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View Full Version : Are Forums a good way of promoting books?



Vanayssa
01-21-2016, 01:36 AM
After getting some books published, the next thing is to get them out in front of readers. Is it useful to promote books on forums? Anyone got experience out there?

AW Admin
01-21-2016, 01:44 AM
I'm moving this to Book Promotions Ideas and Advice.

That said, here are the ways to promote your books on forums, particularly this one.

1. Don't spam. That means you can make one announcement in the appropriate place.

On AW that's in Announcements, Events and Book Promotion (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?34-Announcements-Events-and-Book-Promotion).

You need 50 posts to post there, because far too many people are drive-by-spammers; they join just to promote their books.

See the excellent How do I promote on AW with Aplomb (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?279138-How-do-I-promote-on-AbsoluteWrite-with-aplomb-and-What-s-this-deal-about-quot-engaging-the-community-quot)

2. Put a link to your website/book page in your sig.

3. Don't constantly be all about your book. Let your sig do that for you. Instead, honestly, genuinely engage with the community. Talk about writing. Talk about other people's books you love.

4. Writing a new book and selling it is hands-down the single best way to sell your books, old and new.

5. Talking about things you know about or are truly enthusiastic about in genuine and engaging ways—particularly other people's books—is likely to cause people to look at your sig, and check out your books.

cmhbob
01-21-2016, 02:54 AM
Forums are just another form of social media, and the key thing to remember when using any social media platform to promote is to not constantly say, "Buy my book! Buy my book! Buy my book!" It's got to be a conversation, or people are just going to completely tune you out.

A friend of mine wrote a book about the effects of an eruption of the Yellowstone Caldera and in the process, did a lot of research via survivalist forums and Twitter. Now that the book is out, he's able to use those relationships to sell books, rather than just popping , yelling "Buy my book!" and moving on.

There's a human trafficking storyline to The Sad Girl, so one way I'm using that is to adopt it as a bit of a platform, and doing what I can to support anti-trafficking efforts on FB and Twitter. My book links are prominent in my Twitter profile though, so if someone reads a post they like, and they click through to learn more about me, they'll see my book. Likewise, I'd never jump into a conversation about trafficking on Twitter just to say "Buy my book!"

You've got to engage people, and talk with them, not to them. The platform doesn't matter. The conversation does.

Fruitbat
01-21-2016, 05:27 AM
I am sure I sell some books from being on here because sometimes people tell me. But not nearly enough books that it would be worth my time to hang out here just for that.

So I'd say to definitely list links to your books in your signature line on forums you hang out on anyway, but that's about it.

If you're talking about just posting "Here's my book. My book is out. Buy my book!" I doubt that works very often at all. When you think of how you probably react to that yourself, well, that's about it. It mostly just annoys people and then the mods of whatever forum you're on put a stop to it anyway.

Cereus
01-21-2016, 05:47 AM
Not really. Forums are dying. It's probably a better use of your time to be active on Twitter and Goodreads.That said I have bought books from two writers on AW so it may not be a total waste of your time.

be frank
01-21-2016, 06:02 AM
Forums are dying.

Says Cereus.

On a forum.

Roxxsmom
01-21-2016, 06:19 AM
FWIW, I've purchased and read some books by AW members I've "met" here in the forums. Some of these books I've loved, and some I've been more lukewarm about (for reasons relating to my tastes, not the quality of the work). But in each case, the person was someone I got to "know" through their participation in the same subforums I do. I liked them and the things they had to say about writing, world building, characterization, politics, the process of querying, or about other books they've read etc., and the books linked in their signatures looked like the sort of thing I might want to read.

I've never visited the Announcements, Events or Book Promotion subforum here on AW in order to find reading material, and I've never decided to read a book because it's author spammed my twitter feed or asked people to read it in a discussion forum.

No idea how typical I am, but I would guess you might gain some readers, or at least a few who might give your book a chance, if they get to know you in the forums as a person. I don't know how huge that impact would be on your overall sales. I personally do tell other friends who like the same sort of fiction I do about new (or new to me) authors I've discovered and liked (face to face, in forums, in my blog, and on social media), but I don't know how many go on to read the books I recommend.

cmhbob
01-21-2016, 06:29 AM
Forums are dying.

Disagree strongly.

People have been predicting the death of the forum platform for years. I think certain forums will die, but that's the nature of any community. I don't think the platform will ever die though. There's discussion available here that just can't be done on Facebook or Twitter. It's also worth noting that Goodreads runs threaded discussions just like forums. They just call them Groups or Discussions. But I think those are closer to forums than they are something like Twitter.

