How to promote your book like an intelligent human being and not an SEO Dweeb

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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

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Slaven

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There are so many promotional techniques. SEO, SEM, Social media etc.

It all depends on your gaols. Branding takes one way, profits another. You want to sell more books? You need a good plan for it. People usually overpay some things while not even considering some cheaper and more effective ways to promote their product.

I'm a new author but quite experienced in digital marketing so ask me anything. 😌
 

Richard White

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I wish I had thought to take pictures when I was doing that back in Monterey in the 80s. I used to be an apprentice armorer/swordsmith in the SCA. One of my tasks was to cold forge a broadsword. I remember beating on that piece of steel for months. Then when it finally passed muster, the master armorer took it and stuck it in the fire and said, now that you know how to do it, do it again.

I damn near cried, but the second one went much better. And then I was just starting to learn hot forging when my time at DLI ran out and I had to leave Monterey. *sigh*

I have to admit, my arms were in the best shape they'd ever been after whanging on that lump of steel with a 5 pound hammer.


That's a great example of something to write about.

How to take a piece of steel (with pictures, even cell phone pictures) and make it into a sword.

  • Short posts over a series of weeks would be ideal. One a week, even. Aim for a length per post of 300 to 500 words; 750 tops.
  • Try to have an image in each post, if you can.
  • Have an image of your book and a link to a page about it and how to buy it in the sidebar of each post.
 
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Has anyone taken the time to compile all the amazing advice in this thread, updated it, and made it available to the lazy man in one easily clickable link?
 

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Has anyone taken the time to compile all the amazing advice in this thread, updated it, and made it available to the lazy man in one easily clickable link?

It's just one thread, and the conversations here are a big part of the advice given. You can't separate the talk from the information without losing a lot of the value.
 

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I've printed out this post (something I don't do often) because I will use it as a guide while I am creating my third web site. Thank you for the advice, Medievalist.
 

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Here's a little dilemma that I have: I post book videos on youtube. If any of you are not aware of it, there is a fairly tight community on youtube of book reviewers called booktube. I started booktube before I decided to self publish a book, and I don't have a lot of subscribers (1500 or so) but I am very engaging with the people who do follow me. Most of us follow each other and comment on each other's videos and reply to each other's comments on a fairly regular basis. So what would the protocol be for commenting on reviews of my books in this instance? If I am already subscribed to the person and already comment on their videos in regular situations.
 

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Here's a little dilemma that I have: I post book videos on youtube. If any of you are not aware of it, there is a fairly tight community on youtube of book reviewers called booktube. I started booktube before I decided to self publish a book, and I don't have a lot of subscribers (1500 or so) but I am very engaging with the people who do follow me. Most of us follow each other and comment on each other's videos and reply to each other's comments on a fairly regular basis. So what would the protocol be for commenting on reviews of my books in this instance? If I am already subscribed to the person and already comment on their videos in regular situations.

You can say thank you.

Never ever say anything about a review of your own book other than thank you. And if saying thank you is going to make you want to say something more, don't even do that.

Commenting on your own reviews is the author's big mistake. It never ever ends well. Reviews aren't for you; they're for readers, so mostly, they are not your business.
 

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You can say thank you.

Never ever say anything about a review of your own book other than thank you. And if saying thank you is going to make you want to say something more, don't even do that.

Came back to this thread to say precisely this.

The only exception I can think of is if there are factual errors in the review that might be problematic. In that case, I'd only respond if the review had a really large readership/viewership, and I'd stick with correcting the factual errors and commenting on nothing else. (And the only reason I think of this exception is because it happened to me, I didn't respond, and it genuinely hurt me professionally.)

ETA: And yeah, really, don't do that either, unless it's on Good Morning America or something. I may very well have made it worse if I'd responded; I'll never know. Best to stick with a smile and a "thank you" for a good review - and as a booktuber, you could drive some traffic to their channel as well.
 
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ETA: And yeah, really, don't do that either, unless it's on Good Morning America or something. I may very well have made it worse if I'd responded; I'll never know. Best to stick with a smile and a "thank you" for a good review - and as a booktuber, you could drive some traffic to their channel as well.

That's so tricky, and the hindsight thing is maddening, too. Everyone's situation is different; but I can see where some things would have to be contradicted, depending on the audience (if it's a blog that 5 people read, I wouldn't and haven't).

And there's sometimes the option of not directly engaging, but, particularly if you don't respond immediately or specifically, responding on your own space later, without linking or naming names, etc.
 

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I just skimmed the thread, but the little bits I did slow down and read carefully were helpful! I'm planning to self publish one of my novels to keep myself from going insane with all the waiting that comes with traditional publishing. I'm doing a crowdfunding thing for it on Publisherizer and noticed that while my followers, friends, and family respond to my posts and tweets about anything but my book, they seem to ignore the few tweets I do make promoting my book.

