I can hear the drumroll already. My debut Indie published book will be coming out any day now. I’ve got the cover, I’ve had it edited, I’m just putting on the finishing touches and formatting. Soon, very soon, The Loyal Heart will be out there in the world! Fly, baby, fly!
Okay, so what do I do about it now? I’m not fool enough to think that people will flock to read a brand new book by a completely unknown author choosing to publish it themselves. J.K. Rowling I am not. But I would like more than just my friends and family to read it. So what’s a girl to do?
Uh oh. Looks like it’s time for shameless self-promotion.
Well, I’ve got my author platform well under way, right? I’ve got this blog that I love, my Twitter account full of Tweeps who have become good friends and sources of inspiration and motivation, and I have my Facebook page with hundreds of likes from like-minded people (and that pun makes me very happy =D). I’m not resting on my laurels with any of these elements of author platform-ness either. I’m going to keep at it, yes I am.
But is that enough?
No one has ever mistaken me for a patient person. This is especially true when it comes to watching the way some people choose to promote themselves and their writing online. I cringe at anything that comes off as spammy. I double-cringe when authors tweet and retweet and retweet “Buy my book! Only 99 cents on Amazon! Here’s the link!” constantly. I get uncomfortable when people post a lot of reviews of their book to their Facebook page.
But now that my baby is about to be out there I am coming around to a whole different way of thinking about these sorts of things.
How does an Indie Author promote their work? How does a Trad Author promote their work for that matter? If you’ve made it to the top 5% your name promotes it for you. But if you’re like 95% of the rest of us how do you do it? Team Trad has the advantage of a big promotion machine. Team Indie doesn’t. So what do you do?
I think, my friends, that you have to get down in the trenches, roll your sleeves up, get your hands dirty and spam. Not excessively, mind you, but I think there comes a time in every Writer’s life when you have to put up the post that says “Buy my book! I swear you’ll like it! Here’s the link…” I think you do have to get in people’s face to let them know you’re there.
Now I’m not saying that you should get in people’s faces and shout and wave your arms and attempt to stay in their face even when they try to look away. That crosses the line to obnoxious. But you do have to put yourself out there.
One of the best examples of an author who got very subtly in my face and whose book I ended up buying because of it is Tania Tirraoro. I started following her on Twitter (@TaniaLT) because she was a fellow Writer in a similar genre. Well, right there in her Twitter profile she has a link to her book on Amazon. She also has some concise, friendly information about who she is. Tania tweets book promos, yes, but she also tweets generally nice things. And not too often. She self-promotes without screaming or spamming. High five for Tania!
There are some other people, whose names I won’t mention, who self-promote so long and so hard that I unfollowed them. Yes, I KNOW you have nine books out in e-formats, but please don’t tell me about each one every day. That deserves a yellow card for excessive spamming. But, and this is the problem, I am now very much aware that those Indie Pubbed books are out there. Granted, I’m not going to buy them, but I know they exist, unlike 99.9% of other Indie books.
So now it’s got me thinking…. How did I find my favorite authors in the first place and what can I do to emulate what they did that enabled me to find them?
Unfortunately for Team Indie, I think I first stumbled across Elizabeth Hoyt, Lisa Kleypas, and Elizabeth Boyle because the covers of their books were the most appealing ones in the book store. But with eBooks there is no cheerfully lit book store with music playing and a Starbucks in house for me to enjoy while perusing shelves of brightly colored books. And while yes, cover designs are super important and can pop out from the pages and pages of books of all publication type online, you can sort through thousands and thousands of web pages full of eBooks without skimming the surface of what’s out there. To get bumped up to the first hundred or so pages of Amazon you need to have had people read and review your books to begin with.
This brings us back to shameless self-promotion.
Sometimes you gotta do it. But you have to do it with finesse and you can’t make it your sole purpose for being online. You have to kiss hands and shake babies … wait, strike that, reverse it. But most of all, I think you have to be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither was J.K. Rowling. I don’t expect to sell thousands of novels a day or a week or a year. Honestly, I don’t expect to break even. But I’m going to try.
So what are your favorite strategies for shameless self-promotion for your book? What things do you see people doing that drive you nuts?