marketingballFree Call for Self-Publishing Success Academy has some pretty valuable information on what direction authors should take in trying to publicize their books. Social media is still a tool for exposure, but it shouldn’t be the primary focus anymore. With the social media companies now public, they have to answer to share holders. This means, an author either has to pay or have a substantial following to get noticed. For example, Facebook will only show 3 to 7 percent of posts for a page with less than a 1,000 likes.

Even if that “restriction” wasn’t in place, there is still a lot of noise to fight through on Twitter and Facebook. There have been days where I go to either site and think “What’s the use?” when I see everyone else posting links that promote their books or their FB page. Sure, I’ve gotten likes on my page, but I still have no reviews based on what I’m doing by straight advertising. Besides, there is a tipping when advertising becomes annoying.

Things to Try

Book promotion is about building a community around the book. Effective marketing has a high return on investment. Sharing excerpts, holding contests, and giving away freebies is the short-term and, low ROI way of book marketing because of the time, effort,  costs, and limited amount of material involved.  Showing others the person behind the book and their knowledge and experience creates a longer lasting and more dynamic experience. Once the expertise is bought into, then the sales will come. Here’s a few things to try:

  • Go after other exposure opportunities like guest blogging or  being a guest on podcasts – Be sure to read the requirements to make sure that they can all be met.
  • Find book review sites and ask for reviews – Not only look at their guidelines for what they’ll accept, but be comfortable with their rating system. Better to walk away before than deal with a review that doesn’t work afterwards.
  • Create or curate new content for established platforms (website, blog, Twitter feed, FB page, etc.) to keep up both search engine and human interest – Sites that look dated because of their design, broken links or functionality, lack of new content, or dates more than 6 months old scream that the responsible person doesn’t care.
  • Post comments and create new, relevant topics on communities, groups, and blogs –When commenting remember that few or no links are better, keep the response relevant to the topic, and follow the instructions, if they are any. Doing anything else will show the true sales nature and intent behind the posting.
  • Find those not so obvious connections by looking at the resources used by the sites that are being researched for promotion potential – While liking an author podcast page on Facebook, I found out the platform they use for their podcasts and discovered a few other podcast sites that are relevant to writing.
  • Find out what works and what doesn’t by looking at what other authors are doing and how the search engines are reacting to it – Unless a direct solicitation is made via email, regular snail mail, advertisements, or other means, search engines pretty much drive people to websites.  In searching for guest blogging sites, I found that Google, at one point, did have a problem with guest blogging. This detailed and lengthy article that explains what is going on. Basically, guest blogging became a fad for Search Engine Optimization purposes because it allowed people to post a ton of links back to their sites. Google started seeing these attempts as spam, sort of like key word stuffing that some sites do to rank better, so they cracked down upon it. With guest positing shifting more toward valuable content and exposure for the author, instead of the focus on links, it has become acceptable again.

Useful links

  • Help a Reporter Out –  Sign up for a newsletter and receive 3 of them a day. Each contains links for various news sources needing information from experts. The key here is not to spam the reporters with irrelevant pitches.
  • Radio Guest List – This one is mentioned by name in the interview. The site lists guest opportunities for radio. Email sign up is available.
  • Blog Talk Radio – A list of podcasts.  Look at all the links associated with any of the podcasts to make sure that they are still around and relevant.
  • Indie Book Reviewer – List sites offering book reviews by category
  • The Indie Reviewers List – List of book reviewers with where they post and what they are looking for.
  • The Ultimate List of Blogs That Accept Guest Posts – Listed by category with various page ranks to see how big their audience is.
  • List of Guest Blogging Sites – Listed by category. Most have no description.

Each book and author requires a different marketing plan because each pairing is different. If everyone did the same thing, it would just become noise very quickly. Share any ideas or websites that might help anyone seeking publicity in the comments.