I don’t know about you, but I receive hundreds of AutoDMs (automated direct messages) on Twitter, or private messages on Facebook, or private messages on Instagram, or emails, or some kind of autogenerated spam repeatedly, throughout each day, everywhere from authors:
How many of you ask this of your followers on a daily basis? How many of you are the victim of this on a daily basis?
What’s interesting to me is that I’m not these authors’ demographic (worth noting: authors ARE my demographic). I’m another author. So, what’s their strategy? Who are they targeting? Are they targeting at all? Why are they spamming every single person who follows them with these same messages?
If you ask them, they’ll insist they’re not spamming *shocked face* — they’re providing much-needed information. Riiiiight.
And most importantly, with this barrage of auto messages from many people daily, what’s in it for the reader? Why would a reader want to go out of their way for someone they don’t know at all, and do something that’s time-consuming (e.g., read your book, write a review, subscribe to your newsletter) and risk their free time, when they have a life that’s already time-consuming, full of other firm commitments? They won’t.
I think you’ll agree with me when I say this is the laziest of lazy marketing. There’s no story, no context, no value. I promise you there are easier and more effective ways to connect with readers and I’m going to give you specific tips today to do just that.
You need to do better if you want to earn your readers’ attention. How? Let’s deconstruct.
First things first: remove your automated welcome message.
I wrote an article awhile back about all the different options besides an AutoDM you have to welcome new followers (regardless of the channel), which you can read here. Each channel offers many visual opportunities for you to let readers know what you do and who you are, so employ those. Make your branding clear. An automated message is a cockroach, and is, in all likelihood, causing you to lose followers.
Quick Tips: Instead of an auto-message, interact with people, retweet or share someone’s post, visit their blog and leave a comment. Social media is about being social and building relationships. An auto-generated message is the complete opposite of that. Provide rich, value-added content.
**Reminder: don’t click on links in DM! This is a great way for hackers, scammers, and phishers to gain control of your account. They will frequently ask you to provide personal info (email, passwords, etc.) and boom, you’ve given away crucial account info. Often, all it takes is a simple click and you’ve downloaded a virus. Simple solution: unfollow or block.**
We’ve discussed content marketing here and on the recent #BookMarketingChat with Aaron Orendorff (links provided so review both if you haven’t already). As writers, our job is to market our work (like it or not — get over yourself if you think you don’t have to market — there are no magical fairies waiting to do it for you unless you hire us).
Marketing is not spamming links. Spamming links is spam.
No matter how you dress it up, call it something else, or rationalize it in your head, sending repeated links to readers to ‘Buy my book!’, it’s still spam.
This is where you step up and learn about content marketing for authors, which is about helping others, not yourself (though in a way it does). Providing rich, value-added content that helps people learn about various topics (whatever it is that you’ve decided is interesting to you and want people to know more about) ultimately helps people want to follow you and learn more about you — ergo, read your blog and buy your books.
See how that works? Pow, boom, mind exploding.
Quick Tips: To quickly find branded content to share, use free apps like Right Relevance, UpContent, Flipboard, or try this new social media management tool, PromoRepublic.com. It’s like Hootsuite, Buffer, and Canva all combined into one, with scheduling, content suggestions, and pre-made visuals you stick your logo on. Here’s an example below. You can click here for a free trial.
**Full disclosure: This PromoRepublic.com link is an affiliate link. I also think it’s totally awesome. You don’t have to use my link to sign up but if you do, I’m grateful.**
Here’s another cool visual showing my book as a logo (plus the visual is pretty):
In our last #BookMarketingChat with Barb Drozdowich, we discussed how to make our newsletters interesting. What most authors focused on, however, is how to increase their newsletter sign-ups. I’m here to tell you, it’s not a numbers game. My lists are not huge and I’m cool with that. Why? Because my open rate is good, and my unsubscribe rate is very low.
I have a dedicated, core group of fans and readers, and I don’t spam them with unnecessary shit that’s stuck on The Rachel Channel. I offer them unique tips I don’t offer anywhere else, recommendations for books and articles I’ve found helpful, and insider information I want to pass along. (If you want to sign up for my newsletter, here’s the link.)
Quick Tips: When my new books are getting close to release, I provide snippets only for their viewing, ask them politely with my inside voice to sign up to beta-read, and inform them about any contests or giveaways. It’s important not to demand people take time away from their lives to do things for me — if they want to help, cool. If I’m adding increased work to their day though? Not cool.
More on newsletter tips here from Barb.
None of the above matters if your books suck. I had a great chat with Kristen Lamb recently, and we discussed how our first books needed a lot of work. Even born writers write terrible first drafts. And second drafts. And on and on and on.
In fact, my first two books aren’t even available at this point because I feel my writing is a lot better now — some of the writing is those first books might be salvageable and I may work some of it into future books with major editing (not sure yet), but I have enough humility to realize it needs work, and may never see the light of day again.
Writers need to be humble. If your work isn’t spectacular, don’t release it. Work with a critique group, ask beta-readers to give you feedback, hire a terrific editor, and make your book amazing before you release it. If it’s not where you want it to be, wait. I truly believe our books let us know when they’re ready for the world to read them.
Whether you go self-pub, hybrid, or traditional (I’ve done all three), the marketing process is the same — on you. Publishing companies don’t do all your book marketing and PR — even for hugely popular writers (why do you think J.K. Rowling and Stephen King are on Twitter?).
Do the work.
Writers say they don’t have time to market their books, so that’s why they spam links on social media. Sadly, this is how that rationalization comes across to readers:
Change your paradigm, writers. Make time for your readers if you want your readers to make time for you.
For a more detailed plan on developing your book marketing,
purchase Rachel’s new book,
The BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge now on Amazon!
Already a 5-Star Reader’s Favorite!
Rachel Thompson is the author of newly released BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge: How to energize your book sales in a month - created to help authors market their book. She is also the author of Broken Places (one of IndieReader's "Best of 2015" top books and 2015 Honorable Mention Winner in the San Francisco Book Festival), and the multi award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed. She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington Post, IndieReader.com, The San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly. Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs, #BookMarketingChat (co-hosted with Melissa Flickinger) and #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with certified therapist/survivor, Bobbi Parish all live Twitter chats. She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.