Thursday, September 10, 2015

How to PROMOTE your book without looking like a USED CAR SALESMAN: PART ONE

This might not be necessary, but I figured I should mention what some authors are doing that make them come off as used car salesmen, telemarketers, or those companies that send out enough junk mail to create a life-sized, paper mache dragon in the span of a month.

Not that I've made one, but I totally could! ;)

There's a few examples I can use, so I'll try to be fair. I mean, no author is so obsessed with pimping that they begin every conversation with 'Well, in my book.' or 'You should check out my book because...'

I'd totally suggest you make finding these rare, sweet walking billboards a drinking game, but I truly value your liver.

Which sounded a lot creepier than it was meant to! lol

Anyway, picture this. Your phone rings. You ignore it, and then you get one message. Than another and another and another and...WTF? Pressing play, you all of a sudden have messages from different people in a group talking about SHAM PLOW. It's the greatest product in the world, so they're all chatting up a storm. There's message after message and your phone is warning you that your inbox is full.
Now, obviously you can have yourself put on a no call list and never ever be bothered by telemarketers, right?

Maybe, but some will still get through. Thankfully, they can't actually have you connected to mass group chats that you're not aware of until they've already gotten annoying.

But with a social media site like Facebook, it's quite possible.

And some authors have decided to use that ability to not only 'cold call' every single online friend they have with book promo, they consistently drag those same friends to events or groups with 'invites'.

I could get into how these 'invites' are worse than junk mail, but I don't wanna give a big ol' lecture about what not to do. Maybe it works for you and kudos. I never have and never will buy a book off a mass invite. Usually, I remove myself, and if I've seen the same name on the invite one too many times--this goes for groups, events, and GAMES; seriously, I'm so happy I figured out how to block those!--I'll just unfriend the person.

 But I'm not your audience, right? Who cares what I think?

Never EVER assume other authors aren't your audience. Just ask one how it feels when an enthusiastic greeting at an event turns into a 'Oh, so you're an author too?' followed by a rude dismissal.

Yes, that happens. Way too fucking often. Stop it, twatwaffles. You'll find other ways to make us hate you.

Since this post ended up a bit longer than expected, I'm going to be doing it in two posts. In the next post, I'll let you know what works for me when it comes to 'promo'.

I don't want to be the only one talking though, so I asked around for some book lovers to chime in on what gets them to check out your books.

Here's some readers who tell it like it is:

Dawn Edwards- I can be quite a cover whore. If it has an amazing cover it makes me one click.

Lyra French- I'm a blurb queen. If the blurb is poorly written, I'm out of there. And I do like an interesting cover. I read a book once (can't remember the title) and all it had on the cover was a smoking gun and a champagne glads with pearls in it. Totally read the blurb and bought the book.

Kimberly Morgan (editor @ Grammar Ninja)- Gotta have a good blurb! And if the blurb has spelling/grammar mistakes, it makes me wary about the book. Those things pull me right out of the story!

Mandy Marshall- To be honest there are three main ways I pick new authors to read. 1. Price, if it's cheap and sounds even somewhat interesting I will read it. 2. Book Convention, I read a book by every author who attends and have found lots of new favorites this way! 3. A friend recommendation will get me to look at a book.

Advice from some amazing, successful authors:

Heather Long (Author of The Wolves of Willow Bend)-The best things I've found to have readers check out your books is a compelling question to answer in your blurb and a story that evokes a lot of emotion. Frankly, write a good book, readers want to read it then they really want to read the next one. My thoughts on a blurb are very straightforward--I try to write them in a way that makes me WANT to write the book so I know the answer. And in turn, so the reader wants to know what happens too. It’s the same reason people want to see Captain America Civil War--we know it will be Tony versus Cap, but we want to know what happens. And how it happens.

Melanie Marchande (Author of His Secretary: Undone)- It's all about mindset. Read this book: Positive energy. Believe you can. Whatever your goals are, there's nothing stopping you. It sounds cliched, and it's not the ONLY thing you need, of course - everybody will tell you that you have to work hard, pay attention to the market, etc etc, and they're certainly not wrong - but at the core of it all, if you don't really believe you can accomplish your most far-fetched goals, you DEFINITELY won't.

Read reviews, but take them with a grain of salt. Understand where your voice is needed and where it isn't. Understand that readers are entitled to their own space to express their opinions that you don't need to invade. Understand, also, that almost every review (yes, even the stupid ones) has SOMETHING useful you can take away and use and learn from.

Above all, LEAVE YOUR EGO AT THE DOOR. If you don't, you will never get anywhere.

Susan Hayes (Author of 3013: The Series)- 1) This might be your dream job, but it’s still first and foremost a JOB. Set goals and deadlines and keep to them as much as you can. Learn as much as you can about the business side of the craft so that you can make informed decisions about your books, your contracts, and your promotional platform.

2) Social media is for being social. This means that if you want people to buy your book via that venue, you’re going to be selling yourself, not your story. You don’t have to rule every element of social media, but you will need to be present and you should make sure that every image, photo, post, and tweet conveys a positive message. Be professional. Be pleasant. Your goal is to be the sales associate everyone knows by name and seeks out the moment they hit the store, not the used car salesman everyone avoids making eye contact with.

3) Try to resist the urge to compare your career path to someone else’s. Your journey is unique to you. Someone will always be doing better. Someone will always be doing worse. Luck plays a role in this gig, so don’t let it frustrate you when you’re struggling, and on the flip side, don’t let a little good fortune make you think you’re bulletproof.

4) Reviews. Read them. Glean what lessons you can and then walk away. Don’t let the glowing ones go to your head, and don’t let the brutal ones destroy you. Under no circumstances ever respond or acknowledge a review, good or bad. Stay out of the dragon’s lair, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

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