Sent by Nicole Evelina
Books, Websites and Social Media
Hello and welcome back to this three-part series on resources for self-published/hybrid authors. Last time, we talked about associations and groups working to give great books a “seal of approval.” This time, we’ll look at sources of information that will help you navigate this wacky and ever-changing world of self-publishing.
I advise that anyone thinking of self-publishing do a lot of reading on the subject because it is very different from anything else you’ll ever do. These are books I found to be essential resources:
- Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook: The Step-by-Step Guide to the Legal Issues of Self-Publishing by Helen Sedwick (The author a lawyer from California who also writes. She walks you through setting up your imprint and a host of other possible legal issues. Don’t self-publish without it.)
- Let’s Get Digital by David Gaughran
- Let’s Get Visible by David Gaughran
- Business for Authors by Joanna Penn
- How to Market a Book by Joanna Penn
- SMART Social Media for Authors by Chris Syme
There are literally thousands of others and I have at least 15 others on my shelf I haven’t read yet. These are a few I’ve heard good things about but can’t personally vouch for:
- Reader Magnets: Get Readers to Come to You by Nick Stephenson
- Author Identity: Build Your Brand, Sell More Books, Change the World by Angie Mroczka
- Successful Self Publishing by Joanna Penn
- The Naked Truth About Self Publishing byJana DeLeon and Tina Folsom
- 52 Ways to Sell More Books by Penny Sansevieri
- Email List Building for Beginners by Eugene Mota
- List Building Blueprint by Bill Davis
- Red Hot Internet Publicity by Penny Sansevieri
- How to Get Publicity for Your Book by Natalie Obando
Of course, learning never ends in an industry as rapidly-changing as publishing. I recommend subscribing to as many blogs, newsletters and mailing lists as you can. They are free and it’s easy to unsubscribe if you find you don’t like/need one. You’ll be able to tell pretty quickly which ones work for you, and which don’t. These are my top 5:
- Author Marketing Experts – Penny Sansevieri’s business site. The blog is great information on book marketing.
- Joanna Penn– Her blog is well-known to be a top resource for all things indie publishing.
- Indies Unlimited – A blog for indies.
- Fiction University – Fiction University has a weekly column called The Indie Author series on Thursdays.
- Marketing for Romance Writers (MFRW) – This is a Yahoo Group for all romance writers, regardless of whether you’re traditional, self, or indie published. No self-promotion is allowed. It’s a great place to find bloggers who have open guest spots.
You may have heard that social media doesn’t sell books. To an extent, I think that’s true. You certainly don’t want to be on it all the time only posting “buy my book, buy my book” because you will drive your followers away faster than you can say “sale.” But, social media is a great way to build name recognition, interact with fans, and share news.
- Facebook groups – There are a lot of promo-only Facebook groups and I’ve learned that those don’t actually translate into sales. I recommend Self Publishing Cahoots, ALLI, and Alliance of Self Published Authors for what you can learn from other members and as a place to ask questions. If you write in a specific genre, it would be a good idea to search groups that appeal to those readers.
- Goodreads – Their smaller ads for those of us on a budget allow you to set the amount you want to spend and they send you daily reports on the number people who viewed your ad and/or added your book to their lists. This is one of the few sites I find where advertising directly leads to sales. Plus, don’t forget that you can do giveaways. They only cost you the price of shipping, so if you do media mail, you’re looking at around $3.00/book domestically. Anyone who has added your book to their shelf (which is an advantage of advertising with them) is automatically notified when you have a giveaway.
- Pinterest – This is the other site where it pays to advertise. On Pinterest, this is called “promoting a pin.” All you have to do is pin your book from Amazon (or another retailer) to one of your Pinterest boards and then click that you want to promote that pin. Pinterest walks you through setting your price, targeting your audience and setting the type and duration of your campaign. Plus, they send you detailed daily reports of who saw your pin, interacted with it, re-pinned it and clicked on your link. You’d be surprised how many readers (especially women ages 30-45) you can reach with a single promoted pin.
- Instagram – I haven’t found a way to advertise on Instagram yet that I can measure, but it’s a fun place to share your book covers, quotes from your books, and fun things from daily life. Be on the lookout for monthly challenges that suggest different themes for your pictures each day and be sure to use the hashtag that goes along with it, plus any others that fit what your picture is. Instagram is a great community-building tool.
In the next installment of this series, we’ll conclude by talking about how to get reviews and contests you may wish to enter. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.