by Molly Greene, @mollygreene
I recently posted my disappointing 2015 author earnings, and declared that I would pursue an enhanced marketing plan (meaning not solely dependent on BookBub and KDP Select) over the rest of 2016. And that I’d share what I decided to do.
It’s pretty simple, and many of you have done all of this already, but better late than never, right? Here goes.
1. Join a group of authors who cross-promote
I would love to create or join a small group of self- and/or hybrid-published authors who are willing to actively cross promote each other’s books using various clever new methods TBD (haha). My ideal team would consist of authors who …
- Write great stuff!
- Publish titles in Women’s Fiction > Mystery, Romantic Suspense, or a similar genre (for me that means mysteries and crime fiction that are low on the graphic sex/blood/language scale). You need to be in that category, or close.
- Have at least three titles published (or will soon), with a good quantity and quality of Amazon and Goodreads ratings and reviews. Most of my titles have at least 100 reviews each.
- Have an active, well-developed social media presence and an active blog.
2. To BookBub and beyond
I will never give up on submitting my titles to BookBub (BB). In fact, I’ve created a semi-aggressive, focused schedule to do just that. I was slapdash before. I got in nearly every time I wanted to, so why worry? However, I will no longer expect an acceptance. If and when I do get to play, that’ll be cool. BB will have to be icing on the cake from here on out.
3. Expand advertising venues
So while BB turns up its nose at me, I will now return to doing what I used to do, and utilize the biggest of the “smaller” book promotion sites, advertising one title every six weeks or so. These bigger/smaller sites include eReader News Today, Book Gorilla, Books Butterfly, Robin Reads, and, on the opposite end, Book Marketing Tools’ “free” ebook submission portal, which allow authors to blast your promotion out to a bunch of tiny little sites. (Readers, have any “larger” promo sites to add to this list?)
I believe the secret to best success on these sites is not to overuse them, which means limit exposure by not appearing on their lists too often. Their subscriber lists are smaller. If/when a subscriber purchases or downloads one of your titles after seeing them there, they’ll cycle through your backlist and won’t be buying the next time you appear. Make sense?
4. Revive and rev UP social media
A fellow author recently asked me if I thought social media was a necessity for book sales. And the answer, given by much more successful and knowledgeable industry pros than I, is … yes, and no. Social media is not a direct-sale approach, it’s a long-term strategy to connect with 1) other authors who can and will support you, 2) potential future readers, and 3) raving fans.
This quote, recently posted on The Passive Voice blog, sums it up: When I hear people debate the ROI of social media, it makes me remember why so many business fail. Most businesses are not playing the marathon. They’re playing the sprint. They’re not worried about lifetime value and retention. They’re worried about short-term goals.
On the other hand, Todd Borg is the perfect example of an author who has been successful completely without a social media presence. But, he did something else in place of that. He met readers and fans one-on-one at festivals and book fairs.
5. Which brings me to …Twitter
I took a loooong break from Twitter the past two years and let my presence dwindle, mainly because all the direct tweets and DMs from authors insisting that I like their Facebook page and buy their books just, absolutely, totally and completely drove me out of my mind. (Need a refresher? 10 Tweets You Should Never Send)
But I was wrong. Now I’m back onboard, just ignoring DMs and aggressive direct-sale tweets. The truth is, a little self-promotion on any SM platform is all right and it works, meaning, you can sell a few books with a practical, low-key plan that won’t make other authors – and potential readers – crazy.
If you’re using a personal profile on Facebook – as I do – you’ll need to be careful about promoting your books. I’m also dabbling on Instagram and making myself spend a little more time on Goodreads, beginning by simply figuring out how to schedule an event. (Yeah, expectations for myself are low here.)
6. Get titles in my local library
This one is completely doable for everyone, and I began by having a chat with my local librarian. You can, too. Getting my books in the local library means they’d be available in the entire San Diego County system, which will be super. I’m finding that things move slowly. If you walk into your local branch and donate a print copy, it seems most libraries have protocols to deal with that.
Ebooks? Not so much. So be patient.
However, the American Library Association’s self-publishing policy states “your local public library or libraries may purchase a copy in a show of support for local authors, something which is usually part of the overall collection development policy. But this will not be the case with other libraries around the country.”
If you’re “wide,” meaning on multiple sales platforms, your books may be available through Overdrive, which is the vehicle most libraries use to purchase titles. But just because they’re there does not mean libraries will automatically buy them. More about libraries in another post.
7. Create boxed sets
Boxed sets offer another product and additional promo opportunities. I’m putting one together now for Books 1-3 in my series … more about this in another post.
8. Write for a Kindle World
Several friends have written a short story or novella for an Amazon Kindle World and say it can boost back list sales. It just so happens I’ve had an unpublished novella in my back pocket for a while, and I’ll try to figure out how to re-work it for this purpose.
9. PRINT!! PRINT!! PRINT!!
I keep saying I’m going to create print copies of my titles, but life got in the way. Now it’s back on the to-do list, because, as I mentioned above, print makes inclusion in libraries and Goodreads giveaways possible. Keep in mind I’m a one-(wo)man band. Everything is up to me. That means I’m responsible for the print version of every cover. Argggh! Stay tuned.
10. Write more books!
Bottom line, since 2013 my major, #1 goal has been to write three books per year. So far I’ve almost pulled that off, which put everything else on the back burner. Now it’s time to take a deep breath and see how much of the above – plus writing more books, plus blogging … I can pull off. No doubt I’ll publish a separate post for each category as they’re attempted, abandoned, or completed. Wish me luck!
Readers, what do you plan to add to your book marketing arsenal this year? What has worked for you, and what hasn’t? Leave a comment and share!
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