I know that publicity is a hot topic for writers, since so many of us understand the writing thing, but the marketing thing…well, that’s a complete mystery for most of us newbies. Keep in mind, I’m not claiming to have any sacred knowledge myself – I still have the occasional day where I feel like marketing is a soda machine that won’t return my money or give me a drink, leaving me to beat on its metaphorical side in desperation to get the damned thing to work. I suspect a lot of us feel this way at times, and I know yesterday it had me a bit down. Well, until I got the box of books!
Today I feel like I see a light at the end of the tunnel, having sold out that initial shipment and received a hero’s welcome at my place of employment. So I guess it’s not all gloom and futility. With that in mind, I feel I can offer something of a scorecard of my efforts thus far, looking at how they’ve panned out.
Twitter/Triberr – B – I think I should talk about my use first. I started my Twitter account back in 2008 as a personal account, then transformed it early in 2010, dropping a lot of folks that I once followed and trying to re-gear it toward writing, publishing, and art in general. That process took a good four to five months before I started getting more reliable recommendations. I also joined Triberr in September as a means to expand my reach to other authors and share my bandwidth with those authors.
A good portion of my hits come from Twitter and/or Triberr, and I have met some truly amazing people, especially by joining a few select tribes on Triberr. Aside from making friends that may well be long-lasting, I’ve seen measurable swings in hits and purchases from my efforts. I think it’s worth being in any author’s toolbox, but shouldn’t be the only item in there.
Website/Blog – A – Well, duh. This has easily been the most useful part of marketing. Even my twitter links lead here, and this is the clearinghouse for announcements, thoughts, education efforts, and other various attempts at relevance. I’m still not quite satisfied with my number of readers, but the regular readers, a subset of some of those Twitter folks along with folks from other venues, are amazing, and I’d like to figure out new ways to include them in the discussion.
Facebook Page – D – I set up a Facebook Fan Page over the Summer, linking it with my personal account and this site. Unfortunately, so far its only real use has been conversing with people that I already knew. My personal account has been useful for contacting family, friends, and coworkers, but that’s a way more limited scope than I would like. For this reason, I’ve cut way back on my usage.
Goodreads – N/A – This doesn’t fit into the “future” category because I already have something of a Goodreads presence. I have a feeling it could be the next great source of getting readers, but I haven’t really taken the time to set things up and participate as much as I know I should. It’s just that I’m already limited in the amount of time that I can devote to marketing, and need to be very choosy. I will, however, be expanding here in a big way in the next month or so.
Giveaways/Contests – A+ – It’s really insane how well this worked. You can check out Shannon Mayer’s post about the results of our four authors, four books promo that I shared here (hint: I may have come in third there). We’re looking to do another in the Spring, when Room 3 will be fresh and ready to go, so hopefully it will do even better. Last week’s giveaway was also a big success. So I see more of these in my future.
In Person/Appearances – A – The second-most-effective approach. Perhaps it’s my effervescent personality?? I don’t know, but so far almost every time I’ve spoken about my work directly with someone, I’ve managed to make a sale, whether it’s a print copy or convincing someone to pick up a Kindle edition. I’ve honestly started to re-evaluate how I’ll approach sales in the future using this model. Whether it means that I need to put in more appearances or take a more direct, to-the-person model on social media…I still haven’t decided. Perhaps a combination.
As to the future…
I’m eyeing LinkedIn and Library Thing at the moment. I’ve heard good things about building networks on LinkedIn and have meant to do so forever, I’ve just run into the same problem that I’ve encountered with Goodreads. Library Thing is more akin to Goodreads, so I think I need to at least establish some sort of authorial presence there.
Does anyone have experience with these? Any thoughts on LinkedIn network building? Am I missing out on any other venues that might be helpful? I’d love to hear your thoughts.