Rising to the Top by Helping Others

In honor of Promo Day 2014 run by Jo Linsdell I have decided to share with you my presentation from last year:


It is my hope that this will help you increase your reader base, promote your brands, and help you engage with your fans all while striving to help others. Helping others is a major key in this promotional strategy.

A month or two after founding the facebook group ‘Where Writers And Authors Meet’ we came up with a problem. How could we market our books without yelling ‘BUY this’ at our readers? I set out on a mission to figure out more ways for us promote to our readers while engaging them in our content. During my research I realized that even if we did find ways to get our readers to interact with us we were still only reaching the people that were already on our friends list. This would not do.

In order to give your book the maximum amount of visibility it is important to expand your reach. Sound hard? If you help out your fellow writers it doesn’t have to be. Many writers have long held onto the illusion that if they help someone else than they will be giving away their audience and no one will buy their books. I’m here to tell you it is because I have worked hard to help others that I am where I am today!

When I started supporting other people’s give away events more people hopped on board to help me with my own release event. People who I have helped on their book tours have helped me on mine, even if it is only to share the events with their own viewers. Most signed on be hosts during my tour. It is amazing how much you can learn and accomplish if you get a group together willing to share what they know.

This is human nature, we want to help just as much as we want to be helped. We want to trust each other. There is no competition. Books are being finished by readers every day and they are always hungry for new books! The more we help each other the wider our reach will become. Read on to the following sections to find out just how you can help your fellow authors and grow your platform in return!

After each section there will be a mini quest for you to try out. We would love to hear how each quest went for you, come back and report on your experience!

Section 1

Building Your Platform

Get involved in your social networks. You can find groups on twitter using hashtags, but the most popular are groups on facebook and Google+. Do you perhaps think that you are too busy on social media to be involved in a group? I’d suggest that you join at least one just in case.

A writers group can be a great resource and support network. If you have questions about the writing process, or perhaps you have hit a plot issue; in a good writers group your colleagues will be willing to help and may even offer some good suggestions. Perhaps you have run out of promotional and marketing ideas. Let your group know what you have to work with and what you have tried so far, they may be able to help.

You will want to find a writer or author group that is non judgmental, supportive, and helpful. It may also be helpful to find one with people from a variety of experiences in the publishing world. Self published authors, ‘traditionally published’ authors, and even bloggers will all have something useful to share. Interact, make friends, ask questions, share your journey, and even post interesting writing articles you come across. Get to know your group members and offer to share your skills or expertise where you can. Chances are, if you help people they will be more likely to want to help you when you need it.

If you would like, you can always come join us on facebook in ‘Where Writers And Authors Meet’. We would love to meet you!

When you finally get a publishing date set for your book, right then is the time to start asking your group if anyone would be interested in being a host on a virtual book tour. See section 2.

Quest: Find and join a writers group. Post a short bio to introduce yourself.

(optional:) Ask a question. Come tell us here in the comments about your experience. Did you ask a question? What question did you ask?

Section 2:

Virtual Book Tours- using Pinterest

A Virtual Book tour can be helpful to both you and your host. It generates fresh content and exposes your readers and theirs to new authors they may not have heard of. Some of the things that can be done in a virtual book tour are interviews, guestposts, spotlights, reviews, and give aways. But I’m not here to talk about virtual book tours. I’m here to show you how you can use them to help your friends, grow your platform, and gain interaction from your fans.

First step to this is to make sure you announce each tour stop on your own blog and on your social media sites. But your benefits do not end there. Create a pinterest board and pin authors pictures, book covers, or posters and add links to the reviews, interviews, and spotlights. You can even have a separate board for guest posts. These pins can be from posts that you have enjoyed or found helpful. This helps spread your information and your host’s information.

The more your stops are shared the higher the chances of google indexing the stops. More sharing equals more traffic. If you are hosting another author- the more you share their posts from your blog will increase the chances of traffic finding your own stuff as well!

Quest: Create a pinterest board. Pin some guest posts, reviews, spotlights, or interviews and don’t forget to add the link to the posts!

