By Nadya Lyapunova
You did it, your book is finished! It’s a moment worthy of celebration. But if you have dreams of finally setting your laptop aside for awhile, it’s time to think again: In today’s book world, the reality is that you’ll be busier than ever, looking for online ways to market your book. This is the next step for the savvy self-publisher.
In this ongoing blog series we offer genre-specific advice on selling your book on social media. Today, we focus on young adult titles.
When it comes to YA books, there are countless groups with a devotion to the genre. Your task is to find these forums and engage with them. When using social media, it’s important that members feel you are a dedicated participant, not someone solely interested in promoting your book. So you will need to join in the conversations going on in each forum. Once you’ve established yourself, you can let members know of your book, even giving out special offers and so on.
Below are many useful resources. Feel free to share your favorites with us and we will add them to the list.
Facebook is invaluable for those marketing on a budget. You’ll want to start by creating a business page devoted to your young adult book. After that, you have to get people to like your page— the hard part. There are numerous webinars, books, and blogs devoted to how to do this. Facebook has an easy step-by-step guide to help you out with this: https://www.facebook.com/pages/create/
Keep in mind that Facebook has now become monetized, which means that while you can reach a small segment of your Facebook friends with any post, to reach a larger audience, you’ll have to pay small sums of money. Facebook calls this “boosting” your post. Once you post something on your page, Facebook will ask you if you’d like to “boost this post?” If you say “yes,” a box will pop up allowing you to decide how much you would like to spend and telling you how far your reach will go based on how much you spend. Once “boosted,” Facebook will send the item out to like-minded pages, where it will appear on those timelines. It’s a sure way to get your book on the feeds of people interested in your topic and to begin reaching out to those beyond your immediate circle.
One way you can start finding those people yourself is to join the Facebook groups that draw readers of your genre. Below are a few of our favorite Facebook groups for the YA genre. Most groups allow authors to promote their work on the page (within reason):
https://www.facebook.com/groups/YAauthoralliance/?ref=br_rs (1,611 members) An Alliance of Young Adult Authors is a page for writer support and guidance. Self-promotion is not allowed but this group is helpful in getting start and connecting with other writers in your community.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/ya.book.publicity/?ref=br_rs (1,488 members) The Young Adult Book Publicity and Book Club is composed of writers, readers, and fans. Self-promotion is encouraged as this group is focused on publicity.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/367853293243348/?ref=br_rs (1,833 members) Titled “Young Adult Authors & Young Adult Bloggers Unite,” the page welcomes bloggers and authors posting about YA novels and is a great place to connect online.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/411486002231062/members/ (3,505 members) “YA YA” is dedicated to young adult books and reaches both authors and readers. Self-promoting posts are allowed but be sure to keep them age-appropriate!
https://www.facebook.com/groups/828782047144236/?ref=br_rs (1,996 members) Titled “BOOKS for Young Adults & Children,” this is a group that is geared towards younger audiences but provides a community to share your YA novel as well. Readers and authors are welcome to post.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/discoveryoungadult/?ref=br_rs (253 members) Discover Young Adult Books (Readers and Authors) is a smaller, closed group that is great for getting closely involved with other interested members. This close-knit community asks to avoid “drive-by, post your random book” posts but promotes authors who join their events.
With posts limited to 140 characters, you’ll have to be clever —and brief— in order to effectively use this medium. Planning to post your book jacket image with your tweet? Subtract 25 of those characters. And you’ll use up even more characters if you want to link to your website. Moral of story: Think small. (Note: If you are linking your post to another site, make sure to use a link-shortening service like bit.ly. Bit.ly takes a long url address and reduces it to only a few characters, freeing up valuable real estate on your limited character allowance.)
Remember to use hashtags. These can make a huge difference in how many people see your tweet. A hashtag is used to show what the post is about or related to, preceded by the pound sign (#books, #youngadult, etc.). Each hashtag has its own Twitter “address” so people interested in YA novels, for example, might simply visit #youngadult and look at all of the posts with this hashtag. Using multiple relevant hashtags, while not going overboard, is paramount to a successful Twitter presence. If you’re offering a Kindle deal for your book, be sure to add the hashtag #kindledeals, as many readers look there for inexpensive books.
