Thursday, August 06, 2020

Getting the Word Out About Your Book Release

By Sherry Howard, @SherLHoward

Part of The Writer's Life Series

JH: Book releases have gone online for 2020, and getting the word out about your new book requires a slightly different strategy. Sherry Howard shares an overview (and a few tips) on where you can share your good news.

Sherry Howard lives with her children and silly dogs in Middletown, Kentucky. Sherry is the author of the picture book ROCK AND ROLL WOODS, with a starred Kirkus review. Her poems and stories have appeared in multiple journals and anthologies. She also writes for the educational market, with about a dozen books. Her middle grade book, SPIRITS AMONG US, releases in October.

Sherry Howard | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Take it away Sherry...

Hi, all! By now our world conditions have settled in to a dark reality. Still, we write—maybe even more than we did. We read—maybe even more than we did. And we struggle with being authors during a pandemic.

I’m having a big struggle right now, with a middle grade book releasing in October. I expect release activity and book birth will all be digital. I’m not expecting any miraculous intervention that allows conferences and festivals to meet in person. A book release feels unimportant on the grand scale. Still, it’s here. I’m proud of the book! I’m proud of the publisher, Reycraft, which publishes a lot of underrepresented populations.

But, putting aside my tremors at the timing, I’ll still do all I can to get the word out. And that’s the meat of this blog post. Since it’s my second book—but different audience since the first was a picture book—I’m a lot more comfortable sharing my story with people, (Side note: let’s be real—I changed that from "pushing my story at!"). It’s a reality for all authors, I think. If you’re an incredibly shy author, I feel for you. Because you will have to become a little bit public.

So, what do you do to announce a release, and get ready for it as much as possible? How do you let people know without becoming obnoxious?

Answer: Start long before a book is released.

If you’re an author, it’s great to have at least one social media presence that’s strong. I see the social media I use as very different areas of interaction. I seldom use the same post on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. I seldom use a hundred hashtags. I try to keep my interactions responsive and steady, and fairly unique to the platform. Key, word: TRY!


Facebook is nice for links and long, familiar posts. It’s nice to tag friends when appropriate. The groups on Facebook are amazing! I don’t have the same number of followers on Facebook as I do Twitter, but I feel genuine support and friendship there.

(Here's more on Choosing the Right Social Media Site for You and Your Readers)


To be honest, I’m there for “thereallesliejordan” and “therealIndiandad” with Sheena Melwani. I use Instagram more for fun than for marketing. But it’s a great visual platform, and it’s always a surprise to see what engages people. My posts are more personal than about books, but I’ll post occasionally about a book.

(Here's more on 10 Ideas for Social Media Posts)


Twitter is where I sort of cut my teeth with social media. I loved all of the early pitch contents, like Pitch Wars. I love the variety of what you see on that platform. I avoid political posts—you know what I mean. Twitter is a great place to get acquainted with teachers and librarians. There are #chats for almost anything you want to chat about.

(Here's more on 3 Elements of Every Successful Social Media Post)


Just as I was getting ready to send this, my friend reminded me of Pinterest. It looks like great fun, but I stopped before I ever got very far with it. When you release a book, and keep writing, the time flies. Keep it in mind as great way to reach the young parents.

(Here's more on Five Tips for Increasing Sales Through Social Media (NSFW))

Blog Hops

Another really fun thing to do leading up to a release is a blog hop. I struggled when scheduling one last time. This time I’m more prepared. I’ve made a composite sheet about the book that I can send along with an email if the blog doesn’t belong to someone I know personally. Don’t worry too much if the blog itself doesn’t have a huge following. It’s great when it does, but you can still elevate it on social media.

Some advice about visiting blogs: don’t over-schedule them. I’ll probably try to do around two a month in the few months leading up to release. Each blogger typically asks you questions. It’s a lot more fun to individualize your answers where possible. And that takes some effort. And time. Some publishers have publicists who are able to get you on the bigger blogs, but that’s typically harder for an author to do on their own.

Podcasts are also a great way to share your excitement with an audience. Yes, you might be a little nervous, but most podcasters start off-line to get you comfortable.

(Here's more on Guest Blogging Builds Platform and Sells Books: 5 Tips For Landing Guest Blogging Spots.)

This little overview tells you where I’ll be before my October release! Maybe it will help you if you have a release coming up. I wish someone had told me all of this a few years ago, or told me and then answered the million questions I had. I got a lot of advice through classes. I won’t put in the time to do what most of the classes I took would require. I’d rather spend my time writing!

If you find me on social media, I’m always happy to chat. I apologize, but I’m maxed out with Twitter follows right now, so I may not be able to follow right back, but tag me there if you have a question.

What are your favorite social media platforms? Where do you hear about new books?

About Rock and Roll Woods

Kuda is a bit of a grump who doesn't like change. So when he wakes up to find new neighbors and loud, strange noises in his woods, he is not happy. Will his desire to be with his friends overcome his objections to loud sounds? And might Kuda's courage help him discover that new things and rock and roll music can be pretty great? Featuring helpful backmatter about Sensory Integration and insider jokes for parents with autistic kids.

Amazon Barnes & Noble | Indie Bound |


  1. Sherry Howard, thank you for the excellent advice and Information!

  2. Thank you! Very timely for me as I'm releasing two titles in three formats each.

    1. Wow, Janice! That’s a lot! Hope you have a way to streamline!