As a reviewer, I have a lot of contact with authors. And they all want to sell their books. Obviously, when I review a book, I get it for free, which is part of the reason I started reviewing in the first place. But I do buy books from time to time, and now that I have a Kindle, I’m more likely to buy ebooks (as long as I keep winning Amazon gift cards). So how do I decide which books to buy?
I’ve seen articles written by authors, for authors with loads of great information. Now I’ll tell you what snags this reader. I’m nothing special, so if this works for me, it’s likely to work for others as well.
DON’T make all your content on social networks ads for your book. Put the link to your website or your Amazon author page in your profile. Then post links occasionally. If you’re not going to post anything else, then just posting once is sufficient. Why? What about the people who weren’t following when you posted the first ad/link? It may seem that advertising your book every few days would be fine. And it is, if you’re posting other content. Everything you post remains on your profile page. So, maybe your current followers don’t realize that you only post ads (not likely, but let’s assume); anytime a new or potential follower goes to your page, all they will see is a full page of ads. (This seems to be a bigger issue on Twitter than on Facebook.) Personally, I don’t follow those people unless we’re both part of a network in which I’ve committed to follow the authors.
DO let your potential readers get to know you. Post real content on your Facebook fan page and Twitter. If you’re not sure what kinds of things to say, lurk for a while. Become a fan of other authors’ fan pages. Follow other authors on Twitter. See what they’re saying. Then when you’re ready, engage with your followers, and those you’re following. I’ve bought books from several authors that I’ve met on Twitter because we’ve had fun conversations.
DO try giving away a free book or short story. Whether it’s on Amazon, Smashwords, or your website, it gives readers a way to see if they like your writing style. I’m more cautious about buying an ebook than a physical book, because I can’t give away or sell an ebook if I don’t like it. So I want to know what I’m getting. I recently downloaded a free book from Amazon and even though it wasn’t my usual kind of book and wasn’t something I would ever have paid for, I couldn’t put it down and had to know how it ended. It was also the first in a trilogy, so I went straight to Amazon and bought the other two books. Which leads to the next item.
DON’T make your free book a novel in a series unless it’s the first book. Don’t drop me into the middle of a series. A short story within a series usually works well, but lately I’ve seen several novels listed for free. One was the 12th in a series. That’s a fabulous gift from an author to his fans, but not a good way to grab new readers.
DON’T treat social networks as your personal marketing channel. I don’t mean not to use them them for marketing; I use Facebook and Twitter to market my blogs. I’ll use Google+ if I can ever figure it out. But I also use networks to meet people, share information, and occasionally have silly conversations. Everyone else is there for the same reason. They’re called SOCIAL networks for a reason. Followers are not there for you to fling ads at every hour.
DO treat others with respect. You certainly don’t have to agree with everyone, but don’t be rude. That’s a quick way to lose followers (and your potential buyers).
I hope this list helps you to get an idea of what the reader wants. Kind of like your own personal focus group. Good luck!