How many times have you been scrolling through Twitter and seen one of those people on your feed who tags a bunch of people individually, replies to tweets, and copy/pastes a poorly-written advertisement that’s more hashtag than text? Well, this week we’re talking about how not to market your book. And that? That’s definitely one way not to market your book.
Marketing is a challenge for authors. We are, at heart, writers and artists, and most of us bristle at the notion of having to talk to people. Introverts unite… separately… at home. However, as per my previous blog, we aren’t able to ignore it and be successful. This, however, doesn’t mean that all marketing is equal. Bad marketing is, in some ways, almost worse than no marketing because bad marketing will let people know your book exists, but it sure as heck won’t engender goodwill toward you or your work!
With no further ado, let’s talk about what not to do.
Spam links with no explanations. Sharing links to where your book is sold is part and parcel to marketing yourself, however, if you are flooding your various social media outlets with links to your book without further content, it’s just going to irritate people. Make sure if you’re sharing the link to your book, you at least say a little something about it. Also, I’d only share to certain hashtags or outlets once or twice a day. While I’m not a Twitter algorithem expert, I can tell you that as a Twitter user, scrolling through the same advertisement thirty times in an hour makes me want to scream. I always mute that person, and I am not alone in that.
Try and hard-sell people your book. If you’re approaching strangers on social media (or other places) and trying to force your book on them, it’s not going to get you anywhere good. Cold sales aren’t really an effective sales strategy, and it won’t do much to get people interested in you or in your work. Nobody likes the social media equivilent of a telemarketer.
Spam groups or hashtags. In writing groups, it’s an extremely common occurance to have somoene join, drop links to their book with some marketing pitch either once or repeatedly, and leave. They don’t engage in the community, they don’t talk to people, they don’t offer any value. They just drop and jet because they have fifty other writing groups on their list to do the same thing to. This isn’t the venue, they’re not your audience, and if you aren’t engaging with people, all you’re doing is looking like a jerk.
Start petty fights on your author social media accounts. This is a delicate line to walk. I’m not talking about politics or big issues here where speaking out can get you in trouble, I’m talking about being mean or childish and being unkind to people who don’t deserve it.
Develop a massive ego. Publishing a book is a huge success, and you have every right to be proud of yourself. Truly. A healthy amount of the “good feels” is necessary when selling your book because you have to fend off trolls and jerks and lettheir nonsense slide. However, this healthy amount of self-esteem sometimes turns into authors thinking they are, in fact, the next Tolkein. You aren’t probably. Does that mean you can’t be darn good? Absolutely not. But remember that you aren’t going to get more book sales by stepping on others.
How to market your book is a huge discussion for which I always feel under-qualified despite reading a lot of marketing books over the years and watching countless videos and so on. I never feel like I know what I’m doing, but from my understanding most folks feel like they have no idea what they’re doing behind closed doors. So I’m not that far behind the curve, I guess.
Regardless of that, ultimately, the things to avoid when marketing are things that add no value to the person encountering the post or marketing method. Give people value. give them something more, something to enjoy. If you’re just screaming into the void without targeting it appropriately or acting like that MLM friend who invites you to dinner but then tries to hard-sell you into joining their scheme, it’s not going to earn you favors.
So I have a Twitter account I use regularly to connect with other writers for both social and business reasons. Part of it has to do with platform building, part of it has to do with social interaction. We all know I never leave my desk, so Twitter is the closest thing I have to human interaction outside of Facebook. I have been on there a fair amount, and I follow a lot of folks, and have a number of people who follow me. I am receiving new follows daily, and giving as many if not more than I receive.
Most of what I post on Twitter is about writing or photos of my cats. I’m just not that interesting, but I try and make most of my posts funny or relatable somehow. That’s kind of what you’re supposed to be doing. To be talking to people and interacting with them. That’s what Twitter is for – it isn’t for endless spam of “buy my book!”
Now, beyond that, there is a special kind of spam I want to address in regards to Twitter. It’s huge and common, and it’s driving me absolutely batty: direct message spam. When I follow someone on Twitter it’s usually because they do something I like. They maybe said something I enjoyed, or I liked their blog or something like that. It’s a gesture of “hey, you’re kind of cool – I’d like to see more from you”.
