Should Indie Authors Use Social Media Services To Promote Books? Part 3

3028314931_53d4aa5fc2_z
By Olarte.Ollie via Flickr

I was going to post this separately but since it’s relevant to the other two articles on social media services, I’m extending this series. Today, I want to discuss how to research and analyze social media marketing services. Don’t worry, I won’t get too technical. This is important if you want to discern which marketing strategies have a real chance of working for you. As I learned while writing this series, information isn’t always readily available. Sometimes, you will have to dig for what you need to know. But you’re a writer, and already used to that sort of thing, right? So here’s how to find out if a social media service is legit…

Look At Their Numbers

If you’re hiring a social media service it would be rather important to look at their social media accounts and ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do they have more followers than me?
  2. Are they promoting books to readers?
  3. Do their posts have more interaction than mine?

If you answer no to any of these questions, you should consider moving on. You don’t have the time or money to throw away on a service that isn’t going to help you promote your books. You probably already have a social media presence that’s either small or nonexistent, so there’s no need to add a zero to your marketing equation.

Getting To Know Them

Once you’ve found out if their following is on the up and up, it’s time to go deep and start analyzing their followers. You need to be sure these accounts are real.  Granted, there are going to be some spammers and fakery but if their Twitter following is more than 20% fake, this is a huge problem. Let’s put that into perspective, if a promotional site claims to have 50,000 followers but 20% are fake, that means 10,000 of their followers are worthless. Can you afford to pay for that? Fortunately, there are several apps that can help you analyze someone’s Twitter account.

Sadly for Facebook, things aren’t so easy I know, shocking right?  On Facebook, you’ll have to go to a person’s page and click on “likes” in order see the countries from which these likes are coming from. If they all come from places in Southeast Asia, they’re most likely fake. Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East are renown for their online scams as well as their spam but they’re also a hot bed for like farms which you can read about here.

How Do You Know If A Service Has Gotten Any Traction?

3534516458_48e4e8595f_z
By Marco Belluci via Flickr

Okay, so you finally found a promotional service that has legitimate followers congratulations, however, you’re still not done. Before you submit your tweet, post or excerpt, you’ll need a link to wherever your book is sold. When you grab that URL, I would suggest you get a trackable link. This is important if you want to know for sure if a service is actually working for you. Trackable links can be found at:

These sites not only shorten your URLs but track them as well. This means you’ll know exactly how many people clicked on your promo and when. It’s a win-win! In the beginning, you’ll want to monitor any services your use whether it’s advertising or social media blasts.  It would also be wise to schedule different campaigns on separate days just to keep things easier to track.

Helpful Tip: If you haven’t gone exclusive with Amazon’s KDP Select, I’d advise linking to various book sellers like; Kobo, Barnes & Noble, or even Google Play. This also keeps things easier to track and it helps promote your book across all seller platforms.

Checking Sales Rank

I know this is obvious but it must be pointed out that you need to keep track of your sales during your promotional campaigns. You have to know which services are giving you the best ROI and which ones are duds. This will save you time and money the next time you promote your next book. So there you have it, if you have any tips on how to research and analyze a social media promoter, let me know in the comments section.

Also, if you didn’t check out the previous 2 posts, what are you waiting for?

  • Should Indie Authors Use Social Media Services to Promote Books? Part 1:
  • Should Indie Authors Use Social Media Services to Promote Books? Part 2

Should Indie Authors Use Social Media Services To Promote Books? Part 2

6094175576_46eea39b34_o
By Martin Gysler via Flickr

Last week, I discussed social media services and today, I’ll talk about services geared specifically  towards authors.  Since social media is becoming more and more of a pay to play kind of environment, many authors are either abandoning their accounts, or moving on to other sites.  This is a mistake.  Social media is still useful, I talked about it before in, “How to Approach & Pitch Social Media Influencers.” However, for those who simply lack social grace, there are services which will retweet/like your posts, hold Twitter discussions, and even build your community for you.  Here are just a few of the more popular ones.  P.S. I am in no way affiliated with the services mentioned. 

Bublish

Here, you share your book’s excerpts on their website and Bublish tweets the excerpt to their followers.  Bublish also promises to optimize excerpts with keywords and metadata.  This is something you can easily do yourself which I discussed in this post.

