Blogging, Book Promotion, Marketing, Networking, Publishing, Social Media

Why Bother With A Platform? Hint: It’s Not About You!

pinterest_0d51376247
Image via Pixabay

When I first started out in 2007, many of the marketing gurus told writers that a website was optional.  Some of them were telling writers that Facebook or LinkedIn were more than enough for a web presence.  But a lot has happened since then and with social media sites charging for visibility, it’s nearly impossible to reach an audience organically.  Also, there’s the control issue, does a business owner (you) really want a middleman controlling when and if you have access to your readers?  So today the advice is to get people FROM social media on to your newsletter or website.

This doesn’t mean abandon social media completely, what they mean is have other avenues that you can rely on to get your message out there like podcasts, blogs and of course newsletters.  If you can only reach your readers via Facebook then you might want to take things to the next level and start branching out.

I can already hear you all asking: why are we doing all this work?  It’s hard and at times tedious, well I’m glad you asked…

Reason 1:  Information Gathering

I know many authors are blogging and on social media believing they’re there to build a massive platform (whatever that means to them) but that’s not exactly why.  The truth is you’re reaching out to readers because you need to learn from them.  And by the way, social media is a great place to mine data from customers (readers).  As you put your life and thoughts on display, you should be exchanging information with your readers, so try asking them questions (open ended ones) such as:

  1. What authors are you reading?
  2. Name one personal pet peeve you have about modern books?
  3. Who are the most influential authors today?
  4. What kind of stories do we need to see more of?
  5. Which book character deserves closure and why?

Author H.M. Ward once discussed meeting with a New York publisher and when she began talking about her demographic, she was astonished when one of the executives asked her, “How do you know this?”  Well duh, she monitors her social media and newsletter analytics.  By the way, she has over 50,000 subscribers on her email list and over 59,000 Facebook fans.

If you feel like you don’t know what to say, study the indie authors who are good at connecting with their readers people like; Mark Dawson, Bella Andre, Adam Croft and Marie Force.   Look at their social media accounts and subscribe to their newsletters and see what they’re doing right.

Reason 2:  Showing Your Expertise

This is particularly for nonfiction authors who need to show their knowledge of a given subject.  A platform gives you a non-censored channel that you can use to educate or inspire.  It also gives you an opportunity to connect with other thought leaders in your field.

Reason 3:  Promotion… Of Others

It goes without saying that promotion is one of the main reasons authors build a platform.  However your books aren’t the only thing you can promote, you can promote other authors, there are tons of them out there who have little to no support, and a shout-out or friendly word never hurt anyone.  Another good idea is to promote your readers, these are the people who should get regular shout-outs.  Thank them for their positive reviews and support.

Reason 4:  All The Cool Publishers Are Doing It!

Over the past few years, several major publishers like Penguin Random, Guardian Books and even Harlequin have started their own podcasts.  Those same companies also have newsletters and social media sites even though they’re already household names.  Despite what a lot of authors think, they’ve been watching indie authors closely and have been taking notes. This means we indies need to step up our game, and that requires us to learn from each other.

In closing, if you learned anything I hope it was that you can’t depend on anyone to reach and build your audience.  This is your job no matter if you’re a traditionally published author or an indie.  It’s your job to know who your readers are and what they want.  This is what a platform is really about, it’s not about stats or image, it’s about connecting and building relationships, real ones that will endure your entire career.

Advertising, Book Promotion, Indie Publishing, Marketing, Publishing, Social Media, writing

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
Indie Publishing, Publishing, SEO, Social Media, writing

SEO Keywords for Self-Published Books: Part 1

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Image via DesignFeed.io

Three years ago, I wrote an article for authors called SEO Keywords for Fiction Authors and it was one of my most popular posts.  However, a lot has changed since then and SEO has become even more important for authors. Over the past few years Amazon as well as a few other sites have changed their rules about how many keywords you can use and which ones. In fact, several authors have found their books recategorized after choosing the wrong keywords. If you don’t want this happening to you, it would be in your best interest to learn which keywords are best for books in your genre.

Why Bother?

Every major retailer has a search engine to help their customers navigate their websites. Today, the biggest search engines in the world are Google and Amazon. Yes, you read that right, Amazon is considered a search engine as is Apple, so it would be wise to learn how shoppers search if you want to position your book for better visibility.

A few years back, when indie authors everywhere were squawking about keywords and claiming to have gotten sales by tweaking the categories and keywords on their books, I wasn’t a firm believer. That was until I did an experiment with one of my free stories on Wattpad and went from having just a couple of views to a few thousand views. So SEO does matter when ranking in the search engines but as for sales, that’s another story. I do believe that SEO can be a powerful asset to a marketing strategy but in and of itself, it’s not a strategy to rely on. You still need to do other things like advertise, secure interviews, and utilize social media right along with strong SEO.

