The Majority Rule – Marketing your E-Book on Social Media

This morning I logged into Facebook and as is my custom I browsed through my newsfeed to see what my lovely friends were up to.

Startup Stock Photos

As I browsed I noticed a post by a friend I hadn’t seen in awhile so I followed … nay, stalked her back to her wall. What I found on her wall made me cry a little in my heart. Her wall consisted of promotional post after promotional post after promotional post with little to NO content beyond: Here’s my book! Buy it!

Guys. And Gals. We need to talk. Please, please, please don’t do this. Online marketing is a delicate, fickle, cranky beast. The surest way to drive away business is to dedicate your online presence to promoting your products. Places like Amazon or Ebay can get away with that because they’re geared toward selling products, people go there to FIND products but social media is different. People friend or follow on Facebook to be entertained, not to be marketed to.

If you spend all your social media time promoting your product, you are that door to door salesman people used to hate. Don’t be the door to door man. Be better than that.

Okay, so, how DO you use your social media effectively? And how will people know to buy your stuff if you’re not telling them about it constantly???

It’s not as intimidating or as complicated as it seems.

Step One

Branding. Everything you do online should link back to everything else you do. You need to make yourself visible and you do this by making sure your Twitter, Facebook, Webpage and other social media sources (Instagram, Youtube, etc) look, sound and feel the same. If possible use a name that crosses all these platforms. If you’re Jane Doe on Facebook, be Jane Doe on Twitter and your Webpage too. This way if someone stumbles upon you on, say, Instagram, where you NEVER promote, they’ll be able to track you back to Facebook where you DO promote. But what if people don’t track you back? Oh, they will. People online are creepy like that… I mean, lovely! They’re LOVELY like that.

Also, keep your imagery and style consistent throughout all of these pages. If you check out my Facebook Page (N.R.Tupper), Twitter (also N.R.Tupper) and Webpage (this blog and/or penrbrown.wix.com/nrtupper) you’ll notice my header image in each is art from my novel. No matter where I go, my novel is being pimped if people take a glance at my page. I don’t have to say a word, all my branding does it for me.

Step Two

The Majority Rule. The majority of everything you post online should not be promotion. Post funny pictures. Post funny stories. Post helpful blog posts. Post your thoughts or opinions. Heck, talk about the writing process! (People enjoy commiserating about creating). And once in a blue moon, when the cheese is high in the sky, post a link to your novel. Scroll through your Facebook wall or Twitter, do it right now.

Is your wall all promotional (look at my novel! Look at my novel! Look at my novel! PLEASE BUY MY NOVEL!)? Change that.

Put yourself in the shoes of a consumer. If you friended someone on Facebook and they only ever posted links to their books wouldn’t you find that tiresome? People want to connect with you. They want to talk to you. They want to know who you are beyond what you’re selling.

So show them.

And have fun! For goodness sake! Your biggest supporters will be those people you connect with on a deeper level than; ‘Buy my book!’

Step Three

When you do advertise and/or post your links to your novel make sure you are representing as best as you can. Dot your i’s, cross your t’s, decorate your advertisement as spiffily as is possible. If you feel comfortable doing so, share your adverts with trusted friends who can help you tidy it up and make it better.

It’s a sad reality but the outside really does count. People who don’t know you WILL discredit you if your advertisement isn’t the best it can be. Nobody will take you seriously if it looks like you slapped a picture in paint and just randomly put text on top.

Take a few minutes to read some online tutorials. Spiffy! Just make things spiffy! You CAN do it! It just takes some effort to learn.

Step Four

Be responsive. If somebody comments on your posts respond! And do it as soon as you can. The more responsive you are, the more people will speak to you. NOBODY likes it when they speak and they’re ignored, so don’t ignore people. They’ve taken the time to read and respond to your post so take the time to respond to their response.


In the end social media marketing isn’t that complicated, instead it can be a lot of fun. What’s more fun than making new friends, chatting about things you love and maybe, on the side, selling a book or two?

So get out there! And get marketing!

Peace!

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Pirated Books and Just Say No

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I debated posting this. Honestly if you’re the sort who is trying to obtain ebooks (some of which are sometimes as low as $2!) illegally then maybe you deserve what you get… but in the end I decided I’m not that person. I’m the sort of person who will warn you that your illegal activity may have real consequences.

Some of you may have heard I have a book coming out this May (TYR – pre-order it and I’ll love you long time), but for those who haven’t, now you know.

The thing is, NOBODY has a copy of this book. Amazon has an unpublished copy but that’s it. I have a few betas who have copies but I’m 99.9% sure none of them have shared it with anyone.

So here’s the thing. Despite my book being in only the most trusted hands, it has somehow popped up on book pirating websites. Websites that promise you can download the book FREE… except, not really because you have to sign up and become a member.

