Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Small Gang of Authors: Book Promo, the Necessary Evil #OurAuthorGang

A Small Gang of Authors: Book Promo, the Necessary Evil #OurAuthorGang: Promoting books is getting harder by the minute By Erika M Szabo http://www.authorerikamszabo.com Book marketing is a booming busin...

Book Promo, the Necessary Evil #OurAuthorGang

Promoting books is getting harder by the minute
By
Erika M Szabo

Book marketing is a booming business and new promo services pop up by the hundreds every day. But, which ones are effective? Which ones will result in sales?
The authors work hard for months and even years to write the story and then invest a lot of money to publish their books. Naturally, they want to get paid for their work, just like anyone else who works for a living.

Newly published authors

 At first, they try to make their friends and family buy their books. They go through the stages:

The "Hey, I'm published! Would you buy my book?" stage


The "You love me, don't you? Please buy my book!" stage


The "You must hate me 'cause you still didn't buy my book." stage


The "Buy my damned book or I won't speak to you again!" stage


By the last stage, the authors realize that they need serious promotion if they want to get paid for their work.

Authors, who don’t have a book marketing team of big publishers behind them and don't know how to market their books on their own, are lost in the jungle of book marketing. Indie authors have to rely on researching promo services or get advice from fellow authors in support groups.

At first, the authors want to see immediate results and tend to use loud, jazzy promotion methods.

Author pages
It is crucial for every author to have profiles and author pages on social sites. They work on building their pages, join groups and slowly get their pages known to readers. However, when they have a high number of followers and post about their books with buying link, the post is shown only to a few people who follow the page. Why? It is simple. The social sites want to make money so they prompt the author to pay for boosting the post in order to be shown to more people. When the author posts a picture without link ad adds, “Click on the link in comment” very few people will bother to open the comments and click on the link.

Promo groups
The authors join promo groups on social sites thinking that readers browse in groups to find books to read. Most readers don't. The authors post their book link because thousands of other authors do it and, nobody is interested because nobody "liked" the post or even seen the post. They join more genre specific groups and because so many authors post their book links, the new posts bury theirs. Then they get into the habit of posting their book links every day in every group, spending hours on useless promotion.
Then the authors tweet, and tweet about their books until they're blue in the face and nobody likes or retweets their tweets. Then they start retweeting other authors' posts, join "authors helping authors" groups and voila, their tweets are retweeted by many. Is it effective? Does it worth the time? Hardly. Most of the retweets come from fellow authors who just click "retweet" without even knowing what the book is about and very few readers stumble upon the posts.
The authors soon realize that this is a waste of time. Seeing their books in many groups gives them only false security and a false picture of having their books visible. In fact, most of the group members are authors who want to sell their own books. Thus, everyone is preaching to the choir.
I created a promo group that proved to be more effective than most groups. The authors add their book links to genre specific posts only once, there is no need to promote their books daily. Readers can easily find books in their favorite genre. Feel free to join the group HERE

The messages
When nothing works, the authors take desperate measures and send their book links in private messages or in emails to their social site contacts.
No, no, and did I say no?
The message meant to be a friendly reminder on the author’s part might results in nasty replies and clicks to the “unfriend” or even “block” buttons.

Promo services
The author thinks, Nothing works, let me try a paid promotion. They must know what they're doing, right?
The truth is that most of these services, usually offering low fees, use a team (mostly people from India and the Philippines who get paid pennies for their work) to post books in hundreds of Facebook groups and tweet every hour for a day or more about the promoted books. The authors are happy and think, Wow! My book is seen by thousands of readers.
But when the author scrolls through the posts in those “thousands of members” groups, they find out that the book posts are seen by none or the most, by 1 or 2 people.

The authors pay the fee and their post is tweeted by a user who has thousands of followers. The sad truth is that the proudly displayed 5000 “followers” could be bought with a few dollars. Those are just numbers and the so-called followers will never look at any posts. Moreover, the book post is retweeted automatically by the same people over and over, and over, which is just useless display.

Newsletter promo
It sounds great when a promoter tells the author that they send out their book to thousands of readers, doesn't it?
Reputable, effective, long-standing newsletter services such as BookBub are very choosy, and they will only accept books that have at least 30 reviews and 4 or higher rating. Their service is costly; it can cost $600 for one promo, which very few authors can afford. Some authors report great success, others have not so great experience with it.
There are a lot cheaper newsletter services but the problem is that readers became accustomed to free books. Therefore, very few readers pay for books written by not widely known authors who advertise in newsletters.

