Marketing: The Numbers, Social Media, and Mailing Lists

Okay. So. Marketing. Let’s get one thing straight.

I am not someone to come to for marketing advice. I am awful at marketing, largely because it makes me very uncomfortable. There’s plenty of places that will tell you that these people want your book and you are just helping them find it. 

See, I’ll walk into a store to look for pants, but I don’t want the sales associate to help me find them. Get me?

So yeah, marketing is not my strong suit. Still, I have to do some of it. You can come up with a much better plan than I have, though I can at least help to give you a starting point and tell you what’s worked for me without making me feel too terrible.

Okay? Okay. Let’s get into this.

The 10% Rule

Ten percent is not the firm number, mind you, but it’s a good general rule that I’ve found. One in ten people on average will take an action. One in ten people will click on a link to a book. One in ten of those people will check out the excerpt or summary. One in ten of those will actually purchase. One in ten of those will go to see a second book if a link is presented to them. And so on. 

As someone who wants to sell books, this means you want to get as many people as possible to land on your book page so that eventually you will hit enough people to result in a purchase. In many cases, this means spam, and this is why I am not good with marketing. 

Twitter, Facebook, and the rest

I have all of these things, but honestly do very little in the way of marketing through them. My Twitter sometimes has me talking about the projects I’m working on. Facebook is mostly an author page that has the blog cross-posted to it and the occasional book announcement. I have never been comfortable using these platforms for marketing, but I have them. Mostly because I did use them properly at some point.

And by properly, I mean I spammed the hell out of people. And it did get me sales, don’t get me wrong, but I also hated doing it. So now I use them like a normal person and occasionally tweet out something about a promo happening or post about an upcoming book. Most of anything that might be considered marketing happens on the blog.

Author Blog

This thing you’re reading! I read all the articles at one point about what to post and how often. You want to provide helpful-but-related materials to what you’re currently working on. Throw in a bonus scene! Do character interviews! Release a soundtrack! Do cover reveals and sneak peeks! That’s how you attract people who will read your work, by appealing to people who are already interested in your work.

This didn’t work for me. At all.

The posts that gained the most traction for me were the ones about writing and publishing. These were the ones that got interaction, shares, and feedback. And the reason for that is very obvious.

The Indie Author Problem

Look. I’m an indie author. I feel for them. I’ve read the same things they have, I’ve done some of the same things they’re doing, and I know that they are doing what’s been recommended. But I hate other indie authors on social media.

When you state you’re an indie author1 most of the people randomly following you are going to be other indie authors. And that sounds great, right? Nice support group? Nope.

About 90% of the folks who follow you are following you exclusively to get a follow back and so that they can then promote their books to you. Their feeds are all retweets of other people and advertisements of their books. The actual person is not there, it’s just an automated feed. Sometimes they will post something, but it will be something generic and non threatening, something that a bot could have come up with to try and make them seem like a real person. Something to maybe capitalize on a trend or hashtag.

The reason is simple enough. The theory is that enough eyes mean that eventually someone clicks. And if enough of those eventuallys happen, then someone will actually purchase their books. And honestly, it does work if you are persistent enough. But it makes your own social media unusable at a certain point.

If this is fine with you, go ahead. Just be warned. I opted to stop, though, and go back to being a person occasionally shouting into the void between drafts. 

Mailchimp

I do my mailing lists on Mailchimp and it’s been pretty painless, honestly. Once a month now, I send out a newsletter that includes whatever freebie giveaway I’m participating in at the moment, news about any book releases and upcoming events, and anything else that might be interesting. 

I get a lot more traction and action out of the mailing lists than anything else because most of the people who sign up for it are actual readers who want to know what’s coming next. Every place I have a sign up for my mailing list is optional so I hope that the only people who join it are actually interested. Which helps me feel like I’m not actually spamming all these folks.

I’m also planning to give out some extras, so if you wanted to join the mailing list, there’s a box over to the left there…

Well, it was worth a shot.

 

  1. Or put the keywords “novelist” or “writer” in the description []

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