By M. K. Theodoratus
Every writer I talk to knows I hate marketing. It’s a time-consuming chore at best. But, according to most social media gurus, sales come from building your media platform. So I grit my teeth and try.
The good news? I have learned by trial and error a few things that work–and it may not be what you think.
Facebook Likes: I’m sure you get as many requests from Facebook to post ads to boost the number of your “likes”. But do the boosts increase your following, especially after Facebook went “corporate”?
Used to be, my promos listing my short estories always increased my “likes”. So, I continued to spend a chunk of change boosting this and that from my Facebook author page. Soon noticed my “likes” stayed around 425 or so and started to look for other ways to increase my author page “likes”.
Now I leave my Facebook author page open as I cruise around the social media. If I find a writer on Twitter, GoodReads, LinkedIn or elsewhere who wants a “like”, I like them. I also leave a little note where I found them and wish them “Good Luck”.
Results: I now have about 513 followers–without annoying people on my email lists and without spending a dime. Don’t know if it increases my sales, but I do have followers who often engage with my postings. Best yet, the increase in my followers cost me nothing.
Twitter Tweets: Can’t see where Twitter generates sales, but it’s useful. Not by begging for sales but by driving traffic to my author website where I describe my short reads at length.
My blog, Lessons from My Reading, proved it to me. Before I started promoting on Twitter, I was doing good if I received 30-50 page reads. Now I get close to 200 views [or more]. How do I know where the traffic comes from? I use the Bitly url shortener for each blog, and Google analytics tells me how much traffic comes from each url.
My author website has also benefited from my Twittering. My rankings have been as high as the low 500,000s worldwide. Before you sniff, you’ve got to take into consideration that my website’s homemade with lousy SEO. [I’ve been told so by “experts”.] Thanks to Twitter, this pipsqueak writer snickers because she has better rankings than a lot of self-called bestseller making display sites.
I don’t think Twitter can drive sales, though, unless the book is free. Yeah, I tweet my free stories, and get enough downloads to give me a decent Amazon rank – if they were money sales. This was proven by my current free promotion for Crossings, my newest self-publication. Amazon downloads have ranked the estory at #3 in some pipsqueak free eKindle fantasy category or other.
Promotion and Display Sites: These are the guys who say they can make you a best selling author. Part of Crossings’ success came from learning how to access the best free Amazon promotion sites. [You can Google promotion lists, and then, you need to weed them according to what you’re trying to sell.]
My current promo list sites totals twenty pages of promo sites. I use Alexa rankings to sift through the “promo patch”. Alexa ranks websites by traffic, and you can download for free for a Google search. Tip: Concentrate on those with ranks under 50,000. Posting all your information on websites is horribly tedious and time consuming.
These three tips may not seem like much, but they do help me limit the time I spend on social media marketing.
Results? Well, I don’t have any great expectations of becoming a best selling author. So, I don’t worry about one more listing or post might put me over the top. Most important, I’ve been getting some nice reviews, … and a lot of people I don’t know seem to have enjoyed my stories.
Thanks so much for sharing a few of your social media secrets, Kay. I need all the help I can get.
Kay is a fantasy writer who lives in Northern Colorado with her husband and cats. She’s especially fond of grumpy elves, but she writes about a few other fantastical things as well. Her estory, Crossings: A Tale of Andor, is available on amazon.com for the Kindle.
Learn more about Kay and her books at her website. She can also be found on her blog, Lessons From My Reading, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
Hilary Melton-Butcher says
Hi Pat and Kay .. this is fascinating to read … and yes Social Media must be used sensibly and to benefit you as an author … not for wasting time – I guess so easy to do – though thankfully I haven’t ventured in yet.
Kristy Woodson Harvey says
Great advice! It’s so hard to know exactly what to do and what to leave when it comes to social media. Thanks!
LD Masterson says
I’ve been resisting Twitter. Just didn’t want to add another social media that I’d need to keep up on. But I guess I’m going to have to jump into that pond sooner or later.
Eileen Goudge says
Very sensible advice, Kay. I suspect you’re right about Twitter. My analytics suggest as much. I use it mainly for networking. It may not generate sales, per se, but I’ve met a lot of other authors and made some useful connections, so all in all, I consider it worthwhile.
M. K. Theodoratus says
Alex … I wish I could figure out why ranks soar when they do, too. It happened to me on Nook for no reason I could see since all my promos had expired.
Dean … I use Alexa mostly to eliminate places. If a site doesn’t have a high ranking, it saves me the time of adding my stuff to the site.
Patricia Stoltey says
Thanks, Kay. Every bit of information to make sense of this book marketing adventure is so appreciated.
Dean K Miller says
I’ve heard of Alexa ranks but haven’t explored its useful. But thanks, Kay for these great ideas. Looks like something to do when I’m not feeling the muse.
Margot Kinberg says
Pat – Thanks for hosting M.K.
M.K. – Thanks for sharing your experience with social media. I think it’s an important of the marketing mix for today’s authors.
Alex J. Cavanaugh says
And sometimes the sales spike and you have no idea why…
Next time my publisher decides to do a sale on my books, I’ll look for more promotion lists.