I post I got a request from an agent about the ms I'm taking a traditional route for, I get a dozen likes in an hour. I share a link to my book that I am self publishing, I get a like from my mother and no one else. I haven't been spamming people. I posted once before I launched the campaign, once when I launched and one or twice after. I have been blogging about the experience, but my blogs have been more what someone else in the thread described as publishing journey diaries. And people have been reading them, but probably to decide if they want to try something similar, or avoid it.

At first, I was thinking the hive mind was telling me not to bother with self-publishing, but really, they just didn't want to be marketed to. Period. If I want to sell my book, they are not the ones who are going to buy it help me promote it. It took me about two days to get that message. I think some people never get it. When I have more time, I will read this thread in more depth to figure out the right way to do things.

Thank you!
 

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I'm planning to self publish one of my novels to keep myself from going insane with all the waiting that comes with traditional publishing.

I am very uncomfortable with your use of "going insane" here. It minimises the problems faced by people with mental health issues, and that's not nice. I'd be grateful if you'd not use this sort of language here.

And it's "trade publishing".

I'm doing a crowdfunding thing for it on Publisherizer and noticed that while my followers, friends, and family respond to my posts and tweets about anything but my book, they seem to ignore the few tweets I do make promoting my book.

I post I got a request from an agent about the ms I'm taking a traditional route for, I get a dozen likes in an hour. I share a link to my book that I am self publishing, I get a like from my mother and no one else. I haven't been spamming people. I posted once before I launched the campaign, once when I launched and one or twice after. I have been blogging about the experience, but my blogs have been more what someone else in the thread described as publishing journey diaries. And people have been reading them, but probably to decide if they want to try something similar, or avoid it.

At first, I was thinking the hive mind was telling me not to bother with self-publishing, but really, they just didn't want to be marketed to. Period. If I want to sell my book, they are not the ones who are going to buy it help me promote it. It took me about two days to get that message. I think some people never get it. When I have more time, I will read this thread in more depth to figure out the right way to do things.

Thank you!

If your friends and family can't yet buy or order the book you are probably wasting your time promoting the book for now.

You're right that people don't want to be marketed to. People want to engage in conversations on social media. The people who are best at social media make very very few self-promotional posts or tweets. They just have fun, make friends, and are generally interesting and entertaining.
 

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- - -

Came back to this thread to say precisely this.

The only exception I can think of is if there are factual errors in the review that might be problematic. In that case, I'd only respond if the review had a really large readership/viewership, and I'd stick with correcting the factual errors and commenting on nothing else. (And the only reason I think of this exception is because it happened to me, I didn't respond, and it genuinely hurt me professionally.)

.

I recently experienced a good example of this. There's a British author, who is a Facebook friend of mine and who has just published a book which is getting fantastic reviews in all of the UK mainstream media. She has finally hit the big time, I believe, and it's also a very good book. On one of her private Facebook posts she complained that a certain reviewer in a very presitigious magazine had made a factual error -- can't remember the details now but will post later. She said she normally would never reply to a review but when it's a factual error, then the author should do so and it should be de-stigmatized. I do agree with this.
 
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Helix

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Is it the best idea to name and reveal publicly what someone has said on their FB page? You could get the point across without naming the author.
 

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She said she normally would never reply to a review but when it's a factual error, then the author should do so and it should be de-stigmatized. I do agree with this.

(This is OT at this point, sorry!)

My case was a little fuzzier, in that the blogger (who's also an established author) didn't name the book, and clearly hadn't read it, but managed to use it as an example of What Not To Do. (Won't go into detail, but yes, I'm 99.9% certain they were talking about my book, and even if they weren't, it was a remarkably spiteful thing to do to a debut author.) When people asked in comments, they PM'd the title, so I've no doubt word got around. And this blog has a LARGE audience. I've actually had to block this person on Twitter, because folks I like follow them and sometimes retweet them.

And maybe they really didn't do me any damage. I'll never know. But it was a shocking article nonetheless, and I do wish I'd had the presence of mind to come up with a pithy response, never mind all the people advising me to ignore it.
 

Fuchsia Groan

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(This is OT at this point, sorry!)

My case was a little fuzzier, in that the blogger (who's also an established author) didn't name the book, and clearly hadn't read it, but managed to use it as an example of What Not To Do. (Won't go into detail, but yes, I'm 99.9% certain they were talking about my book, and even if they weren't, it was a remarkably spiteful thing to do to a debut author.) When people asked in comments, they PM'd the title, so I've no doubt word got around. And this blog has a LARGE audience. I've actually had to block this person on Twitter, because folks I like follow them and sometimes retweet them.

And maybe they really didn't do me any damage. I'll never know. But it was a shocking article nonetheless, and I do wish I'd had the presence of mind to come up with a pithy response, never mind all the people advising me to ignore it.

That sounds like an awful (and delicate) situation; I'm sorry you had to deal with it.

