Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Guest Blogger : M.J. Kane Publishing & Promoting Yourself and Your Book

So you’ve published a book, are you ready for what comes next?
Marketing, promotions, getting readers to like your work and write a breath taking 5-Star review on every sales platform where your book is sold….
Simple, right?
In theory, but NOT in practice!
Welcome to the world of being a published author! It’s rough, it’s tough, it’s blood (not literally!), sweat, and tears. It takes hours of hard work to secure just one sale. It takes hours of work, funding from your pocket (even if your signed to a publisher), and time to get your face, name, and book before the masses.
**FACT: While it’s great to be able to say, ‘I’ve sold my first book!’, your road to successful sales doesn’t actually start until you’ve sold book number 101.**
Sales of a new product are like the ripples of a rock thrown into a pond. They start out small and spread out over time.
Think about it: no matter what you’re selling- Mary Kay, Avon, or yep, even books- your first sales are usually from friends and family. Eventually you get out of that close nit circle and sell to their friends and extended family. From there, the ripple effect goes further by way of word of mouth sales. By the time you reach your 102nd sale, your reaching readers who are not your direct network of friends. Now you’re reaching the tip of the iceberg when it comes to finding new readers to convert to fans.
The first place most authors go to sale there work is on Facebook. By now you should have an author page created that is under your pen name and not your private page. If not, do it now! As an author, you should separate you friends and family from your professional life. The last thing you want is a potential fan or reader to visit your FB page and read everybody’s business except what has to do with your work. Nope, not cool, not professional, and not selling yourself as an author.
Notice, the operative word in that statement is SELL YOURSELF.

No matter how many books you write, every reader is not going to like your work. Those who do may not feel every story you write is their favorite. Think about your favorite authors. Chances are you have read everything that has their name on it. No matter how outstanding their writing is, or how great the story, there’s at least one book that didn’t quite do it for you. It could have been a character that worked your nerves, or a plot that didn’t grab you. Did that change the way you felt about the author? Probably not. At some point you’ve taken the time to follow the authors career, read interview after interview, watched YouTube videos, or made it to a book signing and met them in person. You grew to like the author and dedicated hours of your life to reading every book they have, even if it’s not one of your favorites. Why? Because they sold you on themselves, not their work.

In this new age of publishing, how do you sell yourself?

Get from behind the computer and away from constant Facebook promotions. Everyone is doing it, and to be honest, after a while, your posts become the annoying commercial you see on TV twenty times a day…you ignore it. Try some of these promotional techniques:

Twitter: Twitter is a billboard the runs 24/7. You don’t have to spend hours a day working it. Instead, invest in programs such as Hootsuite and BufferApp. For a small monthly fee (typically $9.99) you can create an account that will automatically shoot posts into the cyber community at whatever time you want them to go to whatever social networking site you chose. Earn sales while you sleep!

Pinterest: Everybody’s pinning…are you? Create an account with your author name and use it to share things about your book, be it pictures of locations, your ideal character look-a-like, and more. Let readers connect with you outside of your novel.
Instagram: This is a great place to find and connect with readers while sharing a bit of yourself. Be careful about adding images of your kids and family members in order to keep that part of your life separate from your author persona.
Blogging: Yep, a lot of people try to avoid this part of working your author platform, but I promise you, it’s needed. Your blog is all about you. Share your books, current WIP progress, and other things that interest you. Run contests, giveaways, and create dialogue that draws readers to you, and again, allows you to sell yourself.
Once you get these steps down, the next step will be searching out paid promotions. As scary as it sounds, there are some out there that range from FREE to EXPENSIVE. Do what works best for your wallet. Try these techniques:
Do you have a network of authors who blog and have a following? Are they already published and seeing success in their work? Ask to do a guest post on their website. Talk about your work or a topic that is book related. Introduce your stories to their readers. Remember, readers READ!!! Your book is not going to be the only thing they read all year. Voracious readers are like honey bees; they float from book to book, telling their friends about the best ones they’ve read. Once an author has plugged you into their network, reciprocate the favor do the same for them. Ask them to guest post on your blog (see, having a blog comes in handy! You don’t always have to be the only one to come up with content!). Introduce them to your readers and have their readers find you when following their favorite author. Pollinate those flowers!

Check out websites such as BookPinning, and if you write romance, The Romance Reviews. These sites allow you to promote your work for free by uploading your book cover and sales links at no charge, and sharing them with their followers. TRR allows you to create a free account and connect all of your published work in your author profile. If you blog and add their banner to your site, you earn free promo points every month that allows you to create a bigger sales listing on their site, for FREE! (Blogging pays off!!!)
If you have a few bucks to spend, try Ereader News Today. If you meet the qualifications, you can request a promotion that goes out to THOUSANDS of readers with no money being paid up front. You only pay based on documented sales that come from their link, AFTER the promo campaign has been completed. Visit the site to learn the details.
If you’ve got the big bucks, BookBub is the way to go. The big publishers use it all the time, and every author I know who has used it has only had great things to say.

As you see, success in the publishing game takes work. You have to search out and find what works best for you. Don’t be afraid to try something new. And remember, to see success, you have to put in the WORK! Good luck!

M.J. Kane is a stay-at-home mom and bestselling author of the Butterfly Memoirs Series.
For more writing tips, visit her website, She can also be found on most social networking platforms under the name, MJKaneBooks.