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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am posing this question to all successful Indie authors.  What is the proper way to promote your books without spamming or turning off your market: potential readers? 

I have been reading on Kindleboard forums and Facebook groups how readers feel that authors are bombarding them with sales pitches and causing them to unfriend authors or tune them out completely.  For newbie authors, how should they do promotion so as not to alienate their audience and create a bad taste in the mouths of readers toward Indie authors?

I think everyone can learn from any responses posted here.

Katrina
 

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1. Remember the 80/20 rule. 80% of your posts shouldn't be about your book.

2. Only post about your book in designated places. Follow all rules posted. Check out the rules and guidelines before you jump in and promote.

3. For places with no guidelines, try limiting your promotional posts to once a week. And still, remember your 80/20 rule. Don't spam and leave. Get to know the community of people by chatting with them.

4. Utilize blog reviewers.

5. Network with other authors. Chat with them, get to know them and find other authors with books similar to your own. Maybe trade blurbs with them at the back of their books.

6. Buy other indie books you're interested in. If you liked it, post about it and let people know. (After all, you'd love that kind of publicity, right?)

7. Be nice. Seriously, don't get into petty arguments.

That's all I got right now...but I'm sure there's more. :D

Vicki
 

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Victorine said:
1. Remember the 80/20 rule. 80% of your posts shouldn't be about your book.

2. Only post about your book in designated places. Follow all rules posted. Check out the rules and guidelines before you jump in and promote.

3. For places with no guidelines, try limiting your promotional posts to once a week. And still, remember your 80/20 rule. Don't spam and leave. Get to know the community of people by chatting with them.

4. Utilize blog reviewers.

5. Network with other authors. Chat with them, get to know them and find other authors with books similar to your own. Maybe trade blurbs with them at the back of their books.

6. Buy other indie books you're interested in. If you liked it, post about it and let people know. (After all, you'd love that kind of publicity, right?)

7. Be nice. Seriously, don't get into petty arguments.

That's all I got right now...but I'm sure there's more. :D

Vicki
Great advice, Vicki

Especially #7. When you offer advice, and another comes in, quotes you, and says you don't know what you're talking about (despite have read and wrote in that genre for 35 years) it can be hard. LOL But if we get into pissy fights online, it just makes both posters/writers look bad.
 

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TWGallier said:
Great advice, Vicki

Especially #7. When you offer advice, and another comes in, quotes you, and says you don't know what you're talking about (despite have read and wrote in that genre for 35 years) it can be hard. LOL But if we get into pissy fights online, it just makes both posters/writers look bad.
Yep. And you'd be surprised how many agents/editors google before approaching an indie author. You never know who is reading your posts. :) Be professional at all times is a good motto.

Vicki
 

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What Victorine said . . . and even more, social networking should be about the 'social'.  It takes time to get to know people virtually and that means socializing for its own sake, not because you want to sell your book.  

You can also do things like offer to trade blog posts or review books for people you've gotten to know.  It's not something you can do for a month and then stop.  It's not about 'promotion' at all.  It's about making friends and becoming part of a community of readers and writers.

Just my 2 cents ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
T.W. and Sarah, I wholeheartedly agree.  Being negative can come back to haunt you.  I have googled myself and found info I had posted over 15 years ago.  Forgot it was "out there."  You must be careful about what you say and be professional at all times because you don't know who is reading it--I agree Victorine. 

Katrina
 

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Victorine said:
1. Remember the 80/20 rule. 80% of your posts shouldn't be about your book.

2. Only post about your book in designated places. Follow all rules posted. Check out the rules and guidelines before you jump in and promote.

3. For places with no guidelines, try limiting your promotional posts to once a week. And still, remember your 80/20 rule. Don't spam and leave. Get to know the community of people by chatting with them.

4. Utilize blog reviewers.

5. Network with other authors. Chat with them, get to know them and find other authors with books similar to your own. Maybe trade blurbs with them at the back of their books.

6. Buy other indie books you're interested in. If you liked it, post about it and let people know. (After all, you'd love that kind of publicity, right?)

