Self-promotion, like self-gratification, sounds a bit naughty, a bit dirty, and a whole lot of work. Like selling encyclopedia or the latest Hoover model, it’s daunting to knock on doors, present ourselves in ways that won’t get us kicked to the curb.
Writers are not necessarily good salespersons. Just pitching to editors can give some of us the hives. When it’s time to sell our books “out there”, it can feel we just got a brand new job we never wanted.
COLLECTION OF TIPS
Last summer, I presented to Palmetto Romance Writers a collection of self-promo tips I’d gathered from my various writer’s loops. I also hit Google and I untangled all the pieces of advice thrown my way.
There are different ways to self-promote, from very organized to the throw-everything-at-the-wall-including-the-kitchen-sink-and-see-what-sticks method. Included in what I gathered are tips of what NOT to do. Apparently, NOT doing these negative tips also helps.
I recommend going the organized way, especially in view of Tip #1.
Don’t expect this list to be an eye-opener, a huge ah-ha moment or a revelation. I found most tips to be down to earth and realistic.
Don’t expect to strike a gold vein after self-publishing, despite the mediatized success of authors like Amanda Hocking or Kerry Wilkinson. The number of writers who make it big after self-publishing compared to those who struggle is ridiculously low.
Before we start, let me state this list is in no way “official” or scientific. It’s what I gathered from several self-pubbed authors who were nice enough to share their tips.
I won’t suggest the obvious, like have a Social Media presence; it’s rather obvious. To reach readers – not writers – consider Goodread or Shelfari.
Write the next book.
This was the most common tip amongst writers. Crazy? Not really. To achieve a sustainable success as a self-published author, you will need a backlist. Nothing was more efficient for writers to have other books available for readers to download immediately.
And when it’s time to devise a promoting strategy, like having one book on sale at $0.99, you will need that backlist.
Several writers mentioned magic number 3. If you want to start on the right foot, a first time self-pubbed writer should download 3 books. That will give a good base to start.
What NOT to do on Twitter: “Buy my book! Buy my book!” Instead, promote other writers’ books. Join a community where the favor can be returned.
Find a niche market: depending on your book theme, join groups with similar interest. Ex: if your story revolves around knitting, look for women’s knitting club.
FaceBook: friend other people than writers. Co-workers, friends of family, friends of friends.
While using Social Medias, post on your life: daily events, fun events, ask questions. One popular Canadian writer (not self-pubbed) drops little hints about her current book, like “in what situation does it make sense cell phones would not work?”.
Have a creative website: offer deleted scenes and free short stories involving the characters of your books
Blog creatively and obliquely. Example: one author told me she plans her blog subjects around the calendar. For St.Patrick’s day last year, she blogged about her list of Best Irish Historical Romances. Her title was “If You Ever Go To Dublin…” The week of St. Paddy’s day, words like Irish and Dublin were skyrocketing on goggle search. Her visitor numbers skyrocketed and she sold more books that week than the previous weeks.
Great cover make for good sales. If you self-publish, invest in good cover art. Several authors suggested hotdamndesigns.com
Use original # on Twitter. Ex: #ineedahero, or #fleeorloseyourheadstories
AND TIP # 10
Strategize your promo time, your promo pricing, and see Tip #1.
What do you think about this list? Please add your personal tips in the comments below!