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aetherpen
09-11-2018, 05:30 AM
Hi everyone. I guess Iím looking for some advice, since I feel a little discouraged right now.

My debut novel just released, and Iím having a lot of trouble drumming up any interest in it from review sites and readers on Twitter who generally seem to be interested in the genre. I canít figure out why.

Admittedly my book is hybrid genre, and I get that that causes difficulties with marketing. Still, I thought my book has elements that would attract readers (assassins, enemies-to-lovers M/M romance, hurt/comfort tropes, diverse representation), and yet no one is biting, which makes me wonder if Iím completely off in my belief of what readers find interesting...or if Iím somehow describing it in a way that completely turns people off but I'm totally unaware of what I'm doing wrong...

I donít know of any other place where I could ask a question like this and not sound like Iím whining or attention-seeking. I just genuinely want to know where Iíve gone wrong and would appreciate any insights, because itís been painful to have put so much of my soul into this book and not see anyone be interested in it, despite seeing so many people asking for the exact representation I have.

gem1122
09-11-2018, 07:30 AM
My first thought is to give it time; the book has only been out a few weeks. That's just a gut reaction, not based on any real-world experience.

Can you list the ways that you've promoted this book so far and what else you have planned?

Wil10thewisp
09-11-2018, 11:15 AM
Let me ask you a question: Describe your story in one sentence?

Helix
09-11-2018, 11:51 AM
There's a sticky covering this topic. It might be worth having a look through that.

https://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?241431-How-to-promote-your-book-like-an-intelligent-human-being-and-not-an-SEO-Dweeb

Curlz
09-11-2018, 04:35 PM
Make friends, participate in discussions etc. Nowadays there are too many authors who just go around asking people directly to read their book and not doing anything else. There's just not enough time to do pay attention to everybody :Shrug:For example, you might attract much more attention if you put an image of the book's cover in your signature instead of just a link. With the link I am expected to read some of the blog (I assume) and then rummage around to find a further link for the book itself etc. That seems like too much work. If you make it easy to access your book, that might help more people reach it, for one thing. There's a huge difference if it's one click away or fifteen clicks away. As for getting people to write reviews, again, it's a matter of standing out. Maybe it's a matter of how you wrote the blurb for the book. Are you sending the book to them or are you just telling them about it in one brief paragraph? Is the cover perfect? There's so much to it, really.

lizmonster
09-11-2018, 04:40 PM
My debut novel just released, and Iím having a lot of trouble drumming up any interest in it from review sites and readers on Twitter who generally seem to be interested in the genre. I canít figure out why.

Promo is poisonously difficult, and I have yet to see anyone able to produce a This Will Work For Sure list. That said, the post Helix links to has some good ideas.

I see you're out with a small publisher. Are they giving you any help on this at all? Even suggestions? Can you contact other authors from the imprint to discuss what they've done?

Polenth
09-11-2018, 05:47 PM
I'm going to disagree with others, in that being a nice person on social media and not spamming is not going to sell enough books for a career. I'm having more success now that I can afford to pay for adverts, as that targets people based on the books. Social media is based on whether I'm charismatic, and I'm simply not, so it's a bad focus for marketing. However, social media is often all we have. It's often the only thing we can control, even if it's not the best thing for selling books if you're a quiet person. So here we are.

On to the things you can control, each book should have its own page. Currently, you have a books page, but you want to be building up links to a page that's only ever going to be about that one book (I also noted that your trigger warnings link didn't work... that stuff can go on the same page as the rest of the book information anyway). Anytime you blog about your book, link to the book page. Don't assume that people have seen more than that one blog post. That link will also go in your signature here and anywhere else relevant. It might not sell you a lot of books, but it's a start.

I was only able to find your Twitter by going to your website, then Goodreads, and then following the Twitter link. Make all those things clear and link everything to everything as much as possible. Remember that people might arrive from any direction. There should be paths to everywhere from the place they find you.

You aren't spamming on your Twitter, so that's not really the issue... but if you want to use it, you do need to scale it up. Famous authors can get away with following a few friends and keeping to themselves and still have a million followers. The rest of us need to follow people and interact. One way to manage the increased numbers is to have a private list to track people who might be lost in a busy timeline. When you read over the whole timeline, don't try to keep up with every message. Instead, set a period of time that you're going to read, and just read what comes through in that time (and reply when you have things to say). Build slowly, so that you have time to get used to dealing with a busier timeline.

