to explore, and to guinea-pig yourself, and to stretch the boundaries.

Many writers on Wattpad are young people getting their thoughts and feelings down and generally working out their own problems through fiction. But there are another 38 million users – the readers. That's your potential audience. Well-known authors have not turned their noses up at Wattpad, including Scott Westerfeld who has his series Uglies on Wattpad, Meg Cabot, R.L. Stine and Paulo Coelho.

Goodreads even has a section especially for popular Wattpad books.

How does it work?

  • Wattpad is for both writers and readers. It takes minutes to set up an account, add a bio and a pic.
  • The most popular genres are Romance, YA/teen, Fanfiction, Fantasy (including the supernatural), Science Fiction (including Dystopian), Paranormal, and Suspense (often a mixture such as paranormal with a romance element).  
  • When uploading stories add keywords such as Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Romance and Young Adult.
  • You can give your stories a recommended age rating.
  • You can write straight into Wattpad or copy and paste. Uploading a document may well upset your formatting. Wattpad converts to ebook format that can be read on a PC, tablet or smart phone. You can organise your uploads, rearrange, add and delete.
  • You can link videos and images.
  • Make sure you have a strong cover with a good resolution for your works. You might want a photo of one of your relatives or a pet on it, but try to think about what your readers will go for rather than be self-indulgent.
  • Followers can vote for you (similar to a like on Facebook). If you get enough votes and comments on your stories then Wattpad will pick them up and further promote them. You can end up with millions of reads.

Things to consider

  • Bear in mind that 90 per cent of users are on tablets and phones, so experiment a bit. See what brings you the most views. Keep a record.
  • Two thousand words is approximately ten minutes of reading. The average length of time spent on the Wattpad app is about thirty minutes. So bear this in mind.
  • If you have two books in a series, then consider posting the first one a little a time on Wattpad. Don't post all but the last chapter or two and then say, "To find out what happened you need to buy my book." Your reader will feel cheated.
  • If you are serialising your work, post regularly so that your readers know when to look for the next part of the story. Perhaps give them a teaser to the next one to keep them hooked. Don't neglect this as you will soon lose your readers as they will move on to something else. Hopefully, the reader won't want to wait for the rest of the chapters and will buy the book.
  • Write a short prequel or sequel.
  • Another idea is to write separate but exciting back stories or subplots for your existing characters (again posting the link to the actual book).
  • Write short stories to get followers interested in your writing.
  • Posting excerpts doesn't work as well as you need to do something that keeps readers coming back.
  • Be sure to reply to comments. If anyone asks where they can buy more of your work, you can add links to your answers.
  • You might not strike lucky with lots of views straight away. Some authors will find they hit on something within a short time. Others will struggle to get a dozen. Don't give up at this point. Keep going and try to discover what works. Add users, read their stories, comment.
  • Take on board comments when posting a work in progress. It may well help to improve your writing.
  • Remember to repay the favour and read and comment on the work of others. After all, this is a social network and just like with a Facebook author page, it will lose momentum if you get lazy or lose interest in regular posting. As with Twitter, follow others who write in a similar genre to you. Following people back who have followed you can also help with exposure.
  • As with Facebook and Twitter you might want to decide not to have email notifications as you can end up feeling spammed. Perhaps leave it switched on at first to see how quickly you get responses, but as you build your readership you don't want to spend all your time deleting emails.
  • Be friendly and grow a thick skin. Getting uppity or defensive about criticism is likely to lose you followers.

Will I sell more books?

There are good reports of authors increasing sales. This is not without hard work. You do get out what you put in and those authors that work at it certainly have more success. It may take a little trial and error to hit on the right formula, but giving up if you don't have instant results is the fastest way to fail. As with any social network, time and patience are both required and if you found you quickly gave up on your Facebook page or Twitter through lack of your interaction, then you shouldn't expect Wattpad to work any better for you, unless of course the format suits you better. 

FACEBOOK

One of the best tools you can use is Facebook. It gets likelier every day that you already have a Facebook account; there are over a billion users, but most don't take full advantage of the features that allow people or organizations to market themselves.

If you have a Facebook page, please ensure that it is included in your Profile, there is a box provided for this link, please include the http://. This will then link to your author page on our website and readers will be able to link to your Facebook page from there.

(You can also add your website, blog, RSS Feed and Twitter handle, which will all feed through to your author page on the website. There is more on how to do this in the Updating Your User Profile video). 

We have Facebook pages for the majority of our imprints. All are at different stages of development. If you are active on Facebook, please have a look at our Reader Networks, like and connect with the one that matches your imprint/cluster of imprints.

We also have closed Facebook groups specifically for authors to share their news.

Choose the group applicable to you, use the link and ask to join the group.

Your publicist will link to you and your Facebook page when working on your book. By sharing one of our posts that concerns your book or another that is of interest to you, then this helps widen the possible audience. Facebook algorithms dictate how many people see your updates. There are few things that you can do to increase the number of people that see a post.

Copy and paste a link into a Facebook status update, and Facebook automatically generates a link preview. So if you have an article or interview online, use the URL (website address for the page where the item is). Once the link is previewed below your status update, you can delete the link in the status and replace it with your own text. Use the @ sign to link to named sources on your text, we do this for author names that then ensures that our status about their book will appear automatically on their feed.

Visual posts get more views (a lot more views) than text posts or linked articles. So publicists produce Memes for books we are working on. (see the section on Memes, with examples here). We upload these memes to ‘articles’ on the Marketing Page. You can use them how you see fit. They can also be used on Twitter. See here for more information on Twitter.

Profile vs. page

The single most important part of marketing yourself on Facebook is maintaining your author page (also known as a fan page).

  • You must have a Facebook account and a personal profile set up in order to create a Facebook page, as every page needs to have an admin in order to log in and manage the page, or have a role on the page. This article explains more: https://www.facebook.com/help/217671661585622/?ref=u2u
  • Your author page is a public part of Facebook on which you can talk to your readers, post updates, make big announcements and upload videos of your readings.
  • Click on www.facebook.com/pages/create/ to see the area on Facebook with the various options you can choose when making an author page. Most likely you'll want to choose the "Artist, Band or Public Figure" option, and then "Writer"—but if you are best known as a chef and your book is a recipe book, choosing "Chef" might not be a bad idea. Try to pick the option that best captures what you want to be known for in the long term.

Engagement

It will take time to build an audience on your author page. You may want to invite your friends and family to "like" your page on Facebook—which is, essentially, how they can sign up for future updates. All of our publishing divisions have their own Facebook fan page; liking your publisher’s page is another way to build two-way traffic and benefit from our community traffic. We have invested much in growing our own publishing fan pages to give our authors another platform for showcasing new releases.

