Category Archives: Marketing

Should You Directly Sell Your Books on Social Media?

When you go on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, do you enjoy reading ads? Probably not. This has been one of my main problems with how I use social media. That’s changing, and I’ve seen the results. While I do publicize my blog posts on social media, I’ve been sharing/retweeting others’ posts, as well as just talking and socialising on social media. On Twitter, that’s resulted in more than doubling the rate at which I gain followers. I don’t use it as an advertising platform anymore. I found this recording of a Google Hangout by Author Hub, and it has some good advice about using social media to sell books.

What do you think? And how do you like Ashley Hewitt’s moustache? Let me know in the comments below.

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Improving My Social Media Presence

One of the most important parts of being a self-published author is marketing. And one of the best ways to market is by using social media. But you have to have a pretty good reach and a lot of luck getting people to share your book. At the moment, I’m not published, but I am often marketing my blog posts and videos. I need to improve how I use social media.

Twitter

Today, I’m starting with Twitter. The potential of Twitter is great. Although I have only 3,310 followers, if someone with twice as many followers retweets one of my tweets, my audience grows drastically. It’s a dream for someone who’s marketing their own content for it to go viral. But how do you do that? Well, you need to either have an influencer retweet your tweets or become an influencer on Twitter. These people have a lot of followers who love to share their Tweets. I found a couple resources which seem to be pretty useful. First, there’s a website that provides a list of websites that help you find influencers. The second one is a website that gives you forty steps to become an influencer. I’m going to be trying these out.

What I’ve begun doing is interacting more with my followers. Talking to them, retweeting them, and liking their tweets. If they’re a new follower, I retweet one of their recent tweets. I plan on starting up some lists, as well. And I want to find some influencers who regularly interact with their followers.

YouTube

This is my second focus at the moment. I’m going to be setting up my channel to be more orderly, so there are several sections on my main page that make it more organised and easier to find certain content. I’ll be making videos more regularly, too. I’ll be sharing my videos on social media, and I’ll be commenting on others’ videos.

Facebook

I’m still working out how to increase the popularity of my Facebook page, but I plan on interacting more and providing more interesting content that you don’t find on the blog.

Those are the top three social media sites I use. There are others, of course, and I regularly use them, but I don’t focus as much attention on them as these three. You can only spend so much time using social media, so you have to choose the ones you have the best results from.

Do you have any tips for using social media? What works for you? Let me know in the comments below.

Using LinkedIn More Effectively

I think it’s time to improve my LinkedIn profile and expand my network. I’m going to start using the social network to promote myself professionally, as well as this blog and my writing. But I’m thinking about how to do that.

First of all, if you’re interested in connecting with me, you can find my profile here and add me as a connection.

Secondly, I need to flesh out my profile. That includes past jobs, responsibilities, write more about my education, and more. But another thing I’m thinking about doing is starting a group related to this blog. But what should I do with it? Should I make it about this blog? Or should it be about Authors Answer? What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Other Authors – Friend or Competition?

Are you in direct competition with other writers? Or do you prefer to be friends with them? Is there a benefit to both? This is something some authors have trouble with. One way can make things go smoothly, while the other can create bad blood.

I think it’s best to be friends with other authors. Sure, they may be competition, but it’s not that simple. You may compete for sales, but if you’re writing in the same genre, the same readers will buy both of your books. Isn’t it more mutually beneficial to support each other’s writing? If you share your friend’s books and they share yours, both of your sales should improve.  Isn’t that right?

But then, what if you’re sharing everyone’s writing, and all of your sales increase? Your Amazon rankings might not change. Well, I doubt that’ll happen, since you can’t share thousands of authors’ writing. But think about this, if you share another person’s writing, and they share yours, their readers will discover you. They will then talk about your books to other people, and they will also buy your books. Your sales increase.

Isn’t it better to be friends? I’ve seen so much fighting between authors on platforms such as Goodreads. They’re only hurting themselves, as they’re seen as vindictive and not worth supporting. Be friends, get along with your competition. They aren’t really competition after all. They may be your best marketing tool, and you theirs.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Self-Promotion the Friendly Way

Have a book to sell? Always sending out tweets asking people to buy your book? You’re probably being ignored.

