Author Etiquette - Promotion and Author Responsibility

by Jennifer 26. February 2018 15:54

Many authors believe that their only input into the sales of stories or books is the words and editing that they provide. If you are in this category, I have news for you. If you want to be a successful author, there are many more responsibilities that you will need to take on before, during, and after a release. A successful writing career relies on more than one skill it relies of a varietysome of which authors find uncomfortable. One of which is PROMOTION.

 

For many authors, a few posts that point to the new book or story and maybe a comment or two are all the effort some think they need, but for a successful career, every author needs to get into the habit of promoting every story and book, long after the initial release date. No matter what kind of publication path you take.

 

The success of your writing career depends on visibility or at least the visibility of your work. A publisher might do a small publishing push—most of which last only 4-6 weeksbut it might not. If a release push doesn’t include things such as guest posts, interviews, push to book related groups, author spotlights and advertising your book isn’t getting the push it needs to be seen.

 

Your future will always lay in your own hands. Yes, a publisher or a publicist, can assist you in raising your visibility, but in the long run, a habit of self promotion and seeking out promotional venues is going to benefit you personally and professionally as an author.

 

The Facts

Unless you are a big name author who is going to be googled often, your success relies on repetition. Because there are so many authors and works coming out daily and weekly, unless you keep putting your name out there, you will be lost in the crowd and forgotten.

 

Case in point:

  • How many times have you seen a short story online (free to read) but didn’t have the time to devote to reading it.
  • Did you come back to it?
  • Do you remember the name of the story, or the author, or even the venue?
  • Have you seen that author promote that story anytime since?
  • How do you expect other readers to remember your work, when you can’t remember someone else’s?

 

A very basic rule of advertising is a consumer needs to see an advertisement 5-7 times before they will act upon it. If you post only a few times or have only a partially active social media presence, chances are you are going to miss most of your audience. The top reasons are:

  1. because of the infrequency of your post (algorithms are not your friend)
  2. because not everyone will be online to see your post
  3. many will not act on the first viewing

 

If you are not posting about your work, finding venues to promote your work, or actively discussing your work, you are missing out on viewers, who are potential fans who could help build your career.

 

Another thing to remember. Many publishers look at an author’s social media presence. They want authors who have already put in some work into establishing an online persona. Even if a book takes a year to go from contract acceptance to release, someone who has very little or no online presence is going to be fighting an uphill battle the entire way.

 

The good news is, even if you don’t have a lot of online presence, it’s fairly easy to start. And the sooner you do, the better.

 

Simple Rules for Good Promotion

Rule 1: be yourself.

For many authors this is a bit confusing, but what it means is really simple. Be who you are, enjoy what you like to enjoy, and share those things on your feeds. If something is important to you, it’s important to other people, and that includes your work. But don’t fall into the pit of sharing nothing but your work. Remember, people want well-rounded authors just like they want well-rounded characters.

 

Rule 2: follow the 20% rule.

Take a look at your social media feeds. If you are posting a “Buy Me NOW” post more than 20% (one post out of 5) of the time, you are doing promotion wrong. While individual stories might catch people’s eye, a feed full of ads is only an annoyance. Most viewers will simply block and never give you another thought. Post one piece of promotion then follow with four or more posts that do not have a buy link in it. Posts can be photos, memes, questions for your audience, discussion points, sharing other articles that you think might be of interest, or any other topic.

 

Rule 3: Don’t Stop

The reason many authors seem to fall off the radar is after a new release or a sale, they tend to disappear. A short spike in posts does not equate long term sales or exposure. Regular posting that includes a variety of topics will raise the frequency that you are seen, keep your name fresh in people’s minds, and will result in more views and sales. Try to make it a habit of posting something new once a day, and don’t worry if you sometimes forget. Just start up where you left off.

 

How to Build Good Promotion Habits

Now some authors are going to complain that all they want to do is write. Promotion is difficult, too time consuming, and a waste of valuable writing time, are all arguments that are tossed around. This is a very short-sighted approach and will ultimately hurt you in the long run. In order to fulfil your responsibilities to yourself, promotional habits need to be developed. Let’s look at some easy and quick ways to promote your work.

 

Make your work (and your website) easy to find.

You would be surprised how many author websites do not include a bibliography or have one that is sorely out of date. Unless you are unable to access your own site, there is no reason an author cannot update their works page. Simple copy/paste and links, help readers find your work. Do this every time you have a new release.

 

And another thing, do be sure to link your social media accounts TO your website. This way if someone stumbles across you on FB or Twitter and wants to read more of your work, they can easily find it.

 

Promotion in disguise.

Not all promotion is a request to buy your book. Some can be disguised as reviews, guest posts, and interviews. While these can be time consuming to gather at first, if you take one day a week or even a month, you can find a variety of places that will help you promote your work.

The best way to do this is to watch other author’s feeds for reviews. When you see one, click through, save the address in a folder, and then when you have time, go back and see if your work is eligible for a review. When a review, guest post, or interview comes up, be sure to repost and thank the host!

 

Another way to promote in disguise is to use memes. I’m sure you’ve seen images that say “How to Love an Author” or images with coffee cups and ink pens. Unless these are copyrighted to a specific author or company, save the image and re-use it later. If you post a meme of authors loving any kind of review, who knows, the reminder might just be for you!

 

Social Media Managers.

If you don’t think you have time to post regularly, invest in a social media manager. These programs connect your social media feeds into a simple, easy to access platform. Many of these programs are free, but these versions have limitations. A full version can be very cost effective for a few months especially if you are in the middle of a book launch.

 

One of the biggest advantage of social media managers is the ability to schedule posts. It is possible to schedule an entire month of promotion in just an hour once you learn the program. To expedite the process, have links to reviews, guest posts, and interviews handy (and pre-shortened), along with text, purchasing links and images. Vary the wording so that you aren’t repeating yourself too often. Once the promotion is scheduled, you do need to be sure that you are making other posts but the hardest part is over. (oh and save those posts on a sheet somewhere and use them again next month!)

 

In order to ensure you are successful as an author, you need to take responsibility for promotion. Even if a publisher does their own promotion, there is nothing wrong with you going the extra mile to ensure that your work is seen by as many viewers as possible. Even after the book or story is released, there is no need to stop promoting that work. Promotional habits are easy to start and even easier to keep going, you just have to get started.

 

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5/26/2018 11:41:27 AM #

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Author Etiquette - Active Versus Passive Marketing

Author Etiquette - Active Versus Passive Marketing

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