  • Daily use of Facebook's page function is not for everyone, but you should build a habit of logging on and updating your page at least three times a week.
  • If you don't have anything to say for stretches of time, or you are just working on other things, you can share a quote you find inspiring, comment on something that's happening in your field of expertise, or upload a picture. It doesn't need to be a long and boring process—the best Facebook updates are usually short and to the point.
  • Have a clear target audience: 20 somethings, YA, sci-fi, MBS, pagan, fans of fantasy and so forth, to build your reputation in your own subject/knowledge area. Do not put up dozens of updates in one go—they will reach fewer and fewer of your fans.
  • Seek out other Pages in your interest area and "like" them, and if you can engage in non-promotional, relevant and meaningful interaction on their Pages, you will build credibility.
  • There are LOADS of Facebook groups out there for promoting books. Thing is, you have to join them as a person using your Facebook profile. This means we, as JHP, cannot "join" these groups acting as the JHP fiction or MBS group, or acting as a Page. You, the individual would have to join these groups. Bear in mind if you do, you need to interact and share others' posts too, otherwise you will look tirelessly spammy. Still, with the 1000s of eyeballs in these groups, it is worth the effort.
  • CAVEAT! A large group is no indication of quality of group. Do your research. A busy group may mean your post is soon swamped. Smaller groups offer more chance to forge more "real" relationships and get into discussions. You must respect the group and give back as much as you take. You cannot go in and self-promote and then swan off again. You will need to get involved in "sharing" and "liking" other authors' books. It is not a competition, and together we can all rise. If you are a "real" person, talking with others, offering feedback, helping out, then people will remember you and will be more likely to help you when you come to promote something.

Advertising

You may wish to boost and promote your Page or certain posts. It is worth ensuring you have plenty of quality content (as described above) before advertising your Page, so that when people visit it, there is enough featured to tempt them to stay. You can boost a post or promote a page. Facebook allows you to select a targeted audience, choosing demographics, interests, you can even choose people who "like" a similar author. You can promote on a limited budget, currently starting at £1/$1 per day.

Upkeep

You may wish to share admin roles with others, so they may post on your behalf. You will be able to see who posts what, but the general public cannot; it will all appear as your Page. Ensure that your other admins are aware of Facebook’s visibility issues, and consider a schedule, so that you don’t end up with 10 posts on one day which smothers the most important post you were planning to make.

Linking to other social media

There are various applications that will make simultaneous or timed and scheduled posts to all your social-media streams.

  • Scheduled posts, via something like Hootsuite or SocialOomph, are very useful to give you the power to update while you are travelling but it is rare these days to be without a smartphone in a Wi-Fi area if social media is your “thing.”
  • It can be tempting to push Twitter feeds automatically to Facebook and vice versa but the point of both platforms is SOCIAL—interactivity—and you can’t do that by just shouting about your own stuff. Simply copying “buy my book” from Facebook to Twitter and back won’t do much, and it’s recommended to concentrate on just one platform to get the best from it.

JHP and Facebook – A Case Study

As you might expect with a range of imprints focusing upon different books and markets and utilising different publicity strategies, the extent to which Facebook is used is a judgment call between Publisher and Publicist. What follows is an example of how one of our imprints, Moon Books, made effective use of Facebook throughout the entire lifecycle of a book.

From its inception Moon Books has pursued a policy of developing a reader / writer community with Facebook at the centre. Naming the Goddess was a product of this policy. For the second part of the book the Publisher invited Facebook followers to contribute to a gazetteer of Goddesses. There was an enthusiastic response and the book ended up with eighty-five contributors. During the writing phase of the project, Facebook was used not only as a vehicle to attract contributors, the whole process ran through a dedicated Facebook group set-up to accommodate the project and articles were transmitted via Facebook messaging.

Facebook was also used to gather endorsements with the Publisher messaging well-known authors and commentators in the book’s field (not only did many contribute endorsements but we had to delay the book’s production as some people asked if they could contribute to it!)

Finally, the book has been promoted heavily using Facebook. When the book was released, for example, we ran the ebook at a special offer price and advertised this solely using Facebook. 

Facebook remains a central element of Moon Books’ Social Media strategy, using closed groups to support, authors, casual writers and ebook readers. Other imprints have used Facebook in other creative ways to engage readers and promote their titles, insuring its continuing growth across all our publishing areas.

 

TWITTER

Twitter is a useful tool to promote books. It is an online social-networking service that enables users to broadcast and receive short 140-character messages called "tweets." A tweet is instant and can contain text, photos and videos. Millions of tweets are shared in real time, every day. As with other social-networking services, you need to build up a list of followers. An easy and effective way of achieving that is to “follow” people who you would like to “follow” you.

Using hashtags # is a common practice in twitter. Hashtags assign a topic to a tweet and people follow them. You will find that people follow them. You can search #hashtags to see what is tweeted in that topic. Read more at https://support.twitter.com .

Follow our Twitter feeds:

When it comes to the moment you can tweet something promotional there’s some important things you can do to ensure you get the desired response, and don’t annoy your followers.

Below: a selection of tweets from JHP accounts.

Advice from one of our authors:

I think Tudor books have that big fanbase to start with but what's really working for me is social media—Twitter especially. I tweet about the book with a pic and link to Amazon and then then look at Novelrank which will show a spurt in sales. The trick is to tweet at different times so you get UK and USA sales but also to link to other Tudor tweeters and share their tweets who in turn share yours. The recent book giveaway was retweeted countless times for example. #Hashtags used: #tudor but also #HenryVIII and sometimes #Knollys!

Notes

  • Include a hook early on. Your title alone is not a hook. Your tag line could be a source of inspiration or you could quote from a review you got. Without doubt, the stronger a hook is, the better the tweet is. There is a real art to getting tweet hooks right. Note the tweets that hook you and emulate them, but add your own twist. If you can’t think of a hook don’t tweet your book.
  • Include a short link. Use Bitly.com or Bufferapp.com or one of the other services for creating short links. But please don’t link straight to an Amazon page without updating your Amazon page to the best it can be. A link to a blog page or review of your book is also good, as long as the post or page has prominent buy links for your book.
  • Include a # tag such as #ebook, if it’s an ebook, or #crime, #mystery, #romance #literary #memoir etc. if you want to identify your work with a genre. Don’t use more than two in any one tweet.
  • The only reason not to use a # tag is brevity. You’ll get more reads on your tweets if your whole tweet is less than 100 characters, so don’t overload your tweet with # tags.
  • Include a picture to make your tweet more attractive. Tweets with images, which show on the Newsfeed, achieve a greater number of click-throughs. Don’t do it all the time, but this is a good way to vary your tweets.
  • That’s the next point. Vary your tweets. Change the wording, the attached images and the links to keep things fresh for your followers.
  • You can tweet your excitement about where you book has reached on the Kindle chart, a review you have received or some other good news. This is a form of hook. It is also genuine and likely to attract real interest. Also tag people you talk about in your posts. It helps people to discover your posts.
  • Engage: Answer all comments and notifications. When possible, of course! I allocate 30 minutes at the start of the day for getting back to people.
  • Tease. Ask if people know (Do you know…) or want to see or can guess…
  • Tweet the same content again. It’s called Evergreen content. 
  • Text Source: http://publishing.about.com/
  • Don't overuse hashtags, focus on content.
  • Facebook posts tend to be longer, meatier, and not suitable for auto-tweeting.
  • Check before you send.