Something Twitter does help with is keeping track of opportunities, such as lists, interview requests, reviewers looking for more books, and so on. For example, someone is maintaining a database of asexual and aromantic characters. A quick search didn't find your book, so if you've not submitted the details, do it now: http://claudiearseneault.com/?page_id=1320

AW Admin
09-11-2018, 06:27 PM
See also: FAQ: How do I Promote on AbsoluteWrite with Aplomb? (https://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)

You need to engage with others, not with the specific object of promoting your book, but so people will know who you are, find you interesting and click on your profile or sig and see a link to your Website, and your books.

Get your book cover in your Sig on AW (https://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?269112-FAQ-Everything-You-Wanted-to-Know-About-Signatures-or-Sigs).

veinglory
09-11-2018, 06:39 PM
m/m fiction of all kinds is now a very well supplied market. I would suggest going a group of authors to get inside information on what is working best right now.

aetherpen
09-13-2018, 03:09 AM
First off, I want to thank everyone who’s commented on this thread so far. I truly was not expecting people to go through my website and Twitter, and I’m very grateful for the time and feedback.

I should also mention that I’ve been inactive on AW for a while, so I hadn’t been thinking to use this site for marketing. I will be sure to take these suggestions into account.


My first thought is to give it time; the book has only been out a few weeks. That's just a gut reaction, not based on any real-world experience.

Can you list the ways that you've promoted this book so far and what else you have planned?

So far, I’ve reached out to review sites that review books in this genre and tried to engage people on Twitter who are looking for the kind of representation my book has. I’ve submitted a guest post to an interested Tumblr and scheduled an interview with a blogger for a few months from now.

My main concern is that I’m getting little engagement from the review sites and readers on Twitter. I got a fair amount of attention on Twitter before my book was released, but now that it’s out, it’s...silence. That’s what I’m most concerned about (and sorry if my first post didn’t make that clear)—that I can’t get much interest from people who are already fans of the genre and/or looking for what I have to offer. It makes me think that either something is turning people off about the content of the book, or I’m not describing it correctly to reach the right audience.

I won’t rule out the idea that I’m overreacting (thanks, anxiety!); like you said, it hasn’t been that long. Maybe I’m way underestimating how long it takes people to read the book and talk about it. Or maybe I’m somehow always tweeting at the wrong time these days.


Let me ask you a question: Describe your story in one sentence?

My elevator pitch would be: “A sci-fi m/m romance starring an assassin who has to team up with a journalist, only to realize the journalist is keeping a secret that could destroy him.”


Promo is poisonously difficult, and I have yet to see anyone able to produce a This Will Work For Sure list. That said, the post Helix links to has some good ideas.

I see you're out with a small publisher. Are they giving you any help on this at all? Even suggestions? Can you contact other authors from the imprint to discuss what they've done?

My publisher contracts with a third party advertising service...but to be honest, I feel a little like they’ve dropped the ball. They didn’t tweet about my book’s release (or anything about it). They also mislabeled its genre on NetGalley.

It’s created a lot of pressure for me. Like Polenth, I’m not good at social media marketing because I’m not charismatic, and I also have social anxiety and other disabilities, so I was aware early on that relying on Twitter to sell books would be an extremely stressful route for me.

I know some other authors with my publisher rely heavily on promoting/selling at conventions, but unfortunately that option isn’t feasible for me at this point in time.


Something Twitter does help with is keeping track of opportunities, such as lists, interview requests, reviewers looking for more books, and so on. For example, someone is maintaining a database of asexual and aromantic characters. A quick search didn't find your book, so if you've not submitted the details, do it now: http://claudiearseneault.com/?page_id=1320

Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I had submitted to other asexual book lists, but I had missed this one.

cool pop
09-13-2018, 05:52 AM
Are you on Facebook? You said your book is M/M as well as other genres? There are some huge M/M book groups on FB that you might want to try. You can network and some book groups even let you promote in them. Do you have a mailing list? Start with that pronto. That's very important. You need to start building your list. Open up a Mailchimp account and start putting the link to your mailing list EVERYWHERE. Put it on all your websites and social media pages. If you are self-published, put your mailing lit link in all your books, the back and front. If you are with a publisher, tell them to do it. You want that link everywhere. Open up a Amazon Author page and put the link to your mailing list there as well.

