The wave of authors coming forward for Children in Read has been fantastic! Well done to all of you, whether you are friends, fellow RNA members, PYA members or just Twitter or Facebook friends -a big thank you, and well done.
The Auction site goes live on September 1st, and Children in Need Day this year is November 13th. Books are accepted right up to the last few days before the 13th.
Apart from soliciting books and donating our own, what happens then? What else needs to e done?
In a word – Publicity!
When it comes to bidding to buy books, we have an advantage – as a lot donor it is very easy to check over all of the other lots and decide whose book we might like to bid on, but we aren’t the main target.
The main target is “the reading public”.
As authors, we know how hard it is to make contact with readers. Other writers and book bloggers form the largest part of our social media circle of friends, or so it seems. Actually making contact with READERS – i.e. book buyers, is an impenetrable secret.
So a few ideas for publicising the auction.
Goodreads. As authors I’m sure we’ve all found its just not possible to “monetize” Goodreads. However, I think I’ve found a way of making some decent contacts.
I’ve set up a Goodreads Event for the Auction, with the basic details in, and the start and finish for it. I did something similar for my book launch in Oct 2017. That event allowed me to invite 250 people. This time I was able to invite over 1800 people!
I expanded my Goodreads list of friends by inviting all my Twitter followers. You can find friends from Twitter, Facebook and Gmail. They all add up!
I went through all my Goodreads friends and sent invites to the event to all those with a UK address. Goodreads shows your friends country-of-residence. Also, rather than just Clicking “Invite” I used the handy box to include a Message.
“Its the annual Children n Read book auction for Children on Need.
For writers, A great cause, and a GREAT chance of exposure in a premier event! All is costs you is 1 book and UK postage for it.
For readers, you are contributing to one of the best-loved charities in the UK., and you are bidding for a unique item – a book specially signed and dedicated to you by an author you have chosen.”
Goodreads is a VERY static site. Very few people check their Goodreads page (as a reader) more than once every few days. Authors may check it much more often, especially when they are expecting reviews. The Auction doesn’t start for 5 weeks, though and runs for 2.5 MONTHS – so there is lots of time for people to look at their pages, and Goodreads DOES HAVE READERS subscribed.
Radio. The best way of getting to people though it via airtime. The BBC has 40 local radio stations, and it should not be beyond the wit of man to talk to the stations and get an interview and mention the auction – after all, its for Children in Need, a BBC event!
I would suggest that any of us who have a radio interview on ANY station, for local book programmes, interviews for new releases, etc. should make a point of mentioning the Auction, ESPECIALLY if we have a book in it. Even if you haven’t put a book of your own in the auction, it would be great to mention it, and keep the momentum going by “spreading the word”.
Children in Read only operates on Twitter at the moment. That’s great, up to a point, but it misses out on the largest amount of Social Media users. Twitter has 400 million users; Facebook has 2400 million! Instagram has 1000 million!
I’m not for a moment suggesting that the campaign needs to go out and set up Facebook Pages or Instagram accounts immediately. That’s a subject for future years, BUT….
Many of US use the other Social Media platforms, including Pinterest, Linkedin, etc. There is nothing to stop ANY of us retweeting/ reposting / sharing onto our own Facebook pages, etc. In fact, the campaign NEEDS us to do just that!
No donating author wants to see their book “left on the shelf” either, so there’s another reason for publicising it. The site doesn’t go live until September 1st, and we’ve then got 2.5 months until Children in Need Day.
Don’t forget to use hashtags for EVERYTHING! You might not search for them, but the public does, especially the younger public.
I came up with these. Feel free to copy and paste. The first two on almost EVERY type of message, the whole lot if you are posting on Instagram or Pinterest.
#bbcchildreninneed #charityauction #bookstagram #bookauction #author #authorsofinstagram #writingcommunity #books #charity #bbc
The other hashtag to use, if you have room, is the name of your book, i.e. #heartofstone
Pinterest has as many users as Twitter! Many of us use it as a picture repository. Good for sharing, though.
I’ve set up a Children in Read Board, and I’ll update it as necessary. All the pics have live links and hashtags.
Feel free to copy, use, share in any way you wish! Copy or share to your OWN Pinterest page.
As I write, we are up to 250 Authors, and they are STILL coming in!
Remember, too, that the site isn’t live until September 1st, so its only gentle publicity until then. We don’t want to have people wanting to bid before the site is open!
Your thoughts on publicity would be most welcome!
But – Fantastic so far!