JOHN HUNT PUBLISHING BLOGS AND SOCIAL MEDIA NETWORKS

In this section is a comprehensive list of John Hunt Publishing Blogs and Social Media networks:

Blogs

Facebook

Instagram

Pinterest

Twitter

YouTube

 

 

 

 

BLOGS

  1. Changemakers Blog (Transformation)  
  2. Tim’s Ward's (Changemaker Publisher) Huffington Post Blog (includes author interviews) 
  3. Christianity Blog
    • Circle Books (Christian Faith)
    • Christian Alternative (Progressive/Non-Trad. Christianity)
  4. Compass Books Blog (Art And Craft Of Fiction) 
  5. JHP Fiction Blog
    • Cosmic Egg (Fantasy, Sci-fi, Horror, Paranormal) ,
    • Roundfire (Fiction), 
    • Top Hat  (Historical Fiction),
    • Perfect Edge (Edgy Fiction)
  6. JHP Children and Young Adult
    • Our Street Books (Children) 
    • Lodestone Books (Young Adult)
  7. Chronos Books (History)
  8. Body, Mind And Spirit 
    • ​6th Books (Paranormal)
    • Axis Mundi (Hidden Knowledge)
    • Ayni (Alternative Health And Healing) 
    • Dodona (Astrology Numerology, Divination)
    • Mantra (Eastern Religion And Philosophy)
    • O-Books (Spirituality)
    • Psyche (Psychology)
    • Soul Rocks (New Generation)
  9. Moon Books  (Pagan)
  10. Non-Fiction 
    • Business  (Business)
    • Chronos (Bistory)
    • Earth (Environment)
    • Iff (Academic/Specialist)
    • Liberalis (Liberal Arts Education, Storytelling)
  11. Zero Books (Politics, Includes the Zero Squared Podcast)

FACEBOOK

 

  1. Changemakers (Trasnformation) Facebook  
  2. Christianity Facebook 
    1. Circle Books
    2. Christian Alternative
  3. Compass Books (Art And Craft Of Fiction) Facebook 
  4. JHP Fiction Facebook 
    • Cosmic Egg (Fantasy, Sci-fi, Horror, Paranormal) ,
    • Roundfire (Fiction), 
    • Top Hat  (Historical Fiction),
    • Perfect Edge (Edgy Fiction)
  5. History (Chronos) Facebook
  6. JHP Children and Young Adult Facebook 
    • Our Street Books (Children) 
    • Lodestone Books (Young Adult)
  7. Body, Mind And Spirit Facebook 
    • ​6th Books (Paranormal)
    • Axis Mundi (Hidden Knowledge)
    • Ayni (Alternative Health And Healing) 
    • Dodona (Astrology Numerology, Divination)
    • Mantra (Eastern Religion And Philosophy)
    • O Books (Spirituality)
    • Psyche (Psychology)
    • Soul Rocks (New Generation)
  8. Moon Books  (Pagan) Facebook 
  9. Moon Books (Pagan) Facebook Ebook Community 
  10. Non-Fiction Facebook  
    • Business Books (Business)
    • Chronos (History)
    • Earth (Environment)
    • Iff (Academic/Specialist)
    • Liberalis (Liberal Arts Education, Storytelling)
  11. Zero Books (Culture, Society, Politics) Facebook

Closed Facebook groups for our authors:

 

INSTAGRAM

 

John Hunt Publishing

Ourstreet (Children’s) Instagram 

Lodestone (Young Adult) Instagram

MBS Imprints

 

 

 

PINTEREST

JHP Children and Young Adult

  • Our Street Books (Children) 
  • Lodestone Books (Young Adult)

Chronos (History) Pinterest

JHP Business Books Pinterest

 

TWITTER

Changemakers

Christianity (Not on Twitter)

  • Circle Books
  • Christian Alternative

Compass Books Twitter (Art And Craft Of Fiction) 

JHP Fiction Twitter

  • Cosmic Egg (Fantasy, Sci-fi, Horror, Paranormal) ,
  • Roundfire (Fiction), 
  • Top Hat (Historical Fiction)
  • Perfect Edge (Edgy Fiction)

History Twitter (Chronos Books) 

JHP Children and Young Adult

  • Our Street Books (Children) 
  • Lodestone Books (Young Adult)

O Books Body, Mind And Spirit Twitter 

  • ​6th Books (Paranormal)
  • Axis Mundi (Hidden Knowledge)
  • Ayni (Alternative Health And Healing) 
  • Dodona (Astrology Numerology, Divination)
  • Mantra (Eastern Religion And Philosophy)
  • O Books (Spirituality)
  • Psyche (Psychology)
  • Soul Rocks (New Generation)

Moon Books Twitter (Pagan) 

JHP Non-Fiction Twitter 

  • Business Books (Business)
  • Chronos (History)
  • Earth (Environment)
  • Iff (Academic/Specialist)
  • Liberalis (Liberal Arts Education, Storytelling)

Zero Books (Culture, Society, Politics)

 

 YouTube

O Books Presents

  • ​6th Books (Paranormal)
  • Axis Mundi (Hidden Knowledge)
  • Ayni (Alternative Health And Healing) 
  • Dodona (Astrology Numerology, Divination)
  • Mantra (Eastern Religion And Philosophy)
  • O Books (Spirituality)
  • Psyche (Psychology)
  • Soul Rocks (New Generation)

Zero Books (Culture, Society, Poitics)

 

NETGALLEY

NetGalley is an online platform that enables influential readers   professional reviewers, media professionals, librarians, and educators – to download and evaluate your title pre-publication. It has reached a critical mass as a service and is used by mainstream publishers and self-published authors alike to generate pre-publication excitement and buzz for a title.

