September 23, 2018, 07:19:24 PM

Author Topic: UGH... self-promotion  (Read 13431 times)

Offline Lordoftheword

Re: UGH... self-promotion
« Reply #75 on: February 17, 2017, 02:23:03 PM »
Thanks @Eclipse. Some good stuff there!

I would also highly recommend listening to the Writing Excuses podcast with Brandon Sanderson and Co. The last season on genre writing was absolutely fantastic and has really helped me iron out some of the issues I was having with my current WIP. They also have some tips on self-promotion and regularly interview publishers and editors, so there's a lot of material there for everyone currently on the road to published authordom  :)
Author of Tournament of Hearts: The Librarian Gladiator.
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Offline Eli_Freysson

Re: UGH... self-promotion
« Reply #76 on: March 30, 2017, 09:54:56 PM »
So... does anyone here do author newsletters?

I'm trying to dig my out out of my hopelessness regarding my writing career, and actually ventured onto the Goodreads forums and asked for advice. Some wonderful mod deleted the thread, but one woman I managed to stay in contact with, due to remembering her name, linked me to a blog post about newsletters:

https://janefriedman.com/email-newsletters-for-authors/

I was slightly hopeful for a little bit, but after reading through it became evident that those require you to have some sort of social media presence. You need some way to reach out to people and get them interested in what you're doing, and you need the passion and dedication to do this regularly. I don't have those. I've tried to blog, and I consistently have nothing to say to strangers on the internet.

It seems that no matter what option I look at, it all requires me to engage in a way I just can't.
I'll notify your next of kin... that you sucked!

Offline Not Lu

Re: UGH... self-promotion
« Reply #77 on: March 31, 2017, 04:43:28 PM »
So... does anyone here do author newsletters?

I'm trying to dig my out out of my hopelessness regarding my writing career, and actually ventured onto the Goodreads forums and asked for advice. Some wonderful mod deleted the thread, but one woman I managed to stay in contact with, due to remembering her name, linked me to a blog post about newsletters:

https://janefriedman.com/email-newsletters-for-authors/

I was slightly hopeful for a little bit, but after reading through it became evident that those require you to have some sort of social media presence. You need some way to reach out to people and get them interested in what you're doing, and you need the passion and dedication to do this regularly. I don't have those. I've tried to blog, and I consistently have nothing to say to strangers on the internet.

It seems that no matter what option I look at, it all requires me to engage in a way I just can't.

Instead of a lead generation newsletter start a "true fan" newsletter for people who have read one of your books. Put links in the back of your books that go to a signup page. In the newsletter you can talk about new characters or where the next book is going. All of that stuff you can automate with Mailchimp or other sites. Basically, you can write the content once then send it at monthly intervals starting from the date that someone signs up. You can also send announcements when you have a new book released. Or ask your newsletter subscribers to give your book a review, etc.

Once you've got a newsletter going, you can then join other fantasy authors in newsletter swaps where they all run a .99 cent or free promotion of a book at the same time. Then they email all of their subscribers at the same time. It's a free way to get a lot of people reading your book. In addition, some of them will go on to read the rest of the series and, of course, signup for your newsletter (where you keep then engaged enough to want to buy your other books).

Offline abatch

Re: UGH... self-promotion
« Reply #78 on: April 21, 2017, 10:19:47 PM »
I've been promoting my first book -- the first in a now-four book series -- for four years It's all peaks and valleys, and I'm still hoping for a respectable valley floor (like, say, five books a day, for starters). But it's all about building a fan base and a collection of work.

And reminding folks that your stuff's still out there! :)

Offline Ray McCarthy

Re: UGH... self-promotion
« Reply #79 on: April 28, 2017, 11:57:31 AM »
Check Mark Coker's free eBooks on eBook publishing on Smashwords.

There is no easy answer, but Mark has some good starting points (he has self published and then created Smashwords).

Be wary of spending any money on marketing books. Maybe less than 2% of traditional publishers' authors make more than a basic minimum wage.

The main reason to write, is to write. A real income from it is a bonus. There are more reliable ways to have an income, though if you are unemployed, unemployable or retired, then you've nothing to lose spending time writing. But spending money marketing is not far divorced from buying lottery tickets (they are mostly a tax on the "poor", you are more likely to find a bag of money in the street).

Redo covers and blurbs. Check categories and keywords. Write a good interesting blog (maybe with short stories or a serial) which will help writing skills. Blog cost starts at free. I spend $100 on multiple websites with unlimited storage and traffic because I do non-book stuff too, but a hosted blog is free. Here is a blog that the author has for free with only stories.  I recommend that comments are disabled or entirely premoderated because otherwise you just get abuse. The Post Counter Wordpress add-on lets you see how many visitors per page/post  without the privacy destroying Google Analytics. I have about six blogs (different names) for different purposes.