Types of Keywords Authors Can Use:

Genre: Romance, Thriller, Sci-Fi, etc.
Subgenre: Sweet Romance, Crime Thriller, Sci-Fi Adventure, etc.
Geography: Chicago, Medieval England, Mars.
Language: English, Klingon, Elvish, etc.
Topic: Social Issues, Pathologies, Special Groups.

To find your genre and subgenre go to Goodreads and check out their genre page. Click on the genre that fits your book best, and it will take you to a page with related genres in the upper right hand corner. You can find everything from Bulgarian Literature to Dragon Lance in the Goodreads genre list. When I clicked on Young Adult, I was taken to a page that listed subgenres ranging from fantasy to contemporary literature.

SEO Keywords for Authors
They kind of take out the guesswork don’t they?

If you want to find your subgenre, go to their genres list.

You can also do this also with Amazon, by going to their books section here and choosing to shop by category. When I chose Teens and Young Adult, I got not only subgenres, but the most popular categories, authors, and series. Meanwhile in the left hand margin, I got more subgenres to consider like art & photography as well as social issues.

Keywords for Indie Authors

 

Lost?

If you are totally lost and don’t know what genre to list your book, ask yourself several questions:

1. What age group is my book geared towards; adult, teens or children?
2. Is the conflict internal or external? If it’s internal, then you might want to consider labeling it literary.
3. Is the book geared towards women or men? Men’s fiction usually consists of thrillers, crime and graphic novels. Meanwhile women’s fiction usually consists of romance, chick lit, and erotica.

Even if after all this, you’re still confused just ask another author or even a beta reader what genre they think the book is. Don’t stress this too much, if you mess up, you can always go back and tweak things later.

Before I go, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t tell you that SEO is just one part of a successful marketing campaign.  There is no magic bullet when it comes to marketing books just ask the publishers at the New York big five.  However good SEO does help give your book the visibility it needs to compete in a market saturated in books.

Social Media

Pinterest for Authors: Cool People & Boards to Follow

Not long ago, I wrote an article about Pinterest but never really got into the nitty gritty because I was new to the platform and had no clue what to do on there. Recently, I’ve been finding it easier and more fun to use than Facebook or Twitter. There aren’t that many annoying restraints or constant algorithm changes—yet! Also, I can save time on all my social media accounts by sharing interesting pins to Facebook, Google or Instagram, sites that all favor images.

So let’s start today by using the search engine to find cool people and boards.

Search Terms That Could be Useful

In a Pinterest search you will find several search options which can confuse some people. There’s a small almost unnoticable tab that you can click on where a list of  all of the most popular subjects on Pinterest pop up. Pinterest 2For the sake of this post, we’re just going to go to Film, Music & Books where you’ll find this: Pinterest Basic Search As you can see there are a whole lot of irrelevant non-book related things that were pulled up from this search.  However, you can narrow that search by typing something more specific like: Book Lovers. 

When you do that you will be presented with the All Pins tab as well as the, Your Pins, Pinners and finally, Boards. If you’re looking for something or someone specific, Pinners or Boards are what you want to choose.  Also, if you look toward the top of the page you’ll see several other tabs relating to the words (topic) you have searched. Pinterest Search Techniques If you’re not careful, you can spend hours on Pinterest as I sometimes find myself doing.  So here are a few search terms that will speed up your search.

Tip: You can sign up for Pinterest’s own blog which gives tips and tricks on how to navigate the site.

Boards with Writing Tips

If you’re constantly looking to improve your craft or even looking to challenge yourself as a writer, then Pinterest has you covered. Here are a few boards with everything from character development tips to jokes about writing.

  • ~Writer~  is a board by Sian Rickett’s who pins good tips and half a million other pinners agree!
  •  To Write Characters by Rowena Murillo, has several interesting boards for authors filled with solid tips on the psychology of characters.
  • Writing Tips from Hazell Longuet, has everything from grammar to productivity.
  • Character Personality Traits is a board by yours truly, where I post about personality traits and psychological disorders.
  • Write ✏️✏️✏️ D.i.a.n.a. G.u.n.d.e.l.a.c.h. has tips and jokes.

Boards with Publishing Tips

What indie author doesn’t need marketing advice these days? Here are a few boards for those of you looking for some resources.

  • Author Resources is another board by yours truly and it’s filled with everything from free books on self-publishing, to lists of book reviewers and advertisers.
  • Self-Publishing 101 is a board by Self Pub Nation and is for newbies, naturally.
  •  Book Promotion and Publicity by Your Writer Platform also has awesome pins about promotion and publishing.
  • How to Sell More Books a board from Penny Sansevieri, from the Author Marketing Experts Inc. has everything you’ve ever wanted to know about DIY Publishing.

