Anyone who knows me will tell you I am the absolute worst at promoting my books. It’s not that I’m ashamed of my writing. I just don’t know how to talk myself up. When someone asks what I write, I say romance. When someone asks what my latest book is about, I say it’s another contemporary romance. This is not going to sell books. Neither is relying on word of mouth.
As an independent author, my marketing budget is pretty small. A few years ago, I couldn’t have even told you what a marketing plan is. I actually had to buy a book about marketing for authors to learn how to write a plausible marketing plan and that book is so old it predates social media!
Social media is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to promote anything. In fact, I can do promotion for free on my Twitter account or Face Book page, the drawback being I only reach those who have followed me or liked my page.
In an effort to expand the reach of my book marketing, I did a Face Book search to find groups for authors. Not surprisingly, I found several. I’m now a member of a book promotion group, a book marketing group, a romance and thriller writers group, a group that claims to be for any and everything about books and a group for book reviews.
I’ve recently started to notice something perplexing about these groups. Authors are posting their news but don’t seem to be truly supporting one another. They encourage people to like their page by offering to trade a like for a like. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want someone liking my page because we traded likes. So what if I show more likes and more people will see my posts? If they’re not interested in my work, they’re probably going to scroll past my posts.
So many authors are promoting their books that it doesn’t take long for a post to get buried so to speak. Authors log on to the group, post their news and just move on. They don’t seem to be taking the time to read or like other posts or discover new authors. Granted, it’s not an obligation, but nothing is free. If you want people to notice you then you have to notice them.
And do not get me started on the book review group. I’ve posted a number of requests asking for reviews of my work in exchange for a free copy only to hear nothing but chirping crickets in response. Since you’re probably wondering, yes I do respond to other authors’ requests for reviews of their work but only if I like the genre. If you’re a steampunk author, you don’t want me reading your work since I don’t like the genre, but that doesn’t mean someone else can’t meet your need.
Maybe it’s just me, but it feels like some authors are selfishly using social media for their own gain without giving anything in return. I do my level best to make sure I’m not one of them. Along with my own posts, I look for new authors and try to respond to review requests for genres that interest me. And when I find a new author I like, I not only like their Face Book author page and follow them on Twitter, but I use my own Twitter account to promote them to my followers.