7. Be nice. Seriously, don't get into petty arguments.

That's all I got right now...but I'm sure there's more. :D

Vicki
Sound advice.

On the promotion side, try to do as many blog interviews as you can. Also it pays to subscribe to other blogs you are interested and to post comments that are nothing to do with promoting your book as It all helps in networking. The trick is to do a little promoting in all areas to cover your bases. I avoid dedicated readers forums like the plague and don't spam on facebook and twitter. I simply post articles on my blog and twitter and facebook them using # tags. If anyone is interested, they will visit the blog of their own free will. Your own blog is the best form of promotion. I have only written about 30 articles, but the headings listed on Google bring a steady stream of visitors. If when they look around they buy my book then great, if not no problem. It's all a numbers game after the quality of the product is sorted out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Decon, great advice.  My Wordpress blog and Goodreads allow me with just one click to send an update to Facebook.  That is a great way to inform readers of new info on my blog.  And if they are interested, they will click through to my blog.

Katrina
 
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I probably don't count as successful compared to some of the folks here, but, hey, I'm making a decent part-time income, so I can't complain thus far.

I've worked more on building up a blog and guest posting (with links to my blogs and my books) than promoting heavily on social networks (I'm active on Twitter, and I know a lot of cool "tweeps" have purchased my ebooks, but I also know it's because I've chatted with them, or they've read my blog, not because I've posted promo tweets). I published a free ebook (short story), too, and got a lot of sales from B&N and Smashwords that way (had trouble when I tried to get it listed for free on Amazon but I may try with a different one some day). I've also advertised on Goodreads with decent results. If I ever get around to publishing print versions, I'll do a giveaway there. I have a podiobooks version of my first novel in the works and will distribute that for free via iTunes/Podiobooks.

stepartdesigns said:
T.W. and Sarah, I wholeheartedly agree. Being negative can come back to haunt you. I have googled myself and found info I had posted over 15 years ago. Forgot it was "out there." You must be careful about what you say and be professional at all times because you don't know who is reading it--I agree Victorine.

Katrina
When I Googled myself, I found my old swim team records from when I was a kid (pre-internet). Amazing what gets put online. :p
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Great promo ideas. I have a Twitter account, but haven't jumped on that bandwagon yet. With all of the other social networks I participate it, it seems I am running out of time in the day to start another one. I may one day soon.

When I Googled myself, I found my old swim team records from when I was a kid (pre-internet). Amazing what gets put online. :p
[/quote]

It's scary what you can find on the Internet sometimes.

Katrina
 

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I follow the attitude of Good Will. If you conduct your affairs in a spirit of good will, people won't be irked by your activities. The 80/20 rule is a good rule of thumb that I think flows from that idea. I promote my work by promoting the work of others. A lot of people do this and they're being rewarded. J.A. Konrath's blog, for instance, has done a lot for indie authors, while helping him move his own books too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Bryan, so true.  The Pay It Forward mantra is something that all authors can benefit from.  It's amazing how doing something out of the kindness of your heart can bring many rewards.

Katrina
 

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I decided in the past few days to get more serious about my prommotional effort in the past week (like all of us don't already have enough to do) and sort of created my own rules such as:

Manage my social networks from one location such as hootsuite or tweetdeck so that it doesn't get overwhelming.

I allow myself to mention that I'm a writer, I am an author, or that I wrote a book if it fits in with the conversation, BUT I don't mention the title most times and NEVER post a link when conversing unless asked to.  (i.e. Someone asking what everyone is doing today.  My response is editing my book and then breaking for a nice dinner with the family.)

In previous weeks, I was guilty of constant promotion and when I read back over all my posts, I was like who cares?  It just seemed boring.  So I'm going to try to post only once a day to my FB page with something book related if there is no big news, then everything else is going to be part of the conversation.  Now my personal FB, these are friends and family and by some unwritten law they have to put up with me telling them over and over about my book.  If they can share their political ideas, family photos, and so on, I can brag that I wrote a book.

