Ask the Authors (Round 2)
Unfortunately, no quick fix to getting reviews. You can spend hours emailing book reviewers and suggesting your book to them for review, or you can pay for a platform to put your books out for review. Amazon is also making it harder for people to leave reviews, which makes reviews almost worthless when you don’t know how long your reviews will be up before being pulled by Amazon.
The best way I’ve found is to reach out to reviewers personally. I’ll send an email to bloggers and make sure it isn’t just a form email. I always tweak it to match their needs. Out of every 20 emails I send, I usually get 1-2 bloggers interested. I know that doesn’t seem like a lot, but its worth it for those reviews.
Not consistently. It’s one of those things where you scatter some free copies around and hope for the best. I have an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) list, but people have been drifting away from it–which is understandable. You could be the biggest DeAnna Knippling fan in the world and still not want to conscientiously read & review everything I freaking write! I have a free Instafreebie/Prolific Works account where I host giveaway copies, so I don’t have to manually send them out now, which is nice.
Asking reviewers who liked and reviewed one of my prior books is the easiest way. How did I get those first review for my first book? I asked EVERYBODY.
Honestly? I’m not sure it has, but I like that I have it there, I can update my books on my website, share a sample of my work and other authors I have come across.
People tend to look at my facebook page more than my website. When talking to people and the website comes up, they always seem surprised to find out I have one!
For me, advertising and newsletters get followers for books. My blog and FB sites are more for existing fan interaction.
I’ve signed up to so many, I probably couldn’t remember them all. Bookbub has so far been the most influential in bringing in followers.
Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/Lilly-Rayman/e/B00X5CR5QC
Goodreads Author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9866872.Lilly_Rayman
Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/lilly.rayman.7
BookBub Author page: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lilly-rayman
Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/author/Lilly-Rayman
I’ve found Facebook to be the most lucrative.
Facebok Author page: https://www.facebook.com/JordanElizabethAuthor/
Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/Jordan-Elizabeth/e/B00P0KBRD4
Curiosity Quills Author page: https://curiosityquills.com/authors/jordan-elizabeth/
A lot of these places, you don’t even know that you have an author page. But I’m involved in the Goodreads, Amazon, and BookBub ones. I don’t know which ones are effective, but they seem to interact with the GR one the most.
Goodreads Author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4456773.DeAnna_Knippling
BookBub Author page: https://www.bookbub.com/search?search=DeAnna+Knippling
I have a Blog, a Facebook page, and I use Twitter. I wouldn’t say I showcase my work on them all, but I do occasionally on my blog. That’s not how I gain followers, though. The blog is for other things, like interaction, writing contests, etc.
Blog Author page: https://danalatorre.com/about/
Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/DanAlatorreAuthor/
Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/Dan-Alatorre/e/B00EUX7HEU
Goodreads Autor page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7847408.Dan_Alatorre
I offer a permafree book across all platforms, when I do a Facebook event I share the link. I also have details of the permafree in all my books. I also offer a flash fiction exclusively to subscribers of my newsletter. When I share with people on Facebook they can get a free read for signing up, they usually do.
I’ve done sales with free books. I’m not sure if its brought in sales for my other books. No one has told me that they read it for free and then bought more.
Free books have to be advertised, too, and on sites that make a splash. As mentioned earlier, those change all the time. The free book has to be of great quality or no one’s gonna read anything else you have, but you still have to have other things. Quality things. And a newsletter to keep everyone updated. A friend has had several books get over 100 reviews by using the Reader Magnets method and as far as I can tell, most authors with successful newsletters used a very similar approach. I mention this because I checked it out and I’ve seen it work, but most people don’t do it (including me). That’s changing. I started working on growing my newsletter last week and plan on getting it to 10,000 subscribers by December 31, 2019. That should help.
Dan, can you explain for those who may not know, what the Reader Magnet method is?
I use Instafreebie which is now called prolific works for my giveaway links.
I’ve found the best to be Amazon. You can set up a giveaway and plan to get followers on Twitter, Amazon, etc.
I use LibraryThing and Goodreads (on GR, I set up an event where I link to the giveaway code; I’ve also done GR print giveaways and liked those as well). I’m getting prepped to go back into Instafreebie/Prolific Works in a bit. I like them, but it tends to be more newsletter signups than reviews.