Publishing additional books helps earlier ones. Half the sales when I released "The Masters Talent" were earlier titles in the series. Releasing additional titles is the cheapest marketing. It's free. A new release makes all the books visible as it will be on the Amazon / Smashwords* / Google Play Store home page of new releases.

[*Smashwords publish your title on Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes & Noble etc, do not give Amazon exclusive access. Basically every eBook retailer except Amazon and Google]

Offline Eli_Freysson

Re: UGH... self-promotion
« Reply #80 on: June 13, 2017, 12:40:36 PM »
Behold my powers of necromancy!

Anyway, there's a sequel to the tragicomedy that is my ongoing effort at promotion.

After getting some advice, I've signed up to Reddit, and I'm going to do the AMA... thing... in which I post an attention-grabbing headline about who and what I am, offer to answer any questions, and hope to God that it gets upvoted. I'm going to let it coincide with a free promotion on Amazon. A relative told me of a guy who was canny about his use of this, and it catapulted a sub-par book into the spotlight.

I'm NOT canny about social media, nor really interested in being so, but maybe I can get a fraction of his success. For anyone interested in trying this as well, do be aware that there are rules about what can on the main AMA page. It has to be relevant, and if you're speaking about your work as an author you'll among other things have to be able to prove that you are indeed who you say you are.

I also signed up with a fantasy-related subreddit, and they do an "author of the week" thing. I signed up for it, but the first available spot is in October, but at least it's something.

Also, I'm going to attempt a Goodreads Giveaway, which people can sign up for in exchange for a chance to win a print copy. I've ordered proof copies of The War of the Usurper and The Call, and I just received TWotU. As soon as I've gone over it to my satisfaction, I'll set up the GG. I'm thinking of offering two copies, and have it last a month.

Let's see how this goes.

(PS: It's kind of strange to own the only print copy of a book)
I'll notify your next of kin... that you sucked!

Offline Quill

Re: UGH... self-promotion
« Reply #81 on: June 13, 2017, 01:04:19 PM »
Behold my powers of necromancy!

Anyway, there's a sequel to the tragicomedy that is my ongoing effort at promotion.

After getting some advice, I've signed up to Reddit, and I'm going to do the AMA... thing... in which I post an attention-grabbing headline about who and what I am, offer to answer any questions, and hope to God that it gets upvoted. I'm going to let it coincide with a free promotion on Amazon. A relative told me of a guy who was canny about his use of this, and it catapulted a sub-par book into the spotlight.

I'm NOT canny about social media, nor really interested in being so, but maybe I can get a fraction of his success. For anyone interested in trying this as well, do be aware that there are rules about what can on the main AMA page. It has to be relevant, and if you're speaking about your work as an author you'll among other things have to be able to prove that you are indeed who you say you are.

I also signed up with a fantasy-related subreddit, and they do an "author of the week" thing. I signed up for it, but the first available spot is in October, but at least it's something.

Also, I'm going to attempt a Goodreads Giveaway, which people can sign up for in exchange for a chance to win a print copy. I've ordered proof copies of The War of the Usurper and The Call, and I just received TWotU. As soon as I've gone over it to my satisfaction, I'll set up the GG. I'm thinking of offering two copies, and have it last a month.

Let's see how this goes.

(PS: It's kind of strange to own the only print copy of a book)

If I read correctly, you'll be doing the Fantasy Writer of the Day at the subreddit for Fantasy in October? I did it myself, wasn't very good at it, but it put the "author tag" next to my name whenever I post on that subreddit, so I feel a little more legitimate. In any case, I'll keep an eye out and post some questions when you do the FWotD thing (if I understood correctly), help get the ball rolling.
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Offline Arry

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Re: UGH... self-promotion
« Reply #82 on: June 13, 2017, 02:09:51 PM »
Behold my powers of necromancy!

Anyway, there's a sequel to the tragicomedy that is my ongoing effort at promotion.

After getting some advice, I've signed up to Reddit, and I'm going to do the AMA... thing... in which I post an attention-grabbing headline about who and what I am, offer to answer any questions, and hope to God that it gets upvoted. I'm going to let it coincide with a free promotion on Amazon. A relative told me of a guy who was canny about his use of this, and it catapulted a sub-par book into the spotlight.

I'm NOT canny about social media, nor really interested in being so, but maybe I can get a fraction of his success. For anyone interested in trying this as well, do be aware that there are rules about what can on the main AMA page. It has to be relevant, and if you're speaking about your work as an author you'll among other things have to be able to prove that you are indeed who you say you are.

