Friday, January 30, 2015

Four Options For Book Marketing That Might Fit Your Budget.

Four Options For Book Marketing That Might Fit Your Budget.

The excuse of, “I’m a writer, not a sales person,” is not valid in our current book market. With literally millions of books being published each year, you have to learn to sell yourself and your books, or drown in the rushing tide. And of course while you’re busy trying to figure out how to market yourself and your books, you still need to write more. There are no one-hit-wonders in self-publishing. Readers who love your first book will demand more. And, if you don’t deliver, you will be forgotten.

I know what you’re thinking. How am I supposed to keep writing books if I have to take that precious time to sell the ones I’ve just published?

I say the same thing every time I hit publish. With two series under my belt I still struggle with the idea of selling books and trying to keep up with reader demand for more.  That’s when you might want to look into other methods of promotion that take the weight off of your own shoulders.

Aside from the daily social media spam, there are a few options you can take to help you with this.

Street Teams –Word of mouth has been long touted as the best way to sell books and that is what a street team is all about. Fans of your work sign up to be part of a group marketing effort. The cost? Swag, free books, facetime with their favorite author, chances to become a character. You can really get creative here, as long as you keep your fans happy they will keep pimping your books.

Blog tours – Relatively cheap. Tours vary based on length of time you want your book promoted, and if you want reviews or not included. This is by no means a long term marketing effort, but is a good and inexpensive idea for book releases.

Hire a P.A. – If you can afford it, this option can really help take some of the pressure off. A P.A. will help with whatever you need. You set the workload. Prices for their services will have to be negotiated ahead of time.

Hire a Publicist – This will be by far your most expensive option, but it can pay back in spades.  They essentially hold your hand through the process and help you develop not only a brand, but an excellent shot at getting your book into the spotlight. You have to be willing to make the gamble though as it will be initially a HUGE investment.

I’ve recently been introduced to a wonderful site with freelancers who offer up services that fall into many of these general categories. Have a peek around AuthorsAtlas and see if you might find something here to assist you in your marketing needs.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Social Media. What tools are in your arsenal?

Photo chosen because this illustrates exactly how I feel trying to keep up with social media. 

In my last post I talked of the ineffective side of social media for the purposes of spamming, but that is not to say that social media is not an important part of an author’s platform.  You cannot expect to ignore the audience and still sell books. You have to get the word out somehow (without spam of course), so how do you do it? What sites are you linked to, and how do you utilize them properly?

Have I missed any? Let me know in the comments if I did.

Now that we have a list of places to belong to, how do you utilize them without letting them rule your life (you do have to have time to write, right?)? Well, there just happen to be a few productivity helpers out there to assist you with keeping up with post while you’re not away. The beauty of this is that you can schedule tweets, post, blogs, etc… for times you know you will be away from the computer, but don’t let that stop you from actually interacting with your audience. The biggest problem, as I stated in the last post, is that the spam all becomes white noise.

HootSuite - Features like Personalized Tabs, Personalized Columns, Multiple Twitter Accounts, Team Work Flow, Embedded Columns, Track Statistics, Create Groups, Feed Your RSS etc.
SocialOomph – A free and a professional service for posting to social media.
TwitterFeed – Auto tweeting to Twitter and Facebook from your RSS feed.

Of course, if I missed any, let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Does Social Media Sell Books?

Between authors spamming online groups daily, twitter hashtags that are increasingly flooded with tweets, and Facebook pages that despite having a large “like” base being hidden from view, is Social media a place to sell books?

I’m guilty of all of the above. I belong to countless facebook groups for authors, readers, reviewers, etc… I regularly schedule auto-tweets, and use hashtags. I practically live on facebook. But, I do not see the efforts helping to push any of my books into the spotlight.

I’d venture a guess to say that other authors have noticed the same trend.

This won’t be a post filled with answers. If I had them, I would certainly share them. What I’d like to talk about is the why rather than the what do we do aspect of this.

When the market was smaller and being an author was more a dream than a reality, advertising was easier. But, with the ease of self-publishing, more people are realizing the dream. A bit of a double-edged sword. The down side of that is that everyone is publishing, and I do mean EVERYONE. 

Anyone who has ever had the desire to penn their first novel, is. The market is quite literally flooded with books of all shapes and sizes. Anything you can think of has and is being published. And, social media is the place where EVERYONE is taking their books.

I open up facebook and look at my notifications. Over 99 in just a few hours. The majority of them… You guessed it, post about new books and sale books. I can hardly find post by friends anymore because of the absolute wall of book advertisements. And, like I said, I am guilty of posting as well, though I limit myself to no more than 8 a day. Still, even with my low post count, it is only adding to the white noise.

The same applies to twitter. A quick scroll through recent posts in the last five minutes turns up the same results.

If I go to blogger and look up blogs I’ve signed on to read and 90% of them are blog tours advertising new books.

It’s enough to make you want to scream at times. Nothing but sale, sale, sale, and New Author, and 
Debut author. Yes, authors need to be able to reach the market to sell books, but this is just not the way.

So, I put the question to you. Are you guilty of this? Do you feel it really helps? And, if not, what do you do to help sell your books?