By Ashley Lister
As writers in the twenty-first century, we are not just expected to write. We’re expected to write, edit, proofread and promote. The goal, I suppose, is to introduce our work to more potential readers, and secure a place at the top of their ‘To Be Read’ (TBR) pile. Below are a handful of tips that might help with achieving such a goal.
1: Use Social Media: FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, GoodReads and LinkedIn – and whatever other social media platform is currently in vogue at your time of going to press. Make sure your book is visible on that medium.
FaceBook allows you to have a cover photo and a profile picture. Use both of those opportunities to make sure potential readers know that your book is available.
Twitter has similar things, as well as an option to pin a tweet to the top of your page. Personally, I’ve pinned an image of the cover of my forthcoming title, as well as a link to its Amazon page. In the past I’ve pinned copies of 5* reviews.
I’m aware that some social media platforms treat erotica as though it’s the most leprous of genres. This means being canny in the way you approach promotion for different venues. For example, whilst we all know that FaceBook don’t like nipples, it makes more sense to avoid putting a nipple on FaceBook rather than railing against their arbitrary policies. As a rule of thumb, simply ask yourself which course of action is going to get you the most sales.
Keep in mind that Social Media, aside from being a useful way to stay in touch with friends and business contacts, is an essential marketing tool nowadays. Missing out on using promotion through any area of Social Media means you’re running the risk of missing out on sales.
2. Always include links to potential sales points. Have them as part of your email signature. Have them as part of the signature you use after commenting on a blog post. Have links to captions on images that show readers enjoying your book, or cats sitting on your book, or dogs eating your book. The modern audience has the attention span of a goldfish with a sore head. Rather than hoping they will remember how to Google your name, or fully recall the title of your work, give them a link so there’s no excuse for them missing a chance to buy your work.https://www.amazon.com/Write-Short-Stories-Them-Published-ebook/dp/B07T2MHQT9/
3. Enlist Reviewers. Reviews work with algorithms to increase visibility. If you can get friends and family to leave positive reviews then you’re going to be in a good place to become more visible to potential readers. Some people ask me if this is ethical and my response is: if friends and family have read your work and believe it merits a five star review, then it’s completely ethical. I’ve heard some people say they don’t give five star reviews because they’ve never read anything of that superlative quality. To those people I say, get over yourself.
Get reviews. Share the reviews when they arrive so that all your contacts can see what other people are saying about your work. Once the buzz has started, you’ll be inching closer to the top of a potential reader’s TBR pile.
4. Blog. If you have a blog, tell everyone about your book through the platform that is your blog. Do a virtual blog tour. Get people talking about your book. Get reviewers to blog. Send content to fellow bloggers. Exchange links.
5. Write articles. This ties in with the aforementioned idea of blogging. Write articles for anyone who will take them. If the content relates to your area of expertise (and, as the author a recently published book you have several areas of expertise) then it’s not inappropriate to mention the title of your work or maybe include a direct link.
6. Use Amazon. I’m aware that some people believe Amazon is an evil monopoly that has crippled competition within the publishing industry. There are arguments about Amazon benefitting from taxpayer handouts. There are arguments about exploitation and the absence of ethical capitalism. However, whilst all of these arguments are interesting, do you want to argue about the injustice of a large corporation, or do you want book sales? There is likely a very strong ethical argument for eschewing Amazon but it’s not an argument that is going to get your writing into the hands of readers. As I mentioned before: simply ask yourself which course of action is going to get you the most sales – is it complaining about Amazon, or using their market dominance to your advantage?
Use KDP Select if it’s appropriate for your title. Use an Amazon Book Widget if you can. Make sure you have updated your Amazon Author Page. These features on Amazon are there to help you become noticed in the ever-growing ocean of competitors.
It might sound mercenary, and it’s almost certainly going to take you away from the important work of your writing, but marketing and publicity remain an essential part of the modern writer’s workload. Remember: if we don’t do everything we can to get readers, we’re cheating a large portion of our potential readers from experiencing the genius of what we’ve written – and that would be unforgivable.