Quotes & Funny Stuff

Want to post something inspiring or funny to your readers but have nothing to say? Then try seeking out quotes and jokes, they’re everywhere on Pinterest and some of them are unique.

Some Familiar Brands

Yes, companies feel just as pressured as we are to keep up appearances on social media.

Being True to Thyself

Like your books and website, your social media presence should be used as a business card, letting people know who you are, while your posts (pins) should show them what you can do.  This is 20% of social media, the other 80% is sharing, commenting and connecting.  Social media is not about collecting followers or faking engagement.  No one benefits from that.  When the marketing experts talk about building an author platform, they mean building a reputation.  Social media is a great place where you can be you and show the world what you’re all about.  This quote from the late Dr. Seuss says it all:

Book Promotion, Social Media

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

 

Book Promotion, Social Media

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

 

social-media-part1
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
Book Promotion, Networking, Social Media

How to Approach & Pitch Social Media Influencers

pinterest_4cb215da08
Photo from WikiMediaCommons

It’s a problem that many social media admins and page owners complain about all the time and that is complete strangers wanting favors. Don’t think it’s a problem? Just go to Twitter and type the words Please RT or Help Me into the search engine and you’ll find an endless feed of begging. Now, I’m not shaming anyone because I used to do it too thinking that was the way social media worked.  Unfortunately, I listened to the social media experts who told people to ask, ask, ask which got me absolutely nowhere.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I lost a few followers because of it!

The Inherent Problem With Social Media

The biggest problem most indie authors have is that their following on social media is small to nonexistent.  I mean, who follows an unknown author?  With no little or no money, we can’t buy ads or promote posts which naturally puts us in a pickle.  However what most indie authors don’t know is that they can borrow somebody else’s network.  So how do you get someone to lend you their audience?

Whatever You Do, Don’t Skip This Step!

If you really want to get on someone’s radar, you’ll need to join the community you’d like to target. And you’re going to have to be a good community member, which means sharing, and commenting on the page whenever you can.  If you’re friendly as well as helpful, you’ll get noticed in no time.  If not, you might want to consider moving on.

Now keep in mind, you’re building a relationship so this will take time.  For example, when I joined Red River Writers, I was a member of their community for nearly a year when they announced they needed a virtual assistant.  Of course I applied, and didn’t need to feel anxious about approaching them because I was already acquainted with them.

A Cautionary Tale:

In a previous post, I mentioned a viral incident where a young woman approached a job recruiter on LinkedIn who ended up berating her for her poor etiquette.  She was called, entitled and tacky by the recruiter and despite everyone’s outrage, I understand the hostility.  Now I’m not agreeing with how the recruiter behaved but I do know this could’ve been easily avoided if the young woman had simply introduced herself and expressed interest in becoming a part of the recruiter’s community.

Your Angle, You Do Have One Right?

As long as you view this as a business proposition and not a handout, then you shouldn’t feel uncomfortable pitching to a social media influencer or any influencer for that matter. However you first need to ask yourself, what do you bring to the table? Can you offer a free book, tee-shirt or a gift card? As a marketer, you’re going to need an angle.

Things You Need Before You Pitch:

  • A familiarity with the page admin and the community.
  • An appropriate book.  Don’t pitch a romance novel to a sci-fi page.
  • A bribe or special offer.

With Facebook’s Crappy Algorithm Come Many Opportunities

Since Facebook has limited the reach of most pages, page owners are scrambling to hang on to their following. It sucks for them because many of them can’t afford to advertise but you can easily bring a bit of buzz to their page with gifts and bribes.  I believe now that Facebook is an easy target for indie authors looking to promote their work.

On the Reading Between the Wines’ Facebook page (You need to be logged in to see the link) they occasionally offer author takeovers. A takeover is just like it sounds, an author takes complete control of the page in order to hold contests, answer questions and even interact with readers.  Believe it or not, these types of pages aren’t hard to find.

Tip of the day: You can find author friendly pages on Facebook, Twitter and even Google+ by typing, Author Takeover in the search engine and investigate which authors are doing takeovers and where.

Because I Care, Here Are More Resources

Here’s a Google spreadsheet listing Facebook groups that are promotional friendly.
Bloggers who Interview Authors by Lisa Kalner William (You must be logged into Google)
A list of 80 Book Reviewers on Twitter Compiled by Yours Truly @WritingPants

There you go, more tips that can help, you promote your book successfully on social media.  Next week, I’m talking about author assistants and why you’ll need one if you’re going to do a promotional blitz.