Now that I have a book to promote, I find myself at a loss. I’ve never been keen on the idea of self-promotion, so the thought of begging people to buy my book fills me with dread. I’ve often heard that a good book sells itself, but in a market saturated with new books, it’s easy for a novel to get lost in the shuffle. So, what’s an author to do?
I don’t have a million dollar advertising budget to back me up, so magazine ads are clearly out of the question. No public relations rep either, so physical book signings will probably be few and far between, and as an introvert, I’m happy to stay at home and promote from the safety of my living room. But, how far will that get me? Every day, I see Facebook posts advertising freebies and new releases. There’s book review blogs and websites offering author interviews. Guess who follows these book review sites and reads author interviews? Yep. Other authors. Now, it’s no secret that authors love to read. And, authors are always willing to give another indie author a chance by buying their book. But, marketing your book to other authors has a very limited reach.
In terms of self-promotions, how much is too much? How many times can I post about my book on Facebook before my friends, family, and acquaintances are sick of hearing about it? Not many, I’d reckon. On Twitter, I’m inundated by Tweets from authors begging people–anyone–to give their book a chance. If you shout into the forest of cyberspace, and no one gives a crap about your message, is it a colossal waste of time? If you continue to scream your unwanted message into cyberspace, how long before your friends and followers delete your posts without reading them?
Okay, it’s brutal honesty time. I have a few friends on Facebook (you know who your are) whose blog posts enthrall and delight me. I read every single thing they have to say, and when their books release, I will be the first to buy them. There are also a few blogger/authors out there whose blog posts I read because some long ago Facebook post or Tweet caught my eye and forced me to take a closer look. But, the reality is, I don’t read the most of the posts and Tweets that come my way. I spend very little time on Facebook and even less on Twitter. I simply don’t have time, and the fact is, most people don’t.
How does one get noticed? How do you advertise your book when you’re on a budget? And, if your time is limited, do you invest that precious time in your marketing efforts or in your writing efforts?
I don’t have the answers. And, from what I can tell, neither does anyone else. I’ve read articles and blog posts that try to address this issue, but so far, I haven’t stumbled on any meaningful advice. So, if you were hoping to find quick and easy marketing ideas in this post, I’m dreadfully sorry to disappoint.
Here’s what I can promise you: If I find something that works, I’ll post it on my blog. To all my fellow travelers stumbling across the unforgiving terrain of cyberspace, I will not forget you. If I find a way out of the forest, I will not leave you behind. Together, we will write amazing books others will want to read. We will find a way to bring these books to readers. And, if you scream into cyberspace, I will answer you. Because every authors deserves to be heard.
8 thoughts on “Screaming into Cyberspace”
Good post as usual, Tricia. I haven't found the answer either, but I do think the name of the game is creating a buzz, or getting your name/book title out there. Word of mouth is a great selling point, so the more people who know about your book, the better, right?
A lot of the review and interview blogs are actually followed by readers. I think readers follow reviewers with like-minded tastes in books, so again, getting your name and book out there through interviews and reviews is a necessary evil. I also think it takes time, and first-time authors have an uphill battle. You're developing a “brand” and asking for readers to take a chance on you. It's not easy. But keep climbing.
Lastly, everything I've read on promoting a book says Facebook and Twitter work. I don't know yet if that's actually the case, but I do know a lot of people say it. So can it hurt? Your FB fan page is designed for people to know what you as an author are doing, so tell them! And I think it's important to thank the people who take time to review your book or interview you. Maybe some of your followers will take a look at the blog, and learn about other books out there.
You're right. Self-promotion is hard, especially for us introverts. But if we want to sell books, we're going to have to do self-promote. So keep screaming, Tricia! You're bound to be heard, and you're bound to pick up readers, because you've got a great book. That's my two-cents worth!
You're absolutely right about the power of word of mouth. If you can reach just one reader, and that person tells their friends, and those people tell their friends… well, you get the idea. Before you know it, everyone is talking about your book.
It's hard when you're a first time author. You're basically starting from scratch, and for some authors who are still finding their feet, their 'brand' is still in the early developing stages.
I've read several articles about marketing, and though I haven't picked up on any easy tips, one piece of advice is universal: First, write a good book. As writers, we need to make certain our product is the best it can be. Only then can we feel comfortable asking others to read it, review it, and tell their friends about it.
Thanks for stopping by, Amy, and for giving us all something to think about. You have a great book and I predict it will be flying off the shelves in no time!
I can only tell you what I would do.. and of course I have no idea if that would work, but maybe its worth a try:
-> try and get a broad reach, anyone may be interested, so tell anyone
-> reserve 1,5 hours of your day for this and not more
-> compile a lits of review sites in Excel (you are handy with Excel I know) and tick off to whom you have sent requests to read your book, who has responded, and whom you have thanked for that
-> start a Facebook page for The Claiming Words, so people can like it and share with their friends, Facebook pages are interesting when you post stuff on them, so post some background info on the characters, maybe some deleted parts, post news on promotion of the book, tell people if you have an interview somewhere
I would make sure you target this. Maybe your Publisher can provide you with a hundred printed copies of the Claiming Words. High schools will have reading clubs I imagine, or maybe the school libraries will be interested in promoting your book? Call them up and ask them about it. I imagine your book is interesting for girls so I would really make sure the right readers get it.
Also Twilight fans / moms will be interested in it. Maybe you can locate a few and share it with them?
I think the main thing is that you reserve a timeslot each day and devote effort into promotion. And think of your audience. Who will love your book? What others books does your target audience most likely read? That will be a way to find them and get their attention.
Great advice, Tockica. I've got a Facebook page for TCW, but I'm sorry to say I don't do much with it. In a few days, I won't be tied to my day job, so I'll be able to devote time to marketing. I love your idea about posting character info and deleted scenes on on the FB page. I'm so glad you dropped by my blog!
Colorful and full of imagery, Tricia, as usual. Here's hoping you find a trail of breadcrumbs.
I'm going to avoid begging as much as possible, but make sure the link to my book is visible on all my pages, so people can find it if they want to. We'll see how it goes.
Anyway, if you'd like to do a guest blog and talk about your book at the end of it on my blog, you are welcome to. Just thought I'd offer because I know it can be scary to approach people for guest blogging.
And you don't have to take me up on this offer either. It's all up to you. You won't hurt my feelings either way.
You can contact me @ firstname.lastname@example.org if you ever do want to guest blog. The offer is always open.
Thank you for the offer. You'd better believe I'll be in touch!