I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t discuss the major problem with their website, you see, it gets poor traffic.  My blog almost has the same Alexa ranking as this site and lately, my blog gets around 60-90 views daily.  Also, upon inspecting their Facebook page, and their Twitter feed, I saw lots of posts marketed towards authors, not readers.  However, if you must try it, they have a free trial period but after that, it’s $9.99 a month.

TweetYourBooks.com
A.K.A. (BookTweetingService.com) this company claims that their followers are real and actually block spammers, as well as fake accounts.  They even go through the trouble of showing their stats here while slamming some of their competition.  I found one author who used the service but never broke even for her nonfiction book.  To be fair, this was not the experience of another author.

If you want to test it out yourself, their rates start at $29, for 1 day of tweets, and go up to $125, for 5 days of tweets.

Book Tweeters
Book Tweeter is a well known social media service that claims a following of over 480,000 of both readers and writers over 5 different accounts.  Their services start at $19 for 1 day, (60 tweets) to $75 for 7 days (300 tweets).  They do not accept erotica or books with hate speech and reserve the right to reject any book for promotion.  P.S. Sometimes they have sales so sign up for their newsletter and keep your eyes peeled for coupon codes (Scroll to the near bottom).

8258042408_edfcfc3ab5_z
Pic by Giovanni Saccone via Flickr

Book Bear
Book Bear is a bare bones social media promotion site that offers packages from $10 for one post/tweet to $100 for a 1 post/tweet per day for 5 days promo.
Their Facebook page is a ghost town but their Twitter feed is a different story. Their Twitter account has 116,000 and a little activity.

Masquerade Tours
Masquerade Tours is a blog touring service but they also offer several social media services including Twitter blasts, and a live Twitter chat featuring you and your book. A simple Twitter blast to their 50,000 followers will run you about $40 and the Twitter chat will require prizes and swag (from the author) and runs about $75 (minimum) but the experience can be customized so prices can go up.

Pump Up Your Book

Pump Up Your Book is a public relations service that specializes in setting up virtual book tours, creating book trailers, handling social media blasts as well as website design. Their social media blasts offers cover reveals, blog posts and a mention on their book tour page for about $199.

Virtual Book Tour Café

Virtual Book Tour Café offers book tours of course, but they also offer to help build your social media as well as advertising on Facebook, banners, book thongs, book reviews and a plethora of other things.  It runs about $599 which is quite steep but it seems like a more comprehensive service rather than the tweet and run services I’ve been seeing.

Ghost Tweeting
Ghost tweeting has a specific service for authors. It is the perfect for those authors who don’t want to deal with social media at all. Ghost Tweeting promises to create content, post it and build your community for you. They will also create content for not just your Twitter account but also, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn pages as well.  Their rates start at $295 and go up to $1,295.

After Thoughts

For many including myself, social media doesn’t work when it comes to promoting books and never really did. But as I said before, if you want to go hybrid, you’re going to need a pretty sweet looking platform because agents are now Googling authors before saying yea or nay to a project.  I still believe you should try to do things the old fashioned way by building relationships and networking.  Influencers in charge of large reading communities are much more responsive to people they are familiar with, than those who send their middlemen.  Besides, most of the prime real-estate (fan and community pages) on social media isn’t for sale.

Should Indie Authors Use Social Media Services to Promote Books? Part 1

Social Media Garden by J&TPlaman via Flickr
Social Media Garden by J&TPlaman via Flickr

Several years back a few websites popped up promising to help people grow their social media accounts and even make them look popular by liking or retweeting them. Immediately, celebrities everywhere became their biggest clients by paying for fake fans, retweets and even comments, I talked about it a while back on Writer’s Weekly. Most people, myself included, considered it to be nothing more than useless vanity metrics. Anyone who knows a little about online marketing understands how easy it is to manipulate metrics. Sadly, not everyone has been clued in and that includes those within the publishing industry but are you surprised? Believe it or not, they still think that having 5,000,000 Twitter followers actually means something. Remember just this past year, an author on Wattpad was given a six figure deal after writing 3 fan fiction stories that got over 1 billion views. So publishers love big numbers, go figure!

Unfortunately for those indie authors wanting to go hybrid, (meaning self-publish as well as traditionally publish) they are going to have to grow their social media following. There’s no way around it.

What About The Indie Who Doesn’t Want To Traditionally Publish?

