I’m only covering the letter T today, because I found that I almost wrote a novella about how to use Twitter! (see below). There are also a few other things beginning with T mentioned.
I have found Twitter to be an invaluable resource for promoting my books. I know that some people hate it. I don’t claim to be an expert, but in the past couple of years I have built up just over 12,000 followers. I’m not sure if that’s a good number or not, but it seems like a decent amount to me. I haven’t bought any followers from anywhere either; these are just people who follow me and I follow most of them back.
I think Twitter works best when you follow a few rules:
1. Always follow people back when they follow you (unless they are spammers or some other kind of lunatic).
2. Thank people for RTs (re-Tweets) when you can, or alternatively you can RT something that they have Tweeted. RTs are always welcomed, as these help with promotion.
3. Interact with your followers. By this, I mean, if someone asks you something, you should respond to them (again, provided that they are not a spammer or a lunatic).
4. To build up your following to begin with you need to follow people. This may seem obvious to most people, but there seem to be those who think that people will just follow them. If you’re Lady Gaga, or someone like that, you would be right to think that you don’t really need to follow people to have them follow you; otherwise, I think you should make some effort, or you’ll be left with hardly any followers and Tweeting to yourself.
5. Use the hashtags. This does come with a warning though. For example there is #FF for Follow Friday, where you list people who you follow, that you would recommend to others. For writers there is #WW Writer Wednesday, where you recommend writers that you follow.
The WARNING is this: Twitter is on the lookout of for spammers. They seem to be unable to get rid of real spammers, (you know, the ones who send you DMs that say ‘have you seen this pic of you lol,’ or ‘someone is saying real bad things about you in this blog’ with a dodgy link), but Twitter does hone in on people who mention lots of other Twitter names in their tweets, or people who use the reply function often.
My account was recently suspended because I did a lot of #FF mentions on one particular day. I was informed that the reason my account was suspended was that I used the ‘mention’ and ‘reply’ functions too much. I did eventually manage to get my account back, but it was very annoying.
So, #FF and #WW are a good way to get more followers and to keep your followers, as long as you don’t overdo things. Try to vary your tweets on days when you’re doing these types of mentions so that your account won’t look like a spammer’s account.
6. Trending topics are a good way to get your account noticed. What I mean by this is that on the left hand side of the page you’ll see the list of popular topics on twitter i.e. those that lots of people are tweeting about. If you can join in with one of those topics, you should see that you gain a few more followers. For example, I recently joined in on one that was #SongsThatMakeMeCry and noticed that I got quite a few new followers on that day. Whether it was a coincidence or not, I can’t be sure.
7. If you have something that you want to promote on a particular day and need help with RTs, I find it is a good idea to RT other Twitter users on your Twitter feed randomly, i.e. those that you wouldn’t usually RT, and this will usually result in those people Tweeting something for you.
8. Something that is off-putting is where someone is always Tweeting about their own stuff and not about anything else. Unless you are very famous, this tactic will not work, and will result in you losing followers.
9. You can use justunfollow.com to find out who unfollowed you, and who is not following you back. This enables you to unfollow them. A word of warning here though. Twitter also doesn’t like people who follow a lot of people on one particular day, or unfollow a lot of people on one day as this could be seen as the action of a bot. Be careful, and try to limit the following and unfollowing, and spread it out a bit.
10. You can use Hootsuite.com to schedule Tweets to go out from your Twitter account at times when you won’t be able to Tweet e.g. when you are sleeping or working. There is a free version which I use sometimes, and find it particularly useful when I have a special promotion going on so that I can reach all time zones. There’s also a version you can pay for that does other things, like clean your house for you (just checking that you are still concentrating!). No, actually, I don’t know what the paid-for version does, but it probably allows you to schedule more Tweets in advance and other such stuff. You can find out on the website.
11. There are ways of getting more followers by joining certain groups. For example, there are groups here on Goodreads where you can list your Twitter name and others will follow you back. I have also joined the World Literary Cafe’s Twitter Follows group. Here’s a link where you can leave your Twitter name to be followed by others, and you then follow them back:http://www.worldliterarycafe.com/cont…
12. The aim on Twitter is build up a following so that when you Tweet about your work it will reach a wider audience. Where you RT other people’s Tweets they are more likely to Tweet yours, so you reach an even wider audience each time you tweet.
13. Tweet about things you enjoy and you will find like-minded people to connect with, which makes the whole Twitter experience all that more interesting.
14. There are daily or weekly papers that you can set up to automatically tweet from your Twitter account, where you help promote other Twitter accounts. This will result in more RTs for your own work, and it helps to keep your account active when you’re away from the Internet for a while because the paper will Tweet from your account daily or weekly, depending on your settings. Go here, and log in with your Twitter account to set up your paper: https://paper.li/ – It only takes a few minutes and it will post the paper to your account automatically (as long as you request that in the settings), so once you’ve set it up, you don’t need to do anything else to maintain it.
15. BookBuzzr on Freado.com allows you to set up tweets that link to samples of your writing. These will be tweeted daily or weekly, depending on your preference.
