How to Build Buzz for Your Debut Novel

You’ve written a novel that’s been published — traditional, small press, or indie — HOORAY! And you launched. Now you’re watching the sales numbers and offering to do blog tours and readings. What else? How to build buzz for your debut novel? You look at author websites and see pitches for freebies and long lists of books. You see bestseller list mentions, excruciatingly gorgeous blurbs from famous authors, and you might feel a little perplexed as to how to promote your single, debut novel lacking those supports.

Build Buzz? A Catch-22

It can be a Catch-22 for debut authors. You can’t get on Bookbub unless your book is already selling well. You can’t get on a bestseller list as an unknown without a major publisher  swinging some weight behind your debut. You’ve heard that the first few months of a book’s debut can make or break its success, but you’re counting on a slow build. So what’s a debut author to do?

  • I have a two-word answer: LITERARY FRIENDS. Make literary friends. Make lots of them. Join groups. There’s power in groups! Become part of the writing community and contribute to the conversation, however you best can. It’s fine to be a newbie and simply be in a group and appreciate others’ wisdom. I’ve joined quite a number of authors and writer groups, and I love being part of them, but especially these:
    Women’s Fiction Writers Association
    Authors18 – Novelists with Debut books publishing in 2018
    National Novel Writing Month

Build Buzz Through Groups

In my Authors18 group, we support each other’s book launches, promotional posts, book tours, events, and reviews. It’s a group of dedicated, supportive, and fun writers who are all excited and suffering over their first novels being published. This is not a journey to take alone! If you’re going to have a debut novel published in 2019, a group is already forming. And look for more groups of this kind. The social media book buzz alone is worth it!

My Women’s Fiction Writers’ Association is a true tribe. We write on similar themes, range from writers seeking publication of a first novel to novelists with many books to their credit. And that makes the conversation fascinating and diverse. We have several Facebook WFWA member groups, some focused on craft, some on publishing, and some on writing every day. Like NaNoWroMo, it can give you the experience of being surrounded by fellow writers who are friends and fans, who will see you through the dark days, help build your buzz, and cheer you on.

Build Buzz Through Promotions

Gifts of Writing - Author Rachel Dacus's Giveaways

The best ebook promotions, paid & unpaid

Reedsy’s Free & Paid Book Promotion Services

Basics of Building an Author Platform

From Publishers Weekly, great basic tips

Build a Base, Reach Influencers, Team Up & More

More on paid promotions in another post. For now, build your book  buzz in good company of other writers, book reviewers, and readers! And let me know if you have tips on this. I’m still learning!