Section 3:

Quote Pictures

Quote pictures, everyone loves them! You see them all over social media. Want a fun way to build interaction with your fans as well as some marketing exposure for your book? Create some Book Quote Pictures! Pick a quote from your book, or even a fellow author’s book that you would like to help support. It is best to pick a quote that can even relate to people who have not read the book yet. Using your own artwork, public domain images, or even sites like Quozio.com make sure your background sets the right feeling for your book and your quote. Upload it to Pinterest, facebook, and google+. Also, don’t forget to upload it to your blog and write a little about the book and why you chose that book, then share the blog post.

Leave a word or two about where readers can find the book: On Amazon, On B&N, or wherever books are sold. You can also make a QR code to paste into the corner that will lead the viewer right to the author’s website to find out more about their book. QR codes can be read by most, if not all, smartphones.

When you create original pieces like this for your own books you give your readers a chance to share about your book without becoming salesman drones. Instead of a “Buy this book now!” message, you are equipping your readers to send a “This is cool!” message on their social media. Posts like these gain more interaction than “Buy it now!” posts and this is what we should be encouraging!

When you create quote pictures for other author’s books, not only are you helping them out, you are also keeping your own content fresh! You letting all of your fans and the other author’s fans know that you liked that book enough to frame a quote from it!

For some examples of book quote pictures you can visit my pinterest board here: http://pinterest.com/vljennings/book-quotes/

Quest: Create a book quote or book review picture, post it on pinterest, your blog, and other social media sites. Come back and let us know where we can find your picture so we can share it too!

Section 4:


Reviews are a writers most sought after promotional tool. We all love to see our fans enjoy our work and telling others that they enjoy our work. Before your book is published and while you are building your author platform you will need material to keep your blog, website, and social feeds fresh and interesting. A good way to do this is by reviewing other books that are in the same ballpark as your books. No one is calling you to be a grammar or spelling nazi, just tell us as a fellow (insert genre) reader what you liked or disliked about the story.

You can start with books off of your own shelf. However your fellow authors may be more likely to return the favor if you help them by reviewing their books. In your writers group let them know what type of books you would be interested in reviewing. Make a special section on your blog just for reviews. When you post a review on your blog consider posting a picture of the book, your review, and a buy link at the minimum. Remember to share this review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, Shelfari and your social media.

You could also do a post called an author spotlight which features the author’s photo and book cover with the author bio and about the book blurb. Add in their website links or social networking links along with their buy links. With the author’s permission you might be able to add a short excerpt to grab the audiences attention. Keep a look out for writers in your genre that are releasing their books and looking for hosts for virtual book tours. These authors may be willing to reciprocate as hosts for your own virtual tour when you release your book.

Quest part 1: Put out a request on your social network or in your writers group stating what types of books you would be interested in reviewing. Pick one to review- come back and let us know which author/book you have decided to start reading.

Quest part 2: If you have digital copies of your book- send out a notice on your social network or your writers group letting them know that you would be willing to send them a free copy if they would be interested in reviewing your book.

Section 5:


Events are another great way you can help yourself and your fellow authors. You can create one either for your own book release or to support another author. Invite your friends and friends of the author you are supporting. You can ask people to donate prizes or free books (which will bring more participation) or just play games for fun. Be mindful of the terms of service for social media sites though.

The easiest way to get started with events is to host one on your blog. Pick a few authors from your friends list or from your writers group and ask them if they would be interested in donating to an event you are hosting. In your event or blog post be sure to introduce the authors who are donating as well as what the prizes are. Tell what the rules are and then invite people to come have some fun.

You can use rafflecopter (www.rafflecopter.com) for a simple way to collect page likes or tweet counts. All the names will be collected and chosen at random for your prizes. Remember to share the news about this event before it starts and during the games. Also remember to publicly share and thank the authors who donated!

Alternatively you can post a game directly on your blog post. Perhaps you would like to start with a ‘caption this’ game? Participants can comment on what they think the caption should be and depending on the options of your blogging system you could have people vote on their favorite captions or you could choose a winner at random.


Quest: invite a few authors to donate to an event on your blog. Come back and let us know who you have chosen to support, when and where your event will be!

Quest 2: Are you already participating or donating in an event? Share the news about it with us and on your social network!

Section 6

Social Ladders

fan page friday

Fan Page Ladders are another great way to build your network and support your friends by allowing them to share their businesses or fan pages too!

Post a status update to your social network telling everyone to comment with their page links. Ask them to like or follow your page in return. You can do this on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ , and anywhere else that allows you to follow other people’s social profiles. When people post their links remember to return the favor!

