If you are in the business of trying to sell or promote books, you need to be using hashtags with every promotional tweet and post on FB, G+, Pinterest and blog.
What is a Hashtag?
It is hard enough build a platform and be heard among all the noise out there on social media sites and be recognized over competition. These days it seems as if there are more authors than there are readers. Lets face it, readers only have so much time to read between working, raising a family, and living. I don't know a reader who has time to read all the books he/she would like to read. These readers have to pick and choose due to finances and time. That means some books and authors won't be read as often as others. You can increase your chances of appealing to readers searching for books like the ones you write by using hashtags and beat out some of your competition who may not be using hashtags.
How to Use Hashtags
1) Whenever posting a blog, put the hashtags above the first line of text or somewhere in the first sentence. You should do this because whenever that blog post is shared on a social media site, it pulls the title of the blog post and the first line of text. Notice how I have done this with #hashtags and #socialmedia at the beginning of this blog post. It may look weird at first, but it works.
2) Be sure to register your personal hashtags. While you cannot buy or own a hashtag like you can a domain name, you can register it with Twubs.com or Hashtag.org so you have better control and management of your personal hashtag related to your books or you. Personally, I prefer Twubs since it is free and easy to use. You can register a hashtag to represent your author name and/or each individual book you write or even a series. This will help you keep up with the flow of responses and discussions around your books during new book launches. Here is an example of a hashtag I created for my #HighlandSanctuary book launch.
3) Be aware of common author related hashtags and use them. While it is a great idea to create and register your own hashtags, be aware of some common hashtags that will bring readers to your blogs and social media sites. For instance, each time I post about a book on the CFBA Blog Tour, I include the hashtags #christianfiction and #christianromance. Here are a few examples. This way I am able to promote other authors' books, but at the same time, they may come to my website and discover my books as well. For a list of hashtags related to authors, writing and books, click here.
4) Use the #SampleSunday or #TeaserTuseday hashtags to post short excerpts to introduce your work to new readers. The Sample Sunday idea originally came from David Wisehart, but it has taken off with other authors and since then Sharon Rose created a Sample Sunday Facebook page. You can read more about the idea here. Some authors post first chapters to promote their books. Why not take it a step further and post sentences or paragraphs each Sunday or Tuesday, leading up to and through a book launch for the first chapter?
Are you using hashtags? Have you ever registered a hashtag? What are your thoughts about these ideas?