Posted by Kim Law Feb 11 2013, 12:01 am in Facebook, goodreads, promo, social media, Twitter
Book promo…author promo…just jab a needle in my eye and make it stop
OK, maybe it’s not quite that bad, but promo is a necessary evil, right? We all have to do it! And who of use really likes it? I would venture to guess, very few of us. So…since it’s likely very few people’s favorite part of the job (possibly NO ONE’S favorite part of the job), I would like to know What Really Works?
I’m sure you would, too!
So first, I’m not here with the answers. *snort* NO ANSWERS!!!! I’m way too new at all this to really know what does and does not work, but I have formed some opinions, seen some results first hand, come up with many more things to think about, and I’ve asked Rubies for their own thoughts on the subject, too. I’ve also listened and observed a lot over the years.
With that being said, I’ve tried several things over the last few months (and thought even more about many of the things I have yet to try), and thought I would simply start a list of promo suggestions, along with random thoughts and opinions (from me, what I’ve heard, or from another Ruby if she shared her thoughts with me.)
This is by no means a complete list, but hopefully it’s a good start. I’d love to hear your feedback on these ideas, or others I’ve missed. Maybe together we can come up with something cohesive to help all of us out just a little bit.
Two more things before I get started…
1) The biggest thing I’ve learned so far (my opinion, of course), is that you are selling YOURSELF more than anything. If you can make a personal connection with readers, then they’re going to come back to you. Even if they aren’t your readers to begin with. No one likes having promo thrown at them over and over again, but people DO like making connections. And getting to know us “elusive” authors. So when out there promoting your latest book, I urge you to always keep that in mind. Go out there to make a connection, not to sell a book. Do the one, and I firmly believe the other will follow.
2) The more people see your name, the more they will remember your name. And though doing any one thing may not make you a sale, I also believe that doing enough things, getting your name out there enough, will eventually result in sales.
Of course, you also have to write a darned good book!
OK…to the list…
- Author page or personal page? Too risky data wise to use at all, or willing to give it a try?
- There are many, MANY opinions on these two topics, and you’ll have to decide these things on your own. But for me, I use it, and I have both an author page and a personal page.
- I would like to keep them separate, but I’ve seen that’s pretty impossible. However, I do try to encourage the author page, and I am working at putting more and more of “me” on my author page so that people get to know me there. I do post about my book news, but I try hard to also just put stuff about me out there. It’s a work in progress, for sure.
- If using an author page:
- You can promote posts – this can be to your followers, or your followers and their friends. Cost is minimal ($5/$10), and it runs for three days. When I did this, it seemed to get a lot of exposure for me, and I got quite a few new likes. It was during the first week of a release, and sales were fairly good that week. I have no idea if this helped. However, I will use it again, for the exposure, if nothing else.
- Place ads (that run in the sidebar) – you can filter who sees it, run for as long as you’d like, pay as much as you’d like. Amanda Brice shared the following thoughts:
- She feels it works best if you really target it narrowly. Don’t show it to all women ages 18+. And don’t just show it to people who have “liked” romance novels. That’s basically just a raindrop falling in the ocean.
- Show it to people who have “liked” certain big name authors who are similar to you. Writer Navy Seals? Show it to Suzanne Brockman’s fans. Regency romance? Julia Quinn or Eloisa James’ fans. Teen mysteries? Ally Carter’s fans.
- Is there a particular theme or feeling in your book that’s similar to a recent or popular TV show or movie? Show the ad to their fans. Amanda shows her ads to fans of Bunheads, Dance Academy, and So You Think You Can Dance.
- I have also run ads, both to promote a website contest and to promote myself with the goal of getting likes.
- For getting likes, it worked well for me
- For contest entries…I did get some, but I felt more people “liked” my page, thinking that was entering them in the contest. I suspect they didn’t full read the ad, just clicked over and liked my page. I did get a lot of likes this way.
- Post links, pictures, status only. Depending on what you are putting in your posts, you will have more or less visibility to your followers. Kristen Lamb did a blog post on this recently. I would highly encourage reading that.
