When it comes to writing, publishing, and platform-building, I always advocate what I call “an experimental mindset.” Try something new everyday, and if one must fail, fail quickly and move on, learning from one’s mistakes. With an experimental mindset, any number of happy accidents become possible, like the discovery of penicillin, or the successful marketing of a book.
Keeping this principal of experimentation in mind, I took the advice of a colleague, Damyanti Biswas, who suggested that I should try Thunderclap to raise awareness of my next book launch, The Romance of Eowain.
Right now, you’re probably asking yourself, “What is Thunderclap?”
Thunderclap is a website that allows people to pledge to post a Tweet, Facebook message, or Tumblr post, all on a specific day—and at the exact same time—in order to achieve the maximum social media effect. Think of it as an online flash mob in support of my new book, The Romance of Eowain.
I’ve seen many other authors using Thunderclap, so when Damyanti suggested it (and she’s been in this blogging game a long time), I decided to go ahead and give it a whirl.
Setting up your Thunderclap
Preparing your first Thunderclap is surprisingly easy. Once you’ve signed up to the site (you can use your Twitter or Facebook account, which streamlines future log-ins), you just provide a little information about yourself:
- Organizer Name: This is you, the organizer. Pop your name in here. If you’re writing under a pseudonym, use that here, as this information is visible to the public and you want to keep your book branding consistent.
- Are you on Twitter? (optional): If you’re on Twitter, pop your Twitter handle in here.
- Who are you?: This is where you provide a brief 1-2 sentence biography of yourself. As with most “About Me” content, you should stay consistent, using your brand-building content to inform your audience about who you are, why you’re qualified to write a book, and what kind of book you’re pimping.
Next, you set up your specific Thunderclap campaign info.
- Title: You only have 30 characters with which to capture your audience’s attention, so keep it short, sweet, catchy, and relevant. If your book is a paranormal vampire romance, your title shouldn’t be “Cooking with the Stars,” if you see what I mean.
- Category: A Thunderclap campaign can be used to raise awareness about a variety of different kinds of things, from books to politics to the environment. For our purposes here, we’ll assume you want to raise awareness of your forthcoming book, so select “Book” from the drop-down menu.
- Message: This is what your supporters will share as part of your flash-mob-style event. You only have 116 characters here (less than a Twitter tweet), so make them count, and keep the message actionable.
- Message Link: If you want the message your supporters share to be actionable, you have to provide a target destination for that action. “Buy now” messages should be accompanied by a buy link, where the audience can purchase your book. “Sign up” messages should have a link to your mailing list sign-up form, and so on.
- Choose an End Date: This is the time, date, and time-zone on which all your supporters will simultaneously unleash your Thunderclap upon the world.
- Supporter Goal: For the Thunderclap to be unleashed, you have to achieve a minimum level of support. For your first one, if you have a smallish network, you might want to start off small (100 supporters). As you grow your influence online, you can probably support much larger goal targets (250 and 500 supporters). Keep in mind that if you don’t build the minimum number of supporters, your Thunderclap won’t go off.
- Campaign Photo: Use this feature to upload a book cover shot or any other relevant imagery for your campaign.
- Edit Your Story: This is where you add a paragraph or two to explain what it is you’re asking people to support and what kind of benefit you hope to achieve with their support.
- Email: This is to let Thunderclap keep in touch with you on the progress of your campaign.
Once you’ve filled in all of the relevant information, click on “Create & Continue” to see what other options are available (for a price), or to confirm your free “Spark” level campaign. Allow three days for Thunderclap to approve your campaign, and you’re good to go!
Promoting Your Campaign
Thunderclap then offers you a number of support articles to help you promote your campaign to friends, family, followers, and fans. For each supporter who signs up, the social media reach of your message is multiplied by the size of your supporters’ following. You can use Twitter, Facebook, GooglePlus, Pinterest, YouTube, Blogs, and Email blasts to spread the word and attract supporters for your cause!
This can be a highly effective method of engaging your audience and recruiting them to participate in your own success!
Support The Romance of Eowain Thunderclap
As of press-time, there are just THREE MORE DAYS to support The Romance of Eowain Thunderclap, so take a few minutes and try it out from the user’s perspective to get an idea of how it works and what kind of power you can bring to your next major social media event.
Click on this link and choose either “Support with Twitter” or “Support with Facebook” or “Support with Tumblr”—or choose all three!
Then just add your name to the Thunderclap campaign and on 5 July, everyone that’s signed up will automatically post a message in support of The Romance of Eowain on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.
With your help, on 5 July, thousands of people across the country and all over the world will hear about The Romance of Eowain, the exciting new installment in the Matter of Manred Saga.
What big ideas for your book marketing and platform-building have you experimented with? Let us know in the comments!