by Kim Mutch Emerson
Authors are awesome! We know how to create a universe, solve murders, negotiate with someone bent on destroying the world, and how to match lovers up with their perfect partner. What most of us are not great at is marketing our books. It makes us all squishy inside. We would rather face a three headed giant than write an ad. That is one of the big reasons I try to create fun ways to help authors “market” their stuff. I put the word market in quotes because it’s more about building relationships to me than selling stuff.
Big advertising and marketing campaigns are too expensive for most indie authors. The most affordable tools we have are the social media sites. The keyword here is “social”. We can’t treat them like billboards or people will tear out their hair and go screaming for the hills. People are not on these networks to read ads. They are on the networks to socialize and build relationships. One good way to build relationships online is to team up with other authors and create an online social event.
I can hear it now, “how are we supposed to sell books at an online social event?” Glad you asked. I have a few pointers.
Arriving at the Party: Building Relationships Online
• Don’t just post and run. That’s like asking a question at a gathering and then turning and walking away as people answer you. Interact with people. Ask them questions and then respond to them.
• Take an interest in them. Find out what your target audience enjoys. Talk about those subjects.
• Use images, video, quotes.
• Team up with other authors who write in your genre. Interact with them. Share their books and have them share yours.
Become the Life of the Party
• Don’t wash the dirty diapers in public. I am not saying you should be dishonest in your public image. I am saying try to keep the negative as private as you can. Although a lot of people like to gripe and complain and you might get a lot of action on a negative post, most people don’t really enjoy the smell of dirty diapers.
• Make it positive, make it fun. Find fun ways to share stuff. I do a weekly eBook giveaway on my Facebook status called Winner’s Wednesday. It is very rarely my own book. This creates four things. It makes the author happy, it makes the reader happy, it makes me happy and while we are doing it people are seeing the game scroll by in their newsfeed and they think to themselves, Oh, yeah! I have to remember to play that game next week and try to win a book.
• My all-time favorite way to “market” is with a Facebook party or event. There is a right way and a wrong way to do it.
~ Wrong way: post a bunch of stuff that says “buy my book” or “I’m so cool.” If you create an event and just use it as a big billboard it will become a huge turn off.
~ Right way: make things interactive. Ask questions, post games, videos, jokes, surveys. If you do a giveaway make sure the winner gets the prize.
Putting together a multi-day, multi-author event takes a lot of effort, but it can work out really well. If you think it’s more responsibility than you want to take on yourself, there are companies out there which will do it for a fee. Or, you can probably find an event through one of the author groups you belong to on Facebook, LinkedIn, or other social media platforms. Still not sure it’s your cup of tea? Stop by the MKSP Publishing Facebook event Nov 29th-Dec 2nd to get a good feel for what goes on. Nearly 100 indie authors will be featured. The only requirements to participate were: 1. Each author is responsible to have engaging content and give away several prizes. 2. All authors were required to offer their books for 99 cents. Authors do not have to be published by MKSP to participate.
So stop by, check it out, and see if this is something you’d like to participate with next year (for the Black Friday event), or, if you think this is something you could pull together with some of your writing colleagues. No matter how you do it, make sure you have a good time.
Owner of Master Koda Select Publishing, LLC, Kim Mutch Emerson’s deepest joy comes from assisting other writers in creating their dreams. She is an award-winning author who enjoys a good adventure on and off the written page. You can learn more about Kim on Facebook or on her Amazon Author Central page.