♦Welcome to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop!♦
We’ve shared marketing tips that worked for us.
What have you tried that didn’t work?
Welcome back to another Open Book Blog Hop! The authors included in this ongoing series wish to thank you for your reads. Even more so, we appreciate that you share our writings with friends. If you’re new to the series, welcome aboard. The authors engage and impress weekly. Prepare to become a regular reader.
Marketing woes are certain in the writing world. Even if you get the coveted contract with a mainstream big publisher, you’ll find yourself doing the bulk of that work. They aren’t investing in anyone below their top tier authors who have proved their clout. That business is run to make as much money off of others’ intellectual property as possible. This will include mitigating loses from those they take a gamble on.
Building a following will all be on the shoulders of the author. Crowds are fickle. You’ll be competing with celebrities as well as people who seem to just attract others to them with little effort. Proving you have something worth another person’s time is a struggle, and in writing it’s an extra-special struggle. Marketing woes are just part of the business.
Building a following is a struggle…
Books have always been a niche commodity. Back when they started only a select section of the population could afford them or wanted to bother with them. While there was a long span of time when books were the main form of escapist entertainment or information, there was also a huge suspicion and suppression of intellectual property. (I’ll refer you to the days when books were accused of giving women hysterical brain fever.) Valuing books, therefore, has been the purview of the rarer set.
With all of that taken into consideration, authors face a huge uphill battle. Their appeal will be to a specific section of the world population, reducing the number of exponentially right off the bat. Then, their genre will narrow the field further, as well as their gender and name recognition. What is a new author to do? Don’t despair as you shuffle through the marketing woes and figure this out. It’s normal.
I wish I had the fool-proof answer for you. What works is different for every author. You could have the magnetism that automatically makes you a contender, or you’re going to have to fight for the clout to be respected and therefore sought after. There’s no way around that. When you fall into the latter, as the majority of us do, what works is going to change and change as often as you’ll change your socks.
What worked yesterday for your colleague will cease to work quickly. I’ve experienced this first hand. Following a tried and true marketing method only works if it’s a brand new plan. Once it’s been around for a few months, the crowd get wise to the schlep. There are some articles out there on what you can do, in regards to small businesses. Please do start thinking of yourself in that manner, whether you like it or not. What certainly doesn’t work is feeling art is above commodity.
I don’t believe that the buy my book posts are at as high of failure rate as some say, however. A lot of advice in this area pans these right off. However, I’ve seen authors who have a steady stream about their books do much better than those who are just trying to connect with others on a personal level. Most of my followers aren’t even aware I write, because most of my posts don’t make it to their feed due to the busted algorithm of social media. And, that’s on purpose! Repeating these posts is effective. Yet, you can do too much, at the same time.
Let me explain why buy my book posts can be beneficial…
If you weren’t aware, social media helps the moneyed business stay on top, because those businesses have the capital to stay up there. Independent or small authors don’t have anywhere near this kind of funding. Trust me when I say that the big house publisher’s marketing teams are working hard to erase you from the feeds, because if that audience is buying from you, they’re not getting a cut! It serves them well to beat you down.
This is why your book doesn’t rank on Amazon for long either. You’re fighting a system that was put in place to serve those with money and clout, and protect their interests. Fighting that system is going to take a lot of effort and capital. Therefore, all those buy my book posts aren’t seen frequently by the readers they need to reach. The more you put them out, the more likely you are to annoy fellow authors who don’t want to see them gumming up their feed. And, they’re going to mute or block you, further limiting your reach.
This said, there is a sweet spot that you can reach. Make sure you’re posting valuable content for your potential readers and mixing in the book ad content to make them aware that you have something for them, too. You can make friends with others online, but the main thing you’re looking to do is provide them something quality to consume that draws them into you as an entertainment provider.
What’s the magic mix? That will entirely depend on you! As I stated above, if you automatically draw audiences to you, then you’ll do find on a 25% book ad basis. Someone who struggles will need to find out what is effective, and what works well with the algorithm of the media they’re working on. What is effective on Twitter is going to be different than what is effective on Pinterest, Facebook, Tumblr., or any other platform.
Do you see why this is so time consuming and such a fight? If you do, then you see why it doesn’t always work, too. The trial and error is a straight pain in the neck! While the platforms provide you tools, at the end of the day, you the author are not an experienced marketing team who understands how to analyze that information. Not only do authors need to study writing, but they need to study film, communications, and marketing to make a platform quickly effective.
What can you do?
I’m not lying. Yes, it is ludicrous. No, it’s not your fault. This is the fight we have when facing an industry that wants to cut us out because we’ve found a way to cut them out. This is a long haul effort, full of marketing woes! You’ll have to be quick on your feet, and calculating. Just don’t lose your genuineness. If anything works a genuine person will always rise above.
Keep in mind, too, that authors providing insight on their marketing woes is either a risk on their part for being honest, or a calculated maneuver. What do I mean by calculated? I’m not saying that all authors do this, but I believe there is a drive to mislead for one’s own benefit. Certainly not every author who falls onto this end of things is trying to harm you. Maybe they just want to see less buy my book posts, because their feed is inundated (they should just stop following a majority of other authors–which is another thing that really doesn’t help).
Of course, I am coming out and saying there are nefarious actors out there with the intent of purposely misleading authors. Rose colored glasses aren’t going to help you run a successful business as an author. Believing that every person out there has your best interest in mind doesn’t work for your personal life any more than it does for your author life. Be careful out there. Be discerning. Surround yourself with great people who enrich your life and whose lives you can enrich in return.
Also, take a minute to hop through the links below to read what the other authors on this hop have to say about this topic. If my advice doesn’t resonate with you, maybe theirs will. If it does, you’ll probably find more to add to your plan with them.