I’ve been bullied and cajoled into doing something I should have done ages ago, but didn’t. It’s a long haul, but a necessary one and I will be glad when it’s finished. Glad, and hopeful that it might pay dividends.
As a self published author, the internet is our shop front. We are our own brand and unless you are fortunate enough to be as rich as Croesus, you must do the work of marketing yourself and your product on your own. It’s a slog, but if you do it right, you will have a wider online presence that will be less work to maintain than it is to build.
I have always been honest about my lack of ability to market myself. I suck at it and probably always will, but even I can do a few easy things that give me a better presence online, and create a greater opportunity for readers to stumble across me and my work as they surf. These can be broken down into a few basics.
Spread your net wide, update regularly, and bait that hook well.
There are many places on the internet where you can have a permanent presence, for free, and showcase your work. They may not lead directly to sales, but if you’re not there, the people that are there can’t see you or your work, can they? Take advantage of these sites, make your profile and put your books up there so anyone surfing over there can stumble across you. Places like Author’s Den for instance are free to join, you can have your own bio page and all of your books showing, and all for nothing. People might say that such places aren’t worth the effort, but if just one person see’s your profile there and decides to take a chance on one of your books, it’s worth it. And what if that one person happens to be a major Hollywood director? Ask around, google for ‘free online promotion sites’ and see what comes up. Take the time, it could bring you that chance you’ve dreamed of.
Once you’ve spread yourself around the internet, it’s important to keep the information updated regularly. Bookmark all of the places where you have a presence, and visit them regularly to make sure all the information is up to date. If you decide to update your bio for instance, or your book blurb, go around your sites and update it everywhere, it only takes a few minutes to copy and paste.
Of course, all this should be done after you’ve made sure your bio, blurbs, covers etc are the best they can be. If you find blurbs troublesome, ask a friend to help, go to the pages of similar books on Amazon and read their blurbs to inspire your own. Try to make them inviting, even a little mysterious. They should make a reader want to find out more, not tell them everything right away. Re do your personal bio, or get a friend to help. I find my own bio difficult, but you can send a list of questions to some trusted friends and ask them to take a minute to answer them. Ask them how they would sum you up in less than six words, what do they feel your strengths are, what is funny about you, what do they feel is unique about you? Their answers will help you understand how others see you, and you should be able to update your bio from that without it sounding too cheesy.
I’m in the middle of all this stuff at the moment, and although it’s work each day, it won’t go on forever. Once I finish putting all of my books onto these sites, it will be there forever. It’s just because I have eight books to do that’s making it take a while. Places like Author’s Den and Kindleboards have quite a process to go through to get your book up and looking proper, so I’m doing them one a day to spread the load. Even if it doesn’t lead to sales immediately, I will have a bigger internet presence, and as a brand with a product to sell, all free exposure is good exposure.
Another thing I’m making the effort to change, is my approach with twitter. I’ve been doing content tweeting for a while now, and I’m getting a lot of retweets and favouritings from it, although mostly the non promo posts. What I didn’t realise until a friend pointed it out, was that my tweeting was too general, and maybe I should change it more towards my genre. Why the hell did that not occur to me? Duh! So, I’m in the process of finding another couple of hundred interesting sci fi friendly content tweets, so I can update my tweeting and hopefully attract sci fi loving folks to my door. By the way, if you happen to know of any sci fi type articles, videos and other interesting stuff, leave the link in the comments and if it fits what I want, I’ll add them to my content tweet list.
Blogging is something I’m working on, and I’ve made a vow to blog 3 times a week (at least). Increasing traffic here to the website is a big goal, and one of my main ones behind selling millions of books and having movies made of my books. Again, keep your website updated properly, with appropriate links to everywhere else you and your work can be found. This means of course that I will have to spend more time sitting on my already substantial rear end at the computer.