Book Marketing Techniques That Don’t Work Anymore

Book Marketing
Pic via Pixabay

Over the past 10 years, publishing has evolved into a very profitable business with the 5 biggest publishers reporting a profit margin of 10%.  And according to Author Earnings, in 2015, self-published authors had taken 33% of the ebook market.  However the tables were turned in 2016, when self-published authors lost a little bit of their grip on the ebook market not to mention several major publishing companies actually reporting losses.  So now it’s more important than ever that we indie authors spend our time and money where it matters most.

Things will only continue to change as the market ebbs and flows and we indie authors need to be able to adapt no matter the disruptions to the market.  What worked in 2007, won’t necessarily fly in 2017, so I compiled a list of just a few of the things that used to be marketing truths but are now myths.

Post An Eye-Catching Photo With Social Media Posts

The old advice on social media was to post a nice text quote along with a photo and it worked pretty well.  Now the advice is to write your quote directly on the image itself because when you share a post sometimes the original text gets lost or relegated to tiny font at the bottom.

For example:

Pinterest

james-patterson-pinterest

Facebook

james-patterson-fb

 

Banner Ads

Back in the day, banner ads were the way to get your product noticed but now with ad blockers, nobody even sees them anymore.  Today, the click through rate of a banner ad is around 0.1% down from 50% in 2000.  Sadly places like Goodreads, offer banner ads in their expensive marketing package which can cost anywhere between $6,000 and up.  However most indie authors agree that the best places to advertise books are in discount newsletters like; BookBub, Bargain Booksy and Free Kindle Books & Tips.

Perma 99 Cents

A few years ago the advice was to lower your price as much as humanly possible which is what tons of indie authors did.  As you have already guessed, this doesn’t work anymore, the new advice is to try price pulsing.  That’s where you lower your price for a limited time and then set it back to a more reasonable one.  The feelings are mixed, many say you have to promote the lower prices but if you’re selling a book at 99 cents, promotion may not be wise if you’re on a low budget or just low on time.

Black Hat Marketing

This means anything shady like buying reviews or even buying your own book in bulk.  It’s one of the oldest tricks in the marketing business but with technology most people can easily spot a fake.  Not long ago, U.S. President Donald Trump was busted buying his own books during his campaign.  Also, several Christian ministers were found to have contracted a service that promises to help authors get on the bestsellers list by buying large quantities of the author’s book.  They might have gotten away with it too if they hadn’t used money from their own congregation to do it.

Same goes with social media, a few celebrities were busted buying fans a few years back and were exposed by a major media outlet.  To make a long story short, your money is better spent advertising or hiring a good book publicist.

You Need To Be Everywhere on Social Media

It’s old advice that’s still being repeated and it’s just not true and never really was.  Your goal on social media is to build a community which means conversations and engagement.  You can’t do that everywhere because you only have 24 hours in any given day.  So it would be wise to just pick one or a few social media sites where your audience is going to be and set up shop there.  If your book is for young adults try sites like; Snap Chat, Instagram or Tumblr, and if it’s adults you’re targeting, try Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.

Spamming Works

For those business owners who are too lazy to build their own email lists there are services who are more than willing to sell you email addresses.  Sadly, these people aren’t interested in your book and sending unsolicited emails goes against the CAN-SPAM Act which can result in a fine of $16,000.  Also, it’ll get you banned from email marketing services like Mail Chimp or AWeber.  As if that weren’t bad enough, according to law enforcement and online security firms, the average spam campaign is often a front for organized crime which is why most email filters send these emails straight to the trash bin.

I would be remiss if I didn’t address the few books out there that list so called promotional groups on Facebook and Goodreads.  I’ve personally tested them and found them to be a complete  waste of time.  If you look closely at these groups, you’ll discover that they’re nothing but spam pages with author after author dropping links and yelling “Buy my book!”  This is pointless unless, your book is for authors who desperately need to learn about marketing books. 😉

So What Does Work?