ETA: this is not a new discussion: https://www.reddit.com/r/socialmedia/comments/2ar5xi/are_internet_forums_dying/

Roxxsmom
01-21-2016, 07:04 AM
Not really. Forums are dying. It's probably a better use of your time to be active on Twitter and Goodreads.That said I have bought books from two writers on AW so it may not be a total waste of your time.

I think forums fill a purpose, as they generally allow people who share a specific interest to have conversations that are more detailed, focused and complex than the ones on twitter or FB (and without forcing all your friends with different interests to see your long posts about writing, or dogs, or politics on their feeds). I feel like I "know" people I've met here on AW better than I "know" people I've met on twitter.

It's possibly true that there is such a vast number of forums out there that it's hard to get traction if you're starting one from scratch. But AW (and other writing forums I've encountered that have been around for a while) seem to be going strong. Some people drift away, but new people join every day. And it seems like a much better platform for sharing fiction critiques in a password-protected area than social media like Twitter.

But if you feel that forums like this one aren't worth your time, and you'd rather connect with people about writing on twitter or a similar platform, that's certainly your right. It's nice to have a variety of platforms and choices about which ones to use.

But I am of the opinion that hanging out on any social media platform just to promote your book is a waste of time, because if you're not having fun and connecting with people, then you're at risk of becoming one of those authors who scream "buy my book" all day long and alienate everyone.

Cereus
01-21-2016, 10:37 AM
Says Cereus.

On a forum.

Don't take this the wrong way but... what's your point?


FWIW, I've purchased and read some books by AW members I've "met" here in the forums. Some of these books I've loved, and some I've been more lukewarm about (for reasons relating to my tastes, not the quality of the work). But in each case, the person was someone I got to "know" through their participation in the same subforums I do. I liked them and the things they had to say about writing, world building, characterization, politics, the process of querying, or about other books they've read etc., and the books linked in their signatures looked like the sort of thing I might want to read.

I've never visited the Announcements, Events or Book Promotion subforum here on AW in order to find reading material, and I've never decided to read a book because it's author spammed my twitter feed or asked people to read it in a discussion forum.

No idea how typical I am, but I would guess you might gain some readers, or at least a few who might give your book a chance, if they get to know you in the forums as a person. I don't know how huge that impact would be on your overall sales. I personally do tell other friends who like the same sort of fiction I do about new (or new to me) authors I've discovered and liked (face to face, in forums, in my blog, and on social media), but I don't know how many go on to read the books I recommend.

I wouldn't even be curious about the work of someone I didn't like on here, yeah.


Disagree strongly.

People have been predicting the death of the forum platform for years. I think certain forums will die, but that's the nature of any community. I don't think the platform will ever die though. There's discussion available here that just can't be done on Facebook or Twitter. It's also worth noting that Goodreads runs threaded discussions just like forums. They just call them Groups or Discussions. But I think those are closer to forums than they are something like Twitter.

ETA: this is not a new discussion: https://www.reddit.com/r/socialmedia/comments/2ar5xi/are_internet_forums_dying/

I'm not saying they'll actually end, but if you compare how active forums were in 2006 to now, there is a very obvious down trend in activity.




I think forums fill a purpose, as they generally allow people who share a specific interest to have conversations that are more detailed, focused and complex than the ones on twitter or FB (and without forcing all your friends with different interests to see your long posts about writing, or dogs, or politics on their feeds). I feel like I "know" people I've met here on AW better than I "know" people I've met on twitter.

Absolutely. Not necessarily about AW, but I feel the same. I do believe you can have good, focused discussions on twitter. The difference is discussions tend to unfold differently and generally have a completely different feel to forum discussions.



It's possibly true that there is such a vast number of forums out there that it's hard to get traction if you're starting one from scratch. But AW (and other writing forums I've encountered that have been around for a while) seem to be going strong. Some people drift away, but new people join every day. And it seems like a much better platform for sharing fiction critiques in a password-protected area than social media like Twitter.

AW really is the exception to the rule.



But if you feel that forums like this one aren't worth your time, and you'd rather connect with people about writing on twitter or a similar platform, that's certainly your right. It's nice to have a variety of platforms and choices about which ones to use.

LOL I love forums.


But I am of the opinion that hanging out on any social media platform just to promote your book is a waste of time, because if you're not having fun and connecting with people, then you're at risk of becoming one of those authors who scream "buy my book" all day long and alienate everyone.