It often takes years to organically build a following that is both large and engaged. You can speed up the process by following and unfollowing random people or by signing up for quid-pro-quo groups online but that will never gain you true fans and that is why you’re on social media for, right?  Being an indie author gives you time, but I still see some indies trying to grow their social media following in an attempt to fake it till they make it.  But I digress…
There are many legitimate reasons to use a social media service:

  • Grow your social media following—duh!
  • Promote your book launch or sale.
  • Get comments or shares for a blog post
  • Promoting book signings, interviews or social media events
  • Grow your email list

Things A Social Media Service Can’t Do For You

Suessian Megaphone by Michael via Flickr
Suessian Megaphone by Michael via Flickr

One important thing these services can’t offer is genuine interaction, they can’t respond to people who actually engage with this campaign.  It will be completely up to you to show up and answer questions or thank people for their comments and compliments.

Today, I’ll focus on social media services that promise to help broaden your reach online.  Below is a list of some of the more popular services.

Thunder Clap

This past year, I saw several authors in my Facebook group promoting their Thunder Clap campaigns. Basically, ThunderClap is a crowdsourcing site where people join a campaign to tweet something simultaneously, thus making it more likely to trend on Twitter. P.S. None of the authors I’ve spoken to, have reached their goals. Even the guys over at the Self-Publishing Podcast, didn’t speak too highly of it.

The inherent problem with Thunder Clap is that in order to use it, you have to already have an engaged following. Also, you will have to find followers willing to allow the ThunderClap app to access their Twitter accounts in order to tweet your post.  As you can imagine, this may be unacceptable to most people.

Easy Retweet
Easy Retweet is a site that allows you to upload your blog or website post and members of the website will retweet you in exchange for free credits from the site.   You can also purchase credits for around $2.00 for 500 credits or $60 for 80,000 credits.  They also try to target these retweets by asking you to select the subject you’re tweeting about.  The subjects range from tech, blogging, and of course, writing.

AdRetweet
Works just like Easy Retweet and offers retweets for 7 days at $4.95 to an entire year of retweets for $89.99.

Fiverr
Fiverr is an outsourcing site and often one stop shopping for lots of indie authors. Here you can hire graphic designers, copy writers and yes, even social media promoters. All this usually for under the price of $20.

Social Promotes

Social Promotes offers a free exchange of retweets but you’ll have to retweet others to get the credits offered. Social Promotes also offers credits of 100 retweets for $2.00 and 1,000 retweets for $29.00. Keep in mind they have targeted and non targeted services which basically means targeted retweets will come from accounts in the U.K. Australia and the U.S. which isn’t really targeted enough for my tastes.

Professional Social Promotion

Professional Social offers to grow not only your Twitter following but your Youtube, Facebook and Google Plus following as well.  Their prices range for $10, for 250 Facebook likes, to $100, for 3,000 likes.  Also, their social sharing which includes blasting your posts to sites like StumbleUpon, Twitter, Google Plus and Facebook runs about $10.

Round Team
Although, Round Team isn’t like the other sites mentioned above, I believe I should mention it because it is becoming rather popular with authors. This is an automatic retweeting service that let’s you control who you retweet by letting you define the settings. You can choose to retweet posts with certain hashtags or even just retweet your followers. They have several plans starting at free and going up to $29.99 per month. However, keep in mind with the free service, Round Team sends out their own posts with banners and links to their website.  Here’s how they look (name of author has been redacted):
Round Team Promotional Tweets
If you’re okay with promoting someone else’s product on your Twitter account, then the free service is right up your alley.

In Closing

Although, many of these services are cheap and claim to have many followers, there’s no guarantee that any of your social media posts will be seen by actual readers.  This is the critical flaw in all of these services. Unless, you go through all their accounts (which is impossible to do since many of the sites won’t reveal that info) it’ll be a shot in the dark at best.

I think these services are perfect for the author who sucks at social media or just don’t want to be bothered with it. However, in order to use them effectively, you’ll have to know something about hashtags, the best times to post and how to use images to enhance posts.  That’s because most of these companies only provide a basic post and run type service.  So this isn’t ideal for book promotion or any sort of literary promotion.

However don’t fear, because next week, I’m going to discuss social media services geared towards authors and book promotion. So stay tuned…

Lessons Learned in 2014

2915797223_066d44fc7a_z
By Rob Shenk via Filckr

It’s almost 2015, and like most people, I’m wondering where the heck did all the time go? Luckily, I had a pretty productive year, I finished one book and published another. I also made more friends and learned more about the publishing industry.  Yes, after years in the business, I’m still learning new things.

