Warning! This entry may contain some salty language.
OK, you’ve been warned.
Let me start by saying that this is entirely my opinion. Nothing more. Agree or disagree, it’s up to you. Either way, I’d be glad to hear your opinion on the subject. Maybe I’m dead wrong, but this is based upon my experiences. If you’ve had different results, feel free to share. Hell…e-mail me at DARoberts@DarkWaterFiction.com and we’ll talk about it at length. I’m game.
Social Media was going to be the great equalizer. It was going to level the playing field for us “little guys” and give us the reach of the big writers and publishing companies. In theory, that’s great. In practice, it doesn’t really work. Companies like Facebook, Twitter and pretty much everyone else limit your reach unless you’re willing to pony up the dinero to reach a different level. Then there’s a price tag on each level. Unless you make way more money than I do, that’s pretty much out of the question.
So, if you’re trying to grass-roots your writing career like I am, good freakin’ luck. Your posts only reach a hundred people, if you’re lucky….and that’s despite the fact that I have close to 1200 likes on my author page. The playing field is still HEAVILY stacked in favor of the big boys.
Then there’s the approach that I like to refer to as “Link Bombing”. Link Bombing works like this. First, you join a bunch of Facebook (or whatever media) pages that have anything to do with your genre/subject/audience. Then you create a post with a pic (sometimes) and a link to the book/product with the frantic plea to “buy my book.” Then you drop that bastard on about a thousand different pages and hope to see your sales skyrocket. The reality is usually much different.
When you Link Bomb the hell out of the media, you end up with your name showing up like a thousand times in someone’s feed. That’s not good. What that ends up doing is either they unfriend you, unfollow you, or block you because they’re sick of you blowing up their feed. End result, you get your future attempts to promote in front of exactly zero people. Isn’t that the exact opposite of your goal? I, for one, know it pisses me off when another author does it to me. Sorry, but it’s true. I will gladly help anyone who asks, but when I can’t find anything but one link dropped over and over again, it bugs me.
So, where’s the happy medium? Hell if I know. I know that posting nothing gets you nothing. Link Bombing the crap out of Facebook gets you blocked, banned and black-listed. I guess that leaves doing the occasional link drop in moderation and, you guessed it, paying the Danegeld to get Billionaire Media companies to boost your post. Well, I can’t do that. Sorry, I wish I could.
Then we get to what happens when you pay the Danegeld. Hang on…don’t know what Danegeld is. Sheesh, use Google for cryin’ out loud.
When you pay the Danegeld, you should get awesome results, the sky opens and a beam of light falls down on your book and all is right with the world. Well, not quite. I know quite a few authors who have paid for the advertising and gotten little to nothing in the way of results. What? Paying Billionaires for a pittance of advertising didn’t help. Yep, you guessed it. Their suggestion, pay for the next level and your ad will go farther. See…Danegeld.
Getting your name and work out there shouldn’t break your bank. The reality is, the internet may have given us a much broader potential audience, but now we have to pay to reach them. There are still ways that cost little to nothing that work. If you know any, please share them in the comments below. After all, you’ll only be helping me. Seriously, though, you’ll be helping any author who reads this blog and wants to make a difference in their writing and promotions. That’s why I started this blog.
Things that have worked for me:
If you can get bloggers to talk about your work. That definitely works. The problem is, I’ve had a few bloggers (I won’ say who) that asked for a review copy of my books then did nothing after I sent them. I wasn’t thrilled about that one, I can tell you.
Doing podcasts works. Find podcasts in your genre and try to book yourself on the shows. E-mail them or message them through Face-space. You’ll be surprised how far you can go if you just ask. A lot of podcasts out there are constantly looking for content. That could be you! Go on the show and be a lively guest. Talk about your work, be open and engaging. It will get you far.
Trading post for post on another author’s page can help. If any of you want to do that with my author page, shoot me a message on FB or drop me an e-mail at DARoberts@DarkWaterFiction.com. I’ll be glad to share your work on my page. When we share each other’ work, it gets us in front of different audiences. We all succeed when we encourage people to read.
Doing conventions and comic-cons and trade shows has worked well for me. It gets you out there to meet the fans, you share your work and you can engage directly with your audience. That might be a bit tough if you’re shy or introverted, but you can do it. It’s not as scary as you might think. If it makes you feel better, Cosplay as a character from your writing. It’s an instant ice breaker.
Encouraging and actually getting reviews on Amazon helps more than you realize. Reviews drive sales. The better the reviews and the more you have, the more that Amazon will push your writing in newsletters and e-mails. It’s a great feeling when you get an e-mail from Amazon and you see your own book. Reviews help more than you realize. If you’re a reader, please consider leaving reviews for the books that you read. You’re providing an invaluable service to that author.
Then there’s the most old-school method. Printing flyers and posters of your work and hanging them around town at malls, comic shops, book stores, music stores, universities and coffee shops. I’ve done this and it has mixed results. It does get your name out there and people see it constantly. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll buy your book, but it does get your name out there.
You can always buy advertisements in magazines and/or websites. That can get expensive. If you go that route, please let me know how it works for you. I haven’t tried this because I haven’t been able to afford it. Hopefully, as my writing gets out there farther and farther, that will change.
I know that there are more things out there that can be done. Feel free to share if you know of anything I haven’t mentioned or thought of. This is by no means an all-inclusive list. This is only some of the things I’ve tried and/or know about.
Ultimately, your approach to promotions will be as unique as you are. What works for one of us might not work for another. But we try different things to see how they work. Results may vary.
Remember, writing is a journey that we all take together. My success is not contingent on someone else failing. Your success does not mean I have to fail. I own many books by just as many different authors. I don’t know anyone who only reads one author exclusively. That means that there’s room on the bookshelf for us all. When we encourage reading, we all win. After all, if no one is reading, who’s going to read our books?
Good luck with your writing and promotions. I genuinely mean that. I wish you all the success in the world. I hope I get there, too. Feel free to share your experiences with this in the comments below or on one of my pages. I’ll pass them along in future blog topics.