If you’re a reader who is active on Facebook, Twitter, any social media, you’ll know that there are literally hundreds of authors (both indie and trad) trying to get you to buy their books. We post in FB groups, on our author pages, well thought out tweets, Tumblr posts, Thunderclap campaigns etc… the list goes on and on. The hardest part of this is to know what is actually working and what is potentially turning readers away.
As a reader, someone who buys books and then talks about them on my review blog, there are a lot of things that other authors do that will instantly blacklist them.
- Instant DMs on Twitter when I follow you telling me to check out your FB, Blog, Amazon page… nope. If you have an auto message bot set up on your account telling me about your product, then I will unfollow and never buy your books. Take the time to interact with your readers, gauge them as a person, not a consumer.
- Inviting me to ‘like’ you author page the moment I accept your friend request. See above.
- Spamming FB groups – this is a fine line. I, along with a lot of other authors, utilise FB promotional groups. That’s what they are there for. Every 3-4 days, I pick a book, write up a snazzy promo post (Or pick a pre written one – judge me) and I will post in around 25 groups that I’m a member of. Yes, this is spamming… however, I limit how often I do this. There is nothing worse than seeing the same authors doing what I do, either every single day, or even multiple times per day (I have seen it done twice a day). I get you have a lot of books you wish to promote, but after a while readers will start to hide your posts.
- Authors with poorly written and mispelled social media posts. This is a bone of contention for me. Yes, I make mistakes and mispell my words all the dam time, especially when I post using my phone (fat finger syndrome), yet I will then go back and edit that post. More often than not, I am seeing authors mispelling simple words, using the wrong word, and even worse – using the wrong homophone in their post. I’m in no way a self proclaimed ‘grammar nazi’, but if you don’t know the difference between your and you’re, there, their, and they’re or to, two, and too, then why should I pay for you book? – That sounds extremely condescending, I know. But it’s a pet peeve.
There are the main things that bug me as a reader, and as a reader I wonder if these forms of marketing actually work.
As mentioned above, I use Facebook promotion groups a couple times a week. I have noticed that on occasion, after I’m done ‘spamming’, I can get 2-3 sales. But, when I post these promotional posts in the groups, I also post them onto Tumblr, Google+, and on my FB Author page (which then tweets it for me), so in honesty, I can’t say for definite that the sale has come from FB.
I haven’t tried paid ads through Facebook as yet, but I have seen mixed reviews from friends. Admittedly, these sponsored posts get seen a hell of a lot more, by more people, but does that equal a boost in sales? I don’t know and it will be something I investigate further eventually.
I’ve also used a promotions company to host blog tours for new releases, and again, while that gets my books visible, it doesn’t also equate sales.
Social media as a whole is a great tool for advertising, but to get that post, tweet, or anything seen, you either have to pay for it or have a gazillion followers to share it. I’m lucky in a way, I have a few good friends who will share or retweet something when I post it and I appreciate that more than I can express, but again. Does visibility equal sales?
This brings me to Thunderclap campaigns.
If you don’t know what these are, in very simple layman’s terms, it’s a bit like a kickstarter campaign without the money. Basically, an author (in this instance) sets up a campain to release on ‘x’ date. They need a certain amount of supporters for it to go live on that date. If they get the required amount, the message is posted on Facebook, twitter, and Tumblr. If they don’t reach the required amount, nothing is posted.
Now, I have used Thunderclap on three different occasions and I can honestly say that while I have reached the required amount of supporters, I can’t say for definite that they have helped with my sales.
This is the problem I and many other (indie especially) authors are facing. It seems like there is a secret strategy to boost sales, yet no one knows exactly what that strategy is. Other than word of mouth, none of these seemingly proactive advertising strategies seem to work (for me at least).
It often feels like that although we all do the same thing, what works for one, doesn’t work for others… it’s like a state secret or something, and I know I would LOVE to crack it wide open.
I’d love to hear if any of these have worked for you or not, or if you have any other ideas for advertising that don’t break the bank. Ones that don’t equate to me begging for you, the reader, to buy my book or I’ll not be able to buy my dog a new tennis ball, or those that piss potential readers off before they’ve even picked up one of my books.