Building the Buzz: Day 15 Friends and Family

We've all seen the books on Amazon with a few 5-star reviews that all start out "I may be biased since I'm your aunt, but I love every word of this book!". While this is generally an eye-roll kind of moment, you can't discredit the role friends and family play in promoting your book.

You probably know a lot of people. Even the most introverted among us have a larger bank of acquaintances than we realize. No matter how loose the connection, each one of those people is a potential reader, but no if you don't reach out to them.

The first step in contacting your friends and family is to make a list. A great big giant list. Go back as far as you can and try to think of everyone you know. Good places to start your brain going is your Facebook friends list, email contacts  folder and your linked in account. I'm a big fan of linked in for this task since you can see not only the people you've connected with, but also the people your connections have connect with. This can be great for jogging the memory.

As you make your list try to categorize people. Is this a friend from high school, a co-worker from an old job, a friend of your parents (yep, they totally get added to the list)? Walk yourself mentally through an average week. Who do you see, talk to, run into at the grocery store? All these people belong on your list.

Now that you've got a list, you need to figure out the best way to contact them. Email is best, but you might not have email contacts for everyone. Think of the other ways you can reach out. Maybe a message on FB or Linked in. Maybe you only see this group face to face and can give them a card.

Once you've got a segregated list with contact methods, it's time to start sending the message. Here are a few tips:

1. Remind this group how they know you. Maybe it's a brief hello friends from the graduating class of 'xx. Or Hi, I'm so and so's daughter. Unless this is a group of people you are frequently in contact with, they will need a reminder for who you are.
2. Keep it brief. Think a paragraph or two. You aren't trying to sell a book here, only let them know you have a book. The tone of your message should be about sharing your good news with them, not selling them your book.
3. Invite them to join your mailing list and provide a direct link. Let then know you won't be filling up their inbox with messages, but if they would like to be kept up to date on your books they can join the mailing list. Do NOT automatically add someone from your contact list to your mailing list. This is tacky and goes against policy for all the major list hosting companies.
4. Provide links to your website and a direct link to your book on Amazon, but don't make a big deal out of these. Including them in your signature line is sufficient.

This is a one and done promotion tactic, but it can be very effective. Everyone likes the idea of knowing someone "famous". Remember that while the process of publishing a book is a long, arduous trial of errors to us, the general population sees it as a magical process. The minute you self-identify as an author, your non-publishing friends start picturing you as the next JK Rowling. Use that to your advantage and spread the word.

Today's task, get that list started and see how many names you can come up with by Friday.