- Contest giveaways – beware the FB rules on doing contests. I’m not savvy on all of them, but am aware that anything has to be clear that it is not sponsored, endorsed, or administered by FB. I’ve done quick contests to giveaway books, etc. I do this via a single post. Leave a comment for a chance to win… I feel these are great! People love free stuff, especially without having to work hard to get it! And occasionally tossing a freebie out there keeps people looking at my page.
- Getting others to share you posts – this is something I feel we all should be doing to help others out (to get our names in front of new people), but I’m also not comfortable asking people to do it. I, however, do try to share contests, exciting book releases, and just interesting things about other authors that I love, as much as I can. Again, it gives me something fun to share with my followers, but is also doing a good deed for my fellow authors at the same time. Give back! Believe in good karma
- First…do not tweet promo only! I think pretty much everyone has this opinion.
- There are several “rules” out there about how many promo tweets to non-promo tweets to shoot for. It’s heavily slanted for non-promo. Trust me. Heavily slanted! Ask your publisher or people who seem to do well on twitter what the “rules” are. You’ll be surprised at how little true promo needs to be done to get people to enjoy having you in their feed.
- People will quit following others when all they see are promo tweets! I know I skip right past them all the time.
- Links in tweets
- I do not want to always click on a link to see what you have to say!!! Completely my opinion, but I hate constant links in my twitter feed. Twitter was created with minimal character allowed for a purpose!
- Tamara Hogan says…A great sense of humor will get people to click through to links. I do agree, but if all your tweets are links, I’m still going to ignore you J
- You can get lots of new followers for something totally non-writer related. Tamara Hogan recently experienced this with the Super Bowl blackout. Just get out there and have fun! Do not join twitter simply to beg people to buy your book!
- I’ve also noticed that almost all of my followers are other writers.
- With that said, I know there are readers out there on twitter, and they can be rabid fans. If they love something, they’ll shout it from the twitter rooftops!
- Though writers are readers, I often don’t feel I’m reaching my target audience, so I’ve not really done a lot on twitter. I’m very sporadic. But I’m eventually going to come up with a workable plan and try harder!
- I’d love to know from others who have a lot of readers following and interacting with them on twitter, what have you done to make that happen? Do you feel you’re effectively getting your name out there? Making more sales from your twitter use?
- Books giveaways – people love giveaways, so you are likely to get a lot of exposure simply from running a giveaway on goodreads.
- Be warned, though, that just because you give away a book, does not guarantee you a review. Be okay with that, or don’t give the book away.
- Additionally, you might get a review, but since people like to sign up for giveaways, it might be from a reader who really isn’t your target audience. Thus, the review might be poor simply just because it wasn’t their thing. Again, be okay with this, or don’t give the book away.
- I do feel goodreads giveaway is good exposure, I have given several books away, and I will continue to do so.
- Goodreads blog posts
- You have your own blog on goodreads, and can link your personal blog to show up there, too. I have very limited experience with this, and haven’t done a lot of research to determine if there are authors doing this successfully, but my impression is that there may be better ways to spend your time.
- Author chats – I sat in a goodreads workshop at RWA last year, and discovered that you could do author chats on goodreads, but I have 0 knowledge or experience.
- Groups – there are groups out there for everything imaginable. And you can set up your own group. I’ve poked around a little, but have essentially no experience. Only poked around after the goodreads workshop that I mentioned in the last point.
Other social media – Are there any other sites anyone would recommend? I know there is pinterest, but I’ve not used it. Seems like there’s another that’s becoming larger, but I’m drawing a blank. I personally don’t have time to devote to another social media outlet, but I’m sure there are authors having good experience with other sites. Please share, if that’s you. I’d love to learn about it!
OK…you know what? This is the kind of post that can’t be finished in one post. So let’s stop here and have a social media discussion. I’ll pull more of my promo thoughts out for another post in the very near future. Maybe eventually we’ll have that list I was striving for.
So what do you use in social media? What works? Do you see a surge in sales? More likes? More follows? Are you able to connect with readers this way? Do you disagree with any of my above opnions? Tell me your thoughts! I love to hear them.