A couple of weeks ago — or months ago at this rate — I posted an informative (and hopefully helpful) blurb about my journey of self-publishing. Well, I’m still trekking through that wild journey, and I’ve learned a lot more since first publishing my Dark Fantasy novel, Blue Ruin.
While the journey of physically publishing my book has come to a close, the adventure of marketing has commenced. There’s no easy way to go about marketing. Rather, there’s no graceful way. It’s hard to avoid being that solicitor. You know, the ones you run into at the mall kiosks — the ones who step on your shadow, shower you with sweet words, and throw their product at you. Yeah, them. That’s you. That’s us. However, I’ve discovered a way in which this can be done a little less painfully, retaining some sort of dignity. I use Twitter, which as I stated in my marketing blog post, wasn’t going well because you’re one voice in a sea of thousands and thousands who are all screaming thousands of different things. It’s easy to get lost in the crowd. But, there’s an add-on app, CrowdFire, which messages every new follower with a message of your choice. I know, I’m pretty late to the game with this app. I wish I had it 800 followers ago. Nevertheless, I’m utilizing it now. I’ve since formatted my automated message to give a two to three sentence hook about my book. I’ve included a link to my book on amazon, my blog, and my website. I close the message with some realistic expectations by telling the new follower: if they won’t look at my book, please at the very least, retweet my pinned tweet. Which brings me to my next point…
I never knew I could pin a tweet aka keep a specific tweet at the top of my tweets. Again, I’m late to the game. I’ve ruined the stereotype that the young generation knows technology better than the older generations. Yeah, no. Anyway. I’ve found that people may not be willing to buy my book, but they’ll at least retweet a tweet if I ask them. A follower actually bought my book after looking at my pinned tweet. Score! Simple, baby steps.
When it comes to gaining more followers, I’ll simply visit the profile of one of my followers and scroll through their followers. After a few dozen clicks on the “follow” button, I’ve added more followers. From my experience, it seems as though authors and writers will follow you back. Out of 800-something followers, only 20 of them haven’t followed me back.
At this point, I feel like I’m utilizing Twitter in the way it’s supposed to be used for marketing. That is…until I discover other hidden (not so much) features. With my newly acquired Twitter skills shared, let’s move to Goodreads…
I’ve been a member for two years, but only an author for two months. I’ll admit, when I first joined, I had no idea what the fuck I was supposed to do with the site. Even for someone who grew up on technology, the site was rather overwhelming. So many links. Buttons. Groups. There were just so many things, and I had no clue where to begin. Like my previous experience with Twitter, I felt as though my voice was lost in an ocean of other competing authors. And I wasn’t so far off in my assumption. So, up until two weeks ago, my profile sat idle. But then a message popped up on my news feed regarding a convention. Suddenly, this vast site narrowed into something completely manageable. The Brain to Book Cyber Convention is an online convention, where authors establish “booths” within the group on Goodreads. They market their books, give interviews, and hold giveaways during the convention. I set several hours aside and really dove into the group on Goodreads. I clicked on every link that I thought could be beneficial. Several clicks later, I’d networked with bloggers who were looking to promote the books that were in the convention. After a few interview questions, the bloggers penciled me into their schedule and offered to promote the interview and my book during a set time in the convention. Needless to say, Goodreads has many undiscovered resources. Though you have to dedicate time to digging for them, they are there.
Finally, I’ve learned through these new marketing tools that there is an unspoken bond — a brotherhood/sisterhood — between self-published authors. We are all walking the same path, and marketing a successful novel is not the work of one person. It takes an entire population of readers, writers, and authors to lift a book off the ground. We all know that we need to support each other because we need to be supported ourselves. Of course, you have some of those authors who couldn’t care less about the others. But I’ve found, for a majority of the time, that if you rally for support, authors will rally right behind you. Even if it’s just to retweet your tweet.