I have a confession to make. I don’t know what I’m doing.
It’s true! When it comes to promoting my book, I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m learning, as I’m sure you are too. (Duh, that’s why you’re reading my blog.) I’m sorry to disappoint. I hope you didn’t think that I was an experienced expert on this subject. The truth is, I’m learning how to promote my book right along with you. We’re in this together. So I’m not going to advise you about a certain formula for promoting and selling your book, because I haven’t yet found it. But I believe I will. I’m optimistic, and here’s why.
First, I have been learning about what doesn’t work. Take for example, one of my author friends who recently posted this on Facebook:
I released my book back in June, and I haven’t been able to get any footing on it, even after doing some paid promotions and Facebook advertising.
There are plenty of offers that will be thrown in your face to part you from your money for advertising, email-blasting (aka spamming), website optimization, or some other form of promotion. What I have heard from trusted experts and my friends is that they don’t work. Period. Or that they get a small, short-lived spike in sales, then right back to where they were before the whiz-bang promotional event.
So what does work? That leads to my second reason why I’m optimistic. I have been learning what really works from a few trusted experts, some of whom are real live people, and others that I follow online. One that seems to make a whole lot of sense is Kristen Lamb, whose blog, books, and website seem particularly helpful, not only for promotion, but also for the writing process. At the risk of losing readers to traipse off and follow her instead of me, I strongly recommend her book, Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World.
There are some other helpful sources of information, which I will share in separate blog posts as we continue on. For now, let’s consider what doesn’t work because sometimes knowing what NOT to do is half the battle.
- Spending loads of money for advertising doesn’t work, or provides a small, short-lived spike in sales. Remember, this is #frugalauthor.
- Email blasts don’t work. How many emails that were sent to you as part of an en mass mailing have you actually read? Get my point?
- Spamming everyone on your email list repeatedly does not work. Again, do you read junk sent to you by your half-cousin’s friend’s co-worker? I didn’t think so.
- Over-promoting your book on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, etc. Daily mentions of your book is a sure way to get people to automatically scroll past your posts without thinking.
- Promoting your book to other authors. Networking with writers is a great thing, and one that you and I should be doing, but you want to promote to readers, especially readers within your target audience. Writers are interested in writing. (Duh.) You want to connect with readers that are interested in what your book is about, whether that’s horses, cars, sci-fi worlds, dragons, the future, the past, historic figures, movie stars, or whatever. (I refuse to mention the reality star family whose last name begins with a K.)
So the next (natural) question is: How do I promote my book to 20-something steampunk warrior unicorn enthusiasts (assuming that’s what your book is about)? Hmmm. That’s a good question. Think about it. If you come up with ideas, post them in the comments. My next series of posts will be about what I’m doing now, and what I will be doing in the coming weeks/months/years. (It’s a process. I’m still working on it. But I have done some things. And I will be doing more.)