Q04: Promo

(This question is part of a larger subseries called Perpetual WIPs: Self-Published Authors. For the remaining questions, see here.)

What promotional tactics did you find worked best for you? Which did you find less helpful?

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Promotion is scary! I’m not a very good twitter promoter. I don’t like to spam my feed, but I’ve found participating in twitter chats to be a great way to get the word out there and make contacts, and also just being involved with other writers and blogs, and doing interviews and tour stops.

Being at Industry events is also great. Writers’ Communities, connecting with Indie bookstores, and going to conferences have all been successful for me. I think the best promotion is just being active in the community and paying it forward. Helping other authors out can create a great network for promotion across the board.

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I used facebook and twitter to promote myself, as well as my website. I also did a Goodreads giveaway, which was very beneficial. I know there is a Goodreads kerfuffle now so I’m not sure I’d do it again, but I’d definitely do some sort of giveaway. Plus, I like giving away free stuff.

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Blog tours/reveals are great because they’re wide exposure. Connecting with people on social media is huge, as well. Ads (on blogs or facebook) were a waste of time and money. Giveaways that are unique and connected to the book are also fun and popular. I’m experimenting with a street team for my upcoming release, and some unusual marketing ideas that I have high hopes for! 🙂

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Catching the wave was the best thing that I did – and was also pure luck. My genre was hot when I debuted, and I did really well. Now it’s saturated and you have to elbow your way through.

Making good, close friends with bloggers. If a blogger loves you, they’ll do ANYTHING to tell people about your book.

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For my first book, I pulled out all the stops.  I lit up Facebook and Twitter, did a Launch Week series on my blog, and a post-launch-week blog tour.  It was a stupid amount of work, and not all of it paid off.

The blog series, while thought-provoking, didn’t get any new traffic to my blog.  The blog tour didn’t generate much attention, either.  But people really seemed to like when I posted short quotes from my book on Facebook, linked with either my book’s Amazon link or (prior to release) a YouTube link to a song from my writing playlist.

One tactic that worked better than I expected was offering my second book for free on its launch day.  It got enough downloads to bump me up over 70,000 places in the free Kindle store, and I’ve gotten some reviews on Goodreads out of it.

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I really believe that anything that gets people talking about you or your books is not a waste of time. You may not see an immediate correlation to sales, but that doesn’t mean it won’t make someone remember you and grab a copy later.

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Review requests are hugely effective in getting the word out about my books, and the best part is, they are also the easiest and cheapest thing to do. Sourcing blogs to find ones that like your kind of book is also important, but the payoff is great. The second best thing to do are blog tours. At the bottom of the list in terms of effectiveness are paid ads, like on websites or magazines,  which are unlikely to result in direct sales.

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Twitter and Facebook have been very helpful in getting the word out about my books, especially Twitter chats. I also found that joining the right Goodreads groups has been helpful in reaching readers, not just authors. Author interviews and blog posts can help build traffic. I’ve asked for bloggers to review my books and one has posted so far, but the Goodreads traffic has been better for building an audience. I would like to try a blog tour next.

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Hands down, my street team. I’m convinced they did 99.9% of the work in getting the word out. I’m not sure the blog tour helped very much.

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Word-of-mouth was the most powerful promotion by far. Not really a tactic, but my street team kicked butt, and I didn’t really do anything to earn it. I just gave them all ARCs and my eternal thanks. Even cooler, I got to hear all of their impressions first hand.

Giveaways are effective at building buzz, but I think I’ll do less of them in the future. Too many seems to swamp the cyber pile and people get tired of seeing the title of your book everywhere.

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I’ll be honest and say I definitely could have done more, promo-wise. I ran a series on my blog during the weeks leading up to release, sharing snippets here and there. The BEST promo was, by far, word of mouth.

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Everyone likes a giveaway. I get far more Facebook likes and Twitter followers from Rafflecopters and such than maybe any other source. Participating in Twitter hashtag chats with people has also been a boost to my number of followers, as people find you that way because you have common interests. I much prefer that, as I know those folks are there for interaction and because they’re interested in what I have to say, rather than hoping to win something free. Social media is about connecting and conversing. The simple act of talking to people has probably sold more of my books than any blog post or giveaway I’ve done.

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4 thoughts on “Q04: Promo”

  1. Girl Friday said:

    This is great, thanks Dahlia. Excuse my ignorance though, but what exactly is a ‘street team’?

    • Dahlia Adler said:

      It’s basically a group of people who sign up to help you do promotion for your book, mostly out of the goodness of their heart and love of the book/author 🙂

  2. This is great stuff for any author–trad pubbed or self pubbed! Thanks for taking the time to post this. 🙂

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