Then it happens.
I receive an email or a notification on my phone saying “Hey – you’ve got a direct message from ‘x’!” Oh cool, I think, I’ve got someone to talk to! Then I open Twitter to discover it’s something like this image.
And from that I learn that the author is apparently desperate for sales and has crafted something they believe is witty in an attempt to entice me to purchase their book. I know that this is an automated message or a copy/paste because I received the exact same message on multiple separate accounts. I get dozens of these messages every day between the various Twitter accounts I manage, and every time I get one I have to clamp down on the instinct to instantly unfollow the person.
Why? Because it’s rude. If you have never spoken to me, commented to me, or otherwise interacted with me it’s presumptuous and forward to say something like this. Or something like “HEY BUY MY BOOK, JERKWAD!” because what it says to me – with these automated messages – is “OH GOD I AM SO DESPERATE I WILL ASK ANYONE”. They don’t know what kind of books I like or don’t like, they don’t know who I am, and they don’t know anything about me. All they know – and even then they don’t know this because it’s a computer program – is that I hit “follow” on Twitter.
I have received similar messages on Facebook and LinkedIn, but it’s not as frequent because most people don’t automate these types of messages to their friends. It is also more bothersome because I have to go out of my way to delete them. If they are flooding their Twitter stream with them I don’t have to see them. I don’t have to look. In fact, I can ignore it because I mostly look at a few people and some hashtags I follow rather than my home feed because my home feed is mostly crap book advertisements. A fact that depresses me, but it’s true nonetheless.
If you take anything away from this take away that THIS DOES NOT WORK. It is obtrusive, unpleasant, and rude. Even moreso because these folks do not even answer their direct messages when sent one. I’ve tried to reach out to folks who use this kind of marketing, and they don’t answer. Even if the message is “hey, we haven’t met – how are you?” or something equally personal and benign. Do not be this person.
Let me repeat that: DO NOT BE THAT PERSON.It will turn people off faster than you can blink.
Mercedes Tabano is a freelance writer, content creation specialist, ghostwriter, and author. She has written for magazines, businesses, blogs, SEO companies and more. She has several books on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions. Her blog, www.ProfitablePublishingPossibilities.com helps authors achieve profits in their publishing.
Are you familiar with the world of Internet marketers? An internet marketer is a person who makes most or all of their income marketing items online. Sometimes, they are marketing their own products, other people’s products, and some are even hired to market other people’s businesses. Whatever they’re marketing, they are masters at it. They know every trick in the marketing book. Fortunately, you can borrow some pages from their metaphorical book to promote your actual book.
Internet marketers, (often called Imers) speak often on creating community. With over 1.5 billion people, Facebook is currently their favorite stomping ground. They set up a Facebook page for every new product. They also set fan up a page for themselves. This helps build community and brands them as an expert. There are actually many kinds of pages you can make on Facebook to help you with your branding. An Imer would use all of them, and you should, too.
A Fanpage is the most common type of page. This is where the creator uploads various images, announcements and other content. You can have a Fanpage for your book or book series. Give people tantalizing tidbits from the book along with a place to express themselves. Upload relevant images and quotes. Soon you will have a happy, thriving community.
This is actually a special kind of Fanpage. Though you still have to create 90% of the content yourself, this Fanpage brands you as the author. Just as people like Amanda Hocking and Steven King are public figures, you can be one, too. No need to wait until you’re famous; a Public Figure Fanpage can help you brand yourself now. It’s also a great place to announce your new book.
Another way to use a public figure page is for your characters. While it’s true Facebook only lets you have one personal profile, you can have as many public figure pages as you want. Set up one for each of the main characters in your book, or maybe a minor one who saw it all. Speak in the voice of your character on these pages, even before your book comes out. Then, people will be eager to read your book because they feel like they already know the characters.
A group is for user generated content. This kind of page actually works best if your book is a how-to book. Here, people get together, talk about what’s in your book and also offer their opinions for dealing with a problem. Groups not only foster a sense of community, they are also great places to build raving fans. Additionally, you can use a group to gather information about the type of how-to book they would like to see next.
