What I’d like to know is not how to avoid critics, but how to get your book noticed in the first place. My book has great reviews (all handful of them) but Amazon makes it nearly impossible to find even when you key in the exact title of it. Unless you know the author and the book title, you are toast. I’ve tried advertising (on a small scale – I’m a writer, not a billionaire). I’ve tried having someone “promote” my book by placing posts on their book promo site with “thousands of followers.” And each day, new books are published and mine sinks down a bit in the Amazon ratings….You all know how much work, sweat, time, tears, effort, love goes into your work. How do you cope when almost no one notices? … How do you keep going when nothing seems to help? … I’m becoming discouraged even with the great reviews my book has gotten. Is it worth it to keep on keeping on?
To which our own Steve Hooley offered foundational advice: “Don’t give up, RLM. Remember PERSEVERANCE. This is a topic worthy of a future discussion.”
In this edition of the Reedsy marketing newsletter, we’re going to take an even closer look at — you guessed it — writing conferences. More specifically: how to make the most of them when attending. If you’re wondering which conferences (if any!) you should consider attending in the first place, it means you didn’t read my last newsletter! If that’s the case, you can find it here. Note: Unfortunately, due to issues related to my passport and the unreliable Spanish post, I won’t actually be able to attend SPS Live in London. However, there is one conference I’ll be attending that I forgot to mention: the Stockholm Writers Festival. It could be an excellent option for those living in Central Europe. Check it out here. Tip #1: Plan which sections to attendAlmost all writing conferences will share an agenda with attendees at least a few weeks before. I always like to have an in-depth look at it, and circle any talks, panels, or round tables of particular interest — and even add them to my personal calendar. This way, I can then “relax” during the conference itself and focus on the sessions and networking without having to worry about what the next panel is about, or if I’m missing anything important. Some conferences have several “tracks” with different sessions running at the same time, which means that you might find yourself in a position where you can’t attend two really interesting ones that run at the same time. In cases like this, it’s always good to find a “conference buddy” to share sessions with — each taking notes and then relaying the important information to the other. Some conferences also record sessions live, so you can access the replays later for the ones you missed. Tip #2: Find your peersAs writers, we can spend a lot of time sitting alone in front of our computer, typewriter, notebook, or what have you. And while we tend to have our social media friends, groups, and gatherings, nothing beats meeting other writers in person — especially if they write in the same genre as you. But how do you find those peers and approach them in the first place? Most conferences will have genre- or topic-specific events as part of the official or non-official schedule. The 20Books conferences, for example, generally have genre dinners/lunches/meetups open to anyone writing in that genre. These are a great way to meet like-minded authors and make friends in your genre. If you’re not aware of any such meetups, you can create them! Conferences will usually have a Facebook group or other forums for attendees to chat in. So what you can do is post something a few weeks before the conference asking: “Are any other cat cozy authors coming? If so, I’d love to meet up!” Chances are, you’ll get a bunch of answers and be able to organize your own meetup. The earlier you set it up, the earlier you’ll find your peers and be able to enjoy the rest of the conference in good company. Tip #3: Make the most of the barWant another uber-simple tip to make new connections? Just hang out at the bar. That’s how I originally met most of the people I know from conferences — and that’s usually where I have the most insightful or productive conversations. Bars — or lobbies, or coffee shops, but mostly bars, really — are places where people go to relax during a conference. As such, it’s much easier to strike up a conversation there, mingle, and get to know other people. Let’s say you absolutely want to talk to a particular speaker. What most people will do is try to intercept them after their talk, which leads to massive lines trapping the speaker inside the room when their talk is finished. That’s probably one of the worst moments to talk to someone, as they’ll be exhausted from their workshop, and eager to leave the room. What they might very much be up for, however, is getting a drink (or a coffee). You can offer to get them one, or just politely ask whether they’ll be at the bar (or in the lobby) later, so you can chat with them in a more relaxed setting. Tip #4: Define your post-conference prioritiesOne of the best after-effects of a conference is that you generally feel inspired to take on the world. This is good, because you’ll have probably learned a ton of new things — and added tons of new ideas to your to-do list. That wave of inspiration won’t last forever, though, so you need to ride it hard to implement as many ideas as possible in the first few weeks