I don’t recommend sites publicly, but not because I don’t wanna give away my best secrets. (I can’t write enough books in a year to have a site all to myself, and I need other authors selling books and telling me which sites are doing well for them.) I don’t recommend sites publicly because they aren’t paying me to endorse them. Also, things can and do change quickly in this business. A site I used very successfully five years ago hasn’t done anything good for the past three years. When did it change? It was probably gradual, but what worked for me and my last book might not work for your book or still be working when you publish your Work In Progress. It’s safest to ask all your friends which sites work best right now and to get numbers, see what genre they wrote, and go from there. Track everything and keep using whatever worked, avoiding the sites that are crap. I will say this. When you do a free day or a 99 cent day or whatever on Ammy, do it in conjunction with a site (or sites) your friends have recommended. You’ll make a bigger splash and will usually sell books at regular price after the sale ends as long as your regular price isn’t crazy.
Which social media sites do you use to network? Which sites have worked best for you for gaining followers?
Honestly, I’m not the best at utilising social media. I have a more interactive network on Facebook, but I try and post in Google+ and Twitter when I remember. Generally, I prefer to be writing than to be trying to promote myself.
I use facebook (the best for networking), Instagram, twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.
I use Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads; Facebook’s the primary one, though. I don’t really do Facebook networking on purpose so much as read someone’s comment and go, “That was well said,” and friend them, and then get pulled along into something else because someone knew someone else who knows me. I think trying to use social media to gain followers is a bad idea in general, though. It’s the trying and trying and trying part that concerns me. “How can I try to get more followers?!?” asks the author, and ends up being a sleezy salesman for something that doesn’t naturally appeal to people. Like, if you want to be a good seller, ask yourself, “How can I make this so tempting they can’t say no,” not “how can I get more followers?”
I blog a lot, so that’s where people come to talk to me. Second is my Facebook page. After that, my newsletter, small as it is, and form there I rarely interact on Twitter or other social media. That’s not where my readers are. That can change with different books, though. For my upcoming YA book to do well, I’ll be pimping it on Instagram, etc.
I share posts from my author friends, and try and interact where I can on Facebook, my name being seen, being active within the Indie Community opens the door for other opportunities to utilise other authors and their followings, but its important to remember it’s a game of give and take. As long as you share as much as you hope others will share you.
I like to reach out to people who have enjoyed my books. I like to connect with other writers, especially so we can share tips.
I pass on what interests me. Is it fascinating? Funny? Horrible? Insightful? If it feels like something that I like that’s pretty normal for me to like, then I’ll share it. Like puns. I’ll share a good pun in a heartbeat. Doing that consistently, over time, tends to become your brand, or part of your brand, without being fake and calculated. Writers are there to entertain, interest, and educate people. Do that. Do the things that you’re comfortable with, and do them consistently and fairly. When people buy stories, they buy them because of your voice, your view of the world. So share that view of the world; don’t keep it bottled up. That’s my theory, anyway. And listen to and interact with other people. It’s networking. It literally is not all about you as an author 🙂
I’d say this: have a presence on them all, but only use the ones you enjoy. If you aren’t having fun using Instagram, it’ll show, and people won’t have a positive experience with you there. That’s bad, and it’ll hurt business. Take on one new social media every two weeks or so, and work it until you master it. Then decide if it’s for you, while you take on the next one, and the one after that. Don’t try to learn them all at once; it’ll be overwhelming. One at a time, on a regularly scheduled basis, so you actually get to them all, and then work each new one until you get it. THEN decide which ones are for you. I have a presence on all of them except a few, but I use my blog and Facebook because I like them and that’s where my readers are. Don’t try to be all things to all people. I have bestselling author friends who don’t do any of this stuff and sell just fine via lots of paid ads. That works for them. It won’t be the right approach for everyone. What works for your friend might not work for you because she writes murder mysteries and you write romance. That’s always a factor.
Facebook, posting in author or reader groups, participating in page hops, and online party events. Although my BookBub following is picking up.
Reaching out to bloggers has helped me to connected with the most readers, and that in turn has delivered the most followers.
I’m not sure, but I want to say Goodreads. But I’m a book nerd, as in I read more than I watch TV or anything else, and I review everything I read, so I end up attracting a lot of followers who are like, “I just want to talk about books in general, not necessarily yours.” Hm…either that or running with several giveaways on Instafreebie/Prolific Works. I got a lot of signups. I lost most of them, but the ones who stayed like what I write.
I definitely have the most quality followers on my blog. Twitter says 11,000 people follow me, but I don’t interact much on twitter, so it’s not the same quality as my blog. I’m too wordy for 140 characters. I interact most on my blog, then second would be my Facebook page. Most of my readers come from ads I buy.
