Monday, August 20, 2012

The Savvy Self-Marketer Basics

Having released a few "indie" titles myself, I have learned a thing or two about self-marketing a book.
I have no magic formula, and I'm no expert - but perhaps you might find my suggestions helpful.

1) Facebook Professional Page
 - If you don't have an "Author" page on Facebook yet, you should make one, even if your book isn't out in the marketplace yet.  Share it with your friends on your personal page and beg for 'Likes,' just to get the ball rolling.  Be sure to have links to your blog and/or website visible without having to click anything else (like in the 'About' section just under your picture).  Do not post pics of your kids.  Do not post personal comments about how much you hate going to the dentist.  Keep this page strictly for announcements of book signings, trailers, school appearances, etc.  In my personal experience, the more you post, the more your 'Likers' get annoyed and 'Unlike' you, so keep it to the bare necessities.  Unless, of course, you're George Takai - then post every twenty minutes because he's fricking hilarious.

Once your book is released, splurge a couple hundred dollars on a Facebook Ad which directs clicks to your FB Author Page, you'll get a fair amount of 'Likes,' and create attention for your book.  Do not, however, have continuous Ads on FB, as it's expensive, and doesn't guarantee sales increases.  My advice?  Run an Ad a week every month for the first three months after your book is released then see what happens.  It may take off, it may not.

2) GoodReads.com
- When I released 'Shut Up' I had two GoodReads.com giveaways two months apart.  This created quite a lot of attention on that particular site, and my 'To Read' numbers climbed dramatically during each contest.  I gave away 10 autographed copies each time (on my own dime) and posted links to the Giveaway on my FB page, my blog, and on Twitter.  I received quite a few positive reviews on that website from the giveaways and feel it was totally worth the expense.

The other expense on GoodReads is their inexpensive Advertising sales, which shows your book cover and a short description on the side bars of GoodReads.com.  Again, cheap and effective.

The one word of advice I will administer is this: DON'T RESPOND TO REVIEWS OF YOUR BOOK!  Even if it's positive.  Amongst the bloggers and reviewers, author responses (even "liking" a positive review) can be seen as a manipulation of the system, and is generally frowned upon.  So my advice is to advertise, giveaway and go silent as the grave.

3) Book Bloggers
- There are a great many book bloggers these days.  A lot. Google 'Book Review Websites' and gawk away.  It's insane.
When I released both my books I contacted bloggers individually and asked if they would be willing to accept a free copy of my book in exchange for an honest review, a lot of them accepted.  This was all on my own dime, again.  Mind you, not everyone who accepted a free copy of my book posted a review.  Not only that, you might not like the review they give you if they do post one.  There are no guarantees.
Pick your reviewers very carefully in the beginning, and get as many as you can from blogs with over 200 followers.  The more followers, the more people who are going to see this review.  In the beginning of my self-marketing push for my first book, I got a lot of bloggers who were willing to accept my book and a lot of them gave excellent reviews, but since their blog was practically unheard of, it wasn't exactly a magic formula to increasing awareness of my work.  So, not to sound like that old knight in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, but, choose wisely.

4) Twitter
Twitter is great fun, and very popular amongst adults - but if you are a YAish author, like me, not many teens are using it.  Mostly teens are using instagram - which I have yet to figure out.  However, if you want to rub cyber-elbows with other authors, agents, editors, critics, and literary hobknobbers, Twitter can be a great source.  Make an account, Search your genre, the word agent, editor, and author and Follow as many as humanly possible (2,000) until they cut you off.  Give it a few days, and then go to JustUnFollow.com and use that program (it's free!) to unFollow anyone who is not following you back (although, I follow a slew of editors who don't follow me, just because I like stalking editors, teehee),  then search again and Follow some other editors, authors and agents, and eventually, your Followers will grow.  Keep your Tweets witty, relevant, and don't spam links to your book every other hour.  Once a day in the beginning of your release, once a week after a month or two, and then after three months - give it a rest, because nobody cares anymore.  #truth
Don't be a troll.
No bashing the business you are trying to break into.
Don't send creepy messages or queries in Direct Messages to agents and/or editors you want to read your book.
Don't bash other author's work, unless you are prepared never to work with that agent and/or publishing house when your time comes.
Be supportive.
If you wish to send angry Tweets about your cheating no-good ex-boyfriend, keep it vague and don't name names.  The internet is permanent and so is anything you Tweet.
Be smart.

5) Blog
I think this one is a little obvious, so I'm not going to spend too much time on this one.
Get a blog.  Blog at least once a week.  Have links to your Twitter and Facebook page.  Occasionally, write a post about how to self-market, and then post a link to that post to create more blog traffic. ;)

Again, same as Twitter.
Don't be a troll.
Unless, of course, you're Amanda Hocking, in which case being half-troll is acceptable (this is not a bash, this is a reference to her incredibly popular e-book to blockbuster series about a girl who is half-troll, so just relax). :P

6) Website
Apart from your blog where you are writing lengthy posts about your writing process and what-have-you, you should also purchase the url of your name (ie. www.AnneTibbets.com) and use it as a hub to direct people to your blog, your FB page, Twitter, Instagram, and whatever else.
When you get rich and famous you can have it professionally designed, but in the meantime, just get it, spend $5.99 a month on GoDaddy.com and use their template - it's so easy!  And that way, when you are ready, it's already yours to do with as you will.


I hope these ideas are even just a little helpful.
I wish you all the greatest luck and success!

Think I'm wrong?
Think I missed something?
Comment below and let me know!



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