Here are just a few of the bigger lessons I discovered this year in 2014…

Book Marketing has to be taken to Another Level

Last month, an author sent a lamb chop into space to promote his book: Meatspace. He recorded the whole thing on Youtube and so far it’s netted him over 250,000 views. It was the most odd, yet, spectacular marketing ploy by a writer I’ve seen. So much for creating bookmarks, eh?

Despite what you may have heard, you still have to promote your book to some extent. Whether you decide to do it via blogtours, advertising or social media, you should let someone know your book is available. Many of the most successful authors have marketed their work continuously, because they can’t afford to leave it up to chance.

Repeat After Me: Amazon is not the Savior of Publishing

Not long ago, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, referred to authors as customers in a meeting with investors. A Bloomsbury executive also referred to authors as customers at the Frankfurt Book Fair this past year. Although, I don’t agree with the customer label, I do believe we are treated more like employees rather than business partners.  Think about it, publishers have been using authors as brand ambassadors to promote their companies for years.  One author in my writer’s group put it like this: “Yes. We’re Amazon’s unpaid marketing department. And all those little ‘Amazon affiliate’ booklists are their marketing funnels. We’re all herding readers into the chute so we can cut our own throats. Maybe it’s time we all woke up and stopped committing professional suicide by supporting a one-platform market?” A strong but very true statement.

Consider All Possible Income Streams

Many of the literary elite like J.K. Rowling and Stephen King have made a lot of money from selling books but they’ve also made lots of money from other things like movie deals, speaking engagements and yes, even merchandise.

And why not? If you don’t take advantage of all the opportunities available to you someone else will. For example, I found a lot Fifty Shades of Grey merchandise online but none of it was official, meaning the author E.L. James, is likely not getting paid for any of it. How do I know? Well, on the author’s website there is no mention of merchandise and ditto for her publisher’s website. However, that hasn’t stopped many of these so called “fan sites” from taking the image of the book (a copyright violation), and slapping it on multiple products.

Don’t ever forget publishing is a business, not an art. It’s sad when bootleggers understand this so much better than the authors they rip off.

Free Books aren’t Devaluing a Damn Thing!

If you believe that giving away a free book is going to ruin your career, you’re insane. There are lots of bestselling authors who have free books available. They often use free books to get reviews or to build up their email lists just like their indie counterparts.  That’s because free books have been proven to be way more effective at building an author platform than advertising and social media.

We Need to Promote on Social Media but Only in the Right Places

Social media is getting complicated as Facebook and Google limit the reach of their users. Many are finding that even advertising and promoting posts aren’t working so they’re abandoning their pages in droves. I think this is a bad idea. I believe social media can be useful but only if you network properly. We authors need to become a part of a thriving reader community and make the leaders of these communities an offer they can’t refuse. I discussed this in my post: How to Approach and Pitch Social Media Influencers.

We Need To Accept There Is No Such Thing As Luck!

Many authors who’ve succeed at publishing often put years into their careers. They’ve learned their craft, studied the business, and experimented (both artistically and business wise) in order to make a living at publishing. Luck by the way, is often seen as a four letter word to successful people.

Awesome-quote-by-Peter-Dinklage from Thumb Press
From Thumbpress

You’re a Writer After You’ve Actually Written Something

Don’t let others fool you into thinking that you need an agent or contract with one of the NY Big 5 to be considered an official author. No one will ever anoint you with fairy dust and make things happen for you. That’s way too Cinderella! A real author is someone who has published a book and made a connection with their readers.

In Closing

Though I think the industry is stabilizing, I do think things will continue to change, but not at the pace that they have been. In times like these, we have to constantly remind ourselves this is a business and not a calling.  As with most businesses, we’ll face many ups and downs, that’s just life in general.  No one gets a free pass.  Absolutely no one!

If you’ve learned anything about publishing this year, please leave a comment…

Gifts for Indie Authors

315155779_95cfad5b27_z
By Fabrizio Lonzini via Flickr

It’s the holiday season and everyone has their list of wants. Knowing that many indie authors are living on a shoestring budget, I knew those: “What to get a Writer for the Holidays” articles just won’t do.  Let’s be honest, many of them are silly and rather unrealistic. I mean, who wants a $25 t-shirt with literary quotes that will just wear out in 6 months? I don’t. Besides, you could get some pretty sweet stuff that can help with your writing career for that same amount.

I’ve considered the problems the typical indie author has like; social media, cover design, and proof reading, so I went on a mission to find things that could make our lives better.