As of Dec 2017 NetGalley has 380000 reviewers or "influencers" worldwide, and 45000 of those are in the UK. NetGalley claims the site is sticky, and that 65% of members come back nine times or more in a month. The majority of NetGalley readers are interested in Teens and YA, General Fiction, Mystery and Thrillers, and Sci-Fi and Fantasy, and there is least interest in Middle Grade, Humour, Horror, Sports, and Literary Fiction. We have also found that History, Pagan and Spiritual books get a decent response there.

NETGALLEY.COM vs NETGALLEY.CO.UK

As NetGalley has grown globally they have created sites for different countries. Our books appear on the UK site (netgalley.co.uk) and the US site (NetGalley.com). As you would expect the .co.uk site prioritises British publishers and British books will be seen by more British reviewers. You can choose which countries and territories see your books.

HOW DOES NETGALLEY WORK?

Every time a member logs into NetGalley they are presented with a selection of books based on their interests, normally starting with the books that have been most recently added to NetGalley. Members have the ability to search the site by many criteria including subject, author, publisher, and most-downloaded.

You can offer your book for download in a variety of ways.

  • Private: Only available to NetGalley members and other contacts you personally invite.
  • Wish Only: This is NetGalley’s version of a giveaway. Anyone can wish for a title, and wishes are randomised and anonymous, so when you grant a wish you don’t know who it goes to.
  • Available For Request: Members request titles, and you decide if they get to read them. You can filter who is allowed to request by member type (bookseller, educator, etc) and time period (eg you can allow  booksellers to request during one time window, reviewers during request another).
  • Read Now: Any member can download your book anytime.

WIDGETS

NetGalley offers the ability to create a widget. A widget is a  pre-approved link which you can use to invite a contact to read a title on NetGalley. When a reader receives a widget link, typically via email, they can click on the link, register for free or login to NetGalley (if they are already a member), and are taken directly to the Title Details page for that title, where they can download it.

NetGalley offers Activity Reports and Feedback Reports, so you can keep records of who downloads and reviews your books.

HOW TO GET MEMBERS TO VIEW YOUR TITLE

NetGalley say views matter, so the more time a member sees your title, the more downloads and reviews you can generate.

When you set a book to Available For Request or Read Now it will be presented to members on the NetGalley homepage for a few days, generating many views, usually resulting in a spike of interest and requests for download. After that, unless your book is causing a huge buzz, interest will likely be less intense as your book is harder to discover.

At this point NetGalley offers a variety of extra marketing services at various price points which you can use to give your book an extra boost of visibility and gain more views. Whether it’s entering your book to be a Book Of The Month, paying to be featured on their homepage for a week, or a full mail-out to thousands of their members, these services are especially useful if you feel your book has real sales potential and you want to present it to the maximum number of influential readers, the maximum amount of times.

Click here for the full NetGalley media kit, which contains details of all marketing services.

IS NETGALLEY JUST FOR NEW BOOKS?

The vast majority of books on NetGalley are new, but readers are also looking out for (in NetGalley speak) "interesting books they might have missed" and reviewers are taking "a more fluid approach to reviewing i.e. papers don't review according to publisher's schedules," so we are free to add in older books if we feel appropriate, and reviewers may review older books too. For example, if we add the second of a trilogy to NetGalley, we will likely add the first, so reviewers who missed it can read it.

For an interesting breakdown of more facts and statistics related to NetGalley, click here.

NetGalley Pros

  • You can reach an audience that it would be very difficult and time-consuming to reach any other way.

  • Readers download ebooks, so there is little cost to the author other than the NetGalley fee, and books can’t be sold on.

  • NetGalley can save you an awful lot of time. Contacting and replying to bloggers and other reviewers can be a laborious process.

  • NetGalley links reviewers' accounts to GoodReads, Facebook and Twitter so they can share their reviews with one click.

  • NetGalley responses tend to mirror the real world – so if a title is popular there it gives you a heads-up to prioritise that title in your other marketing.

  • NetGalley is used by many major publishers, and a lot of reviewers rely on it. Some reviewers will be searching for particular authors, books or publishers, but they will often stumble upon a new book or author who they may never have found otherwise.

  • Readers are encouraged to add feedback, and most do. Many will also signpost the reviews they have written on their blog, and on Goodreads, and sometimes Amazon, or in a publication.

  • Members can vote on whether they like your cover image, which can be a useful way to gain feedback before publication.

  • Widgets can be used in other marketing communications, such as an emailed press release to bloggers. Again, it helps to cut down the time spent sending digital copies to reviewers.

Cons

  • The main downside is the fee. There are no guarantees, so if listing your book doesn’t result in a decent amount of sales or publicity you have effectively wasted your money.

  • Your $450 might results in hundreds of reviews and resulting purchases, or just a handful. There is no ‘pay per click’ option.

  • It is very easy for readers to join, so there is no guarantee that the people who receive a digital copy of your book will share their review with many others.

PRICING

NetGalley is free for readers, but authors and publishers have to pay a fee in order to list a book.  At John Hunt Publishing we pay to have twenty titles on NetGalley at any one time.

As an individual you can choose to add your book to NetGalley at various price points. As of June 2018 to add a book for six months as an individual author the price, is $450. You can also save some money by adding your book through the Independent Publisher’s Association.

HOW DO I GET MY BOOK ON NETGALLEY?

If you have paid for an Extra Publicity service, you are guaranteed a placement on the site for at least three months. If we are promoting your title through NetGalley, it will be added as advertising to your marketing activities.

Otherwise, we place books on NetGalley for different amounts of time based on a variety of factors including sales potential, genre, and past NetGalley experience. Four weeks is usually the minimum amount of time we add a book to the site.

OUR TOP TIPS FOR NETGALLEY BASED ON OUR EXPERIENCE

Create A Strategy – Make Members Feel Special

Rather than sticking your book on NetGalley and hoping for the best, think about building a community of influencers whose tastes chime with your books, and nurture those relationships. Every time you interact with a NetGalley member you are representing yourself and/or your publishing company and whether the member likes the book or not you have an opportunity to leave a positive impression about your work.

Here are our top tips for using NetGalley based on our experience.

  • Use widgets: We give reviewers who loved an author’s books, who regularly review for our imprints, and who consistently download our books, exclusive early widget access to corresponding new titles. Widgets are versatile, can be sent and accessed by non-members, and can be made to be part of press releases and promotional emails too.

  • Use auto-approve: We auto-approve top reviewers and downloaders so they immediately get access to our books, and don’t have to request each time.

  • Respond quickly: The quicker you respond to member requests the higher chance of a review.

  • Make an approval strategy: Decide who has access to your book and when. E.g. you can make your book wish-only to start off with, available to librarians and educators and booksellers early (who all need lots of time to order books) and then open it to reviewers for a month or so before publication.

  • Be positive: Warmly thank every member who takes the time to write a review.

