Keeping with the general theme of last week, I thought I’d give some specific examples of things I’ve done to promote my books that have worked for me. Your mileage may vary.
1. Guest blogs – not just any ‘ole blog, though. Be sure the blog has a lot of traffic and that it’s geared toward your genre. I just encountered a great blog with high traffic but didn’t ask to guest there. Why? They keep everything PG. My writing is definitely not PG. That’s not to say I couldn’t find anything PG to talk about, but are those readers really my core readers? I doubt it.
2. Hired a PR person – I work with Marissa Dobson from Sizzling PR but have done stuff with other companies too. Marissa helps schedule guest posts, book spotlights, reviews, or whatever else I want. I have her services on retainer, which is nice since it’s a set cost.
3. Optimized my website – I’m aware that there are nicer-looking, more aesthetically pleasing websites out there, but mine does do the job. Information is easy to find (so I’m told) and I update it AT LEAST once a week. Yes, I do my own updates. For now.
4. Blog on my own blog – Why, hello, all you people who are reading this! I get an average of 200 visits a day. Many are returning guests, true, but it’s impossible that all of them are. New potential readers!
5. Select advertisements – When my book, Impact, was named BDSM Book of the Month for May 2012 through BDSM Book Reviews, my prize (besides the publicity just from that win being announced) was a banner on their site for a month. At the same time, I bought a cover for my other BDSM book, Caught. Guess what? Sales of both books increased.
6. Put out more books – One of the best ways to ensure more sales of your books? Release more! It’s not a mystery why there’s a saying in publishing that “the frontlist feeds the backlist”. Every time you have a release, there will probably (as I said, your mileage may vary) be a bump in your other releases.
7. Became a “featured author” at a few sites – the one I do the most with is The Romance Studio, because after you’re a Featured Author there’s a ton you can do, AND they start offering you all these great deals, like buy 1, get 3 or 4 free ad packages. But there are tons of other places that offer subscriptions/featured author packages too.
8. Solicited reviews from review sites – I am a firm believer that reviews do help drive sales. Why? Let’s look at one anonymous review site I get a lot of reviews through. They have hundreds of blog followers and over a thousand followers on Twitter. They have nearly 200 friends on Facebook. So every review they do for me goes out to all those people/platforms multiple times. I average ten professional reviews per book.
9. Optimized Amazon – I get a good percentage of my third-party sales from Amazon. So I made an Amazon author page, linked my blog and Twitter to it, and fill out the “extras” available for every book I release. I also ask fans to “like” and “tag” the books. I specifically ask for Amazon reviews. The more traffic Amazon sees on your books, the higher they place them in the search rankings. And the more information readers see, including those extras and other readers’ reviews, the more likely they are to buy the book.
10. Do author chats/release parties/etc – These are anything from a chat on an author’s FB wall to a big release party like The Romance Studio does a few times a year for a week.
(Ed note…tired yet? Don’t despair!)
11. Learned about and exploit amplification on social media – I have 2600 or so Twitter followers, 630 friends on my personal page, and 450 likes on my fan page. That’s great, but the key is…all those people have connections to people I don’t. So if I can get them to endorse something of mine, whether it’s a Tweet (with an RT), a FB post (with a share), etc, my message is amplified.
I also belong to some groups on Facebook like Romance Novel Junkies. I post to one of these and then just share share share from there. Today, I asked OTHER PEOPLE to share a post about a lower price of my book. And guess what? They did!
12. Help other writers – again, hello to all you people reading this post! I know not all of you are writers, but I bet a good percentage of you are. And now hopefully you have a warm fuzzy about me. Remember that amplification thing I talked about above? If people like you, they’re much more likely to help you out with things like RTs and sharing. It goes both ways. I RT a lot of stuff. I don’t share as much because I try not to spend a ton of time on Facebook- it is a time suck if you’re not careful.
13. Thank people. I sometimes feel like I spend entire days thanking people for things, but you know what? I’m fine with that. People like to be thanked when they do something for you and they’ll remember that you cared enough to circle back to thank them for it.
That’s it! Well, not nearly it, but 13 things that work for me. I’m a lot of places and doing a lot of things, but I’m not a hard seller. I don’t need or want to be.
What works and doesn’t work for you?
For more information on me or my books, see my website at http://www.booksbycassandracarr.com.
To check out the other awesome authors who take part in Thursday Thirteen, see http://thursday-13.com.