Hello to all the indie authors out there trying to get your book into the hands of the public. We admire your persistence and dedication to your craft and the process of publishing a book. Since self-publishing comes with a multitude of jobs — you’re not just an author, but also a designer, marketer, producer, and editor — sometimes you’ll be better at one than the other. That is OK. If you want to have control over your work, the best way is to be involved in every step of the process.
Pursuant to that point, we specifically wanted to talk about marketing and how having every single tweet, post, or email blast being about your book might be more harmful than helpful to what you are trying to achieve. We know the temptation is there, but resist it.
1. Be a human. If we can log on to Twitter and see the same tweet about your book being on sale at a certain price everyday, no matter what time of day, for weeks on end, then you might as well be a bot. Bots get muted, blocked, and/or unfollowed. Or deleted. Twitter deletes those accounts. Show potential readers that you are a living, breathing, thinking, feeling person. Tweet about the mundanity of your life, your feelings on current events, how awesome your weekend was, that failed kitchen experiment. Something that shows you are more than your book. You need to connect with people, not browbeat them with the existence of your book.
2. See what other authors are doing — like Neil Gaiman, Tiffany Reisz, Bernice McFadden, Diana Gabaldon… Tiffany Reisz talks more about her cats and the oddities of life in Portland that she does about her books. But, I still know that The Queen can be pre-ordered from Barnes & Noble right now with only 1 or 2 tweets mentioning it over the past week or more. Tiffany actually has a formula for her tweets; it’s something like 85% entertainment, 10% informative, 5% sales. It’s a good formula to have. When Diana Gabaldon isn’t teasing Sam Heughan or posting daily lines from her WIP, she’s usually interacting with her fans. Answering their questions about the books, the show, her Dachshunds, sharing fan blogs/reviews and such. Just some suggestions.
3. Tweeting and retweeting inspirational quotes and jokes is almost as bad. Do that from an account designed for that, not from your personal account. If your face is showing, then your tweets need to show you. That goes back to #1 on the list. Be a functioning human.
4. Remember that word of mouth is your best friend. Doesn’t matter if your book is $0.99 on Amazon if no one is reading or reviewing it. Typically, most indie authors have thousands of followers, reach out to them for reviews. But, don’t make the mistake of tweeting and retweeting said reviews over and over again. That’s still bot behavior. Let your book sell itself.
5. Marketing Tip: market toward your intended audience. Not everyone is going to read your book, simple as that. But also, you need to know who your audience is for your book and interact with those channels. You wrote a sci-fi/fantasy novel? Interact with other SF/F authors, book clubs, and blogs in a way that is not pushy or self-serving. Same goes for any genre. You want your name out there and seen in a positive light. If all you do is talk about your book, your message gets worn down.
Our basic message here is tone it down. Tweeting 500 times a day and retweeting reviews and every single conversation about your book is not productive. You’re building an audience, no over saturating their news feed. Take care with how you present yourself online.
Questions? Concerns? Leave them in the comments below!