Reactive Versus Proactive
I’m not a USA Today or NYT Bestseller, hell I’m not even an Amazon bestseller, in fact, I struggle to sell one book per month. Yet, I spend time promoting myself, advertising on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and my blog, just to name a few. I have a handful of dedicated followers and fans, who will share, pimp and promote me as much as their busy lives will allow and I love every single one of them.
But, I see so many authors who complain that they don’t have time to promote themselves because they work full-time and have to take care of their children. I sympathise wholeheartedly, but when you’re an author and you want to sell books and have dreams of becoming successful and by successful, I mean, being able to quit your day job and making writing your full-time work, then you have to put the hours in. Don’t publish a book, sit back on your laurels and expect it to sell without pushing it out there into the big wide world.
I see the same with authors moaning because they don’t have many reviews. Again, you have to put the hours in. My advice to you is, make time to contact blogs and ask them if they would like a free copy of your book in exchange for a review. I personally have been turned away by the majority, but I’ve also been lucky enough to hit them at the right time, and that’s when they’ve got a gap in reviewing requests. My advice is, contact blogs, but make a note of who you’ve contacted and if they say ‘no’ in the first instance, then contact them about three months later and ask again, as most will say ‘ask us again when we’re not so busy’, to which I reply, ‘I will do that, thank you’.
Rule number one when contacting blogs is to make sure you’re polite and courteous, always, always show respect to those who are doing YOU a favour. Try to get on first name terms and strike up a conversation that will get them talking about your book, mentioning the genre. If it’s a funny book, say to them ‘do you fancy a giggle’? If it’s a sexy book, say to them ‘do you fancy a read that will get you hot under the collar’? And so on.
Remember, manners cost nothing and you will go far if you use them in your correspondence.
If a blog refuses to review your book, kindly ask them if they will promote you instead. If they say yes, send them as much info about your book as you can. Cover, teasers, buy links etc.
Ask them if they would mind being added to your master list, which means you will contact them in the future for cover reveals, new releases and sale/free promotions. If they can’t review your book, at least you’ve gained a new friend who will happily share your work with their followers and that’s worth its weight in gold.
Granted, all of this takes time, but if you’re passionate about what you do, then throw yourself into communicating with potential new readers. I’ve lost count of the nights (mainly at weekends) where I’ve taken my laptop to bed, while the other half snores away, I’ve been busy private messaging blog pages on Facebook or emailing them until 2am. Yes, you will be refused, yes, most will say they’re too busy, but if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
Instead of moaning on Facebook that you don’t have many sales or reviews, use that time to be more proactive. Don’t type out a long winded ‘woe is me’ post, contact a blog instead, strike up a conversation, ask them what kind of books they like to read, ask them where they’re based, ask them if your books interest them.
I’m a blogger too, so seeing the book world from both sides is invaluable. I share promotional material for authors everyday and I spend time reading and reviewing their work and I have to say that it grates on my last fucking nerve when authors and PA’s to those authors are rude and look upon you as if it’s you doing them the favour. NO! Stop!
This last piece of advice may just strike a chord with many authors.
If you’re a female writer: Next time the hubby is watching football or any other sport that bores you to tears, grab the laptop, and set about promoting yourself as I’ve mentioned above.
If you’re a male writer: Next time the wife is watching reality TV or any other programme that drives you despair, grab the laptop and set about promoting yourself too.
Even if you only contact one or two at a time, at least you’ve strived to be a little more productive with your writing career.
I wish you lots of luck and I hope that you’ve learned a little and most importantly, I hope you take some of this and put it into practise.