You can also Google for blogs or sites that focus on your genre and contact them to see if they are interested. Got some extra cash? Try click Facebook ads. You can't run ads on Amazon or Bookbub if you aren't self-published unless your publisher runs them for you. I doubt they will because most pubs won't but if you are self-published, you can try those.

You can also post samples on your website or social networks and promote them. Do an Instafreebie giveaway. Get with other authors in your genre and cross promote with them. Cross promotion is the best form of promotion and most times it's free.

Also, I think the cover might be a disconnect. I definitely see the Sci-Fi angle but not the M/M angle at all. It could be the cover isn't connecting with audiences. I doubt M/M readers would ever guess this was M/M. The cover is intriguing but it might be doing you a disservice because you want your readers to know what the book is right off. I never would've guessed any of those genres you named except Sci-Fi. The others? Nope. When I look at this I get, "Mr. Robot" vibes but not the other things. A cover can be nice and interesting but if it doesn't convey the genres accurately it's more harm than good.

Good luck to you!

Also as someone said, don't spam anywhere. The key is to network and gain promotional opportunities that will benefit you in the long run. If you don't have a mailing list, get that thing up now. :)

cool pop
09-13-2018, 05:54 AM
Oh, I just checked. You're with a publisher. What was the original plan? Did you get with the PR person before publication to see what exactly they would do. Publishers don't do a whole lot of promotion unless they feel the book will be a big seller so the majority of authors will always be responsible for a good bulk of their promotion. But you should talk to the publisher and ask them if they can help you get reviews and find out if there are other things they would be willing to do to get eyes on your work.

But the truth is, most of the promotion is going to be on you so even if you ask, don't expect much.

cool pop
09-13-2018, 06:01 AM
First off, I want to thank everyone who’s commented on this thread so far. I truly was not expecting people to go through my website and Twitter, and I’m very grateful for the time and feedback.

I should also mention that I’ve been inactive on AW for a while, so I hadn’t been thinking to use this site for marketing. I will be sure to take these suggestions into account.



So far, I’ve reached out to review sites that review books in this genre and tried to engage people on Twitter who are looking for the kind of representation my book has. I’ve submitted a guest post to an interested Tumblr and scheduled an interview with a blogger for a few months from now.

My main concern is that I’m getting little engagement from the review sites and readers on Twitter. I got a fair amount of attention on Twitter before my book was released, but now that it’s out, it’s...silence. That’s what I’m most concerned about (and sorry if my first post didn’t make that clear)—that I can’t get much interest from people who are already fans of the genre and/or looking for what I have to offer. It makes me think that either something is turning people off about the content of the book, or I’m not describing it correctly to reach the right audience.

I won’t rule out the idea that I’m overreacting (thanks, anxiety!); like you said, it hasn’t been that long. Maybe I’m way underestimating how long it takes people to read the book and talk about it. Or maybe I’m somehow always tweeting at the wrong time these days.



My elevator pitch would be: “A sci-fi m/m romance starring an assassin who has to team up with a journalist, only to realize the journalist is keeping a secret that could destroy him.”



My publisher contracts with a third party advertising service...but to be honest, I feel a little like they’ve dropped the ball. They didn’t tweet about my book’s release (or anything about it). They also mislabeled its genre on NetGalley.

It’s created a lot of pressure for me. Like Polenth, I’m not good at social media marketing because I’m not charismatic, and I also have social anxiety and other disabilities, so I was aware early on that relying on Twitter to sell books would be an extremely stressful route for me.

I know some other authors with my publisher rely heavily on promoting/selling at conventions, but unfortunately that option isn’t feasible for me at this point in time.



Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I had submitted to other asexual book lists, but I had missed this one.

DAMN! They didn't even tweet about it on release day???? :Shrug: That's the absolute least a publisher could do. That sucks. Sorry. Well, seeing how they didn't even do a tweet or announcement for it when it came out not sure how much help you can expect from them.