  • Customise your communication: Create a positive impression by customising the approval and decline emails for your title. Make sure members clearly understand your expectations, and if you declined, why you might have done so, and give them cause for optimism for future approval.

  • Follow up: Use detailed activity to find out:

    • Members who have downloaded but not reviewed a book.

    • Members who have reviewed but not left a link.

    • Chase them/contact them if you desire.

    • We politely ask members who left positive reviews to cross-post them to Amazon and GoodReads if they haven’t already.

    • We politely ask anyone who hasn’t left a review to do so in the weeks leading up to publication.

    • Don’t add too many titles all at once. If you have multiple titles, STAGGER your titles, add them to NetGalley one a week rather than all 5 in one go. This will ensure the maximum number of views per title.

  • Make the best reviews visible: While all members can see all reviews of your titles, select the best ones to display them at the top of your book’s page, so they will be the first reviews members see.

  • Monitor Feedback For The Future:

    • Gauge sales potential early by looking at feedback.

    • Are readers you expected requesting this title?

    • Look at the comments to see if there are any recurring issues.

    • Use detailed activity reports to see the full scope of those approved and declined.

    • The reason for a request gives a good indication of which people are responding to in a title.

A FEW OF OUR EXPERIENCES ON NETGALLEY

We have noticed that genre fiction titles with a strong premise and simple title can generate many requests to read, e.g. Ghost Boy and A Graveyard Visible.

Fairies, a Pagan title by Morgan Daimler, was only on the site a short time and was downloaded 149 times and 21 reviews were generated.

Margaret Tudor, by Sarah-Beth Watkins, gained 1373 impressions, was download 290 times and 39 reviews were generated on the site.

You can reach institutions you might never have found with a normal press release mail-out. Here’s a comment about Steve Taylor’s new edition of The Fall from an educator who downloaded and read the book:

A perfect addition to the list of recommended reading for my A-level students. Not only do they look at ego, but the gender dynamics that can be traced back to the fall.

And here's a note from from Katy Noyes, librarian at Shirebrook Academy, who left us a rave review for Feral Chickens:

Always a thrill to hear a review is read and well-received (I believe the author read it on Goodreads as well). Such a unique plot and I really hope a producer reads it and sees potential for the the screen  I’ve GOT to see the guillotine scene!! Yes, I’ll be asking my library to purchase a copy for readers. I hope it gets a wide readership.

For Nigel Jay Cooper’s second novel, The Pursuit Of Ordinary, we paid for a NetGalley mailout to the NetGalley fiction email list.  This resulted in 3383 impressions, 314 downloads of the site, and 63 reviews, many of which were rave. There were almost two hundred requests with a day of the email going out.

Here’s a sample review generated by the mailout:

From the beginning to the very end, this book will grip you tightly and hang on for dear life. It’s beautifully written! It’s a different concept! It works on all levels!

Bookseller’s who download your book may recommend to customers. Here’s a extract from a bookseller on NetGalley:

I review on Goodreads, but most of the recommendations and feedback I give is in the busy store I work at. The owner always asks me to find the "next big book", so I have been reading up to 5 or 6 books a day!

CONCLUSION

NetGalley is currently an invaluable tool in book marketing. While no author or publisher should exclusively rely on it to market their book, it’s clearly a powerful opportunity to present your book to influential people you could never have sought out on your own. You’ll have the opportunity to present your title to many booksellers and librarians you may never have considered or reached normally, and give yourself a real opportunity to increase online reviews for your book, on blogs and social media and especially on Amazon and GoodReads.

The book market is saturated, and your book will be up against many others, which is why it’s vital you use the service with intelligence and care, doing everything that is in your power to create a positive and exciting impression of your work.

 

HASHTAGS

Hashtag ‘How-to’ for beginners

Hashtags have long been used as a way to add humour to social media posts (OMG I just got to work and realised that I forgot to take my slippers off! #embarassed) which is a great way to add your voice to posts but how can publicists and authors use hashtags to promote their book/competition or to engage current and new readers/followers?

The hashtag first began at Twitter HQ but has spread across to other social media platforms such as Facebook and Pinterest. In 2007, developer Chris Messina suggested in a tweet that Twitter begin grouping topics using the hash symbol. Twitter initially rejected the idea. But in October 2007, citizen journalists began using the hashtag #SanDiegoFire to tweet updates on a series of forest fires happening in San Diego. The practice of ‘hashtagging’ took off; now users and brands use hashtags to cover serious political events (#Cairo) and entertainment topics (#MileyCyrus) alike.

Follow our tips below to use hashtags to your advantage whether you're a publicist or author looking to increase engagement or your status:

Twitter

On Twitter, the hash symbol (#) turns any word or groupofwords into a clickable link. This allows you to organise your content into sub-categories (#Fiction, #Thriller, #ReadingList) and track discussion topics based on those keywords. So, if you wanted to post about your latest book, you could include #NewBook in your tweet to join similar conversations. Click on your hashtag to see all posts that mention that particular subject in real time.

Facebook

Facebook, believe it or not, only started supporting hashtags in 2013, and so far, has not seen the same impact as Twitter. Nevertheless, clicking on Facebook hashtags will take you directly to a list of other people’s posts containing the same hashtag. The results are not limited to people you know but to EVERYONE on Facebook. Avoid hashtags such as ‪#‎BookGiveaway & ‪#‎competition as these are considered “spammy” on FB (however they are dynamite on Twitter & Instagram!).

Instagram

Hashtags can be used to sort and organise your photos. For example, an author can collate his/her images of certain books using the same tag (e.g. #MrSmithFictionBooks) and when you click on that tag, all your photos will appear in one feed a bit like an album. Use tags on Instagram to help you discover new accounts and pick-up followers. Some hashtags were created specifically for Instagram photo challenges. #ThrowbackThursday or #TBT, for example, encourages users to post retro photos of times gone by (perhaps jog followers’ memories of a successful press opportunity you had with a great image of your book!). 

Pinterest

Use hashtags on Pinterest to mark your pins and search for content. Click on the hashtag in a pin description to find pins that contain the exact same hashtag.

Hashtag Do's and Don’ts

  • Spaces between words are a big NO-NO. DO use several words or sentences but be sure to join words together such as #socialmedia
  • Caps lock does not affect tags so; #socialmedia will produce the same results as #SocialMedia
  • Numbers are allowed (#2for1) but symbols such as: ! ? , / are not
  • DO use relevant tags for your posts. Tagging #summerishere on a post about a crime thriller isn't directly linked or specific enough. Instead try posting “#CoolDown with this epic #Thriller’ or #SummerReads. Using tags that are not relevant can actually lead you to being noted as a spammer so be careful to stay on target & relevant
  • DON'T use more than 2 or 3 tags per post. Again, you run the risk or being pegged as a spammer if too many tags or links are included. The same goes if you repeat a tag twice (e.g Love my new #Book. Check out my #Book online)

Not sure what hashtags to use to gain followers across social media platforms? Check out Hashtags.org to see which tags are popular in real time! 