P.S. I am in no way affiliated with the companies or products mentioned.

Anti-Social Media Software

Social media is a big problem for a lot of authors because it often becomes a time suck. For years your solutions were either to unplug your modem or disable the wifi on your computer. But what if you’re a writer who needs to do research and interview people online? Disconnecting from the entire internet is irrational. Luckily, there is now software you can download that will temporarily block social media sites and other places you like to linger and it won’t cost a lot of money. Here are just a few of places to check out:

Freedom: This software is for both Windows and OS operating systems and can block up to 8 hrs at a time and only costs $10. There is a free trial version and a 60 money back guarantee.

Anti-Social: Anti-Social is an app that allows you to block websites that you find distracting for $15. However unlike Freedom, it cannot be turned off, which is supposed to keep you honest. Also, Anti-Social has a 60 day money back guarantee. It also works with Windows, and Mac including, Yosemite.

Stay Focused:  is an app on Google Chrome which limits the amount of time you spend on social media.  You can set it up yourself so that you only spend a specific amount of time on social media per day.  It gives you a countdown to let you know when you’re running out of time.  P.S. You’ll be asked to donate $15 once you’ve downloaded the app from the Google Chrome store.

Focus Writer: Focus Writer isn’t necessarily an anti-social media piece of software but I’m including it anyway because it gets rid of all distractions on your computer by clearing your screen so you can focus on just your writing. It has all kinds of features like; a daily word count, type writer sound effects, even timers and alarms. This one is a pay what you can type model and runs $5 – $20.

Art/Photo Editing

By Kristen Kokkersvold via Flickr
By Kristen Kokkersvold via Flickr

Many indie authors like to create their own book covers and that’s awesome, I know a lot of indies who are actually talented in this area. Many of them use PhotoShop or InDesign by Adobe but I found their new cloud service too buggy.  I was also disappointed with their customer service which comprised of a FAQ page with little or vague information.  However, if you’ve drank the Adobe Kool-Aid and love it, they have a monthly subscription service that costs $19.99 for just one app, or $29.99 for all the apps.  Be warned though, you can cancel after 30 days but after that, you’re locked in for a year.

Don’t worry, there are many other types of software out there that are similar or even better than Adobe and they won’t cost you $359.88 annually.

Pixlr is a free online photo editor that is similar to Adobe Photoshop. I’ve used it myself to edit photos for social media and this blog.

Sumo Paint is another PhotoShop like photo editor that has a free and paid subscription service.  The paid service includes cloud storage, new tools and updated apps which cost only $4 a month.  Not a bad deal either way, but try the free version first before committing to the subscription.

Scribus  is often called the free alternative to Adobe InDesign which tons of professional graphic designers use to create digital magazines, web pages, and yes, even ebook covers.

Corel PaintShop If you must have software installed on your computer, there is Corel PaintShop. It’s often compared to PhotoShop and runs around $39.00 – $49.00 on Amazon. *Warning* They do have a popup ads which is why it’s so cheap.

Grammar/Proofreading Software

I’ll admit it, I make plenty of grammar mistakes, and sometimes that hurts my work. I mean, who will take a writer seriously if they’re constantly screwing up? But have no fear, there is software that can check your work much better than MS Word and some of them are cheaper.

White Smoke
White Smoke has advance grammar, punctuation and even alerts you to repetition. They have a basic monthly subscription of $9.95 and a lifetime premium subscription of $299.99 (flat fee).

Grammarly
Grammarly is an online program that checks for misspellings plagiarism, and misused words. They have a free trial if you’re interested. If you end up loving it, it’s $29.95 a month, $19.98 quarterly, and $11.66 a month for year subscription.

Right Writer (CD)
Right Writer is another piece of software that comes in CD ROM and offers grammar, punctuation, with syntax checker. It also comes with a free video grammar course and it all costs only $29.95 not including, shipping of course.

Well there you go, some gifts indie authors need and actually want. If you know of any more useful services for authors tell me about them in the comments section.

How To Know If Your Book Will Sell Before You Publish: Finding Out What Readers Really Want

9884103583_e1df8642ab_z
Question Mark, Ipswitch by ed_needs_a_bicycle via Flickr

Before I begin, I have to give a hat tip to Steve Scott and his book, “How to Discover Best-Selling eBook Ideas,” which inspired this post. After reading his book, I asked myself how could I apply what I learned to the fiction market and ended up with a few surprising ideas.  And no, it has nothing to do with KDP Select, nor will it require the blood of a goat.