Anyway, I have social anxiety too but I'm a pro online. I have social anxiety and GAD by the way. I'm fine when not in social settings. Online doesn't bother me but I realize some people with social anxiety disorder can't even handle being online. You might warm up to it if you take it slow and just do what makes you comfortable. You can also hire someone to promote for you if you find it too difficult.

gem1122
09-13-2018, 07:59 PM
I'm with you re: not being charismatic online. I sometimes despise the whole notion of social media. That said, I agree with cool pop in that you can start slowly. Don't feel like you have to post several times a day like others do. A few per week is better than nothing. I know -- I reluctantly joined that Twitter thing, and after a month, I'm realizing that although the loudest voices get the most attention, most people only post sporadically. One drawback is that it can be a tremendous time suck. I don't have anxiety about it; my issue is that between the political fights and stupid, self-centered "Hey, look how cool I am!" tweets, I just get annoyed.

Best of luck to you. I hope you're able to get your voice heard.

Undercover
09-14-2018, 04:40 PM
I have the bipolar disorder and I use Twitter. I'm horrible at social skills in real life, but it isn't as bad online. Sometimes, it can be frustrating and yes, a big time suck, as gem said. But if you do it long enough, you will develop a crowd of attention. And then in turn, if they like your tweets enough, they may follow you and then start looking at your books. It's a long process, but it has it's rewards. You can find a great network of other writers in the same boat you're in and they too can be buyers of your book.

I know it's hard to socialize online, but it's a necessary evil when you're trying to sell your book. I realize after I got into the habit of Twitter, find a good time of the day. Maybe give yourself a small block of time each day, or every other day. I don't know, it's up to you. Point is, if you gradually update it with things, you'll get attention on it.

As for what to tweet, that's up to you. Find some things that interest you. And as others have mentioned, don't just tweet about your book and your book only. People will get sick of that and then perhaps unfollow.

KBooks
09-17-2018, 06:50 PM
Lots of good advice. I'm new to Twitter as well, and there are SO many books it feels like you're drowning in them and it's easy for any one to get lost. I think it's good advice if you're nervous just to start small, but interact with readers in ways you feel comfortable with even if you start with a few times a week. I looked at your GR profile, which lists your book. One idea would be to flesh out your profile page a bit more to make it look more active.

Old Hack
09-18-2018, 11:36 AM
Most book reviewers only review books on publication, so as your book has already been published you're not going to be able to work with them.

It sounds as though your publisher has not done its job properly. I'm so sorry.

Filigree
09-18-2018, 12:45 PM
I'm with the same publisher as the OP, and had a crossover M/M fantasy book come out in early August. The publisher went through some big staff changes at the same time, and I noticed they weren't quite as aggressive with marketing as with previous books.

Author promotion done right takes a lot of hours. Until I can afford to rebuild my website, my promo is limited. I'm off Facebook and I barely interact on Goodreads. I have a part-time art career ramping back up. I just changed day jobs to the most important and lucrative gig I've had in 15 years. I love my original fiction and still like my publisher. Still, my best strategy right now is stepping back and focusing on making money in other fields.

I'm also going to add some thoughts about 'M/M' covers. This publisher is making an effort to avoid the 'naked torso' trope in its books, to branch out beyond the M/M romance readership to broader SFF readership.

Okay, that's noble and I'm one hundred percent behind it. But that only works if the publisher is willing to promote effectively to SFF reviewers and readers. So far, this publisher hasn't been able to do that (for many of its books).

My book was supposed to have been sent to SFF review sites and PW eight to twelve weeks before publication. I even delayed an April launch to August, to allow for that marketing. Due to a lagging schedule from the publisher, the final edits didn't happen until less than a month before publication.

Yes, I am angry about that, but I still like everything else about the publisher. I'm willing to wait it out and see what they do. Especially since I'm getting a living wage between the art and the day job. I can save up for my own promo and/or self-pub.

Old Hack
09-18-2018, 02:20 PM
My book was supposed to have been sent to SFF review sites and PW eight to twelve weeks before publication. I even delayed an April launch to August, to allow for that marketing. Due to a lagging schedule from the publisher, the final edits didn't happen until less than a month before publication.


I would want three or four months minimum between sending out ARCs and publication. Eight to twelve weeks is really cutting it fine, in my experience.