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I posted a link in my Writing to be Read Facebook group a couple of weeks ago. The article discussed the new changes made by Facebook which do not allow us to post promotional materials on personal Timelines. Under the new guidelines promotional posts are only allowed to be made on our Facebook Pages, which are designed to be set up for businesses. If you break the rules and make promotional posts on your Timeline, Facebook can ban you. This information caused quite a stir in my group, and I admit it caused me quite a bit of concern, as well. I came to the conclusion that, as with everything in life, we must learn to be flexible and accoodate change. I changed the title of my Kaye Lynne Booth Screenwriter page to Kaye Lynne Booth Author and Screenwriter and set my automatic posts from WordPress to post there instead of on my Timeline and hoped for the best.
One of the comments I received was a question toward one of the group members who was upset, viewing this as a ploy to force us to purchase paid advertising. The second member asked how using Facebook’s free advertising was going and asked if she had sold many books from it. While I don’t think this change prohibits making promotional posts as long as you make them through allowable channels, the conversation made me stop and think about what we authors are expecting to achieve through such posts.
Free promotion through social media is great. It offers us, as authors, an avenue to get the word out about our writing, without putting a dent on our wallets. For aspiring authors, who haven’t made it to fame and fortune yet, like myself, that’s great. But what results are we expecting?
If you’re thinking your book will rise to the top of the best seller lists, you’re dreaming. That’s not the way it works. The best seller lists, at least those on Amazon, work on algorithms, and if you’re only one of a smattering of books in a category, it may not take many book sales to place your book at the top of the list. Authors who write romance have it a lot tougher, because there are a whole slew of romances out there, a lot of competition, so even if your book is making sales, it may not be enough to launch you to the top because it’s based on the books which sell the most in that particular category.
Likewise, most of the folks who those promotional posts reach are other authors, not the people in your target audience. Authors may buy books, but basically they want the the same thing you do. They are out there to promote their own work. Social media isn’t designed to sell books, although their paid promotions may be quite effective, and anyone who is using free promotions to try and sell books, or anything else, may be sorely disappointed. Social media, my friends, is designed to promote connections, some of which may be quite valuable, but it’s not designed to sell merchandise, hence the word ‘social’. And that is what I get from my promotional efforts on Facebook and any other social media site I use. I grow my blog following and my email list. I find a few people who are willing to review my book. I meet people who can include me in their author services as an editor. I connect with artists who can create the book covers I need. While many are fellow authors, I tap into that as well, offering them interviews or reviews here on Writing to be Read. They get some free exposure and I great content for my blog. It works out great.
That being said, I’ve come to the sobering realization that nothing is free, and I’m going to have to invest some of my hard earned money if I want to boost my book sales. While I can’t afford paid promotion on Facebook or Amazon right now, there are affordable promotions out there.
- There are some affordable avenues of promotion out there. Most recently, I found a promotional site called I Like E Books, which has promotional packeages which range from free up to twenty dollars, which seems promising. They provide promotion on social media channels and other cool stuff, depending on which level od promotion you pay for.
- Although not a promotional site, per se, Book Bub is great for featuring your books under your favorites, so folks can see that they are available. You can follow your favorite authors and hopefully gain some followers of your own. It doesn’t cost anything to join.
- On All Author, you can have your book featured on their site for six months, with twitter promos, weekly mock-up banners, and review posting for a flat fee of $24.
- It’s also free to sign up for PromoCave, which is a site for ongoing promotion via social media sites. It helps on this site to post content fairly regularly, since it will bring readers to your profile.
- BMI Books is a global book marketing site where you can place and manage a book ad for free, although I’m unsure how this one works as yet.
- You may also sign up for free on Write Globe, which has a nice book promotion platform as well as supporting other types of creativity. This site was listed as number one in a list of “Top 7 Websites for Book and Author Promotion” by Alwin Gnanaraj on LinkedIn.
- Creative Designers & Writers is a free international classified site, where you can create and post an ad. It is supportive of other creatives as well and can serve as a platform for collaborative works with graphic designers and artists.
- Books Online Best also allows you to post a free ad in addition to other author services, such as book trailers and author interviews. You can also create a freelance site here.
One day, I’ll be able to afford to play with the big boys. For now, I will be grateful for the benefits I can get from social media, but I will approach it with reasonable expectations, being grateful for every follower I gain and counting any book sales that comes from it as an extra added bonus.
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