So there's a few ways in which to use hashtags efficiently. We hope it allows you to get tagging like a pro and collecting more followers along the way!

 

 

 

INSTAGRAM

What is Instagram?

(Mostly relevant for children and YA books...)

What's this thing called "Instagram" that all the cool kids seem to be completely obsessed with lately? Well it hasn't been around for too long, so don't feel embarrassed to ask. According to Smart Insights Instagram is one of the TOP 5 social media platforms today.

Instagram is a social networking app made for sharing photos and videos from a smartphone. It can be viewed from a PC typing in www.instagram.com but you cannot physically interact with accounts/post photos from a computer. It is essentially a ‘mobile-only’ app.

Similar to Facebook or Twitter, everyone who creates an account has a profile and a news feed. When you post a photo or video on Instagram, it will be displayed on your profile. Other users who follow you will see your posts in their own feed. Likewise, you'll see posts from other users who you choose to follow.

Why Use Instagram?

We know what you’re thinking… Not another social media platform! BUT Instagram isn’t new anymore. Instagram launched in October 2010 and has steadily grown in membership since then. This platform is tried and tested. It’s getting bigger and better and if growth is any indication, it will be around for a long time to come. Here’s three reasons to add Instagram to your toolkit :

  • ‘It’s where the kids are!’ – many of them use Instagram because their parents and grandparents aren’t on there like they are on Facebook. And guess where the kids used to be? Facebook. It’s an evolution. The younger generations find the sites and make them popular. Slowly, everyone else catches on and they become mainstream for other generations as well. Instagram will likely be the new popular platform
  • It’s all about the Photo – think about your Facebook feed. Which posts do you tend to stop and look at more closely? Those with text or those with photos?
  • Drive traffic to other platforms – whilst you cannot add clickable links in the text of your photo you can direct readers to the link in your bio (homepage). Whether it’s to your home page, your blog tab, a contest page, an opt-in form, or another page of your choice, putting the right link in your bio can drive traffic where you want it to go. You can also change this link as often as you like. This allows you to strategically utilize posts to drive your audience in whichever direction you choose

Creating an Account on Instagram

Instagram is a FREE app. You can sign up via your Facebook account or by email. All you need is a username and a password. You may be asked if you want to follow some friends who are on Instagram. You can also customize your profile by adding your name, a photo, a short bio and a website.

Using Instagram as a Social Network

Instagram is all about visual sharing. Every user profile has a “Followers” and “Following” list, representing how many people they follow and how many other users are following them.

Every user profile has a button you can tap to follow them. If a user has their profile set to private, they will need to approve your request first.

Interacting on posts is fun and easy. You can double tap any post to “like” it or add a comment at the bottom.

If you want to find more friends or interesting accounts to follow, use the search tab (marked by the magnifying glass icon) to browse through tailored posts recommended to you. You can also use the search bar at the top to look for specific users or hashtags.

Applying Filters and Editing Your Instagram Posts

When you tap the middle Instagram button, you can select the camera or video icon to let the app know whether you want to post a photo or a video. Capture it through the app, or tap the photo/video preview box to pull up a previously captured photo/video from your folder.

Instagram has up to 24 filters you can choose to apply to photos, and 13 for videos. By using the icons just below the preview of your photo or video, you can adjust the brightness, cover frame if it’s a video and editing features.

Sharing Your Instagram Posts

After you’ve applied an optional filter and possibly made some edits, you’ll be directed to a tab where you can fill out a caption, tag other users to it and simultaneously post it to some of your other social networks such as Facebook or Twitter (note that the image will not show up on your Twitter page, only the text and a clickable link to your Instagram account).

How to Use Instagram as an author/publicist

If you are thinking of setting up an Instagram account for your book, author or one of the imprints; here are our TOP TIPS to best maximise traffic to the site:

  • Upload the Instagram Photo Feed App to the Facebook Page. You will then have a continuous photo stream on the page.
  • Link the appropriate Facebook and Twitter accounts to Instagram so that whenever you post a photo, it will upload to both social media pages automatically. Once your image has been shared on Facebook, go in and tweak your hashtags on Facebook (‪#‎instabooks for example won't serve a purpose anywhere other than on Instagram).
  • Add your authors/publishers (if they are on Instagram) by using the ‘@’ button followed by the authors/publishers username. Like their photos and tag them in your author/book-relative photos.
  • Instagram, alongside Twitter, is THE home of the hashtag so don’t be afraid to use them. As well as including hashtags for the authors name and the book title, popular generic ones are:

#instabooks ‪#‎booksofinstagram #‎bookstagram #‎booksigning #‎ilovebooks #‎newbooks #‎bookselfie #‎freebooks 

Of course there are heaps of genre specific hashtags which you can find easily by typing in # followed by an appropriate word to search what hashtags exist and which ones are used most frequently.

Instagram + Book Giveaways/Competitions

Instagram is a great way to increase followers and to get traffic headed over to your other social media platforms and/or website. For example, for #WorldBookDay2016 JHP Children and Young Adult Books offered readers the chance to win an entire collection of Relax Kids books in exchange for image likes and RT's (which inevitably leads to page likes).

We created a series of 4 images in total and altered them to fit the exact image sizes for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (stops any squashing/cropping of images across the platforms).

We simply posted an image once a day, tagged #RelaxKids in each post and used appropriate hashtags to get the images shared across as many pages as possible without being spammed (I.e. ‪#‎BookGiveaway & ‪#‎competition are considered spammy on FB but are dynamite on Twitter & Instagram).

Here are the results from our 3-day campaign:

TWITTER:
186 NEW Followers, 5,300 post views, 248 RT's, 94 Mentions (@JHPChildren), 436 Profile Visits

FACEBOOK:

46 NEW Likes, 8,849 Post Views, 826 Post Clicks, 85 Shares

INSTAGRAM: 22 NEW Followers, 59 Likes

If you are looking to increase followers’/imprint readership quickly, a sizable competition such as this one may work well for you.