Funny enough, it’s common sense that will help you sell a book successfully.  No tricks, just hard work and persistence, oh yeah, and time.

  • Write a book people want to read
  • Edit professionally
  • Get a nice (industry standard) book cover
  • Start building your platform.
  • Invest in your education: Take courses and read books on marketing, publishing and editing.
  • Join a network of professional authors, there are Facebook and LinkedIn groups as well as websites like The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) who help educate and support self-published authors.

In Closing…

There will be more changes on the horizon in 2017, that’s inevitable but that doesn’t have to be a scary thing.  Instead of seeing self-publishing as a disadvantage see it for the opportunity that it really is.  As more and more indie success stories become common place, it will light the fire in some of us to go beyond what we’ve ever imagined.  So until next time, here’s to a creative and profitable 2017 to indie authors everywhere!

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By Leland Francisco

Affiliate Marketing for Indie Authors Part 4: Advertising

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Image from Pixabay

For the past month, I’ve been talking about affiliate marketing as another stream of income and also about using it as an opportunity to promote your book. Today, I’ll talk about approaching affiliate marketing as an advertiser. Yes, you can pay an influencer to promote your book to their audience. However before you get excited, there are some questions you need to ask yourself.

Why Use An Affiliate?

If your platform is small to nonexistent then you’ll probably need to borrow someone’s audience. I talked about this in my post: “How to Pitch and Approach Influencers” last year. A large platform takes time and hard work to not only build but also to maintain and most authors don’t have the time or know how to do it. This is why it makes sense to seek out influencers to promote your book.

How Much Are You Willing To Pay Them?

This is important because price will matter significantly when it comes to interest in your product. If you’re selling a 99₵ eBook, there will be little interest in it, even if you’re splitting 75% of the profits. However, if you’re selling a print book for $8-$20 and splitting 75% of the profits, that may generate more interest. If you’re selling other products like eCourses, or workshops it will generate even more interest because those usually cost more and more money, means bigger profits for the content creator.

Do You Have A Marketing Plan?

Dellani
A meme I created for author Dellani Oakes

As convenient as hiring an influencer is, it doesn’t let you off the hook when it comes to promotion. You still have to plan because wishful thinking doesn’t sell books. You need a release date (or rerelease date in some cases), a good price, a social media strategy, blog posts, interviews, etc.  Yes, you still have a responsibility when promoting your own book.

Things To Consider Doing During Your Campaign:

1. Create a script for the content creator: You can be as formal or as informal as you want to be.
2. Create social media posts: If social media is part of the deal make sure to supply them with the info they need like; links, prices, sales dates, etc.
3. Create: Graphics such as memes.
4. Hold a giveaway or contest on your site.
5. When you get those people to your site, make sure you get them to sign up for your newsletter. You do have one right?
If all goes well, you’ll get a few sales and a few new subscribers for future promotions.

The Takeaway

Yes, affiliate marketing can be hard work no matter which side you’re approaching it from. It takes study, planning and not to mention, guts to succeed at this. I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t remind you that affiliate marketing isn’t a get rich scheme. Like with most things, it takes time to learn and it takes time to build trust with advertisers and content creators.

Affiliate marketing isn’t just profitable monetarily but also in the sense of platform building. If you want to make a career as an author, your thoughts should be more on the long term rather than on the next sale. But that’s another post for another day…

If you missed the other 3 parts here they are listed below in order:

How to Increase Your Book’s Odds at BookBub

HomepageScreenMany indie authors call Bookbub the golden standard of online book advertising and I can’t say I disagree. Over the years their competitors like Pixel of Ink have either stopped accepting submissions or have gone under. Meanwhile Bookbub has only continued to grow with no signs of slowing down.  In fact just two weeks ago, Bookbub announced they’ve secured seven million dollars in funding to take their company global. This is great news for indie authors who want to reach more readers and make more money from advertising.

