Archive for the ‘Book Promotion’ Category

What Does Your Indie-Author Platform Look Like?

February 21, 2017

lost-places

Most indie authors seem to know they need a social media platform to talk about their work. Assuming you do, what does yours look like?

If your answer is “Blogs”
That can be a good thing, if you have information to share. Just be sure you do. I find writing these blog articles, sharing what has worked for me (and what hasn’t), has made my blog readership grow dramatically in the past year … and each new follower is a potential book buyer.

If your answer is “Other Social Media”
I know it’s important to connect with potential readers on social media, like Twitter and The Book of Face, but I’ve made it a mandate not to spam people with ‘Buy my book!’ messages. To me, it’s not only annoying, it’s ineffective.

So I ask questions, listen, re-tweet and share interesting articles and quotes. I try to make it cool stuff. Sometimes funny. Often self-deprecating, with occasional dips into promotional info.

The more I study social media marketing, the more I stick to what I learned almost by accident as a young manager in the early 90s:

People Want to be Treated Like People
Shocking, right?

Back in those days, if I walked into a meeting with my staff and simply read them formulaic crap, their eyes would have glazed over (if they stayed in the room long enough).

Instead, I listened to their concerns, got their feedback, and had a very productive relationship.

Social media is no different. If you want them to hang around, treat your audience with respect.

If Your Answer is “Sales Pitch”
To me, most sales pitches are weird, stilted situations, where Person A is broadcasting their message to Person B, who may or may not care. I have a lot of trouble with them.

I find my best success when I really talk to people … ask questions about their interests, discuss difficult writing situations common to all writers, and listen to the responses.

It takes time and effort, but my follower count here should tell you if was worth it.

DO YOU HAVE A PLAN?
That may be the most important question you ask yourself. How many of you have created a marketing plan for a book release? I would bet nine out of ten of you do not, because that’s very common.

If you’ve been in Corporate America, you know all about having a marketing plan … and you probably hate the thought of them. I know I used to dread our quarterly meetings … where we’d sit for hours discussing all the plans the geniuses in the home office came up with for us to try.

Woohoo!

Seriously, despite the ridiculousness of some of those corporate puppet meetings, I did learn that creating a plan, and having set goals, was extremely helpful.

Book marketing is no different.

I know what I need to do to sell books. I change it up often and try new things, but I have basic groundwork I follow for each and every book. Do you?

Once you have a plan, you have the ability to prioritize and focus your efforts. A plan makes you look at what you have and what you don’t. Use what works … research what you don’t know.

See, here’s the thing: you don’t need to have a background in marketing, or an advanced business degree (guilty) to market your work.

Why? Because you know how to read. You can research. You can put the tips you find in my articles (and elsewhere) to work.

But in order for it to be effective, you have to DO it.

So, why are you just sitting there?

Would You Rather Be Smart, or Creative?
Would you rather listen to your muse and write whatever you want, without thinking of things like readership? Without worrying whether anybody is going to like your book?

You can be both, of course, but one usually has to be a priority.

If you’re letting creativity steer the course of your life, you might get lucky. But that’s always a risk, and I prefer to put my creativity firmly in the hands of my goals and plans.

In other words, I choose where I want to go and use my creativity to help me get there.

My creativity doesn’t mind … it’s still having fun doing what it loves … but it’s building content people want, that (hopefully) I can sell.

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My books have all garnered some terrific reviews and you can see the ones I have available by using the Amazon link below. Look for them. Better yet, buy one and read it. You just might like it.

buy now amazon

You’re invited to visit my web site, BROKEN GLASS, or
like my Book of Face page. You can find me on Goodreads, or follow
some of my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.
 

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Visit my web site’s home page to hear the remarkable interview about my novel “Blood Lake” by The Authors Show.

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If you’ve written an interesting book too, consider submitting it to the Readers Favorite annual contest by using the banner link below. What do you have to lose?

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Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.

How Do You Find Readers?

December 19, 2016

snow-scene

So … you’ve written and just indie-published your book and now all you have to do is find fans, right?

Good luck.

You’re probably going to be disappointed in what I say next, because I’m not going to offer a magic way to get a ton more readers.

Unfortunately, that’s not how it works, and anyone who tells you different is either trying to sell you something, or scamming you.

Readers are only gained a few at a time, even if you experience a sudden and serendipitous burst of exposure. I know this for a fact.