See, no one will follow you if you have nothing interesting to say. But networking with other writers by joining the conversation? You might win followers and perhaps fans.

frimble3
01-21-2016, 11:26 AM
There is a book-lover's forum that I frequent (more frequently than here) and every now and then somebody turns up for the first time, pitching their book, and are usually ignored, unless they get too pressing and the mods chuck them. Or, sometimes the snarkier members mock them.
On the other hand some of those book-lovers are writers, and over the course of years have talked about their WIP, the various stages, etc. I've bought several of their books, because I know them and feel a sense of attachment to the books. I doubt this sort of long-term method is of much interest to people who've written their book and are looking for places to flog it.

Contented Reader
01-21-2016, 06:52 PM
I've never read a book because someone appeared on a forum or social media saying, "Hey! I'm a person you've never heard of! Buy my book!" I just feel mildly irritated, and ignore it.

I have sometimes read a book because someone I've already encountered on social media, and thought well of, someone who I feel a sort of internet-friendly connection with, has written it. It's like reading a book by a friend or acquaintance.

frimble3
01-22-2016, 07:48 AM
I've never read a book because someone appeared on a forum or social media saying, "Hey! I'm a person you've never heard of! Buy my book!" I just feel mildly irritated, and ignore it.

I have sometimes read a book because someone I've already encountered on social media, and thought well of, someone who I feel a sort of internet-friendly connection with, has written it. It's like reading a book by a friend or acquaintance.
Exactly! Put much more clearly than my usual meander.

Curlz
01-24-2016, 09:24 PM
Its useful to promote your books anywhere you can. Forums may not get you a lot of immediate sales, but if your book is good people will mention it to their friends and will talk about it. And that's exactly what forums are - places to talk with one's friends and mention things of common interest to them. Of course, in order for that to happen, your book needs to be worth talking about (and sometimes forums like this one could even help learn how to achieve that :hi:).

Ari Meermans
01-24-2016, 10:02 PM
Its useful to promote your books anywhere you can. Forums may not get you a lot of immediate sales, but if your book is good people will mention it to their friends and will talk about it. And that's exactly what forums are - places to talk with one's friends and mention things of common interest to them. Of course, in order for that to happen, your book needs to be worth talking about (and sometimes forums like this one could even help learn how to achieve that :hi:).

This is true . . . to an extent. As with everything else, there are caveats. As others have stated, constant book-flogging is a turn-off and won't net you the readers you're looking for. On AW, for instance, active and sincere engagement with the community is expected; using AW simply to promote will earn one first a gentle PM reminder of what it means to be a part of the community. Ignoring that PM can lead to the withdrawal of promotional opportunities here. This is true across the broad spectrum of social media: constant promotion in blog comments can lead to deletion of those comments by the blog owner; and, following others on Twitter with no other topic than one's book is a quick way to get unfollowed. As an example, I follow authors on Twitter because I've found them to be smart and fascinating people who have varied interests. I am intrigued and, in following them, I get to expand my own knowledge of those things I care about and want to know more about. Chances are very good I'll buy their book. One of the best ways of building a fan base is to have smart, interesting things to say.

Sammie
01-25-2016, 12:47 AM
I agree strongly with the rest, I detest it when writers spam their books on forums. I understand wanting more people to buy your book but it's counter productive instead it chases readers away by how much they are turned off by it. Like several others I like to know about the writer a bit, maybe they have a blog or are active on writing forums. If their work interests me I like watching (stalking) their book process it makes me feel more attached to it, guaranteeing a buy from me.

It feels cold and detached just to post randomly "buy my book" or "my book was rated a 4 star on goodreads so you have to buy it!" Or any other variation.

But I'm not saying don't promote on forums either, be an active member it is a community after all and put your promotions in signatures I find them much more appealing there.

andiwrite
01-25-2016, 03:36 AM
I've been an active member of this forum for a long time, and I don't think it has resulted in many books sales.

Honestly, I don't know if anything I've done has resulted in book sales. Pretty discouraged at this time.

WriterBN
01-25-2016, 09:35 PM
Honestly, I don't know if anything I've done has resulted in book sales. Pretty discouraged at this time.

I've had days like that. To be honest, the only time I can make an absolute, statistical correlation between promotional efforts and sales is with paid advertising.

andiwrite
01-26-2016, 02:11 AM
I've spent a ton on targeted Facebook ads, display sites, and gotten zero results. Literally, I don't think I've received even one sale for the last THREE rounds of Facebook ads I've done. Tons of clicks and no sales... yeah I think I'm just about done trying. :(

akaria
01-26-2016, 10:16 PM
I don't know anyone who's had success with FB ads. Nothing worth the expense, that is. You're better off spending that kind of money on a Bookbub ad. Pop on over to Goodreads. There's an author group called Goodreads Author Feedback. They have a thread about the best promo sites (https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1665675). It's a long read, but great advice.