TIPS WE LEARNED: 

  1. Piggybacking onto an international/National holiday works best as hashtags are already circulating the Social Media Networks (‪#‎WorldBookDay created over half a million Tweets in 1 day).
  2. Start your campaign ahead of the actual date (we started ours the day before but it could have started a good week in advance to create even more momentum).
  3. Know your Hashtags for each individual platform. For example, they don’t work particularly well on Facebook as they use Edgerank, an algorithm to determine what your audience sees, meaning that posts can be quashed rather than spread according to what FB consider 'newsworthy' posts. Twitter & Instagram however... go hashtag crazy without losing the posts main message.
  4. It's all about the images. People will RT or share a post if it looks pleasing and they want to see it on their own pages.
  5. Like people's related comments, tweets and posts and RT where possible. Stay on top of it during the competition.

As with all social media platforms, you have to input considerable time (certainly at the start) in order to get anything out of it. Simply creating a profile, uploading pretty photos and hoping people will discover you will not work. Follow people, like others people’s photos, leave a comment from time to time “Great photo!” and you’ll soon start to see other people reciprocating the favour.

How to Increase Your Followers & Interaction

You’ll notice that many of the ideas below are focused on increasing engagement (likes and comments) and that’s because lasting engagement naturally leads to followers.

As you implement the strategies below, keep in mind that there’s no substitute for regularly posting engaging, creative and relevant images that your audience loves.

  • Use hashtags that are known to help increase followers: #FF (Follow Friday), #instafollow#l4l (Like for like), #tagforlikes and #followback 
    ALSO use #FF on Fridays to promote another person/book/account that you like. Promote others and they are more likely to promote you back.
  • Like hundreds of random pictures from people in your target audience.
  • Hold a contest on Instagram. One of the easiest ways to do this is to post an image promoting the contest and then ask people to like it in order to enter.
  • Promote your Instagram account on your other social media accounts and profiles. Tell people what they can expect once they’re following you (e.g. behind-the-scenes photos, sneak peeks, book giveaways etc.).
  • Like and comment on other users’ photos. This is the most natural way to gain new followers.
  • Use popular hashtags as well as book related hashtags so that your images get found in searches. Some of the most popular ones are #love, #instagood, #tbt (Throw Back Thursday) and #photooftheday.
  • Make sure your bio is complete. Include relevant keywords and hashtags, and a link back to your site. Above all, don’t be spammy; this is a guarantee that no one who reads your profile will follow you.
  • Ask questions in the captions of your photos. This is a great way to increase engagement.
  • Post on Sundays: Sundays see the fewest images posted, so posting then may get your images more visibility.
  • Be consistent. Know why you’re posting, and who you’re posting for. Be consistent about how you use the platform and your follower count will grow organically.
  • Tag people in your photos when relevant. This ensures those photos show up in those users’ feeds, and makes it more likely they’ll share them.
  • Create a branded hashtag. Come up with a hashtag and encourage your followers to use it. This encourages your fans to engage with your book/profile, and increases your visibility at the same time.
  • Follow all your Facebook friends on Instagram, and many will follow you back. To do this, simply go to your Instagram profile and click on the 3 dots icon on the top right of your screen. Select ‘Find Friends’ and then ‘Find friends on Facebook’.
  • Plan, prepare and then act. As with most things in life, being intentional is your best chance at success. Make a plan for how you’re going to use Instagram, then create a schedule to keep yourself on track.
  • Post image quotes or ‘memes’. Image quotes on social media are huge. Overlay motivational, inspirational or humorous quotes over your images using a tool like Canva.

Remember that having a large number of followers is useless if you don’t take the time to really engage and interact. And in the end, converting followers to customers is the real goal.

 

YOUTUBE

YouTube is a website designed for sharing videos. It is one of the biggest, most popular sites in the world, and is eating up the audience that used to watch TV. Some stats:

  • Hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute: 300

  • Number of videos viewed on YouTube everyday: 4,950,000,000

  • Number of unique visits to YouTube every month: 900,000,000

WHY USE YOUTUBE?

YouTube is a viable self-promotion and self-expression platform for all writers and should be considered. You can use it in a small way – you can film promotional talks or readings you do and store and share them there. Or you can use it in a bigger way and make and share videos regularly and aim for a larger audience.

JHP IMPRINTS ON YOUTUBE

O-Books (JHP)

Moon Books

Zero Books

What follows is a collection of what we’ve learnt from using the channel so far, along with some practical technical advice on setting up your own channel.

WHAT WE'VE LEARNT FROM YOUTUBE: ZERO BOOKS

Zero Books has a small but growing YouTube channel. We currently have 23k subscribers and our videos have drawn 254k views in the last month (June 2018). This modest success is the result of our discovering the right format for our videos and developing a regular production schedule.

Because Zero Books is a critical-theory imprint, producing video essays is a natural format for us. While book trailers and author interviews are perhaps more obvious approaches, our audience is responsive to video essays and this format allows us to create content based on what is trending or in the news, as well as to create videos that might be of interest to our readers for years to come.

Our approach to video production has been to focus on regular production and slow growth, while keeping tabs on which videos are most successful in terms of views, rather than on creating videos with the aim of going viral.

Beyond the Viral Video
Because of the potential for broad exposure on YouTube there is a temptation to approach video production with the aim of going viral. However, the aim of an author or book publisher should not be to create one widely viewed video, but rather to produce many videos that, while not necessarily going viral, find an audience. Producing a viral video is largely a matter of luck. It’s impossible to know in advance precisely what is going to hit the zeitgeist in order to get shared by millions. Further, YouTube’s algorithm has changed over the years in order to disincentivize clickbait tactics. What this means is that, in order to promote books through YouTube, it is better to think of your task in terms of developing a YouTube channel rather than developing a viral video.

Book trailers on YouTube can get a lot of views, for instance the trailer for How to Hang a Witch from Random House has over 215k views, however producing high-quality book trailers on a weekly basis is beyond the capabilities of our imprint, and a series of book trailers for one book is unlikely to inspire people to subscribe. Further, book publishers might reconsider creating book trailers as their main focus because, unless the books are part of a series or from a narrowly defined imprint, a channel consisting of book trailers may be too eclectic and lead to crating a nebulous channel with little consistent appeal.

Authors and publishers creating a YouTube channel should decide on what sort of format will fit best given their interest or aims.

Some Tips

In order to discover what format might work best for your channel search YouTube for the channels that are on your topic. These need not be, perhaps should not be, channels produced by other book publishers or authors, but rather they should be the channels that are successful in your niche.

For example, when searching for Pagan channels online one finds that most everyone is vlogging but also that there is no major or big channel in the niche. Investing in a good camera and microphone, getting outside in some nice locations to shoot rather than sitting at a desk or in your living room, and editing videos to be a bit more like short documentaries rather than vlogs, could be a way to rise above the amateurs in the niche, gain an audience and get views. Using Zero Books as a model one might write short scripts based on ideas in the titles in your books and then deliver these scripts to the camera while editing in montages of nature or related content.

