I was asked to speak this past Saturday, at an Indie Author Day at my local library. It’s interesting to me that even when I speak to people who have heard me several times, there are always new questions. I love that, because it gives me insight into what the world is like out there for indie authors–even those who have been doing this for quite some time.
For our Thanksgiving Week post, I decided to share some of what was asked and answered.
- I hired someone to do my Facebook and Twitter who was an expert in my subject area, but after six months I didn’t see a bump in sales. I also had some speaking events and didn’t get any new attendees from the social media outreach. Why is social media important given what I’ve experienced? First of all, social media does not increase sales on it’s own. Social media helps you build an audience or community, but you still need to motivate your followers to do something in order to see a result. Combining consistent social media with some marketing of your pages or books (boosting posts on Facebook is an example) is a more strategic plan for generating book sales. Also, I asked her why she was using Twitter and why not Instagram? As it happens her books are about animals–and animals (especially cats) are super popular on photo based platforms like Instagram. I explained that social media isn’t a generic platform. It is made up of various tools that you can use based on what you are trying to accomplish and who you are trying to reach.
- I’ve tried to get reviewed in the major newspaper in my area. When I reached the book person she said because my book was published by a self-publishing platform it wasn’t eligible for review. Is that true and how am I supposed to get book reviews? Yes, it is true that the major newspapers–think of the top 25 by circulation–will not review self-published books and even those published by very small indie presses. There are simply too many books and too little space. Also, reviewers haven’t achieved the level of trust yet with indie authors or perhaps your publisher, to determine what is going to be worth their time to cover. Book reviews on blogs and in publications that favor indie books as well as some local papers and online sites are obtainable. Some examples are Foreword Magazine, San Francisco Book Review, and Publishers Weekly’s “Book Life” platform.
- I was in the newspaper business but the local papers are all gone. Or they’ve been bought out by corporate syndicates and they have little to no staff on hand to cover books. How can I get local coverage? It’s true that there are many local papers that have been absorbed into corporations. Usually there is one features person who covers several at one time. But there are also local glossy magazines, which tend to have staff writers because they reap the benefits of local businesses advertising. Indie authors can check out people who are freelancing, because they may be submitting pieces to the syndicates or some of the locally focused online outlets. Finally, try the “free” papers in your area. They are often looking for very locally based stories and will copy information from a press release.
If you have a question email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Question for Blog” in the subject line. I will answer in a forthcoming blog. I would love to hear from you!