Facts You Need to Know

  • BookBub has a subscriber base of over 5 million members
  • BookBub subscribers are spenders.
  • BookBub has strict standards accepting only 10-20% of submissions
  • They are not the most expensive place to advertise
  • Most indie authors who use their services get an ROI (Return on investment)
  • Even indie authors who don’t get an ROI, report a small boost in sales

Reviews Are Critical?

Author Brian Cohen, from the Sell More Books Show wanted to get his YA book, Ted Saves the World a Boobkbub ad however, that proved to be more difficult than expected. After several rejections, he wanted to know what the problem was.  Determined to get answers, he studied BookBub and particularly, their YA list then noticed that many of the books in his genre had over 130 reviews, at the time, his book only had 115.  Meanwhile, the bestsellers had anywhere between 200-300 reviews.  He’s not the only author to notice this, many indie authors have also had to secure more reviews before Bookbub gave them the nod. However Bookbub claims  reviews aren’t a deal breaker but I doubt they hurt your odds.

Tip: In February, BookBub held a discussion on the Kboards and answered many questions for indie authors.  It’s very informative for those considering buying an ad.

Blurb

Next to editing, writing a blurb is the most hated of tasks according to most authors. In fact, there are books and online courses devoted solely to helping authors nail this craft. However your blurb is not only important for your book’s Amazon sales page but also to BookBub.  If your book sounds boring, why would they want to promote it? This would hurt their reputation with their subscribers. You have to remember this site is oriented toward readers, not authors. They don’t just take anything that comes in the door.

Your Cover

Many authors believe that they need to like their book cover but that couldn’t be farthest from the truth. This year at IndieRecon, bestselling author H.M. Ward, talked about how she didn’t necessary like all her book covers. In the beginning of her career, when her romance novels weren’t selling, she did some careful investigation and realized none of her book covers matched those on the market. Hers were more artsy and whimsical, while the books that were selling had pictures of attractive people in sexy poses.

It was a harsh lesson in marketing but she learned, romance readers expect a certain type of product.  BookBub is no different, they expect your book to look a certain way whether it’s a sci-fi novel, or an erotic book.  If the cover looks bland or weird, they may just pass it up.  Remember presentation matters in this industry.

Price

Price is a big deal on BookBub, if you read the page written exclusively for their subscribers, you’ll see they promise free and deeply discounted books.  This means you have to compete and either go low, or even free.  For those of you who are concerned about going too low, BookBub claims that 65% of their readers have reported recommending books they got for free on the site. Who knew?

Be Flexible

Some authors have been willing to forgo advertising on major holidays and weekends in order to get their book in BookBub. There is a comment section of the application that allows you to alert them to the fact that you are not particular about dates. P.S. This didn’t work with our friend Brian Cohen. 😦

Study BookBub’s Patterns

In every genre there is a pattern or theme that BookBub is favoring at any given time. Now ask yourself, does your book even come near that? For example, if you’re looking to advertise your romance novel, are they favoring historical romances or contemporary ones? It would be wise to sign up for their newsletter (for readers) and see if you can find patterns.  Also, don’t forget to sign up for their blog as well.

Alternatives

If you’ve done all that you can and BookBub is still not accepting your submission, then try going to their competitor like Ereader News Today, another site that indie authors rave about.  You can also check out a post I wrote last year: Cheap Advertising for Indie Authors for more alternatives.

 

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

 

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Pic via Pixabay

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?

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

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Image via Pixabay

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).

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.

Read the rest of the series here:

  • Should Indie Authors Use Social Media Services To Promote Books Part 1
  • Should Indie Authors Use Social Media Services To Promote Books Part 3

 

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

 

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Pic via Pixabay.com

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

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…

Read the rest of the series here:

  • Should Authors Use Social Media Services to Promote Books? Part 2
  • Should Authors Use Social Media Services to Promote Books? Part 3

Lessons Learned in Publishing

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Image via Pixabay

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 I’ve ever 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!