Build Your List
Imers have a saying that the gold is in the list. When they say this, they are referring to a list of people that they can email an offer to. When people on this list take advantage of this offer, the Imer makes money. Everyone who does anything online needs a list. Here’s how to get and utilize one.
An Autoresponder service is a service that collects names and sends out emails on your behalf. They do this through the use of a webform. A webform is the box you see online that asks you for a name and email address in exchange for sending you something of value for free. Better autoresponders have newsletter templates you can use to keep in touch with your people. They also offer social media integration for popular sites like Twitter or Facebook. Once you have your webform, put it everywhere you can think of.
It All Starts With The Giveaway
Before you set up your webform, but after you choose your autoresponder, you need a giveaway. The giveaway is what people view as more valuable than their email address. Ideally, you should have several giveaways, one for each book. Because the autoresponder keeps track of who came in on which page, you will know exactly which book brought them to you.
The most common giveaways revolve around the book itself. If your book is a how-to book, offer them something like worksheets or a list of additional tips. If your book is a fiction book, write a short story about those same characters. Or, if that’s not possible, write the short story about some other characters who were present in the book but who were not the stars. For example, a brief retelling of a section of the book from the best friends’ or family members’ point of view always works well. No book should ever go to press without the giveaway firmly in place. To attract people to it, simply say something like:
“Want another story on the continuing adventures of (name) go to (webpage) to get a mini-story.”
Using Your List
Imers email their list daily, sometimes twice. However, that’s often too much for the average non-IM market. You don’t want to email your list so infrequently that they forget about you. Usually every 2-3 days is the right amount to email them. When you email them, you don’t want to make it all about you. Instead offer them useful or amusing tidbits. Share favorite, relevant websites or facts. Give them micro stories (of 300 words or less) in their emails.
In this way you are training them to open your emails. They know if they open them, they’ll get something good. When you entertain and enlighten them, they won’t’ mind occasionally being sold to. In fact, they’ll even look forward to hearing about your latest book, tour or other endeavor.
Reuse Your Content
Imers are masters at reusing content. For example, it’s common in the IM world to turn raw information into books, blogs, videos, audios, transcripts, infographics and more. However, outside the Im world reusing almost the same content is practically unheard of. Here’s how it can work for you.
Blog To Book
It’s time to get pad for all those articles you wrote just to build traffic and your fan base. Gather the best of them into a book. This book can then be sold as the best of your blog. While you might want to rewrite them a little so they remain relevant out of context this is a very easy way to create a product quickly. Additionally, pairing your content with images makes it even better. This book can then be sold in the outlet of your choice.
Make Use Of Your Quotes
Have you or your characters ever said anything memorable? Do you have any kind of catchphrase that caught on or an inside joke with your readers? If so, consider putting the phrase on items through the power of a print-on-demand company (POD). A POD company creates merchandise for you, but only after an order is placed. While you do have to split the money with them, you don’t owe a penny until something sells. Popular merchandise includes bags, apparel, mobile device covers and more. Again, when you pair these with the right images, and alert your list to their existence, they will usually sell like crazy.
Dominate Google For Your Book
Already have a book on Amazon? That’s great. But there are so many more places you could sell it. Imers talk continually about dominating the market. If someone types in the name of your book into Google, you want places to buy it to completely cover the first page. To accomplish that, sell it on other sites like Barnes and Nobel, CreateSpace, Smash Words, the IBook store, Lulu and more. You can even sell a DVD or printed physical version on sties such as EBay, Etsy and more.
Turn Your Book Into An Audio Book
Turning the written word into the spoken word is something that Imers have been doing almost since the beginning. Thanks to the internet, it’s now easier than ever to accomplish this. Free programs like Audacity will record as you read the book in your own voice. Another option available to you is to hire a voice actor. There are many sites online where you can find voice talent rather inexpensively. Depending on how ambitious you are, you might even want to use multiples voices and sound effects. you can then sell this recording on sites like Audible, Amazon again, eBay, the IPod store and more. As a bonus, this might even help you dominate the second page of Google for your book, too.
Imers have many tricks to help them succeed and make money. Though their tricks are not complicated, very few writers utilize them. Taking advantage of these tricks is what separates a successful author from an unsuccessful one in todays’ modern age.