16. A hashtag that is useful for writers for promotion is #SampleSunday, where each Sunday you can provide a link to a sample chapter of your work. Other authors who take part in this will RT that for you.
If anyone else has any Twitter tips, please feel free to list them in the comments section below.
I am quickly mentioning this only because I know that some of my indie author friends swear by it. I haven’t worked out how it works, but if you have time, it might be worth having a look into.http://triberr.com/
I have a Tumblr.com account but don’t use it often as there are just too many networking sites to keep up with. It is quite a popular site, though, and is another way you can spread the word about your work. You can also blog from that site. It’s similar to Twitter in that you follow other users and they follow you back, but there is not a restriction as to the amount of words you use. You can post videos and photos there too.
Time management is very important as a self-published author. When you self-publish, you do your own promotion, and most of your own editing, so this can lead to very little time to do much else, especially as most of us also have full time day jobs.
It’s important to make sure you have time for the things that are important in your writing life. I haven’t come across the secret formula for creating more time, but if somebody else does, please let me know.
Try to find a balance that works for you and find ways to organise your time so that you don’t work around the clock and burn out.
I would suggest finding one or two networking sites that work for you and devoting the promotion time to those sites. Have a realistic schedule for your blog, maybe run a series, like this one that I am doing, so that you have something that people might want to keep up with and will follow the blog, so you don’t have to worry about losing followers if you’re away from the blog for a few days or weeks.
If you find that you don’t have enough time to write, think about what you could do less of to make more time. For example, I have had to cut down the amount of book reviews I do so that I can keep up with my own writing. Having said that, it’s important to keep reading other people’s work because the more you read the better your own writing will be. Reading is great for fuelling our imagination.
One way to make more time, is to use an editor for your novels, so that you spend less time having to read and re-read your own work.
It’s all trial and error, but find the balance that works for you, and concentrate your time there. It’s more productive to have one good blog where you can promote and keep your readers up to date, than to have multiple blogs and lessen the impact of those because you don’t have time to promote them.
Networking with other writers helps with time management because you can have a support network. Usually other authors will help to promote your books if you do the same for them; so at times when you’re not around on the Internet the chances are someone else will be tweeting something about your work.
Also, as mentioned above, apps like Hootsuite are great for helping with time management because you can schedule promotion for when you’re not around. WordPress blogs have a similar scheduling system, so you can set up posts days or weeks in advance.
I have to say, I find managing my time one of the most challenging things about being an indie author. If anyone else has any tips, please leave them in the comments section below.
Book Trailers. Just like Twitter (and Marmite) some people love them and some people hate them.
Personally, I think anything that can positively add to your book marketing campaign is a good thing. I like book trailers. I can’t say that I’ve ever bought a book because of a book trailer, but maybe I might have found out about a book because of a book trailer. So it all adds to promotion and exposure for your book.
I make my own book trailers, and you can find them on my YouTube channel:http://www.youtube.com/user/MariaSavv…
One of our Bestsellerbound.com members, Magnolia Belle, makes book trailers.
Here’s a promotional video for the book trailers she makes: http://youtu.be/RUGFeenMKcs
She made a couple of trailers for our Bestsellerbound Anthologies. Here’s a link to one of them:http://youtu.be/kIWsIIKyobI
I’ve recently found out about an innovative company, Red 14 Films, that makes cinematic book trailers. They believe that book trailers are a great marketing tool. Here’s a link to their website where you can view some of the trailers they have made: http://red14films.com/
Also, at the moment they’re running a contest where you can win a free 30 second cinematic book trailer. You just have to subscribe to their website to enter. There’ll be a raffle in March to choose the winner.
Targeting your readership
I think one of the most important things for any writer is to find a target readership and focus on promoting to that group. It’s harder for writers (like me) who write in many different genres, but if you only write in one genre, you can use this tactic effectively to find a following.
There are many different websites that promote one type of book; for example, some sites only promote romance, others are set up to promote science fiction, etc. You should use Google to find such websites and blogs and try to get your books listed.
I’m going to promote my crime fiction novel, Haunted, on a website this week Fantastic Books Publishing. They are doing a spotlight on Crime Fiction on the 28th February 2013, so it will be interesting to see what result that achieves in terms of book sales.
Targeting a specific audience does work. For example, I recently promoted my novel, Second Chances, on EReader News Today (ENT), in their ‘Bargain Books’ promotion. They have a huge following of readers who are looking for bargain e-books; so I lowered the price of the book to 99 cents and it was promoted on the site for a couple of days (ENT takes 25% of your total royalties for sales over the 2 day promotion). The result was 140 sales overnight, and another 50 sales since the promotion ended. Okay, the royalties on 99 cents (given that you only get 35% of that from Amazon) is not great, but the exposure is a good way to find a new readership. Here’s a link if any authors want to try it: http://ereadernewstoday.com/bargain-k…
Similarly, for a short term boost to sales, and to make your book more widely available to an audience who might not otherwise try it, the Amazon KDP Select free promotion days can be good.
I hope you’ll find these tips helpful!