It's common for ARCs to go out unedited, though only editing a month before publication is not good at all. That would worry me silly.

I hope your new work goes well for you, Filigree. You work hard.

Fallen
09-19-2018, 07:10 PM
The m/m community as a whole is fantastic, but getting in on it can be pretty hit or miss, not just because you're a new writer with new material, but because m/m readers have been exposed to one too many catfishing scams over the years, and it does take them a while to trust new talent. Reviewers are swamped too: I've known three excellent sites go down in the past year and a bit due to the amount of reviews coming in, but also because they felt they were losing touch with authors/publishers with how paid promo sites are taking control, most times demanding only a week's read/review time. Time they don't have. It's all just so busy, and you need a voice in there in order to be heard.

Saying that, I don't really go on Twitter. Facebook and Goodreads have good M/M groups and a strong following. but I stay mostly on Facebook, and run a newsletter. I've been lucky with the promo side, but with the first release, it did take a few weeks for a review company to pick it up.

There are also reviewers out there who take on backcatalogue reviews, so it's worth checking what review site you know.

I run a FB group for an LGBTQ+ review directory, where reviewing blogs post their submission details, and you're welcome to look through there. It's a free resource for authors. The Reviewing Blog Directory (https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheReviewingBlogDirectory/).

aspirit
09-20-2018, 07:06 AM
I'm tired but wanted to respond. Please note that I've only skimmed this thread. I might repeat information.

My first impression was that the cover does a terrible job conveying the genre. I'm not the only buyer who leaps toward suggestions of M/M Sci-Fi, so my impression might indicate a problem. I would've skipped over your book.

You might be stuck with the cover for now. That makes marketing harder. Unfortunately, NineStar isn't known for good marketing. The burden is on you.

My second impression was that the blurb isn't well written. This is cyberpunk isn't it? I'm in your target audience! Yet I'm not confident about the quality of the book after reading a blurb that drags so much. My suggestion is to use a different blurb where you can.

The next issue is reviews. You need more of them. Specifically, you need enough on Amazon to bring your ranking up. When I searched on the novel title, your Eidolon didn't appear on the first page. That's a big deal. The best reviews are those from readers whose also-boughts belong in the same categories as your book. A month after publication, you might need to push hard to encourage reviews. (Remember not to offer trades for reviews. That will get you in trouble.)

What I saw in Amazon's Look Inside was good. I don't see any major turn-offs with your story opening.

So, how can you convince readers to look?

Build your network more quickly. My recommendation is to join Queer Sci Fi (https://queerscifi.com) then all the M/M groups on Facebook and Goodreads that look good to you. Talk about your book when each group offers an opportunity. Other places to consider are offline Pride events. (Tip: Bring cards to hand out.)

Good luck. I will take another look at your book, because it is the type that should show up in my recommendations.

aetherpen
09-26-2018, 08:53 PM
I'm with the same publisher as the OP, and had a crossover M/M fantasy book come out in early August. The publisher went through some big staff changes at the same time, and I noticed they weren't quite as aggressive with marketing as with previous books.

Author promotion done right takes a lot of hours. Until I can afford to rebuild my website, my promo is limited. I'm off Facebook and I barely interact on Goodreads. I have a part-time art career ramping back up. I just changed day jobs to the most important and lucrative gig I've had in 15 years. I love my original fiction and still like my publisher. Still, my best strategy right now is stepping back and focusing on making money in other fields.

I'm also going to add some thoughts about 'M/M' covers. This publisher is making an effort to avoid the 'naked torso' trope in its books, to branch out beyond the M/M romance readership to broader SFF readership.

Okay, that's noble and I'm one hundred percent behind it. But that only works if the publisher is willing to promote effectively to SFF reviewers and readers. So far, this publisher hasn't been able to do that (for many of its books).

My book was supposed to have been sent to SFF review sites and PW eight to twelve weeks before publication. I even delayed an April launch to August, to allow for that marketing. Due to a lagging schedule from the publisher, the final edits didn't happen until less than a month before publication.

Yes, I am angry about that, but I still like everything else about the publisher. I'm willing to wait it out and see what they do. Especially since I'm getting a living wage between the art and the day job. I can save up for my own promo and/or self-pub.