Author newsletter
It is a great tool for very productive authors who can publish at least 3-4 books a year. The author sends out teasers from the new book and when it's published, the subscribers are ready to buy the book. It doesn’t work for new authors with 1 or 2 books or less productive authors who don't have much to announce in the newsletter, so the subscribers get bored.

Free books
Why would any author give away their books for free? They don't get a free haircut, the mechanic charges a hefty fee to fix their cars, and they have to put food on the table just like anyone else who works for a living.
"Every author does it, I must do it too," they say. "Having a lot of books downloaded for free increases my book rank on selling sites."
Is it true? I did countdown deals a few times years ago that offered the book for free for one day. I didn't see any benefit of giving my books away for free. The way I look at it: if readers don't respect the work I put into writing and publishing my books, they don't really need to read my books. If they want to read for free, there are plenty of authors out there who don't respect their own work and don't mind if they're not getting paid for their work.

What works for me?

I don’t bore my social site followers half to death by shoving books into their faces ten times a day. The "Boy who cried wolf" fact applies to book promotion well. The louder you scream about a book, the less will pay attention after a while.

I promote on my author website
Book promotion works on well-established author websites that are promoted with well-placed keywords and page descriptions.
The genres I write (magical realism, fantasy, and children’s books) are not very popular genres but I have steady sales from visitors who click on links on my website pages. I have my pages submitted regularly to search engines worldwide which results in hundreds of visitors who find my keywords in web search.
Do you want to give it a try? Click HERE

Author blog
My author blog didn’t get enough attention. Why? Because alone I couldn’t keep the constant interest of blog viewers. One author can post only so much before the interest dies out and the visitor numbers decline.
The blog of Our Author Gang works because we do it together. There are interesting posts every day, readers can click on pages where they find their favorite genre books. Would you like to be a guest author or join our gang? We will accept four more gang members, click HERE to read more.

Online magazines

Every time my books are in the monthly Publisher Magazines, my sales jump. Readers like to turn the pages, relax and browse, read a little bit about the books that grab their attention and click on links to read more. Click HERE to see the magazine promo options.

I also get a lot of views of my author magazine and my book presentation magazines which have free chapters and buying links. See my magazines HERE

Thank you for reading my post and best of luck with book promotion!

Click and check out my books


CHILDREN'S BOOKS


FICTION NOVELS


AUTHORS:
What is your experience with book marketing and promotion?

READERS:
Where do you find books?
Do you respect the authors' work and pay for their books or do you look for free books?

Erika M Szabo shared this via Google+

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Erika M Szabo via Google+

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Book Promo, the Necessary Evil #OurAuthorGang
Promoting books is getting harder by the minute By Erika M Szabo http://www.authorerikamszabo.com Book marketing is a booming business and new promo services pop up by the hundreds every day. But, which ones are effective? Which ones will result in sales? T...
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Great job!

Stephanie Ling

1 year ago  -  Shared publicly
 
Great article, Erika. I've opened up all the links you've provided and will take a look. I am at the point where I need to do some serious rethinking of my promotion tactics (or lack thereof). The only time I've made a good number of worthwhile sales is when a well established author mentions my book. Otherwise... points at everything you said above, gesturing dramatically
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It is not easy Stephanie, especially now when the market is flooded with free books. I just looked at a post in my readers' group on Facebook and it made made sad that a box set of 23 books is sold for 99 cents. From a readers' point of view: why would they pay $2.99 for one eBook when they can get 23 books from various authors for 99 cents? However, I'm not willing to degrade my work and I will continue to promote my books with the methods that works best for me. I think the best strategy is to find the promo option that is best for you and your books. It takes time but the more you work on it the more chance you have finding readers who are interested and respect your work enough to pay for it. Best of luck to you :)
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T.C. Rypel

1 year ago  -  Shared publicly
 
Nice, Erika. A clear, cogent and comprehensive overview of everything you've culled from years of attempting to promote books effectively. Even Golden Box can be an overwhelming welter of decision-making when you first encounter it, given the variety of services. You clarify the options here, with realistic expectations.