Searching for history channels what one immediately finds are Ted Talks. An author or publisher attempting to build a YouTube channel for history books could emulate Ted Talks by find a space or stage where you can record a series of lectures from a stage. The key is to make sure the audio for these videos is excellent and to shoot the videos with more than one camera. Movement is essential for a successful Ted Talk.

If this is not possible one can use a static shot format in a more obvious vlogging environment like a front room. An author or publisher might set up a podium in front of a bookshelf and deliver lectures on history based on their books to the camera. However, audio quality is still vitally important, as is lighting and video quality. Again, investing in a some equipment including an HD camera could make a big difference. Also, if you are going to use a static shot for your lectures, edit in animations and graphics that illustrate key concepts from your books in order to make the videos visually interesting.

Overall, the trick to creating a successful YouTube channel is to find a format that fits with your imprint or area of expertise, a format that you can work within while maintaining a regular schedule, and an approach to video production that you enjoy.

O BOOKS:  WHAT WE’VE LEARNT CREATING O-BOOKS PRESENTS

We launched O-Books Presents in October 2017. The aim was to showcase our authors via author interviews.

At the time of writing  (July 2018) we have almost fifty videos, and our content has been watched for 106000 minutes or 1766 hours. Our subscriber count is 191. Our top videos have genarated 1-3 thousand views.

The channel is a work in progress though we feel the content in itself is strong and does a good job of showcasing our authors. The stats yield interesting facts and lessons.

THE BIGGEST LESSON – GETTING INTO THE ALGORITHM

To gain real exposure on YouTube, you want the YouTube algorithim to present your videos to as many people as possible in the “Up next” recommended videos panel.

The algorithm rewards:

  • Views.

  • Time spent watching.

  • Regularity of content uploaded.

  • Successive watching.

If viewers watch video after video on your channel YouTube will really reward you.

Many channels go out of their way to keep you glued and addicted to their content – including daily uploads and high production values.

We don’t have the resources to compete with these channels, and a lot of their tactics won’t be appropriate to us, but we should bear in mind the importance of attracting viewers to watch successive videos.  

The idea is that if people love what you do they will want more of the same, so your content/brand needs to have clear purpose and identity. Ideally, if people liked one video, there should be another close by that will attract them.

To encourage successive viewing, the practice of grouping content thematically via playlists, and linking to videos at the end of videos (explained below) should be observed.

At the moment:

  • 25% of our video views come from YouTube “suggested videos” within the site.

  • 35% of video views come from people typing a query into the YouTube search engine.

We’re happy that our videos are visible and generating views from the algorithim. We continue to experiment with other formats to make ourselves more visible on YouTube, and to increase this number.

TRY THE HOW-TO FORMAT

YouTube is a giant search engine. People ask it questions when they want to find out how to do something, whether it’s how to wire a plug or how to get rid of their depression.

We have curated a selection of “How-to” videos, which are much shorter than average, with the aim of appealing to a shorter attention span and gaining some of the traffic from people who come to ask YouTube questions.

The analytics show us that on the Binge-Eating playlist in particular, viewers watch one video before jumping to another one. The playlist also started off with very little promotion, and under ten views per video, and now is regularly gaining viewers organically from the YouTube algorithm.

Overall, (so far) the views haven’t been dramatic enough to suggest making this the primary video format for the channel, but where the author work is appropriate we believe we should continue to develop this kind of video.

CONCLUSION

YouTube feels like a medium we, as a publisher, can’t afford not to be on. The great benefit is that once a video is up there, and it is being discovered, your PR is being done round the clock, while you sleep, as people from all over the world watch your videos. YouTube is so large, even with a modest offering, your content can be viewed for many many hours.

3 THINGS EVERY AUTHOR SHOULD CONSIDER WHEN SETTING UP THEIR YOUTUBE CHANNEL

The 3 premises of content marketing are these:

  • You have to genuinely give in order to get. So rather than promoting yourself, you must think of ways to offer some of the best of yourself.  

  • You need to create a brand – a series of videos with a distinct creative and visual identity.

  • You have to enjoy it! If it’s forced, or done out of obligation, it won’t work.

The first questions you can ask yourself are:

  • Which type of video programme format fits with my expertise? Are you a presenter, an improviser, a behind-the-scenes person, an animator, etc?

  • Which type of video programme format would I enjoy making?

  • Can I commit to running a channel for 1-3 years to see the benefits?

  • Can I invest in the production values of my channel?

  • How much time can I realistically commit?

AT THE VERY LEAST FILM YOUR EVENTS!!

Even if creating a channel is not for you, at the very least you should film every event you do and create a library of them on YouTube. You will build up a great resource of promotional material which you can edit, transcribe, and share with anyone in the world at a click of a button.

MISC PRACTICAL TIPS FOR AUTHORS ON STARTING A YOUTUBE CHANNEL

  • Always be sharing and linking to your videos.

  • Re-purpose your videos. Make short extracts for sharing on social media.

  • Don’t let the channel linger. Commit to it in the long term and keep on creating and uploading videos.

  • Add the channel to your email signatures.

  • ABS – Always Be Sharing (email, social media, etc. – within reason, of course).

USE CARDS AND DIRECT FOLLOWERS TO OTHER VIDEOS

Cards are live links that appear on top of your YouTube videos, directing the viewer to other videos of yours and other content of yours, and encouraging the viewer to subscribe to your channel. Used skillfully, especially on short videos, they can be used to “hook” your viewers into watching more content from you.

Read these articles to learn how to use cards.

A CHECK-SHEET FOR A YOUTUBE SKYPE INTERVIEW

If you plan to interview your authors online, it’s useful to bear these points in mind:

  • Send the interviewer your Skype name ASAP so he can add you as a contact.

  • Contact the interviewee in advance outlining the questions/shape of the chat.

  • Be ready 15 minutes before call time, to make sure everything is set up.

  • If possible, do not use your computer’s normal webcam, use a hd webcam – for better quality visuals.

  • If possible use a better quality microphone than your computer’s. If you have iPhone earphones with a mic or equivalent use them.

  • Use headphones for the conversation to prevent any possibility of anyone’s voice being recorded twice.

  • Make sure you are as well-lit as possible.

  • Give some thought to your background (e.g. nice picture on the wall, tidy house not messy etc.).

  • Make sure your internet connection is secure and working before you connect.

  • If you can use a wired internet connection use that as they are more reliable than wifi.

  • Set aside an hour and a half to record the whole thing, even though the finished interview will be shorter.

OTHER JHP AUTHORS ON YOUTUBE

Frans Stiene    

Colette Brown

Maggie Kay

Daniel Ingram-Brown

Dr. Bruno Roque Cignacco