I’ve written and published six books. I’ve won five awards for them. I’ve been interviewed by local media (newspaper & TV). I even got a particularly nice Kirkus Review.

All things considered, I do all right. But are people falling all over themselves to send me money for my books? In a word … no.

There are not enough people who know my name.

Long-Term Strategy
Unless you’re Stephen King, whose name is familiar enough he could probably sell his weekly grocery list, finding readers takes time. Name recognition is seldom an overnight thing.

Gathering your fans is long-term strategy.

Believe it or not, it starts with your other books. Writing more books is the way to find readers, and writing good books is almost always the best way to turn casual readers into true fans.

I run into new authors all the time who say, “But I don’t want to write more books. I want readers for the book I already have.”

I can sympathize. Writing a good book can be difficult. The last thing I wanted to hear after completing my first novel was it’s time to turn around and do it all again.

But here’s the painful truth: Marketing your book is harder than writing it, and your chance of making enough to live on from one book is next to nothing anyway. Your footprint is simply too small. You’ll get lost in the noise.

If you write another book (and another, and another), your drawing power multiplies with each release. Each book becomes a little funnel scooping a few more people toward you.

After enough books and time (with no promises as to how many or how much), you’re likely to cast a net wide enough your ideal readers will find it hard to miss you.

But if you have nothing else to offer? Well, then what reason is there for readers to stick around?

Word-of-Mouth
People may not be talking about your books in line at major retailers yet, but hopefully they are discussing them somewhere. If they are, you’ll start to gain fans automatically.

Why? Word-of-mouth is a money machine.

It may only churn pennies at the start, but if it’s out there working for you … at all … it builds with every new release.

I’ve written about this before. Word-of-mouth is huge. In the trade, word-of-mouth is called earned media (you can check some of my earlier posts by clicking this link).

Ask yourself the last time an ad persuaded you to buy and read a book. Now ask yourself the last time you got a book recommendation from someone you know.

Easy answer, isn’t it?

Reading takes a lot of time, and accepting a word-of-mouth book recommendation is therefore an act of trust. Most people get book suggestions they believe from friends and family. A writer has to be good enough at his craft for his books to move readers to feel something they want others to feel.

If you write well enough to do that, then … and this is important … you need to take your book(s) public. Getting your name known is the biggest part of the battle. How do you go about that?

There are lots of groups looking for speakers. Check out your local Humanities Councils; Arts Councils; Book Clubs; Libraries; Schools. By writing more and actively extending your craft as a speaker, you deepen the emotional connection with readers.

Plus, you will have a captive audience at each venue and several minutes to do nothing but sell your books. The people who hear you speak (assuming you don’t bore them silly) will talk about you to their friends. Earned media at it’s best.

Social Networks
That’s it? Yes and no. Everyone knows that social networks are also important. Of course, some folks would have you believe there is some sort of magic power in the latest big online thing.

Well, you should know there are folks out there looking for people who believe in that magic. Why? Because they know a ton of wanna-be writers will buy bogus quick-fix solutions all day long.

If your email spam folder is anything like mine, you know there’s course-after-course out there promising to teach you how to use social media networks to make your fortune. But if you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know how I feel about that.

It’s total bullshit. There is no Easy Button.

Let me tell you what online social networks are: they’re networks of people. Who are being social. Online. That’s it.

It’s important to be social, but the minute you start to think you should build your business’s lead generation around something like Twitter, stop and ask yourself if that’s remotely intelligent.

Yes, you should use Twitter and the other social networks, but don’t depend on them. Over time, I’ve built a significant following for this blog, and I have lots of Twitter followers. But if Twitter vanishes tomorrow the sky won’t fall.

I’ll keep on telling stories, just as storytellers have been doing forever, and simply find another way to connect with people who might like my work.

Definitely take advantage of modern tools … they are this century’s equivalent of afternoon tea socials … but don’t overthink it, because it’s not a magic bullet.

Use social media to be social. And remember, you will grow your truest fan base by staying authentic.

Oh yes … and by writing good books.

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snow-man
I hope to be busy enjoying time with my family and friends over the holidays. That’s also my sincere wish for you, too. Happy Holidays!

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My books have all garnered some terrific reviews and you can see the ones I have available by using the Amazon link below. Look for them. Better yet, buy one and read it. You just might like it.

buy now amazon

You’re invited to visit my web site, BROKEN GLASS, or
like my Book of Face page. You can find me on Goodreads, or follow
some of my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.

**********

Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.


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