Available during this LIMITED 2-day promotion!!!
Saturday, December 6 – Sunday, December 7, 2014
Absolutely FREE copy of my collection of supernatural short stories.
Get your FREE copy here!
After you read it, PLEASE write a review about your experience.
I want HONEST reviews.
Did you love the book? Hate it? What parts did you like? Would you recommend it to a friend? Do you want to read the next three volumes?
Let me and all of your fellow readers know YOUR opinion!!!
Write YOUR review on Amazon ASAP.
If you are SUPER COOL, you will write a review on Amazon AND on Goodreads!!!
Am I a Marketer or a Writer?
I am not the first person to admit how much I HATE the marketing side of this business, but you can’t just publish your work and expect people to find it. There are too many books out there fighting for people’s attention, so you have to steer people toward your work.
Oh, and in case no one told you, promoting your book isn’t just a one and done deal.
From the moment you start writing and publishing, part of your professional life MUST be dedicated to marketing your wares. Until you can afford to pay someone else to do it, you are stuck splitting your time between writing and promoting your work.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I know I didn’t get any real training in marketing when I went to college. My background is in English, grammar, and literary analysis. I know how to write persuasive copy for fiction, non-fiction, and media, but that is a far cry from possessing real marketing expertise. Luckily, with access to the Internet, local libraries, etc., I have found loads of information on how other people have successfully gone about self-publishing fiction AND how they made a profit while doing it.
I published my book, Rupt World Stories Vol. 1: Monsters are Real, on November 25, 2014 – roughly a little over a week ago – and I knew that part of the promoting process would involve getting people to review my book on their blogs or having them write reviews on places like Amazon and Goodreads. I probably should’ve approached book reviewers before I had my book published, but I didn’t — it happens. Anyhow, this week I set off on doing some research to find book reviewers, including information on how to approach them, how to judge who to approach, and other related information.
At first I just looked for lists of book reviewers, which was pretty easy to find on a Google search. I started looking at people’s blogs to figure out which bloggers looked like a good fit for my work.
Reality Check: Most book review bloggers have an extensive backlog of books to read. Plus, honest and legitimate reviewers do not get paid for their reviews, so they are free to choose which pieces they will or won’t review. Therefore, even if you submit to them, there’s no guarantee they will even review your work.
I started to panic at this point.
How was I supposed to promote my work through reviews if I couldn’t guarantee anyone would review my book in a timely manner?
I then dove back into my research and started to figure out how other people have dealt with this problem. Among the MANY articles I read, the best one was written by Kimberley Grabas. Her article, “How to Get Reviews For Your Book (Without Begging, Bribing or Resorting to Subterfuge),” opened my eyes and made me realize that there were plenty of ways to get reviews.
Before I read her article, I was limiting myself to the thought that I had to get bloggers to review my work. Yes, bloggers do have a large reach, and I can still pursue them, but they are not the end-all and be-all of book reviews. Grabas promotes the idea of getting Amazon customers to review your books, particularly Amazon’s top customer reviewers – if you can get them, that is. Grabas implies that individuals could approach reviewers directly via email, and she gives awesomely informative instructions on that process in her article.
Whether you approach reviewers directly or not, though, Grabas explains that the best way to get reviews is to offer people your book for free. You may lose on initial sales, but if the people who download your book for free leave you favorable or even semi-favorable reviews, it really gives your product that much more credibility.
Think about it this way:
You’re shopping on Amazon for the holidays. You’re looking at several semi-identical products. They’re all about the same price, and they all have similar features, but you have to limit your choices down to the one product you will buy. Even if you don’t believe in reviews, visually you can’t help but notice that one product has more star review points than the others. If you’re on the fence, good or bad reviews WILL sway your decision.
That’s why self-published writers need reviews. If you’re a new writer with very little published work, people need a reason to invest their time and money into your product. Those reviews give them that reason.
In addition, the more people who review your product, the higher up your book will be ranked in Amazon’s search menu. If you want people to see your book out in front instead of buried on search results page #20, you need to do what it takes to bump your book to the top, and that means getting as many reviews as possible.
Research Makes You See the Holes in Your Plan
Although I gained a great deal of information on this topic, as you can see from what I’ve written above, I also realized that there are over a dozen other things I need to be doing simultaneously as I promote my book.
Before I went into a panic attack, I left my workspace and began walking outside. The walking and the fresh air really helps me process. After about 5-10 minutes, I decided that I needed to go back into my office, sit down, and start making out a manageable step-by-step to-do list.
It really is a simple thing to write these lists, but for me it is such a soothing and almost cathartic process. Yes, I have many things to do in order to promote my work. Not to mention the fact that I have to find time to also write more books that I will then have to promote later on. All of that aside, I NOW have a list of steps to do to make this process work, and that makes me feel like I can manage this chaos.
Let me leave you with three final thoughts on this whole promoting, self-publishing, building your fan base process(es). By the way, these are the three thoughts that keep me from throwing in the towel every day. May they do the same for you.
- I am not a professional marketer. I cannot learn everything in a day. I will have to continue learning everything through self-education via blogs, articles, workshops, and books.
- I will make many mistakes. There is nothing I can do to stop the mistakes from happening, so I need to accept that they will happen. I can freak out when I make those mistakes, but freaking out is only a temporary state of being. If I can’t learn from my mistakes, then that is the greater loss.
- I am a writer. I will have to balance my time between writing and promoting, but I can’t promote anything if I don’t have a product. Promoting will become easier over time, (I hope), but I have to keep increasing my body of work if I want to gain more fans.