I also signed up with a fantasy-related subreddit, and they do an "author of the week" thing. I signed up for it, but the first available spot is in October, but at least it's something.

Also, I'm going to attempt a Goodreads Giveaway, which people can sign up for in exchange for a chance to win a print copy. I've ordered proof copies of The War of the Usurper and The Call, and I just received TWotU. As soon as I've gone over it to my satisfaction, I'll set up the GG. I'm thinking of offering two copies, and have it last a month.

Let's see how this goes.

(PS: It's kind of strange to own the only print copy of a book)

Best of luck, thought I would pipe in with some friendly advice, apologies if its all stuff you already know, but I figured it was worth saying just in case.

Which subreddit is the AMA on? As for the Fantasy Writer of the Day, a couple words of advice to maybe help (definitely wont hurt).

First, try to participate some in a completely non-self promotion way prior to your post. If people recognize your user name, remember you made good recommendations or contributed to discussions, etc, they are more likely to participate. It's a bigger community, but it's still a community and people like to support and interact with their own, so familiar faces always get more traction.

Second, don't be shy to let people outside of reddit know about your AMA and WotD. Often seeing more activity in a discussion leads more people to click and join in. It's never a guarantee, but like I said, it can't hurt.

Oh, and yes, catchy titles are always good!

ETA: Don't take this as r/fantasy not being welcoming to new users, because they are. It's just recommendations to try and increase the visibility of and level of interaction with your post.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2017, 02:27:11 PM by Arry »
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Offline Eli_Freysson

Re: UGH... self-promotion
« Reply #83 on: June 13, 2017, 02:29:27 PM »
Which subreddit is the AMA on? As for the Fantasy Writer of the Day, a couple words of advice to maybe help (definitely wont hurt).

I'd thought to just go with the basic IAMA.

EDIT: I just came across this. A lady with a degree in survey methodology took a scientific approach to figuring out the optimal way to handle a Goodreads Giveaway. This looks like very solid advice:

http://www.novelpublicity.com/2012/02/how-to-run-a-goodreads-giveaway-with-maximal-results-11-tips-we-know-youll-need/
« Last Edit: June 13, 2017, 02:37:53 PM by Eli_Freysson »
I'll notify your next of kin... that you sucked!

Offline michaellee

Re: UGH... self-promotion
« Reply #84 on: June 13, 2017, 02:39:35 PM »
Hey Eli, yes I am totally with you on this. I just joined this forum because I'm frustrated with a flatlined sales profile on Kindle. I published Book 2 of a young adult fantasy series I'm working on, got all excited, and literally have sold one (my Mom bought it) despite FB posts and that stuff. Quite a downer.

What is the rule here on self promotion? Many forums I've signed up for don't allow it and ban any web links in posts. I don't get that. If I'm a fantasy writer and trying to get my stuff out there, why wouldn't these forums allow me to post about it? I guess spamming a message board would get annoying, but people don't have to read it.

Am I allowed to make a new thread about my books here?

Offline Quill

Re: UGH... self-promotion
« Reply #85 on: June 13, 2017, 02:47:31 PM »
Hey Eli, yes I am totally with you on this. I just joined this forum because I'm frustrated with a flatlined sales profile on Kindle. I published Book 2 of a young adult fantasy series I'm working on, got all excited, and literally have sold one (my Mom bought it) despite FB posts and that stuff. Quite a downer.

What is the rule here on self promotion? Many forums I've signed up for don't allow it and ban any web links in posts. I don't get that. If I'm a fantasy writer and trying to get my stuff out there, why wouldn't these forums allow me to post about it? I guess spamming a message board would get annoying, but people don't have to read it.

Am I allowed to make a new thread about my books here?

The forum "Small Press and Self-Published" is where you can open a thread about your book. :)
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Latest blog post - 7 Ways to Help Indie Authors: www.annalsofadal.net/blog

Offline Magnus Hedén

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Re: UGH... self-promotion
« Reply #86 on: June 13, 2017, 03:27:35 PM »
I'm in a really nice FB group run by BooksGoSocial, a collection of self-publishing indie writers who have learned all the tricks the hard way and have a lot to share. The group is related to their paid-for services, but anyone is welcome (I haven't bought any of their services, but I certainly will when I have a book to sell). I've learned a multitude of great things both from the people who run the group and the thousands of other writers in the group. There's a great "in-it-together" atmosphere. Link: BooksGoSocial Author's group.

I think the most important thing to know is that if you're going the way of self-published and doing the PR yourself you will have to work very hard. Your attitude can't be "I don't want to deal with social media I just want people to read my book," nor can your tactic be to spam your Amazon link in FB groups and on forums. It doesn't yield sales. There are plenty of ways to yield sales, but they all require you to engage, and yes, some of them require you to invest (you HAVE to have a good cover and you need to pay for a professional editor).