Thank you for your comments. I've been afraid to talk about my experiences because I didn't want to be the lone naysayer among so many supporters, but to be honest, I was very concerned by how the publication process went for me. I was finishing copy edits literally up to the week before publication, which made me extremely stressed out and made it hard for me to generate any pre-release momentum. Perhaps I should have asked for the release to be delayed, but it had already been delayed for a while which made me hesitant to consider that option...

I completely agree about book covers as well.

I'm in a somewhat similar situation to you. I have a full-time job with an uncertain future, and between that, family obligations, and trying to continue writing, it has been incredibly difficult for me to be able to devote enough time for self-promotion, so I'm considering prioritizing other things for the time being as well.


I'm tired but wanted to respond. Please note that I've only skimmed this thread. I might repeat information.

My first impression was that the cover does a terrible job conveying the genre. I'm not the only buyer who leaps toward suggestions of M/M Sci-Fi, so my impression might indicate a problem. I would've skipped over your book.

You might be stuck with the cover for now. That makes marketing harder. Unfortunately, NineStar isn't known for good marketing. The burden is on you.

My second impression was that the blurb isn't well written. This is cyberpunk isn't it? I'm in your target audience! Yet I'm not confident about the quality of the book after reading a blurb that drags so much. My suggestion is to use a different blurb where you can.

The next issue is reviews. You need more of them. Specifically, you need enough on Amazon to bring your ranking up. When I searched on the novel title, your Eidolon didn't appear on the first page. That's a big deal. The best reviews are those from readers whose also-boughts belong in the same categories as your book. A month after publication, you might need to push hard to encourage reviews. (Remember not to offer trades for reviews. That will get you in trouble.)

What I saw in Amazon's Look Inside was good. I don't see any major turn-offs with your story opening.

So, how can you convince readers to look?

Build your network more quickly. My recommendation is to join Queer Sci Fi (https://queerscifi.com) then all the M/M groups on Facebook and Goodreads that look good to you. Talk about your book when each group offers an opportunity. Other places to consider are offline Pride events. (Tip: Bring cards to hand out.)

Good luck. I will take another look at your book, because it is the type that should show up in my recommendations.

Thank you for your impressions. I appreciate your honesty.

I had a lot of back and forth about the cover, and in the end I felt I was under pressure to accept this cover due to time restraints. I think the bigger problem was that neither the artist nor the go-between from the publisher seemed to know what my book was about and we had a lot of miscommunications.

At this point, I suspect that the blurb might be causing the issues, and I do regret not workshopping it more. However, I also find it frustrating that I've had no support in constructing the blurb from anyone who does have marketing experience, because I am very ill-equipped to market a cross-genre M/M book with my lack of experience and the complexity of this story. Even if I feel this is the most accurate representation of the book without revealing spoilers, I guess it's not attracting people.

aetherpen
10-10-2018, 08:16 PM
I just noticed something that I'm slightly concerned about:

Earlier, I mentioned that my book had been incorrectly labeled in terms of genre on NetGalley. For some reason, my publisher chose the genre as "Mystery/Thriller" instead of what I described it as (Science Fiction). The book has a substantial mystery subplot, but I would not describe it as genre mystery or thriller.

Only recently, I noticed that the book has also been categorized under mystery/thriller-like tags on Amazon as well.

Again, I totally get that the crossover genre of the book makes categorization tricky, but I'm concerned that classifying the book under mystery/thriller when it doesn't exactly follow the structure of genre mystery may hurt reviews (by causing incorrect reader expectations) and possibly sales. Does anyone have any insight or advice?

Thanks very much in advance.

lizmonster
10-10-2018, 08:24 PM
Only recently, I noticed that the book has also been categorized under mystery/thriller-like tags on Amazon as well.

Are you in a position to speak with your publisher about this? Because this is under their control (AFAIK; it was with mine). I don't know how much actual damage this sort of mis-genre-ing does, but it's for sure not doing you any favors (BTDT).

veinglory
10-10-2018, 08:54 PM
"Naked torsos" sell books (or moody handsome manface, two different men in dynamic poses, or other MM genre-specific signals). Unless it misrepresents the book in some way, you need a really good reason to avoid them. I would not suspect that cover was M/M at all.