After a couple years of using social media to promote this blog, I have seen a trend. I have more than 3,000 followers on Twitter, and I get maybe two or three views per day from Twitter. That’s it. Promoting on Twitter doesn’t work. I have only 62 followers on my Facebook page, and more than 200 friends on my personal account, and I get up to ten views per day from Facebook. Much better percentage, but not amazing. I get nothing from Google+, nothing from Pinterest (except my Happy Little Cloud post keeps getting repinned), and very little from LinkedIn. So, why do people always say to market ourselves via social media? Well, I also see them say to tweet your blog posts multiple times per day, which to me is just spammy.

Where do I get most of my views? Through WordPress and Google search. My followers read my posts. I have a great group of followers who return all the time to read what I have to say and to interact with me. I think that’s one of the most important things. Interaction. Be real. Be friendly. Be yourself. If you are a genuinely friendly person who gives back and responds to comments, those followers will keep returning. I like to give back to those people with Commentition. Check out my last one.

With Google, I just make sure I tag my posts appropriately, use descriptive titles, and link to any post or website I reference (this helps increase search rankings).

But what about new readers? This is where you have to do a bit of reading and commenting. Go to other blogs and comment. Engage in conversation with the blogger and other commenters. They will likely visit your blog and follow yours. You’ve got another person who may comment. This is probably my weak point. I haven’t been doing this enough, and I really should. I keep telling myself to do it, but find that time is a major issue. But it’s something I will constantly work on.

So, what you need to do is to stop acting like an impersonal advertiser or marketer and start acting like a real person who interacts with everyone. Don’t just advertise on Twitter, talk to people there. Don’t just write posts that sound like essays or articles, write about what you think and feel. Don’t worry so much about making it sound polished. Just be you. If people like you, they’ll stick around and return often.

This is what works for me, and I’ve found I’m not alone. Many others say the same thing. What about you? What have you done that works for you?

Book Business Cards and Cheat Sheets

In last week’s Authors Answer, one of the more common questions we hated to answer was “What’s your book about?” It’s a difficult question to answer because we usually don’t have a rehearsed description of the book we’re writing. So, I thought, why not just write down a brief description of the book, like it would appear on the back cover, and give that to anyone who asks?

Turns out, this kind of thing is real. But they’re simply author’s business cards. However, you can put a book blurb on one side of it. That’s fine for if you have a published book, but it doesn’t work for a book you’re currently writing.  And why would you write the blurb before you even finish the book? That’s not an easy thing to do, since your book may change drastically by the time you publish.

So, make a cheat sheet. Just write down what you feel is the best description you can make of your work in progress, and keep it in your wallet. Whenever someone asks, pull it out and read it to them. Even better, memorise it. Or if you like, print out a bunch of them on paper and hand them to anyone who wants to know, along with your name, email, and website’s address.

Anyone ever seen something like this? What do you think?

99 Cent or Free eBooks? I Won’t

When someone goes to work, they expect to be paid a fair amount for their work. When an artist creates a work of art, they expect to be paid for the work they have done. So why would an author work for months on a book only to sell it for 99 cents or just give it away for free? I won’t do that.

Sure, I’ll do the occasional promotion where I’ll drop the price to 99 cents, but never free. I want to be paid for the work I did. I’ll never keep a book at 99 cents, either. That is unless it’s one of my first books in a series and I’m comfortable with reducing it to that price. But I can’t guarantee it.

So why won’t I do this? It turns out, from what I’ve heard, that offering free books may get more downloads, but they’re unlikely to be read much. When people buy books, they will read them. A freebie is just that. Something they’ll put on their Kindle and forget about it. Low priority.

With that said, I do download free books, but I want to give back to that author in the form of a review. If I really liked the book, I may buy a print copy. I like physical books, because I’m a bit of a collector.

So, permanently low price or free book? No. I want to be paid for my work. Low price promotional copies? Yes. It’ll boost my visibility and hopefully drive regular price sales. I will have to experiment, though.

How do you feel about free or 99 cent books? Let me know in the comments.