Tuesday, May 15, 2018

4 Book Marketing Tips for the Newbie Author

I love social media. I like seeing what's going on in other people's lives, people I haven't spoken to in a long time. I have a friend from college I haven't seen since 2005, but because of Facebook we still chat occasionally and I get to see her beautiful family.

I've met tons of other writers on Twitter, and gotten more writing advice than I can count. I'm also able to live tweet a TV show and commiserate with other viewers if something doesn't go the way we wanted (I'm looking at YOU DWTS!).

Because of Instagram, I'm able to see beautiful pictures that people take on their travels. Some people are extremely talented, and their Instagram shows that.

I've been trying to use social media to market myself as a writer since 2012. I've learned some things about what you should/shouldn't do. If you read my blog on publishing my novel before it was ready, you'll know that I really had no clue what I was doing. I knew nothing about the publishing process, the marketing process, and I honestly feel like I knew nothing about the writing process, despite holding a BFA in Creative Writing.

Yesterday, I was reposting a couple of writer Instagrams, including their hashtags. Almost immediately I started getting likes, as happens when you use popular hashtags. What I wasn't expecting was a needy DM (Direct Message) from a writer I'd never spoken to or heard of, begging me to review his book.

After glancing at his Amazon page I was struck by two things.

  1. He didn't research me before sending the DM, which leads me to believe that he sent out his letter without personalizing it at all.
  2. He's a bit narcissistic. His author bio was all about how no one understood him as an artist, which was apparently validating to him, personally, but it made it hard to make money with his writing because no one would take the chance on him. 
Neither issue made me want to read his books. Also, one of his books had a crude drawing of male genitalia. I enjoy reading Chick Lit, not Freudian books about manhood.

There's a lot to be learned here because I was in his shoes once. Here are a few tips to help you market your book to the right people, and why you should.


Niche Down to Find Your Best Audience

Naive authors will be the first to tell you that they want literally everyone to love their books. That's a nice thought and all, but do you know how many different people and opinions are in the world? A LOT. 

Do you want people reading your stories who most likely won't like it or do you want to find your die-hard fans? It'll be easier to find people who love your books if you go to people who love your genre. I belong to a Chick Lit Authors group on Facebook, and we're constantly sharing our work with each other. We're promoting each other's work with passion because we love it. It's our niche. We're recommending books we love with our reviews. 

The author who DM'd me wrote Creative Nonfiction and death poetry. Not exactly my cup of tea, so odds are pretty good I wouldn't give him a good review. That's just honesty. Personally, I'd like to keep people who won't like my book far away. No poor experience for them, no bad review for me. 

How to Find Authors To Pitch To

I'm not going to go into a long blog about this tip because Dave Chesson did it so much better, but suffice it to say, there are ways to find people who might enjoy your book. I've even been contacted by people using his methods. Some books are great, some not so great, but I was willing to give them a chance because they matched what I was looking for. 

Personalize Your Pitch

Nothing bugs a potential reviewer more than feeling like someone just threw junk mail at them. I get enough junk mail through the US Post Office, I don't really want it coming through my inbox, too (though Lord knows, it does!). 

If you've got a book you want me to read, tell me why it'll be a good fit for ME. Tell me you've looked at my reviews. Compare your book to others I've read. Include specifics. Help me know you've actually read my reviews. 

Expand Your Education

In the Internet Age, there's really no excuse for not getting all the information you need quickly and easily. Google is the world's biggest search engine, and there are hundreds of blog posts on how to Market your self-published book. 

Podcasts are another great option for self-publishing information, and Dave Chesson, who I mentioned above, has one of the best. Joanna Penn is another. She's amazing. Alinka Rutkowska has another.

One thing all of these authors will tell you is to have a plan of action. Don't throw spaghetti at the wall and wait for what sticks. Plan your review requests strategically for the best chances of getting good reviews from people who will become life-long fans. 

Your Turn!

  • What are your favorite book marketing tips?
  • Have you ever thrown spaghetti at the wall, so to speak?
  • What is your favorite self-publishing podcast?

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Book Review: "Parasite" by Mira Grant

Parasite (Parasitology, #1)Parasite by Mira Grant
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So a few weeks back, I made a deal with my sister. Or rather, she made a deal with me. If I read this book and Feed for her, she'd read Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre for me. We both put the requests in on Overdrive for audiobooks and waited. I got Parasite before she got either of her two. I imagine that her opinion of my books will be similar to my opinion of this book.

Meh.

So, the story was trying to build up to this insane conclusion about who Sal was. A conclusion that I figured out in the first couple of chapters. Since I knew what was coming, I kept waiting for something bigger to happen, except it never did. And then it ended on a cliffhanger (I do intend to read more). I hate when authors do that. I feel like a series is good if the first book, at least, is standalone. Cliffhangers make me mad. What if the next book never gets published (I'm reading this way after the fact, but you know what I mean)? It feels lazy to me, and I wonder if this is Mira Grant's first book? I don't know.

I honestly thought all of the characters were bland. Except maybe Tansy and Sherman. Both of them were kind of unexpected.

I don't know if I can recommend this book. If it were made into a movie, I'd probably see it, but it'd probably end up in a group with that movie, "Splice" with Sarah Polley and Adrian Brody. Mad scientists whose creations wreak havoc.

I leave you with this:





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