immediately after the conference. For that, it’s important that you come back organized, with a clear list of priorities. For example, you might come back from a conference thinking that you need to make an audiobook, hire someone to take care of your ads, create a different reader magnet, and get started on TikTok. On top of, you know, writing the next book. Obviously, you can’t do all of that at once. If you try, you’ll likely end up making small progress on all of them, but not fully realizing any of them. And you’ll go back to the same conference next year with the exact same to-do list… Instead, you should take a step back and ask yourself: which of these is going to have the biggest, most immediate impact on my author business? Start with that, focus all your energy on it to get it done as soon as possible, and then move on to the others. Prioritizing your post-conference tasks is a simple mental exercise that doesn’t take long. It’s something you can do on the flight (or ride) back, or once you’re sitting back at your usual desk. That’s it for this week’s tips! Next week, I’ll start sharing some of the insights I gleaned from the last conference I could attend: 20Books Madrid. Until then, happy writing, and happy marketing!Ricardo
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Hi –You don’t have to be on TikTok in order to learn some important social media lessons. TikTok has made a massive impact on the world of social media – and nearly every outlet has tried to mimic TikTok’s features. So as authors, what can we learn from from TikTok?In this episode of the Book Marketing Simplified podcast, Jenn and Marcus discuss what TikTok is doing really well and how we can apply it to our marketing strategies.
The days run away like wild horses over the hill. We are approaching the midway point of the year, which triggers similar emotions in me as New Year’s Eve: confusion, regret, and my favorite emotion of all, hunger.
It’s a good time of year to take stock, resolve to do better, and so forth. With that in mind, I thought it would be the right time to survey the authorial landscape and make a series of gimlet-eyed pronouncements, perhaps with a bombastic title like…
How To Sell Books in 2022
Every genre is different, every author is different, hell, sometimes every book is different too. The road to hell might be paved with generic advice, but what are the things we all wrestle with if we want to sell books?
Fundamentally, we need to have three things in some kind of shape to make that task realistically possible. You can call it the three Ps if you like, but I think that makes me sound like a math teacher from the 1950s wearing an abominable sleeveless sweater.
Anyway, you need:
Product is easy: you need a book. Preferably several, ideally in a series in a commercially viable genre, presented in a professional way which will specifically entice readers of that niche. I’m not saying writing a good book is easy, or that packaging it well is a walk in the park – clearly the devil is in the details. But the concept itself is manageable.
Promotion is easier again to understand but authors without a marketing background can find this harder to execute, at least on a meaningful scale. The basic idea of this element is that you need some way to communicate to prospective readers – i.e. fans of the genre you write in – that you have a book for sale and that they would like it very much, thank you. In more hard-nosed marketing terms: you need to generate quality traffic to your books. Easy to say, harder to do.
Platform is one that, in my humble opinion, most authors should be nailing as it more naturally complements the typical author skillset than promotion. But most authors, quite frankly… don’t. There is a lot of terrible information around about how to run email lists, or your social channels, so I don’t particularly blame writers on this front. Although it does make me sad when so many limit their books’ potential because they don’t even try building a platform as their heads are so full of (wrong) ideas of what that might entail. It’s a huge pity because building up your platform gives you a largely free and hugely effective dollop of promotion every time you put something out into the world – acting as a hefty multiplier to whatever marketing you might be doing.
Putting it all together, product is what you are selling (and the weaker your book is in hard-nosed commercial terms, the harder your job will be in selling it). Promotion is the art of getting that message out to your target audience. And platform makes the job of selling the next book a whole lot easier – giving you a free megaphone for every launch.
I think one of the problems authors have in selling books – especially in the hyper-competitive environment of 2022 – is that they focus too much on the promotion stage. They just want to sell books, not realizing that some quite important things need to be in place first to make the product shifting part go smoothly – and then neglecting to put enough effort into what you might call aftercare, the process of ensuring that a customer becomes a fan, one who recommends all your books to their friends and is first in line for the next one. Or platform if you prefer.
Over the next three emails, as we take a short break from Facebook Ads, I will break down these three stages in more detail and share all my favorite tools for mastering them too.