With the proliferation of the internet, it has never been easier to access book lovers.  I mean, they’re everywhere!  I believe if indie authors would just take the time to listen to what readers are saying maybe they could provide readers with the novels they desperately crave.  Most publishers already know which genres are in demand and make sure not to publish books that have no readership.  So how do indies find out what books will sell?  I’m so glad you asked…

Forget Amazon Rankings

Over the past few years, Amazon rankings have been used as a measuring tool for a book’s popularity and profitability.  That’s nice and all, but those rankings don’t tell you anything really important. For example, can you discern if a genre is more popular than another? Answer: No, not on Amazon. Even the New York Times Bestseller’s List isn’t a good source for that because you can only find out if a book is selling big.

How to Find the Hot Genres

Crowd Southbound 2013 Michael_Spencer
Crowd Southbound 2013 Michael_Spencer

When doing research for my post Cheap Advertising for Indie Authors, I stumbled across something interesting.  As I was scanning the prices for Bookbub and Kindle Nation Daily, I noticed that they charged more for certain genres like mysteries and romance, while charging less for others like, chick lit, children’s and YA.  Now why would that be? Most likely it’s because they base their prices on what sells best. This should give you a clear picture of which genres sell but there are ways to verify this information…

What Readers are Begging for: Checking the Math

To confirm what the ad prices are telling me, I went to Goodreads to find out what genres are the most popular. I did this by looking at the giveaways. Now I know what you’re thinking, “Rachel, giveaways are going to attract tons of people looking for a freebie,” but that’s where you’d be wrong. I noticed that the number of people entering the children’s giveaway contest is lower than the number of people entering the romance giveaways. Don’t take my word for it, check it out for yourself.

PicMonkey Collage
Romance giveaway on the left, children’s on the right.

P.S. I omitted young adult (YA) books even though Goodreads includes them in the children’s category because most advertisers and readers consider them two different genres.  Also, this picture represents the most popular giveaways for the day of 11/18/14.

As you can see, 2,692 people entered the romance giveaway, while only 834 entered the children’s book giveaway.  I found this pattern over and over again. The children’s books just couldn’t measure up in popularity to the romance novels.  So logically it makes sense, if you can’t giveaway a book, then why would anyone pay for it?  

More Analysis

If you want to delve even deeper into this you can look at Goodreads’ Lists, Most Read This Week, and Most Popular Categories.  These particular threads will give you a peek into how popular a specific book is, and which books readers are talking about.  To find the categories for your particular genre just go to Goodreads.com/genres and click on the one you’d like to study.  Goodreads will take you to a page that will list everything you’ve ever wanted to know about that particular genre.

If you are a wise author, you would find a few books similar to yours and look at the reviews to see what readers are saying.  What are their most common complaints?  Now do your best to omit that stuff from your book.  Next, try to find out what are they going gaga over?  Now be sure to include lots of that stuff in your books.

This type of research will give you an advantage over the competition who are just following their muse, because unlike them, you can craft your book according to the desires of the readers rather than just guessing what people want.

This can be replicated on other book centric sites like Library Thing, Jacket Flap and even Shelfari.

But I’m an Artist…

Yeah, I know you’re an artist and your muse will guide you to the work you are destined to create. However, for the rest of us who would like to make money from our books, we need to know what the market looks like.  We also need to be realistic about the odds of our book’s success. That way we don’t waste time and money promoting a book that has no fan-base.

I’m not saying don’t write the book you were inspired to write, that’s the cool thing about being an indie author, it’s not all about profit margins.  You can publish whatever you want, but you shouldn’t go broke promoting that whatever.

Podcasts That Feature Indie Authors

By Alan Levine via Flickr
By Alan Levine via Flickr

It’s not easy finding a podcast that will interview a self-published/indie author. Trust me I know, I just spent the past week researching, emailing and tweeting podcasters.  And I was pretty surprised to learn that there are still lots podcasters that won’t touch an indie book.  I was even more stunned to learn that there are podcasters charging fees for an interview.  By the way, it’s unnecessary to pay for an interview, because most podcasts make their money from advertising, not from charging their guests. I’m not saying these businesses are frauds, they do provide a service but there are no stats that say paying for an interview creates anymore buzz than a free one.  It’s kind of like paying for book reviews, often it’s unnecessary and yields no ROI.

