The Path to building brand awareness for new, independent, self publishing authors
The general consensus among indie authors and self-publishing marketing companies is to focus on Social Media as the primary way to promote yourself and your book.
I followed that advice and thought it might be of interest to share some of my experiences and describe “how to” go about using Social Media.
The primary social media platforms I use are a website, a blog, a public facebook page, and twitter.
First, The Website. Mine is http://www.lifeofadoubleagent.com. The site development was part of my publishing package with Xlibris, so they developed the site. It includes a book synopsis, an excerpt from the book, the author bio, a way to contact the author, and a place to buy a book, linked to the Xlibris bookstore site. It is a useful part of the total package and has over 14,000 page hits since it was brought online seven months ago.
Second, a Public Facebook Page. I already had a personal Facebook site, so it was easy to add a page specifically devoted to my book activities. The book page is open to the public to get maximum exposure, where my personal Facebook pages are limited to my “friends”. I will have to say the Facebook experience has been less successful than I had hoped. At this time, the LIFE OF A DOUBLE AGENT page has only been “liked” by 133 people.
Third, A Blog. I created a blog, kkerr19963.wordpress.com, using wordpress.com, one of the blog services used by many indie writers. Another service used by authors is blogspot.com. Basically, a blog is the place I use to write postings about myself and my book. The key to a successful blog is writing good content and building an audience who will follow your writings. Building relationships with other bloggers can help, and getting your postings published on other blog sites can be very helpful. Additionally, tweeting about my blog posts is my primary way to build awareness of my blog. During the first seven months, my blog had over 1,100 visitors. I would consider that “limited success” to date, but I continue to work on interesting blog content and promoting it through twitter.
Finally, Twitter. When I published my book in late March 2013, I did not have a twitter account. Since April I have gone from no account to now having approximately 2,200 followers. I routinely send 80 to 100 tweets per week, and retweet others’ tweets 100 to 200 times per week. I use a website, hootesuite.com to pre-program 80 tweets per week, as a time management tool. In my opinion, retweeting is the key to twitter success. By retweeting others’ tweets you build your group of followers, and when they retweet your tweets, you expand your reach and build brand awareness. Use of #hashtags in your tweets and using links to other sites are important to effective use of twitter. One tweet sent by me will go to approximately 2,200 followers. If 6 to 10 of my followers retweet my tweet, that can result in an additional 10,000 to 100,000 people receiving my tweet. There is no question this is an effective way to build awareness of yourself and your product. It is less clear to me how effective twitter is in actually getting people to take action based on a tweet. Clearly people will retweet a tweet. But how many will visit a link mentioned in a tweet? Or, how many will actually take it to the ultimate action, and order a book? My conclusion, at this time, is that an extremely small percentage of people who receive a tweet will click on the link in the tweet. And, an even smaller percent will ultimately order a book. A recent test confirmed my conclusions. During the last two weeks I tweeted four times about a promotional program to offer 50 free e-book copies of my book. All the reader had to do was send me an email requesting the free e-book. The first time I tweeted this message, it was retweeted six times to over 60,000 people. To date, I have received zero emails requesting a free e-book. I have recently begun using twitter more to try to drive people to my blog postings. If I can be more successful with this focus, I believe my results will improve.
Now, here are a few additional comments about other social media activities. I also have a LinkedIn account but use it only occasionally. Goodreads is another site used by most indie authors. Again, I use it infrequently. Another website, Independent Author Network is an excellent site to join that can provide good exposure. And finally, assuming you are selling your book on amazon.com, be sure to join Amazon’s Author Central site. This gives you a more complete exposure on Amazon, and provides a source to tract your sales. Another resource I use for tracking amazon.com sales is NovelRank.com. This site tracks amazon.com sales of all formats; kindle, paperback, and hard cover, and sales data is updated hourly. A great resource.I feel this post has been a little long and rambling. I would be happy to clarify and/or elaborate, if anyone has any comments or questions. Good luck!