So you’ve written the next great American novel . You’re about to be published soon and you want to start building some buzz for your book. But how do you go about it? What is buzz anyway? What if you’re an indie author?
Building buzz is probably one of the hardest things to do as a publicist or soon-to-published author. Although there are several definitions of the word “buzz” floating around, I usually describe it as:
An acute period of increased and noticeable public interest in a person or topic
After more than 2 years running Best Damn, I have noticed a pattern among the buzz campaigns that work and those that don’t. Below, I’ve outlined 10 buzz secrets that I think any writer or publicist should know.
Secret #1: 99% of internet ”buzz” is planned
Unless something is a “viral video” (and not even then really) all of buzz that you see online is planned. Meticulously. By publicists. Months and months in advance. It is not a coincidence that there are 19 news stories about Britney Spears during the same week her album is going to drop. It is also not a coincidence that celebrities dye their hair, do interviews and appear on billions of magazine covers during (or close to) the time that something important is about to happen.
Now of course, as a writer, this does not mean that you have to be obnoxious to build buzz about your book. But what it does mean is that you need to do something besides just launching your book. Donate a few copies to a worthy cause. Align your release date with an important holiday or event. Read your book aloud at a circus. Team up with other writers and make a funny video. Take lots of pictures. Plan to do something and tell people about it.
Secret #2: 99% of buzz campaigns succeed because of timing
As Benjamin Franklin once said, “the purpose of time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” And this adage could not be more true when it comes to properly executing a publicity campaign. One of the biggest mistakes writers make is only promoting their book on launch day. And while I realize that this presents obvious advantages, especially for Amazon rankings, it is also extremely counter-intuitive.
Buzz happens naturally (or atleast, it’s supposed to look like it happens naturally). Having people notice or talk about you for just one day is pointless in the long run. Buzz building is a gradual process, and should happen over a period of weeks as more people begin to cover you. When designing a campaign, it is very important that your media coverage builds in a way that seems logical. This means that the ideal coverage should go from smaller outlets to larger outlets. Of course, this may seem like a challenging thing to organize. And it is. Which is why you have to plan (see secret #1). Most bloggers are actually pretty open to working with you on a multi-story campaign if you give them enough lead time.