LB Dunbar (@lbdunbarwrites) asks “Where to find potential readers…is it really FB, Twitter, FB groups?” AuthorCEO Naomi Blackburn explains.
Let’s break it down.
One of the things I tell every client is that being an indie author (heck, any kind of author) is a business. To be successful a business must have visibility. Unlike a business with a brick and mortar site, indie authors have to depend on social media to garner the visibility they need for sales. Consider it your storefront.
WRITE IT AND THEY WILL COME?
Let’s compare Indie authors to local mom and pop retailers, who do no advertising. Their ability for growth is limited. They are dependent upon word of mouth to increase business. There are a limited number of people who know of and frequent their store, therefore the number of people who can spread the word regarding the excellence of their product is limited and so is their potential growth. The same is true for Indie authors.
Indie authors do not have the benefit of a storefront working for them. Their “storefronts” are their social media pages and websites. Those are the outlets that will attract potential readers
Consider the number of ISBNs issued per year. In that flood of new books, what makes yours stand out? Without letting readers know it is there, who will buy it?
I coined a term saying there is a “write it and they will come” mentality among some authors. This is a sure-fire recipe for disaster. Without marketing, your book becomes lost in a sea of books. Social media allows authors to go directly to their customer base and shine a light on their book. This can be accomplished in a number of ways but, social media is at the center of all of them.
WHAT DOES SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING LOOK LIKE?
Now that we have established the need for it, let’s talk about what Social Media Marketing looks like. To do this, I am going back to my storefront example.
First, when a successful business comes to mind, what does it look like? Is it clean, uncluttered and organized or does it have dirty windows and garbage strewn throughout the store? Where would you prefer to spend your hard earned money? On the latter example, what does it tell you about the owner? Does it say that this person is successful? More than likely, it does not.
What does your social media say about you? Are you unique in your postings? Are you petty and argumentative? Do you interact with your contacts? Are you gracious? Do you network with other authors or treat them as competitors to be slammed or degraded at any opportunity? In short, what does your store window look like when potential customers peer in?
I used to watch a show called Bar Rescue. On one episode, an underperforming bar had a particularly detrimental issue. It was located in a spot that had 200 other bars within a very small radius. They were competing with one another. Sound familiar? The solution was simple enough. Several of the bars came together to do bar hops. They devised promotions, giveaways, special drinks and attractions to entice customers to their bars. I loved this idea when I saw it on this show. They knew there were more than enough customers to go around but rather than get competitive, they figured out a way to work together to draw more customers into their establishments.
FACEBOOK, TWITTER, AND GOODREADS
I loved the concept even more when I saw an author friend of mine do the same kind of concept with a competitor author. They took over each other’s Facebook pages for the day. Not only did they discuss their works, but they had fun talking about their pets and other topics that really got each other’s fan bases going. What was the end result? Each other gained a new set of fans that if they hadn’t been on social media and played nice in the virtual sandbox, would never have occurred.
So now that we have gotten Facebook and Twitter out of the way, let’s talk Goodreads. I constantly have authors say to me that they don’t want to be on Goodreads because it is drama central. As a Goodreads top one percent reviewer, I agree. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t go onto Goodreads. I call Goodreads the equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel. Although people complain, there is no single site that can offer a better place to find a concentration of readers gathered to discuss a love of books.
So, how to survive Goodreads? Stay above the drama. Yes, it really is that simple. Go in, do your work and get out. It couldn’t be any easier than that. Goodreads isn’t somewhere you need to spend hours a day in and get deep into the weeds of hanging on every drama and crisis going on. I am reminded of a situation I had with a former coworker who liked to micromanage her staff. Our Chief Operating Officer told her that she had too much time on her hands if she had time to micromanage every step they took. What a BAM statement!
If you have time to get involved in the drama that is pervasive throughout Goodreads, you are mismanaging your work time. Goodreads is a marketing tool….nothing more; nothing less. How to avoid this? Train yourself. Train yourself to go in, get done only what you need to do, make your presence known then get out. The best way to start is to make a list. Do not allow yourself to deviate from that list. Check off as you complete items. Once that list is complete for the day, get out until the next day. I tell authors that Goodreads should take no more than 15 to 30 minutes per day. The longer one floats around, the easier it is to get caught up in the fray.
As I’ve stated in this post, social media is a must for any author or small business. It is your storefront. Because this is such an important topic, I have written several articles on both Badredhead Media and The Author CEO so be sure to check them out for more information on your various options and how to navigate them.
Naomi Blackburn, owner of The Author CEO, a consultation firm dedicated to helping independent authors navigate the development of strategic business plans and the marketing world, holds an MBA and has worked in the field of business development, sales and consulting for 12 years. A former social worker, she has helped hundreds of clients meet their life goals. A top 1% Goodreads reviewer, she comes to the world of books from a reader/reviewer’s perspective. She strives to help authors achieve their goals by teaching them to think of themselves as CEO/entrepreneur of a small business and helping them negotiate the business side of selling books.