Here are some relevant hashtags:
Reddit is an actionable community that is divided into convenient “subreddits,” prefaced by the letter “r.” This allows you to promote to a wide audience, such as r/books, or to a more specialized community, such as r/YAlit. Each page or “subreddit” is basically a chat space that focuses on a particular subject. Visitors can initiate a topic or simply respond to comments that others have posted. The more people who respond, the higher on the page that discussion goes. Here’s reddit’s description of itself: https://www.reddit.com/wiki/reddit_101
Make sure to look at the right sidebar on every subreddit you visit, where you’ll find related subreddits as well as the page rules. Some pages allow self-promotion; some strictly forbid it, and others have special times or threads for self-promotion.
While Facebook undoubtedly reaches more people, it does not allow for this sort of specialization. We’re offering a few suggestions on the site here, but once you start poking around, you’ll find plenty more threads to get involved with.
https://www.reddit.com/r/YAlit/ R/YAlit is one of the most popular young adult novel communities on Reddit. There are nearly 7,500 subscribers to this subreddit dedicated to everything young adult related.
https://www.reddit.com/r/YAwriters/ This is a subreddit for YA authors to share their writing, whether it is a work-in-progress or a completed piece. Suggestions, discussions, and critiques are welcome here.
https://www.reddit.com/r/books This is a community dedicated to lovers of the written word. It’s a good place to start on reddit in order to get a feel for the world of books on the site. While there are no direct promotions allowed on this page (remember: you can always see each subreddit’s rules on the right side their homepage), they do have a “new releases” section where you can promote your book. Here’s the link:
There are two rules for this group: 1. The books must have been published within the last three months, and 2. No direct sales links are allowed. You’ll see a number of options on the sidebar, including subreddits for: Authors, Writing, Genres, etc.
Pinterest is a site of virtual bulletin boards. Each board is theme-based. You can find boards on everything from bathroom remodels to Indian recipes to every kind of YA book imaginable.
Each board features images of the topic at hand; clicking on an image brings up more information. For example, on a book board, if you click on the image of a book jacket, that might take you to a review of the book or the author’s website, the book’s Amazon page and so on.
The site is used for sharing information, but too much self-promotion is frowned upon. So, when you set up your Pinterest board, you may want to set up a board devoted to a larger topic, such as self-published young adult fiction or favorite YA fantasy books, and allow others to share their titles with you. Join in the fun of creating interesting boards that not only will promote sales, but will also be fun and engaging to others.
In addition to creating your own boards, be sure to search out other boards where you can share your pins (your images) and connect with others in the YA community.
Here are a few that we like and share our pins with:
One last platform to consider when promoting online is Goodreads. Goodreads is a website owned by Amazon that allows individuals to freely search the extensive user-populated database of books, annotations, and reviews. Users can sign up and register books to generate library catalogs and reading lists. They can also create their own groups of book suggestions, surveys/polls, blogs, and discussions.
Below are some of our favorite YA groups on Goodreads. READ THE RULES BEFORE POSTING! Authors who only post promotions and do not participate in discourse in the community will be ejected.
https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/64233-addicted-to-ya Addicted to YA is a group for young adult book readers, filled with discussions that are open to new and old members.
https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/77596-crazy-for-young-adult-books This popular Goodreads group is intended for the discussion of YA books – self-promotion is acceptable as long as it is not excessive.
We hope you find these links helpful. They will certainly keep you busy for a while, but once you get involved with the social media world, you’ll find this is only the beginning. Next stop: Instagram, Snapchat, Vine…
Nadya is a student double-majoring in communication and visual arts at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. She is a marketing intern at Blueink Review.
BlueInk Review is a fee-based book review service devoted to self-published titles exclusively. For more news and writing and marketing tips, sign up for our mailing list. And be sure and visit us at https://www.blueinkreview.com.