Nobody Likes Me
(Or, where are my sales?)
You’ve plastered your butt in your chair for hours, days, months, years. The story is completed, edited. Edited again. And again. And one more time for good measure. It probably will have a typo here and there, but it’s as clean as you and your editors can make it. It’s accepted to a large/small/micro publisher or maybe you’ve decided to go the route of self-publishing. Look at all the people that have cashed in and your story is far better than anything other that’s out. It’s fresh, new, and unique. Everyone will want to read it.
Finally, it’s your book’s release day. It’s up on Amazon! Look, there’s your name! The book cover! It’s at one billion. That’s good, right? Um, no, the lower the number, the better your book has sold. One billion isn’t great. It does mean someone, at least bought a copy. Thank your mom.
So, what did you do wrong? Did you do your research and try to market it? Did the book have any publicity? Do you have a blog? Are you on Twitter? Facebook? Google+? Other than your mom, does anyone even know you wrote the world’s best book?
If not, how did you expect anyone to buy it?
Not even the larger publishers really push books unless they are likely to hit major bestseller status. The smaller houses aren’t going to do much, either, and the indie publishers little more. They might offer tips on how to market, and if you’re lucky, bookmarks. The self-published are totally on their own.
So now what?
It’s not too late! You know your book is good, so time to research the best options to get your book noticed. The library and the Internet are the best sources, but beware, like any DIY manual, there are a lot of scammers that tell you nothing and are making a lot of money telling you how they did it. Which won’t help you in the slightest.
There are a lot of choices, so first you need to determine what will be your best for your story. All of them are considered word of mouth advertising (WOM).
A: Street teams. For new authors, this will be difficult. It’s hard to get people to talk up your book if they haven’t read it yet. If you already have a following, this might be a good option. Street teams are made up of fans who already love your stories. They’ll write reviews, share swag and information about your book, and are excited to know the latest news of their favorite characters. The cost can be minimal. You might want to offer the most active members something that relates to the story. A stake that relates to vampire stories. Book thongs with your book cover as a charm. A copy of your book. A small gift card. All of these keep up interest, particularly between your books. Be very careful you don’t overwhelm your team. I just read of someone that left a team because she was overwhelmed. No overwhelming. Bad author.
B. Blog tours. How awesome are these? Depends on what blogs you choose.. There are websites that will help you find some. Otherwise, look for books that are similar to yours and find out what blogs they’re on. Small blogs are a waste of time. You won’t get much exposure and without a team or a lot of friends to share it, your post will languish Good luck. Many blogs are booked months in advance. These often have a contest that is connected to your tour, also known as a hop. With Rafflecopter, they can earn entries by liking your fan page, tweeting about your book, liking reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, wherever your book is sold.
C. Facebook. This is another one of could be bad or good. Page takeovers are generally very good. It gives you a chance to talk to future fans one-on-one. Be sure the genre is correct, if you have a children’s book and are on a page for naughty stories, it might not work out. Of course, a lot of the readers are moms, so it might be great. Find out who has taken over the page in the past. You should have your own page, as well. You can drum up fans from the blogs you have posts on.
D) Tweet. Again, hard to do without already having a fan base, but there are teams out there that will #retweet for you. If you’re with an Indie, you can
friend Indie Author Retweet Group: Simply follow to join, then add #IARTG in any tweet you want us to re-tweet. :) #RT #indie #author #retweet #group @retweet_groups. These guys will also tweet for you. They didn’t cost anything at the time I put in this ad: http://readersgazette.com/world/moreinfo/B00H2YO68O/
E) Hire a promo team. There are a lot of them, both excellent and horrible. Once more, get on your search engine and look for book promotion. You’ll run into blogs that describe the good and the bad ones. Research them. Look at the blogs they use and make sure they are appropriate, just as you would if you were looking for blogs for yourself. These teams usually do it all. They’ll schedule blog tours, cover releases, street teams (there are a few that share with multiple authors in the same genre or with the same publisher, they’ll find them for you). Most also come up with swag ideas. Key chains, more permanent book marks, things that you, as an author, shouldn’t waste your writing time with. For someone new at the game, this is your best bet. No fuss, and while different teams charge different amounts, you won’t have to reinvent the wheel or get caught up doing the wrong thing.
This isn’t an ad, but my partner, Audrey Salick and I run Let’s Talk! Promotions. http://www.ltpromos.com Audrey owns Drey’s Library, a large blog, and handles arranging the tours. I do the crazy stuff, like set up teams. It cuts into my writing time, but because of my books I’ve learned valuable and not so valuable information.
So, butt out of chair, and start your promo! Let everyone know your book is unique and better than Death by Chocolate Cake. Or, in my character George, the egocentric basset hound familiar, case, tuna fudge.