This, my friends, is an endless, uphill battle. It’s also a terrifyingly fine line to walk.
You can only blast your social media circles with BUY MY book posts so many times before people start hiding (or worse, unfollowing) you, right? I mean, we’ve all done it. We all know at least ONE of those people who uses social media for absolutely NOTHING but pushing sales.
This post will, in the long run, be one of those.
For now, let’s talk about HOW you should be promoting.
Instead of scheduling posts with buy links to go live every hour on the hour and then walking away from your page, you should probably try to be a little more engaging. There are MILLIONS of books for your readers to choose from. If they were only in it for the book, nobody would ever be able to make a decision. Successful authors are the ones who remember who pays the bills. TALK TO YOUR FANS, DAMMIT!
It’s insane how often I see fledgling indie authors who don’t do this. People aren’t going to buy your book just because you tell them to. People are going to buy your book PRIMARILY because they like YOU. My fans are fans of ME first and my work second. Why is that? Well, because I talk to them. If someone can take the time to comment on my status, the LEAST I can do is like said comment. USUALLY, I end up having quite a back and forth with them. Our conversations, on a normal day, range from about 5 replies to 20 replies. 10 to 40 seconds of my day was given to that person and chances are pretty good that that alone will land me future sales.
Pretty good investment if you ask me.
Interacting with your fan base is THE most important aspect of being a successful ANYTHING.
Followed shortly by generating word-of-mouth. This is where the actual quality of your work comes into play. Now that you have your die hard 1-clickers, you need to give them something that they can talk about with their friends and family. If one of my friends says to me, “OMG! You NEED to read this book!” I’m MUCH more likely to actually pick it up VS the author of the book telling me, “OMG! You NEED to read this book!” I mean… Of COURSE the author is going to say that, right? Another relatively simple way to get some buzz going is to reach out to book bloggers.
These people LOVE to read and they LOVE to talk about reading. 99.9% of the time all you have to do is go to their Facebook page, read their “About” section to see if they do promo stuff for authors, make sure they cover your genre, see if they have special submission guidelines (EXTRA IMPORTANT!!!), etc… More often than not, the admins names will be in there as well. If you can send them a message that starts with their name, it shows that you actually took the time to go out of your way and get familiar with their blog. That goes a LONG way in beginning a positive, beneficial relationship. Trust me: These people are the people who will make or break you. You WANT them to love you.
Kiss. Their. Asses. It’s worth it. Believe me.
Not to mention most of them are actually REALLY awesome people!
And that leads us into blog tours. You will want to start setting these up MONTHS in advance. Try to get promo posts set up with your participating blogs leading up to release day. Ask them if they do author interviews (these are my FAVORITE things in the whole wide world), character interviews, takeover events, guests posts, etc… ANYTHING that will get some hype going pre-release.
You’re also going to want to get your ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) out to them AT LEAST a month in advance. I don’t recommend going much further out than that, but a solid four weeks gives them enough time with your manuscript to read through it, write a well-structured review, and if they loved it, they’ll be talking about it while they wait for release day. This is what you want. Remember, these people are SUPER busy and they do all of this for FREE. Don’t pester them about it. Don’t freak out if they haven’t sent you an email the day before release day. Most of them won’t. Just watch your POS (point of sale) site on release day and wait for the reviews to roll in.
THEN SHARE THEM.
Most bloggers put a considerable amount of time into their reviews (we’re talking PARAGRAPHS, folks) and they LOVE when you share that hard work for them. It’s WAY better than a “thank you” note. Share the review and tag them where you can. That increases traffic to their page and keeps all of us in business.
I’ll even recommend a few of my favorites to get you started:
Books, Chocolate and Wine
Glass Paper Ink Bookblog
FMR Book Grind
2 Girls Who Love Books
Hopelessly Devoted 2 Books
These are just a few of the MANY blogs that have supported me throughout my career and they’re honestly an absolute joy to work with. I could go on for DAYS, but these ones came to mind most readily.
I’m not going to blow sunshine up your ass and tell you this stuff is simple. It’s not. It requires a LOT of work and a calendar on your phone that will send you notifications to remember that you have things to do. What I WILL tell you is that it’s worth the time you have to put into it. I WILL tell you that it’s going to take away from your writing time and your family time and your “real job” time. I WILL tell you that even if you do ALL of these things, there’s no guarantee that your book will hit Bestseller (none of mine have yet, but I’ve come VERY close this last time around). And I will also tell you that if you DON’T do these things, your career as an indie author will be very short lived.
Oh, by the way, you NEED to read this book!
You can read it for FREE if you have KU or Prime!
I also do interviews, guest posts, takeovers, and happily let you cry on my shoulder if you’re having a bad day. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up in the comments below!
As always, Happy Writing!