If you go looking on Google for advice on creating “buzz,” you’ll find mountains of material to peruse (speaking of which, can we even say “mountains of material” anymore for digital content? It doesn’t pile up on your desk. It doesn’t overstuff your briefcase. What’s the alternative? A “bounty of bytes”? I digress).
Buzz, of course, is that low but continuous sound that a bunch of bees make. In business, that translates to excitement or anticipation for a product.
Buzz can happen spontaneously, or a company might do things to try to create it. In either case, the more people talk about something (assuming it’s not negative buzz), the better the sales forecast.
A recent example of buzz in the book world was the swirl of publicity surrounding the publication of Harper Lee’s novel Go Set A Watchman. There was a combination of buzz both positive (Harper Lee is finally releasing a new novel!) and negative (Harper Lee is being manipulated!). The whole mix inured to the benefit of HarperCollins, which sold over a million copies the first week.
For an author, then, it helps to be famous.
Absent that, what can a writer do before a launch to create some buzz? There are many options available, some of them for a price. I tend to avoid paying for PR, so today let me suggest a three-step plan that is simple to implement and costs nothing:
- Share content
- Invite email signups
- Use a light touch on social media
It’s one thing to say you’ve got a book coming. It’s another to give readers a taste of it. So make the first chapter of the book available for free. Amazon already does that for you with its “Look Inside” feature. If the book is not yet published, put the content on your website.
The best buzz is content related. That’s what a great movie trailer does (or book trailer, for that matter). So make sure your opening page is the best it can be, which you should be doing anyway, right?
Invite email signups
Associate that free content with an invitation for people to sign up for your email list. Tell them they will be the first to know when the book is available for purchase or pre-order. The proper care and feeding of an email list is a subject all its own. For buzz purposes, you want folks clamoring to find out what happens after your opening chapter.
Use a Light Touch on Social Media
Inform your social media platform of the free content, but don’t overstay your welcome. Keep to a 90/10 ratio of actual social interaction to marketing messages. Buzz is not created with a pounding hammer, but with drops of honey.
If you have a blog, create a buzz post.
As I am doing now.
Because I have a book coming out. The start of a new thriller series, in fact.
I invite you to read it and, if it intrigues you, sign up for my email list so you’ll be the first to know when it’s available.
I have not yet revealed the title, nor the cover.
Because I’m trying to create some mystery, too, and thus more buzz! (I must be channeling my inner Flo Ziegfeld).
The first line of the book is: I was talking to a woman about flowers when John the Baptist blew up.
You can read the rest of the excerpt HERE (same link as above).
And now, having completed my post, I’m going to buzz off.
Please feel free to share any buzz ideas of your own.