I see forums like AW and Scribophile as a hangout, not a promo opp. It's a place to take a break from the WIP, or get a question answered, or sharpen query skills. I've clicked on many AWer's sig links to find out more about them through Twitter or their blogs. Bought a couple of books too, but I don't know anyone who actively uses it for promo.

WriterBN
01-26-2016, 10:17 PM
I haven't tried Facebook ads. I've had some success with AMS advertising, but I was referring to services like ENT, Fussy Librarian, etc.

andiwrite
01-27-2016, 10:04 AM
I have Fussy Librarian and Bookbub on my radar. They both seem to be for books on sale, so whenever my publisher ever temporarily lowers the price, I'm prepared to apply.

Vanayssa
02-16-2016, 06:57 AM
Well, I am a fairly new author and am open to learning ways to push my books, as nothing sells itself. The saying, Advertise or Die, wasn't coined for no reason. So I have poked around and am reading a book called How To Sell Your Book LIke Wildfire from Rob Eagar on Writer's Digest site. He has many good ideas, it's a helpful book. However, lately I've been using retweet teams and spending a few hours a day five days a week in front of this screen doing a number of things, connecting with other authors, and retweeting madly. I am always now looking for new opportunities to find retweet teams. I don't know how it will affect my sales, but on Amazon.com my author rank has risen, over the three weeks I've been doing this, from 737,000th up to 200,000th. Not stellar positioning (yet) but you have to admit it's quite a big leap to take when I'm just changing one thing...doing retweets and also hosting others' blog posts and putting my media kits on other author's blogs. Almost everyone has busier member lists than mine, as I have been just flailing around trying to think what to do online, and starting to get a sense of direction at last. Some blog owners have hundreds of thousands of followers, if you can get your media kit onto one of those blogs, you will sell some books. Even those with just a few thousand followers are going to do you some good. Get your name out there anyway.

Tavia
02-16-2016, 01:19 PM
However, lately I've been using retweet teams and spending a few hours a day five days a week in front of this screen doing a number of things, connecting with other authors, and retweeting madly. I am always now looking for new opportunities to find retweet teams.

What are retweet teams? I've never heard of those before.

I've never clicked well with Twitter, though, so that may be why :)

Filigree
02-16-2016, 04:40 PM
I am very hesitant to use or commit to retweet groups like Triberr...and even blog hops and trades. I know some authors do well at it, but I want to be able to curate content and choose who I promote. I don't have time to research all the folks in a group. I'm grateful for the times my content has been retweeted...but honestly, that hasn't sold as many of my books as my fanfiction has. I know that I've set up filters to block anything obviously coming from Triberr, because it can turn into a spamalanche otherwise.

Brian G Turner
02-16-2016, 05:22 PM
Forums are a social platform which means that they're driven by conversation.

No one wants that disrupted through interruption marketing.

Instead, make yourself part of the conversation. Remain polite and friendly, share your knowledge and experiences. Learn when to stay silent.

Old Hack
02-16-2016, 09:11 PM
How many books have you ever bought as a result of a forum conversation?

How many books have you ever bought because retweet teams have been featuring them?

If the answer is anything other than "lots!" to these questions, then they are not effective marketing tools. If you use them to try to sell your books you're spamming people, not selling books.

Polenth
02-16-2016, 11:31 PM
Outside of what sells books, there's also the question of, "Have you ever blocked/muted/banned someone for this?" Chatting to people about pigeons might not sell books, but it's not going to get you banned unless you're a jerk. Spamming them is highly likely to get you banned. My top reason for not following authors back on Twitter is their account looks spammy. My top reason for blocking people is spam.

Retweet teams and the like might give you a temporary boost, but it's going to alienate people who could have been lifelong fans. It's the people who come back and buy all your books, and support all your stuff, who'll eventually drive sales. Not the people who buy one thing, then never want anything more because you just keep spamming them.

The most successful authors I've seen aren't the ones who constantly spam people.

Earthling
02-16-2016, 11:59 PM
The authors/agents/editors I follow on Twitter, and stay following, aren't the ones who only Tweet about the books they're selling. It's the ones who post useful advice about writing, inspirational quotes about writing, writing events... etc. Then, because I look forward to seeing their name in my feed, I'm more likely to click an Amazon link and download the book.