You know how I feel about much of this. We've discussed it at length. I'm an old-schooler, spoiled by having my stuff displayed in bookstores and drugstore spinner-racks in days of yore; so I'm a skeptic about much of what one is compelled to do with books issued by smaller presses these days (the books you publish that even your agent isn't interested in helping promote because you insist on playing to niche markets). But I've come to trust your judgement and respect your sensible efforts. And at the very least, the beautiful presentations created by your services, those I've bought into, are par excellence and quite reasonably priced.

No one seems to hold a corner of the market on the perfect marketing plan for small-press works. But you're doing a pretty good job of building the most viable one I've experienced.

Outstanding post here, Erika.
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AAAAAACK!!!! I'd have had exactly the same reaction as you! Yikes! I didn't write sex scenes into my books because I didn't want to. I find your Hun element fascinating because who else has done that? At first I thought to target my books to young adults but then it was suggested I needed "dumb down" my vocabulary. I'm not a huge fan of dumbing anything down, so no to that. My books are probably labeled fantasy even though there is no magic or creatures in them because I wanted to. My reaction to a few who suggested I just add some magic? "Don't tell me what to do." lol.... I probably wouldn't get along well with traditional publishers, so I'm probably in the best spot I could be in.... self-publishing!
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+Stephanie Ling that's exactly how I feel about it! I rather publish a book that I like to read, and eventually it will find readers who like it too, than give in to popular demand and change the story. Young adult reading age is about 13-18 so writers definitely don't need to "dumb it down." LOL I remember reading The Three Musketeers from Dumas when I was about ten years old and I had no difficulty understanding every word or following the story. Keep on writing and follow your heart. You might never become a famous writer but you will always be proud of what you created :)
It made me proud when I read this review on my book:
“This is so different from the usual fare churned out by ordinary writers.” -Valerie Byron
I'm not a famous or popular writer but this sentence from a reader is far more valuable to me.
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Mary Anne Yarde

1 year ago  -  Shared publicly
 
Another interesting post, Erika!
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Grace Au

1 year ago  -  Shared publicly
 
Great article, Erika. Marketing is a funny business when it comes to books. It is a marathon indeed.
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Yes, it is

Rick Haynes

1 year ago  -  Shared publicly
 
What an interesting read. You must have spent hours looking into all the factors surrounding promotion, Erika. Promo services, free books etc. are not for me. It's hard but we have to keep plugging away.
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Mackenzie Flohr

1 year ago  -  Shared publicly
 
Great article, Erika! I have seen many of the things you have mentioned, especially the ridiculous amount of book sharing on FB in groups that are nothing but a waste of time. I never have listed my book for free nor am I part of KU. I have also done some paid promos, which have been a hit or miss. The thing that I have learned the most through marketing is that sales don't happen over night. It takes the equivalent of a full-time job, and patience is virtue :-)
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That is so true Mackenzie! It's a lot of work to find the best promo and the right audience for your books and as you said, it doesn't happen overnight

Joe Bonadonna

1 year ago  -  Shared publicly
 
Excellent article, Erika! Very informative and your captions are great -- and true. I have one of my own: "Buy you're my family! If each of you bought just one of my books, I could live a comfortable lifestyle!" LOL! Great job!
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Some authors have supportive family and friends, mine are not so much, so I think most of us go through the stages :)
 
I know that a lot of us do experience that.

Rich Feitelberg

1 year ago  -  Shared publicly
 
I advertise on Goodreads so readers learn about my books. It has led to readers adding my books to their reading lists, which is something, but not to sales directly as far as I can see.

Beyond that, doing book fairs seems to help.
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You're lucky Rich and you must be doing the promo on Goodreads the right way. I didn't even try after reading about the bad experiences. Maybe things changed since then, the last time I clicked on the site was about a year ago
 
That may be. I used there ad system; and since it gets my books in front of readers I think it is worth trying.

Mackenzie Flohr shared this via Google+

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Joe Bonadonna via Google+

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Today on A Small Gang of Authors, Erika M Szabo talks about that necessary evil we all must face: Book Promotion.
https://asmallgangofauthors.blogspot.com/2017/08/book-promo-necessary-evil-ourauthorgang.html
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