vrijdag 13 december 2013

Fresh fish! Uhm... I mean, marketing

Happy Friday the thirteenth! May your superstition be kind to you today!

I am going to write about marketing, I promise… there will probably be a ton of blog posts by me about marketing, because it’s like a quest for the holy grail.

Had to show off my cover again
But first Kiddywinkles (yes I just called you that, deal with it, you love me really *grin*) I wanted to share a blog review with you about my horror collection ‘Deeply Twisted’ by Book Junkie Reviews: http://bookjunkiereviews.wordpress.com/2013/12/12/deeply-twisted-by-chantal-noordeloos-reviewed-by-brittany/ Of course I handled reading this like a professional and an adult, by reading this 10 times and crying my eyes out. Lately I’ve been getting quite a bit of love for my work, and especially Deeply Twisted is well received. My head might actually swell up to the size of a cantaloupe if this continues.

And watch how I slip from that little bit of self promotion into the subject of marketing… just like that. *snaps her fingers*… It’s like a magic trick.

Reviews are an important part of promoting your work (see what I did there… subtle, no?) Unfortunately not all reviews are credible, and that’s a shame. Don’t get tempted to go down the slippery slope of false reviews, it might help you in the short run, but in the long run you’ll be found out and it won’t be pretty. Just a little word of advice from me.

Now all us writers want reviews. Of course we do! Writing isn’t the same as most other jobs that actually involves people. Take me for example… I used to be a very social person, and now I’m teetering on the edge of ‘crazy cat lady’. In previous professions I would occasionally get a pat on the back from colleagues, and a lot of my work would have some sort of ‘instant gratification’ to it, I would see projects be completed and get feedback.

Sad party!
Writing isn’t like that. You write this book and spend months of your life on it. Even when you’re not writing it, you’ll be thinking about writing it. It will be a love affair with something that on occasion you will hate with a passion. And then it’s done. If you’re lucky you get a bit of a book party or something to celebrate you putting your baby out into the world.

And. That’s. it.

All you have after that are sales figures and book reviews. The first time I did this, I felt so empty. And you’re not even done yet, because then you’ll need to start promoting your work (but I’ll get to that later). For me all I wanted was for people to take the journey in my world with me. I didn’t need to hear how great people thought I was (that just makes me feel awkward) but I did (and do) wanted to hear that people enjoyed my story. I loved (and love) it when people told me what parts of my book they liked. Of course I was absolutely terrified that someone would hate my book, and that did happen. One of my friends told me that my book wasn’t very good. It hurt me, but then I realized the critique didn’t kill me. I also realized that not everyone could love what I did, and I was (sort of) fine with that. I was fortunate enough to have a lot of people tell me that they loved it.

Now there are two books out there with my name on the cover, and I’m getting a little better at the marketing side of it… though the process still baffles me.

One of the things I don’t try to do is ‘Spam’. You can’t stay away from it completely, but some people really lose all sense of etiquette when it comes to sharing their work. It’s tempting to send people you barely know personal messages on facebook with your


books, but I don’t think anyone really appreciates that. (In fact, I’ve unfriended people that did that too often before, and I know others have too) See promotion as courtship. Sometimes you just have to put a ‘Single and desperate’ notice on some boards to attract people, but if you do that too often, you’ll just look too desperate. So use the boards with moderation, because you don’t want people to grow tired of seeing your work and not take you serious. If you just use common sense, you’ll do fine. Woo your readers a little bit, make them want to read your work.

Please don’t lie about your work either, you’ll lose all credibility with your readers. It might work for a little while, but if you get exposed… *yikes*. I’ve seen people pull some weird pranks to make their work look acclaimed. It’s very shady.

Now having said all that, I found that the world is a weird place. It’s very difficult to get your work out there. I hear you, and I feel the same way. I haven’t been doing this that long yet, but I do ‘okay’. I’m not unhappy for the reason that I’m only just starting out and I have big plans for the future *grin*.

We’ve been working on some promotional campaigns, and some are more successful than others. It’s pretty much trial and error when you start out. Then last night I was in a silly mood and I tried something different and a little weird. Let me explain.

For days I’ve been seeing these “share this picture to show my daughter / students/ whoever how fast pictures circulate the internet.” Each time I saw one of those I thought: I wish my books would circulate that fast. I told my husband and my daughter about it, and Elora said “why don’t you do that then?” To be honest, I thought it was too gimmicky and said ‘no’ at first.

Yes, I actually did this!
Then last night I thought “Oh what the heck!” (yes I still think it’s gimmicky, but I choose to be a hypocrite, thank you) and I placed my two books under my Christmas tree before I put Elora to bed, put a note on it. I really should have let her hold the books instead, that would have made it even funnier, but I didn’t think of that at the time.

And what do you know… within 24 minutes I had 24 shares. And this morning I had near 50. Elora was thrilled, and I’m sure she’ll come out of school today and ask me ‘how many do we have now?’

The sad part is that I actually get more response on this ‘meme’ about my work, than I do about the campaigns we have. I try to share things with my drawings too, and that never has this much effect. So… the lesson I’ve learned? Be very explicit that you want your work shared. It doesn’t help if you want to send a message if you don’t spell it out for the people in the world that you want them to share it.

Now it’ll be a while before I do something for mass sharing again, I don’t want to annoy my friends and followers, but it’s been an interesting lesson. I started this as a bit of a laugh, but I’ve learned many lessons.

So marketing tips? Get your work out there as much as you can, but don’t over saturate. Don’t post the same links for the same people over and over and over and over again. You might get one of two sales out of it, but you’ll probably chase away more people that could have been potential customers for your other work.

Engage your audience. Be about the readers and answer questions and ‘show your face’ so to speak. Participate in book events to get to know more readers.

Help other authors too, they might return the favor.

Find good bloggers. Bloggers are often more credible than the reviews on Amazon. To be honest, no
matter how much I love each and every review I’ve had on Amazon and Goodreads, the whole ‘fake review’ scandal has made me a bit wary about what is real and what is not. I’ve seen 5 star glorious reviews for books that were train wrecks. I won’t be the only one who is skeptical out there, especially avid readers will trust (the right) bloggers more than they will trust reviews on random bookselling sites. (And now I’m going to completely contradict myself… because I can) at the same time reviews can really improve your visibility on Amazon and Goodreads and push buyers in the right direction to buy your work… so it’s a bit of a double edged sword there.

I know I’m not lighting my cigars with hundred dollar bills yet. It’s a struggle to get your work out there and to get sales. And feel free to ignore my advice, it’s just one woman’s humble opinion. And if you have any good marketing / promotion tips, I’m always happy to hear them!



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