But first I want to highlight the more common mistakes I see among writers trying to get a handle on this stuff.
The biggest error I tend to see at the product stage is simply not spending enough time on it.
I don’t mean in terms of dedicating the requisite time to learn the craft and then actually write a good book – although obviously that happens quite a lot too.
I mean in more flinty terms, researching the market, understanding what readers are responding to, knowing what is trending, respecting genre conventions in both content and packaging, really spending the time to absolutely nail your cover (as that’s the most important packaging element by far), and just making sure the overall impression is one of polish and professionalism.
And the cost of not doing all this to at least a reasonable degree will be a bill most surely paid at the next stage, as authors will waste more and more money trying to promote a book which just might not work in the marketplace, at least how it is currently presented.
Mistakes at the promotion stage are commonplace because most writers have a steep learning curve when it comes to marketing. (And then of course it’s an endless cesspool of spoofers and chancers and all flavors of weasel.)
Even if you neatly sidestep all the bluffers and schemers, the endless array of promotional options can be extremely confusing, particularly as some are more suitable for different kinds of authors and it’s not always clear what is for who.
One charge that can be stuck on most writers, though, is spending too much time on promotion when they only have 1 or 2 books out. This is advice that is always given and rarely heeded, for reasons I completely understand on a psychological level by the way, but do try to keep your focus on producing more books because promotion gets sooooooo much easier when you have more product to fling out of your monkey-cage. Your money goes further too, so bank those Benjamins for later.
Honestly. My heart sinks when I get an email from an author saying something like “I know I shouldn’t spend big when I only have one book out, but what if I had ten grand to spend on this launch – how would you do it?”
Truly, if you have money to spend, buy yourself the most valuable thing of all: time. And use it to write more books.
The rap-sheet for the platform stage is the longest of all but most infractions can be gathered under using the wrong tool for the job. Specifically, using your nascent platform to relentlessly flog your books to death over and over and over and over and over and over and over.
You get the idea, I’m sure, but I’m going to ram this point home because it’s so important (and because this mistake is so prevalent). You can use your email list to sell books – of course you can. You can use your social channels to make noise around your latest release, or current backlist sale – and you absolutely should! The mistake is in doing that non-stop.
No one wants to follow anyone who is just engaging in the hard sell, all the time. You need to give fans (esp. proto fans) a better reason than that to follow you, and to stick around. Otherwise, you are just chewing through your own fanbase, and strip-mining a sale or two from each meatbag before tossing them on the pyre.
Instead of hanging out with them and chatting like a normal person, and then building a supercool human pyramid that can touch the moon.
You’ve self-published your book and now it’s available for sale. But the bookstore shelves are crowded (both brick and mortar and virtual), and it can be hard for your novel, memoir, or nonfiction book to gain any attention. At Self-Publishing Relief, our marketing experts know that a book publicist can help get the word out about your book. The role of a book publicist includes arranging book tours and signing events, and knocking on a few doors in hopes of getting media attention for an author. You can hire a publicist for your self-published book—but this can be extremely costly. If you’re on a budget, here’s how to be your own book publicist!
Writing good poetry takes dedication, many attempts, some rewrites, and of course, time. But not every poetry exercise or lesson needs to take hours. In fact, the experts at Writer’s Relief know a few great ways to improve your poetry that take less than ten minutes! When you want to give your poetry a quick, effective boost, try one of these methods.
Ways To Improve Your Poetry In Under Ten Minutes
Imagine you’re on stage reading your poetry at an open mic night or poetry slam. Hearing how your poetry sounds instead of silently reading it to yourself offers a whole new perspective, and it’s a technique every poet should use during the revision process. After you’ve edited and refined your poem, find a quiet spot and read it aloud to yourself. Do it a few times, too, and at different speeds. Notice where you trip up or where the wording sounds awkward, and mark those spots. Now you know which lines need a little extra work! Bonus: You may enjoy the experience of reading your poetry aloud so much that you sign up for your next local open mic night!
The start of 2022 offers an opportunity reflect on your your experiences blogging during the current year and identify possible ways to save time blogging during the coming year. Start by asking: “What were the lessons and takeaways you learned while blogging during the previous year?”
