Indie Publishing – promoting

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It’s all about ME!  Well, it’s all about YOU – if you self-publish you also self-promote.

There are debates around this but I consider myself the brand and my work as products. I’m like the little store up the dirt road that only gets occasional passing traffic (usually lost tourists looking for the ‘awesome waterfall’).

But if you want to sell – you must promote.

1. TELL people!

It seems obvious but you need to tell friends and anyone you meet. If you say ‘I wrote a book’ they will ask about it. Practise a short summary so you can easily reel it off. If they want to know more, then you can tell them.

Be aware, despite your JOY at being a published writer, some people won’t give a toss; even some of your family or close friends will seem oddly unbothered ~ do not fret over it, it is your joy, embrace it – You Wrote a Book! WOW! That is brilliant 🙂 be proud 😉

2. Free Ads and Social Media

If you use Amazon KDP Select, you can do free promotions. There are 2 options available each for 5 days in every 90 days. You can give your book for FREE or at a discount.

It’s worth linking any offers to a campaign on Social Media too.

SM isn’t for everyone but it is a great way to get yourself and your work visible. There are many options and you don’t need to use them all, in fact don’t.

Pick 1 or 2 to start off. You may find one works better than others, be honest about what you feel comfortable with too; if you take on too many all you’ll do is get bogged down and have ‘hanging accounts’.

And I am speaking from experience here! It is tempting to dive in and set up lots, most are free and sooo easy, so why not? The danger is that you spend all your time on SM (planning posts, checking likes/followers etc) and you don’t get time to write remember: you want to be a writer not a full-time SM poster!

Here are some of my tips:

Twitter is fast, a post lasts about 20 mins, so use often but mix it up. Practice with different content/style and through experience you will work out how best to use it. Use common # such as #amreading #poetry ~ do some searches and use those hashtags that have a connection to your style of writing. You can also use them to help connect to your audience. If you can, use what’s trending too; re-tweet other people you like and don’t forget to follow other writers too.

Facebook shifts at a steadier pace but apparently this attracts older audiences now; that may suit you but you need to be aware that younger people tend to want what’s newest. You can use your own FB page (look at settings if you want to restrict posts to certain people) or create a separate fan page. I have an official Author Page where I share writing topics, obviously promote my work/books and post various nonsense in between. You could set-up a page simply to promote one book (or a series) or even as a character.

Blogs are a great place to show your work, think of a blog as a mini web-site. Most are free to set-up – Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr are highly recommended but do a quick search and see what you like. You can usually pay for extras, if you want to; like a domain name – I do this, which means my blog has a shorter name of LizzieHW.com without the added tag of @wordpress.com. But only pay if you can afford it AND if you need it.

Pinterest is visual led. You create ‘boards’ with images you like. Here you can include pictures that relate to your themes, your book cover, pictures of you – experiment! More women use this SM (over 80%).

Linked-In is a different type of SM and is aimed at professional users, those who want to connect with people who can help. There are a few specific writers groups where you can ask questions and get advice. I use this and dip in now & again but you may not get many customers unless you are writing factual work, then it could be a great place to connect to the same profession.

There are so many more – experiment! Have fun.

Most social media can be cross-linked with clever embedded code – you don’t need to know code, most sites provide this and you just copy the whole thing and paste it into the relevant place. Once done, the feeds will zip over your social world all by themselves! Ensure you have links to your Amazon Author page/s.

 But how do people FIND me on SM? There is no Golden Answer. Everyone starts at Zero. I found that Twitter was the fastest to increase Followers especially when I use # and Re-tweet other related posts. Facebook is slower but I keep going. My blog is slow too but I have no desire to hit a magic number of LIKES or Followers – it’s about good quality outputs.

3. Paying for ads

It’s your choice. I haven’t paid for any, doesn’t mean I won’t. But think carefully before you do.

I have seen people pay around $10 and only get 1 sale. That’s no big loss, or is it? You may have to sell 10+ books to recoup that.

Giving cash to anyone to advertise for you is a risk – you have to decide if the risk is acceptable to you. If you have ZERO spare money (the pennies down the sofa don’t count) then forget paid-for-ads. Just think creatively; here’s some ideas:

  •  post comments on sites that link to your style of writing
  • share work for free, poems/stories to get your name known
  •  you can share your own Facebook posts in relevant groups
  •  have a tag-line that summarises your book; use it everywhere
  • look for natural links – if your book is about a tennis player, link to tennis tournaments

If you have stacks of cash to spend on promoting (lucky you!) you may be better getting professional advice. Take care and ensure you get a trusted company/individual – check references/recommendations.

4. Leaflets and business cards

Oh now that sounds very upmarket… This is easy to do and if you can spare a few pounds/dollars you can get professional results.

I did a small run of business cards through a reputable company, only cost me a few quid. I give them out to anyone interested and ‘place’ them when I am out in bathrooms, on pin-boards , give them to people I meet etc.

– There are no secrets here. What works wonderfully for one writer or one book won’t always work again. You need to keep all promotions Fresh and Interesting too.

  1. Practice writing some ads, with links to your book.
  2.  Know the book’s story so you can tell others
  3.  Be brave! Ask for a spot on your local Radio/Tv – the worst is they say No.
  4.  check how others do it, ask for advice
  5. get second opinions on any ideas
  6.  only pay if you can afford it
  7.  mix things up a bit – try different approaches & see what gets results
  8.  Don’t flood SM with ads, people will get fed-up and ignore them; obey any rules about self-promoting in groups/sites
  9.  Time ads to link with relevant events
  10.  you can do it!

promote/market/sales = getting your work to your customers & it takes hard work, some Big sellers have taken years to get a top spot, be prepared for that!  Good luck.

~~~~~~ next week: Are you ethical?

Lizzie HW

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