***I’d like to take this moment to add that you shouldn’t make people feel like they are obligated to like everyone in the thread or make it mandatory that they like a certain list of pages before adding their own link. This turns people away. Instead people should be encouraged to search through the list to like pages that they are really interested in.***

Quest: Create a social ladder on one of your social network profiles. Come back and share how many new followers you gained.

Section 7

Create a Circle (by genre – share each others stuff)

This section is probably by far the most important. Keeping your social media wall fresh and interesting will keep your audience coming back to check on your page. None of us can find cool posts to share all by ourselves. By developing a circle of writers who share your genre not only will you be the first to know when they send out updates looking for promotional support, but you will also be able to share any fun articles or pictures that they post as well.

Join a smart list (on facebook) based on what your audience likes to read. For example, if you write kids books than your audience is probably thinking you will post things about kids books or perhaps even creative things for them to do with their kids.

here’s how it works…

In your about section… is a place where you add your jobs. Same place you might add Best Buy as a job. There you might also add… Writer, or Novelist (or for me Science Fiction Writer) as a job. When you are adding a ‘job’ the company one is the best one to add. Reason being- it shows a list of people at the bottom who are also ’employed’ at ‘writer’- so you can add others who ‘work where you work’.

Then when you are looking at your newsfeed there is a place called ‘Friends’ with little briefcases. Click on more to find the job you just added and if there are any other writers out there IN YOUR FRIENDS LIST who have also added- Writer- for example… then your feeds will all show up there. You can now keep up with your fellow ‘writer’s since you all work together

Also… if you go back to your about section and right click on ‘writer’ for example. You will be brought to a page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Writer/107507365936659

Which also lists at the bottom all the people you ‘WORK with’ so you can add some.

On other social media sites you can create a group, circle, or use hashtags to gather your fellow writers!

Invite friends to your list or group who post what your audience likes to read. Let your friends know that you will share their stuff if they share yours! Above all, participate!

Don’t neglect your group. Remember to stop by and pick out new things to share. Also remember to share some posts, how to articles, or pictures that you have found as well.

Quest: Find a few wriers or authors in your social networks that you would like to help support. Give them a public shout out to let others know about them. Consider offering them your support. Come tell us about your experience.

Quest Part 2: Join a list on facebook by adding a new job to your about section. Some suggestions are: Author, Writer, Poet – or add your genre to be more specific: Science Fiction Writer, Childrens Book Writer, Paranormal Writer…

***** I’d also like to take this moment to add- now is a great time to add your author page to your list of jobs. Type in your author page name into your jobs under your about section on your profile. Once it is added you can add your bio and website link here too so that your info can be easily found at the top of your facebook profile about page!***** More info on this can be found here: How to properly link your pages to your profile  and here: Author’s Toolbox- how to set up author pages

for promoday

That was the last of it! Feel free to continue the quests by sharing with us in the comments! I really enjoyed presenting at last years Promo Day and I am super excited about presenting again at this years Promo Day.

Come on over and join us, set the date!




Author, Blogger, and illustrator with PDMI Publishing Llc. V.L. Jennings' Blog (Speculating Among The Stars) can be found here: www.virginialorijennings.com I am the author of two science fiction books called "The Alien Mind" and "Visionary from the Stars". I love to write and I have been doing so since the sixth grade. I was born in April 1987 in the state of New Hampshire; I was Home Schooled from seventh grade and graduated at 16 with a GED. I now live with my husband and three children in Dillon, South Carolina. You can find me on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Shelfari, Linkedin, and Pinterest. I love connecting with people! I am readily to answer questions and offer advice and support to new writers.

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Posted in Writers Tips
3 comments on “Rising to the Top by Helping Others
  1. Thanks for this insight Berry helpful for a new author happy writing

  2. Jo Linsdell says:

    All these fab presentations are one of the highlights of the Promo Day event. Thanks for being part of it all again this year Virginia. I’m looking forward to picking up some new ideas in your piece about author events.

    • Last year I was actually trying to simultaneously juggle a trip to an amusement park with my family and Promo Day at the same time (due to a scheduling mistake) and I STILL had a blast! I learned a ton and met some really cool people!

      This year I plan on staying home so I can participate through the comfort of my computer rather than an itty bitty smart phone lol!

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