In my search, I did manage to find several podcasts that will take a chance on an indie author and won’t charge you a dime.  But before I tell you that, let me explain why you should consider appearing on a podcast.

Podcasting is Hot Right Now

Podcasting has gotten so popular that even the New York Big 5 publishers have gotten in on the act. For example, Penguin, and Harlequin, both have podcasts where their editors give submissions tips and discuss upcoming books.

Not to be outdone, Barnes and Noble launched several podcasts via their, Barnes & Noble Studio division. Now before you get excited, be warned, B&N only favors bestselling authors. The same story goes for Apple, and even the U.S. Library of Congress. :( But don’t fret, if they want to pretend that we don’t exist, that’s fine, we can build our own networks.

Podcasting Authors

2265202595_b41eda824d_z
By Zoomar via Flickr

In true indie spirit, some authors have started their own podcasts where they feature other indie/self-published books. In fact, 90% of the podcasts who welcome indie authors, are hosted by indie authors or authors signed at small publishing presses.  If you were wondering, authors at small presses often face the same uphill battle when it comes to marketing their work, so they really do feel our pain.

Two Possible Arrangements

There are two types of book podcasts, one where you submit your book for review and another where you get interviewed about your book or about writing in general. Both are good ways to promote your work.  Now before I go on, I need to be brutally honest with you, this will not make you a bestseller.  In fact, most marketing methods like blogging, radio and yes, even television are ineffective at selling products short term. However, they are very effective at selling books long term.

10 Podcasts to Consider

  1. Write Stream
  2. Red River Radio
  3. Kobo Writing Life
  4. Newbie Writers
  5. The Funky Writer
  6. WebWeaver Books
  7. The Bookcast
  8. Indie Books
  9. Paranormal & The Sacred
  10. Good Reads Mad Reads

Here’s a spreadsheet with more details such as genre, and contact info.

Important Tip: Make sure to read the description of the show and actually take the time to listen in because not all shows will fit well with your personality. If you’re a romance author, maybe a show like Dudes & Books isn’t your style. Trust me, you’re doing everyone a favor by doing your homework.  Also keep in mind, a lot of these podcasts are booked well in advance, and are biweekly or monthly shows.  There is only so much air time to go around, so if they say no, it’s nothing personal.

How to Find Indie Friendly Podcasts Yourself

Most websites like Blog Talk Radio, Podbean, Sticher and iTunes have terrible search engines.  To make matters worse, some podcasters don’t tag or categorize their shows properly making it difficult to find them, so you may have to get creative with your search.

Here are just a few keywords to type in the search engine:
  • author interviews
  • books
  • writers
  • fiction
  • novels
  • authors
  • indie authors
  • self publishing

For a more specific result, try your genre or niche such as; business, health, legal, sci fi, romance, erotica, mystery etc.

Your Job as a Guest

4109967727_4025d8c0ed_z
By RoadSidePictures via Flickr

As the guest, there are certain things expected of you such as promoting the show on your social media sites, blog or newsletter.  Not long ago, we had an author write a press release before she appeared on our show.  That was unexpected, but very much appreciated because many authors just show up, promote their book then, leave.  No thank yous, or communication whatsoever.  If you’re having trouble understanding why that’s a bad thing, read my post: How to Approach & Pitch Social Media Influencers.

A word to the wise:  Keep in touch especially, if you plan on writing more books.  That means, if they have a Facebook page, like it.  If they’re on Twitter, follow them and retweet them whenever possible.  It doesn’t take much effort to do these things.  And if Facebook or Twitter feed overwhelms you, create lists and check on those lists often.  Again, it’s all about sowing good Karma.

Did You Know You Can Podcast Your Book?

Several years ago, a few indie authors created audio versions of their books and posted them to PodioBooks where they were able to grow a following.   This in turn, created a demand for the ebook and print editions of their work.  One of those authors ended up getting a publishing deal down the road.

For those of you who’ve never heard of PodioBooks it’s a site that uses a pay what you can business model. That means readers decide how much they want to pay if at all. PB is a sharing site like NoiseTrade, so there’s no real money to be made here.  On the flip side, you can serialize your books and possibly grow an audience.

Well there you go, I hope I helped you figure out with this whole podcasting thing.  I know this was lot to digest, so take your time and decide what’s best for you.  There are a myriad of choices when it comes to marketing, and podcasting can be a path to finding your audience.  So it’s definitely something worth considering.