I promise you, give them your credit card number and all you’ll find is charges on your card and absolutely NONE of the books you hoped you could download.

That said, even if they WERE to give you that book for free, it isn’t worth it. Seriously, if you’re so hard up for money that you can’t afford $2, just message me. I’ll give you the book free AND you won’t have to worry about viruses and being flagged by the FBI, CIA and Ghostbusters.

Although asking a creator to hand over their work for free is kind of low, especially when they’re not asking much for it to begin with.

Live with integrity. Someone worked hard to write that book, that movie or that TV show. Before you try to find ways to obtain it illegally (because you can’t afford it), think about the people you’re screwing over. If you can’t afford it, you shouldn’t have it. Simple as that.

“But N.R. I bet you download things all the time!” In my youth, I did, but I have since changed my ways. I waited over a year to watch Guardians of the Galaxy because I waited until I could afford it. I don’t listen or watch anything I haven’t paid for. Most of the time paying for it can cost as little as $5 if I wait long enough and really I’m willing to wait. At LEAST the producer of the product will still receive some level of repayment if I wait until it’s on discount.

In the case of ebooks I find illegal downloading particularly egregious (especially from self-published authors) because most ebooks are either free or as cheap as $2! Seriously? You can’t wait to save 2 freaking dollars????

Right. That’s it. That’s my rant for the day.

And I’m serious about that offer, btw. If you really can’t afford to buy my book, hit me up. I’ll get you a copy for free and with no legal risks included. But if you CAN afford it, please consider buying it. I’ve worked my butt off to provide a novel I hoped people would enjoy and that money will go toward helping me prepare and write more.

Thanks guys!

Peace!

INKSHARES and other ‘new’ publishing models

Inkshares is a new concept to me. It popped up in a Facebook conversation and I decided to check it out. The girl who directed me to it was saying that she only needed to sell 10 more pre-orders before they would publish her book… what?

I ran over to Inkshares and set up a quick book profile. Fake, of course. I have no interest in publishing in this particular format but I wanted to see what would happen. So I threw up my silly little idea, a tiny, hastily written excerpt and … left it there.

Oh wait, I think I sent out a pitch but I had no idea what the heck I was doing so I left that alone and turned the site off and went on about my business.

Here’s the basic model of Inkshares – before I continue with how my experiment ended:

Inkshares is a publishing company that will publish your novel IF you can prove it will sell. How do you prove it will sell? You post your idea on the page and try to find followers. Followers will hopefully become buyers, eventually. From what I gathered in my brief time there, you are expected to post sample chapters to garner interest in the story.

Now, when the manuscript is ready, you post up a ‘pre-order’. People who liked your sample chapters and who are interested, buy a pre-order. If you manage to sell enough pre-orders, Inkshares will edit the book, dress it for marketing and ‘publish it for you’! And, of course, they will take a large commission and leave you with a royalty.

Soooo much wrong with this. So much. SO MUCH. I mean, I can’t even start. Okay, I can.

  1. Wait, what? So the only way you can publish your book is if you are ALREADY good at marketing? AND YOU HAVE TO POST UNEDITED PIECES OF IT FOR PEOPLE TO VIEW TO ENTICE THEM TO BUY INTO YOUR NOVEL? What?
  2. Inkshares, dude, really? Your job, as a publisher, is to screen books YOURSELF and decide if they are marketable or not. This model certainly works for you but it puts all the effort on the part of your consumer and your authors. Clever, clever, but also shady.
  3. The system is flawed and my experiment will show you how.
  4. Most writers I know are terrible marketers… that’s why we hire publishers, because we just want to write.

After two weeks with my fake profile and silly little blurb up, I have been steadily gaining followers every day. I’ve done nothing to encourage this, just quietly watched as the numbers have bumped up. They are all writers desperate to get other writers to support them. Congratulations, Inkshares, you’ve created a community by writers, for writers… this is basically like every writing group on Facebook where all these writers are desperately trying to sell their books to each other.

This is not your audience. If you are a writer, this is most definitely not your audience. You want readers, not writers who are trying to sell their ideas.

Now, I’m sure there are plenty of people who could explain better than I have why this is a terrible platform for writers BUT I’m not those people. I’m just me and for me I think there are better ways for writers to get their work published.

That said, if you HAVE used Inkshares and they HAVE published your novel please do comment! I’d love to hear your experience and maybe you can prove me wrong? Maybe you’ve been madly successful and it has been the best experience of your life! If so, tell me!

For the rest of you. Keep writing. Keep pushing. Keep studying your craft. Don’t give up, but don’t fall for every scheme out there either!

Don’t forget to check out my website: penrbrown.wix.com/nrtupper

This blog will be infrequently updated because that’s how I roll but all my new releases will be updated on that webpage.

Peace!