I had an error in a (negative) trade review. I didn't respond. Then I saw the error repeated in a prominent media outlet's blurb of the book. At that point, I tweeted a correction of the error without naming the origin. Doubt any of it mattered much, but for me as a reader, this particular error MIGHT have been a deal breaker on the book.

As a reviewer, I sometimes get thanks from authors. Totally fine. Totally open to hearing about factual errors, too, because we want to get things right. Emails explaining how I didn't understand the point of the book? No, thanks.

Returning to the more general promo topic: I just published (in a regional newspaper) a mini-review of a local self-published space opera that was awesome. Like, a total surprise to me, as someone who doesn't even normally read space opera. I only knew about this author and her trilogy because I met her at a local reading organized by a blog that promotes SF/geek culture. So find your local networks and work them!
 

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I am very uncomfortable with your use of "going insane" here. It minimises the problems faced by people with mental health issues, and that's not nice. I'd be grateful if you'd not use this sort of language here.

Sorry if I offended you. I have a lot of mental health issues and tend to use that phrase more than I should when talking about myself and my problems...I guess I could have said something along the lines of "to keep my publishing related anxiety in check."
 
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frimble3

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I'm doing a crowdfunding thing for it on Publisherizer and noticed that while my followers, friends, and family respond to my posts and tweets about anything but my book, they seem to ignore the few tweets I do make promoting my book.

I post I got a request from an agent about the ms I'm taking a traditional route for, I get a dozen likes in an hour. I share a link to my book that I am self publishing, I get a like from my mother and no one else. I haven't been spamming people. I posted once before I launched the campaign, once when I launched and one or twice after. I have been blogging about the experience, but my blogs have been more what someone else in the thread described as publishing journey diaries. And people have been reading them, but probably to decide if they want to try something similar, or avoid it.
And, following on Old Hack's
If your friends and family can't yet buy or order the book you are probably wasting your time promoting the book for now.
they probably can't think of much to say about it. At this point, if you're still fundraising, they can't really say much about the book, they haven't got it, they haven't read it, and recommending it to others is sort of speculative. It's hard to get enthusiastic under the circumstances. Especially if the only thing they can apparently do at this point is pony up for the fundraiser.
I would say continue with what works. If people are reading the 'publishing journey diaries', give'em more of that. For non-writers, it's probably an interesting look at things they haven't considered. Not just the publishing, but how an author makes decisions about a story, etc. Tell them how you decided how the magic works, how you decided what's in your 'North-East' area, etc. Why does your cover look the way it does?
And, if it's does as a description of the 'publication journey', it doesn't sound "Buy it! Buy it!" but it piques interest.
I bought a friend's book, not in my preferred genre, based on her description of how she had 'designed' the clothes. I wanted to see what the end result was.
 

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This is a well-written, easily understandable post from WordPress.org on what SEO done right means, and how you, as a writer, can make your site perform better for users/readers and search engines.

The Reality of SEO Basics

When you hear “search engine optimization” — or, more commonly, SEO — you might feel like you’re swimming in alphabet soup. But have no fear: learning SEO basics is not nearly as technical as it may seem. SEO is less about filling your site with the right keywords (what people type into Google searches), and more about writing great content that your audience finds useful. You may be surprised to learn that Google is actually pretty savvy when it comes to figuring out whether or not a website is helpful.

It really is about the writing, about the content, and about readers.
 

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I keep reading that the best way to promote a book is to write a second book. I see how this can help but you still have to learn how to get the book discovered. You can still promote your first book in various ways. The reality is for self-published authors that they seldom sell lots of books online. It is possible but not too be expected. Most sales will come from direct sales. Now, ebooks can be easier to sell online. If you have an opportunity to work around your book and are a public speaker or consultant or offer trainings or workshops you have a good chance to get those direct sales and create a buzz. You can also find events where you can sell books as well. Also, there is always the possibility of possibly publishing with another publisher once self-published and seeing if that expands the market.
 

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Well this ice age dog has learned some tricks. I've been chasing my tail--I forgot the truth about things.

Thanks, Lisa. You have creds to the Moon, dear. Thank you for pointing us in the right direction among this forest of topics and threads.

Kudos and thanks to the contributors of this thread. Soulful and heartfelt, wrapped around integrity.
 

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Some great advice in this thread. I use a guide from a marketing agency: https://www.dropbox.com/s/l9rhqn1ei...keting Guide - Digital Natives Group.pdf?dl=0

It's as good a breakdown as any I’ve seen on the subject and after reading it I found out that some publishing houses will give this to some of their clients. Basically, it’s a guide to creating your communication and strategy. and working through there.

They sent a couple other emails including how to use social. Can send the signup link if anyone's interested.
 
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Dan Rhys

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If anyone is aware of online ad options for authors on very limited budgets, I would be interested in hearing them. Facebook's $30 for ten days is pretty reasonable...I don't know how effective, but certainly acceptable given its outreach. If similar ones exist, I'd be grateful for the insight.
 
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Elizabeth George's book Write Away