Welcome to my series with tips based on my DIY Kindle-ization Journey. For those who just found this blog, you can take a look back at previous installments: Why Do It? and The Challenges. Tuesday Tips #4 covered the various platform options and what’s required for each. Formatting For Kindle was followed by Picture This! a how-to primer on including photos, tables and illustrations in your Ebook.
If you’re like me and write nonfiction, chances are you have photos, illustrations or boxed/tabled information included in your format. And last week covered–well, the cover in The Cover Story. Last week’s #8 installment covered the upload of your book to create your Kindle edition AND some insights on indy publishing from an amazing panel at Thrillerfest. Today’s installment applies to self-published as well as traditionally pub’d books. Everybody’s gotta self promote!
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"It makes me wanna SHOUT!"
REVIEWS, REVIEWS…did I mention REVIEWS!?
Reviews really do drive sales. This chicken-egg challenge proves daunting for every author, though. As mentioned in previous blogs in the series, for re-published backlist books it’s valuable to ensure the updated version becomes “linked” to the first edition and its positive reviews. About half of the current reviews for Complete Kitten Care imported from the original New American Library edition, and that garnered readers and more reviews for the updated Kindle and POD book. The Cutting Edge book had even more.
For new books/authors it can be even more challenging. The book content MUST be good–you won’t get a second chance–but to drive eyes to your work think outside the kitty-litter box. Most writers/authors hang out with other writers and authors and while they may be part of your audience, a world of readers exists that has no interest in the intricacies of publishing and writing.
They just want good stories and great content.
For nonfiction authors, some of these readers may find you if your “platform/presence” allows for google searches on your particular niche. For fiction authors, don’t expect the world to google your name to find a new novel to read and review. YOU must go to the READER. And once you find readers who might be interested in your work, do NOT give ‘em a hard sell–instead, become part of the community, show what you have to offer as an individual, be real, be likeable, be accessible. Your book isn’t you–it’s an afterthought that these potential readers want to find out about AFTER they realize what a neato-torpedo-kewl person you are!
There are several places readers hang out. These are just a few that I’ve found productive, and others’ milage may vary.
This board primarily serves READERS–authors must remember this or they’ll get wrist-slapped pretty quickly. Various forums discuss published books, offer opinions, include reviews of Kindles and aps, and — well — LOTS of indy authors as well as traditionally pub’d authors hang out and promote books on the forums. There are a couple of specific threads that allow this, with restrictions of posting once a week per book, to prevent spamming.
Fact is, every post you make on Kindleboards promotes your books–all of them–without you ever having to say a word. All you need to do is include the appropriate signature with each post. The signatures include thumbnails of your book titles with hot-links to the amazon sale page. Have a mystery that features a knitting maniac? Join a thread discussing needlepoint and readers who see your fantastic book covers on a subject near/dear to their hearts just may give you a click.
RED FLAG WARNING HERE! Yes, these threads attract readers but they are VERY intolerant of any sort of self promotion. Consider yourself warned.
This is the UK version of Kindleboards and also has a specific thread that allows weekly book bumps. In my experience, this board is not quite as active as the US version, but I do have moderate sales from the UK and maintain a presence there.
FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogs
Social networking today replaces book tours and print advertisements. Think about it–why spend huge $$ schlepping physical books and author-bodies around the country to kissy-face with fans UNLESS that author already has a huge following? A virtual book tour with a blog-hop created by fiction authors also worked great for my senior pet books nonfiction blog tour and it stays LIVE forever as a promotion. And–it was FREE.
You’ll want to learn the right way to blog to build your brand and following, though. Kristen Lamb, the Wizard of All-Things-Blogging offers a fantastic book and blog on the subject you NEED in this writing journey. Trust me on this. You won’t be sorry.
Most folks have a presence on Facebook (please like me!) and this site has great potential for promotion and for time-suck-isity. Know the difference and what you want out of the place. For me, it’s bidness. I will flat-out BLOCK your ass-terick should you post porn, games, spam, virus-links . . . . and I will LOVE-LOVE-LOVE and promote/LIKE/share and sing your praises to the world when you offer great content. I don’t post advertisements on other folks’ “walls” and resent it when they do it to me–but when I see something you’ve posted that’s fantastical-jump-up-and-shout-keen, I will explode fireworks on your behalf.
THAT’S how Facebook works. You get back what you give. TWITTER works the same way. Kristen Lamb has terrific info on maximizing Twitter as well so I won’t repeat it here.
LinkedIn works a bit differently. I’m no expert but have made progress thanks in large part to LinkedIn genius Jenny Hansen. You’ll want to subscribe to her Needs More Cowbell blog for more fantastic de-mystification (is that a word?) of techie stuff like should writers use Excel. You’ll want to check out the first blog in the series that includes LOTS more helpful links valuable to self-pub’ing authors and writers of every ilk.
New to self-pub'ing? Learn as ya go ...with help from friends.
Some folks have asked me to continue with the “Kindle-ization Series” but really, I don’t have a lot more to say. Guess I should give you a ballpark on my sales success so you can better judge whether to follow this advice or not. I could lie–but I’m not a JA Konrath selling thousands or making 6 figures. Yet. Self pub’ing sales start slow and grow, so I’m happy with the progress. Currently I’m selling about 100 Kindle copies a month at $5.99 each and it goes up each month–that doesn’t take into account other Ebook platforms or POD. I just got a royalty statement from my awesome publisher WhoDaresWinsPublishing with lovely news. These books were dead–and now have a new audience and based on reader response, the info has saved dozens of pet lives/relationships. So it’s worth it to me.
Tuesday Tips will go on–next week I’ll post video from Thrillerfest panels with some great writerly insight on the craft. And down the road there may be future Tuesday Tips about cat behavior. Or dog health care. Or stained glass crafting. Or who-knows-what.
It’ll be a surprise!
Here’s the deal, folks. As writers, we create worlds out of words and use them to connect with other like-minded souls. In today’s world with so much hand-waving ME-ME-ME-LOOK-OVER-HERE! attention-grabbers the stand outs are those who instead take a quiet step back and say–
How can I help YOU?
Think about it. Instead of approaching readers as what they can give to you (buy-my-book-already!), offer them the most valuable gift anyone can provide–yourself. The. Real. You. Connect in a real way, offer real value in terms of information, story, friendship, similar values/shared interests and you won’t sell just one book. You’ll create a relationship.
Relationships are the GOLD of the world who say–”I know and like ——-> (NAME) and so will you, buy his/her book.”
Do that, and you won’t have to “sell” your book. You’ll just need to write the best damn book you can. You can do it. I’m telling you as your *virtual* friend–yes, you can!
Don’t forget the most important part. Pass it forward. No, I’m serious. Send this to every single person you know. I’ll wait . . . some of ‘em are bound to have a cat or a dog, or like furry thrillers. *eg*
I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions–and to stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways! Check out all my titles plus great writing books and thriller novels at WhoDaresWins Publishing.