Anyway, go check out that group. You'll find a lot of help.

« Last Edit: June 13, 2017, 06:58:40 PM by Magnus Hedén »
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Offline Arry

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Re: UGH... self-promotion
« Reply #87 on: June 13, 2017, 04:01:03 PM »
Which subreddit is the AMA on? As for the Fantasy Writer of the Day, a couple words of advice to maybe help (definitely wont hurt).

I'd thought to just go with the basic IAMA.


OK, was just curious. There is also r/books, which has Author Spotlight spots (which is similar to r/Fantasy's Writer of the Day series)

I think the most important thing to know is that if you're going the way of self-published and doing the PR yourself you will have to work very hard. Your attitude can't be "I don't want to deal with social media I just want people to read my book," nor can your tactic be to spam your Amazon link in FB groups and on forums. It doesn't yield sales. There are plenty of ways to yield sales, but they all require you to engage, and yes, some of them require you to invest (you HAVE to have a good cover and you need to pay for a professional editor).

Anyway, go check out that group. You'll find a lot of help.



This may not be what people want to hear, but it is so true. Authors that only pop in to a community or social media to push their book get little traction because, frankly, there are so many out there that everyone becomes deaf to it. I'm obviously not coming at this from author's perspective, but from a reviewer (and also as a mod at r/fantasy), I can tell you it takes more than just talking about your book. You have to find ways to stand out. Sounds like that group could be a really good resource as well.

Covers and editing are incredibly important. And editing is so much more than just looking for typos and grammatical errors. A good editor will help find structure and flow issues as well. This is huge, poor editing can really kill a book for readers, and reviewers will pick up on it and it can impact the success of a book. And covers. Geesh. I know we are not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but sometimes we just can't help it because ultimately it is the very first impression a book will make on potential readers.

I don't know if this has been linked around here already, but pornokitsch had an excellent article on "Unwanted Writing Advice". Seriously, if any of you aspiring authors have not read it, please do. He makes excellent points:
http://www.pornokitsch.com/2017/05/unwanted-writing-advice.html (I know this thread is more about self promotion, and overall that article is about writing, but he also has great advice for checking your digital files, different formats, etc that are really important.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2017, 04:13:45 PM by Arry »
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Offline Magnus Hedén

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Re: UGH... self-promotion
« Reply #88 on: June 13, 2017, 07:05:53 PM »
Yep. The biggest favour you can do yourself as an aspiring novelist is to acknowledge that 1: It's going to be a lot of hard work and 2: You need to fail a lot to succeed. A lot of people don't want to hear that. They want to dream. Dreaming is nice, but accomplishing something in the real word takes much more than an active imagination.

But honestly, if it was easy - what would be the f***ing point?

And yes, good content editing can make your book magnitudes better (I may be biased; I'm a content editor  :-X).
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Offline Eli_Freysson

Re: UGH... self-promotion
« Reply #89 on: June 13, 2017, 07:39:32 PM »
I'm in a really nice FB group run by BooksGoSocial, a collection of self-publishing indie writers who have learned all the tricks the hard way and have a lot to share. The group is related to their paid-for services, but anyone is welcome (I haven't bought any of their services, but I certainly will when I have a book to sell). I've learned a multitude of great things both from the people who run the group and the thousands of other writers in the group. There's a great "in-it-together" atmosphere. Link: BooksGoSocial Author's group.

I think the most important thing to know is that if you're going the way of self-published and doing the PR yourself you will have to work very hard. Your attitude can't be "I don't want to deal with social media I just want people to read my book," nor can your tactic be to spam your Amazon link in FB groups and on forums. It doesn't yield sales. There are plenty of ways to yield sales, but they all require you to engage, and yes, some of them require you to invest (you HAVE to have a good cover and you need to pay for a professional editor).

Anyway, go check out that group. You'll find a lot of help.

Thanks for the link.

But I may just have to accept that my writing career will never, ever go anywhere. For two years now I've tried to get into social media. It hasn't worked because I simply have nothing to say to faceless hordes. I just can't bring myself to care about them. Again and again I have searched for Goodreads threads that catch my interest. I have never found one. And I would describe my general feelings for social media almost as revulsion at the idea of spending hours a day on it. I have other things to do: Namely, to write.

I work hard to write. That's my hard work right there. And I will keep doing it because I like creating stories, and I need to get the ideas out of my head so they'll leave me alone. But my whole personality seems to just not be compatible with social media. So I'll try stuff like Giveaways, and AMA, because I don't want to just give up. But though it its a bitter pill, I have come to face that I will probably never advance beyond where I am.

I'll notify your next of kin... that you sucked!