Many bloggers might immediately respond “blogging took a lot more time than I had expected!” If you spent more time blogging than you would have liked, it’s time to explore 7 ways you can save time blogging during 2022. This might help you free up time you can devote to other marketing tasks (like writing a book).
Below are 7 easy ways you can not only create more efficient blog post during 2022, but you can save time writing, self-editing, and promoting your blog posts. The following ideas are easy because they don’t require a lot of learning or execution time. They’re practical because they have proven their value over time.
Being a writer can be a lonely profession, even if it’s just your part-time side gig. Unless your partner or best friend have also written books, they aren’t likely to understand how challenging the entire process can be. From inception of manuscript to book publication to promotion and beyond, becoming an author can be a complex journey.
The good news is there are many writers who are traversing the same path you are, and they feel just as overwhelmed as you do. Following are ways to connect with writers and adopt strategies to support each other along the way.
When is it a good time to translate your books into another language or turn them into audiobooks? Alex Newton walks James through some of the ways he crunches the numbers to determine if a book is worth this investment.
On Mark’s recent recovery from the ‘rona
The return of Self-Publishing Show live in 2022
Book selling trends and growth during the pandemic
How the pandemic has affected sales in specific genres
Should authors invest in audiobooks and translation?
If you are a ravenous book reader, you may be able to turn your passion for the written word (and your love of sharing your opinion) into a rewarding book review blog. Not only do book review bloggers get the satisfaction of reading and critiquing, they also often score free books from writers and publishers who want to generate some book review blogger buzz. Here’s what Web Design Relief wants you to know about how to start a book review blog!
How To Start Your Own Book Review Blog
Pinpoint a genre/readership. Although your reading tastes may run the gamut from quiet literary fiction to noisy international espionage thrillers, you may want to focus your book review blog on one specific genre. When you focus clearly on a particular target audience, you’ll have a better chance of connecting effectively with that specific readership.
Is it really unreliable? Or is it publishers falling asleep at the wheel? Or is it the case of not-so-great books being published and no one wanting them?
There’s a lot of context missing from the article—things we don’t know about what’s happening behind the scenes marketing-wise. But if publishers’ marketing teams truly believe an author’s large social media following will, of its own accord, lead to enormous book sales, that’s pretty simplistic and naive. Maybe these publishers assumed the celebrity authors would do more than they did, on social media, to talk about the book and move copies.
But most authors, even celebrities, need to be assisted or receive direction on how to do this well and in a way that has meaning and leads to sales. The NYT article makes it sound like publishers are just sort of sitting on their hands, waiting for the millions of followers to just show up and buy the book. No decent marketer today with a pulse thinks that just happens, and publishers tend to employ smart people. At least that’s what I’ve always thought. Then I read this quote in the article:
In an effort to mitigate these issues, some book contracts now specify the number of posts required before and after a book is published.
That is not going to fix the problem. And it’s very depressing that anyone in publishing today thinks it will fix the problem. It sounds like an executive’s bad solution.
Writing a book is so, so hard! But you know what’s harder? Publishing! And if you go the indie route, publishing is even harder. That’s where I come in! Just ‘cause I love you, I am listing 10 of my favorite free and cheap publishing resources that I’ve found throughout the years. I’m covering Kindlepreneur’s publishing insights, The Rebel Author Podcast’s answers to your indie publishing questions, 20BooksTo50K® ’s info on how to ethically make money as an author, and more! So if you want to know how to save money as an author, where to find independent publishing resources, or you just need help finding self-publishing information, I’ve got ya covered! We writers don’t have money to burn, so allow me to save your wallet! 💸 –Straight from my cold, dark heart, Your Cyborg Queen #JennaMoreci#CyborgQueen#CyborgArmy
We give more details on common mistakes authors make when putting their book on Amazon without any forethought for promoting. Make sure to download and listen to the full episode so you don’t miss anything!
We get a lot of authors coming to us because they published their book and then did nothing with it. They assume hiring us can make up for all that lost time. And while we can definitely help you catch up in some areas, there are things even beyond our control.