Saturday, 16 May 2015
Negotiating the minefield: book promotion in the digital age by Jenny Harper
So it's there, it's dragging down my averages, and she hasn't even read it!
Well, that's the world we live in. Amazon sends automated emails to purchasers, whether they've bought a carrot slicer, a curtain or a book, asking if they'd like to review the product. Now, it takes a little longer to read a book than to use a carrot slicer or look at a curtain – especially if the purchaser has bought several books – but some people are just plain obliging, I guess.
I talked about the review to friends on various loops, and there was lots of sympathy. One or two told me I could write to Amazon and ask for it to be taken down. Others told me they'd had similar reviews – what to do? Ignore it? Shrug it off?
It started me thinking about the minefield we have to navigate as authors in the digital age. It doesn't really matter whether you have a publisher or are an indie, you will still need to be active on social media, and be savvy about how best to spend precious time on social media when (as I suspect) you'd rather be writing.
I'm very fortunate – I'm a member of a terrific group called eNovelAuthors at Work. It's a resource site for indie authors, and I was accepted into it when a) it was small and b) I was self published. When I landed a contract with Accent Press, I offered to withdraw from the group, but the lovely founder, Jackie Weger, has let me stay on. Even if you're trad published, though, I would urge you to take a look at the site. There's a great resource page and some excellent blogs. Here are links to one or two:
eNovel author resources
eBook promoters - the best and the worst
3 easy tasks you can do for author exposure
Just in these three pages there's a load of great information – because knowing how to work the system and milk social media is a minefield. eNovel authors pool their experience so that we can take advantage.
There are many other resources out there too, of course. Whether you're trad published or an indie, you'll need to have an Amazon author page that really works for you. Here's how: Your Amazon Profile
If you're thinking of putting your books on Facebook sites, how the heck can you work out the best ones to use? Apart from following suggestions in the eNov resources, here are marknpablos suggestions. And here's another blog, from the excellent Indies Unlimited, on how to make the most of your Facebook page. Just to back it up, try these 8 tips to outsmart Facebook.
Make your links look smart? Here's how.
If you're geeky, and like your decisions backed by research, here's a general article on the reading habits of today. And another useful article on bargain ebook buyers, this time by the god of indies, BookBub.
Talking of BookBub – they posted recently on whether FREE promos work – essential reading for doubters!
So what did I do about that review? One of my fellow eNovellers gave me what I thought was really sound advice – he pointed out it might be the best review I had. Why? Because people often look at the worst review first – and as it's clearly nothing to do with my writing, they would go on to look at the better/best reviews and hopefully buy the book. Good thinking.
There's a huge amount of information out there, and a thousand promo sites waiting to gobble your budget – but a ton of useful advice too.
I think that being an author in the digital age is very much a mixed blessing. Love it or loathe it – what's YOUR view?