 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I allow myself to mention that I'm a writer, I am an author, or that I wrote a book if it fits in with the conversation, BUT I don't mention the title most times and NEVER post a link when conversing unless asked to.  (i.e. Someone asking what everyone is doing today.  My response is editing my book and then breaking for a nice dinner with the family.)

That method works for me also.  When I mention that I am working on a short story, I usually get someone who asks about it.  That opens the door for me to go into further detail without feeling like I am spamming.

Katrina
 

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Readers want to be treated like people worth knowing -- whether or not they buy your book. They don't want to be treated like walking dollar signs. They don't want every post to be another excuse for you to mention your book, forcing the title into every discussion. They want to get to know you beyond the writing thing, even though that's a part of who you are. You're (hopefully) a reader too, and this is something you have in common with them and that's another way to interact. Just through the act of mingling, sincerely mingling, your books will sell.

When in author mode, post to the appropriate boards. When you want to complain about a 3 star review with complimentary comments and act as if your world is falling apart, don't. When you want to complain about a 1 or 2 star review, don't. If you do complain, don't then post that you don't understand why your reviews have dried up. Readers do come to the Writer's Cafe and it's not good to plant it in their heads that you are hovering around your reviews, judging them, and are then going to start a thread about it. In short, never put out there, even inadvertently, that readers should pay their money, read your books, and then shut up about it -- unless they loved it.

(That's not to say bad reviews shouldn't bum you out, but that's another topic.)

Oh, try to spell reasonably well, even on the boards.  :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
True MichelleR.  One good thing about reviews is the fact that a reader took the time to read the book and post a review. Many times that doesn't happen.  Thank them for the review, even if the review wasn't to your liking and then cry about it in silence.  Again the words you post on the Internet can sometimes come back to bite you in the butt.

Katrina
 

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stepartdesigns said:
True MichelleR. One good thing about reviews is the fact that a reader took the time to read the book and post a review. Many times that doesn't happen. Thank them for the review, even if the review wasn't to your liking and then cry about it in silence. Again the words you post on the Internet can sometimes come back to bite you in the butt.

Katrina
Unless you solicited the review, you don't even have to thank them. The review, while it might benefit you, wasn't written for you. :)
 

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I'm having a hard time talking about promotion (other than "don't") because I really don't see anything that I'm doing that I'd count as promotion.

I've done a lot of podcast interviews and a few blog interviews. I don't do blog tours altho I've been known to do a guest post when asked. I don't send out review copies to book bloggers (altho I think Robin does that for me as part of the Ridan contribution to promotion.) I don't - as a rule - tweet about my books or post my sales on Facebook (I broke that rule when I was number #1 on the Books > Sci Fi list after only 3 days. THAT seemed pretty crow worthy).

What I do is answer reader/listener comments, work on the next piece, and try to keep my audience informed about where I'll be, what I'm working on, and how it's going. The biggie right now is demand for the signed/numbered limited edition hardcovers that are lagging behind -- along with answering the "I don't have a kindle! Where's your book?!" queries.

I'm able to do this, I think, because I grew the audience from the podiobooks and I'm able to let the fans spread the word without having to stand at the podium myself. My blog gets enough traffic that I'm able to give a bump to people who have related works but who aren't already in my echo-chamber. I have enough true fans that a single tweet or facebook post gets carried a long way.

Basically, I'm taking advantage of the platform that I built over three years and that's working for me. When trying to think about how to deal with that idea now, I'd fall back to what I've done and do it again. Getting other people to talk about you is much more effective than talking about yourself.

My friend and mentor, Evo Terra, once quoted (or paraphrased) Ben Franklin: "If you want to be remarkable, do something worth remarking on."

That still works. The trick is finding that thing you can do that others will find and remark on.

 

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GoblinWriter said:
... I have a podiobooks version of my first novel in the works and will distribute that for free via iTunes/Podiobooks.
I talked to Nick and Chris about this and they're so stoked up. You've got Starla Hutchton doing your reading, too, and that's going to be killer!

Congrats and I'm really looking forward to this one.
 
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