Form... as in good form, bad form.
Self-publishing has opened a lot of opportunities for writers, along with creating a tough challenge. Back in the day, when the big six called the shots in the publishing world, there was a biggie they took care of--book promotion. And that is one thing that all self-pubbed authors now must do for themselves.
That involves building a platform. A "launch platform". A social media presence. Recognition. Networking. The best platforms are in place before a book is launched. And that seems to make sense. But, even if you're starting to build late, there' still time.
There are a lot of ways to promote a book: a blog, facebook, and twitter to name just a few. But your own platform isn't enough. You need help. And since we don't have big promotion budgets, we need help from friends.There's more to the puzzle, though. Familiarity and recognition alone aren't
enough to sell books. Ask yourself, why do you buy a book? Reviews? Word of mouth recommendations? Lots of people talking it up?
Face it. Most of us aren't in the big leagues. So we rely on others to get the word around that our books are good.
To be effective, you should build your platform with some things in mind. It takes repeated viewings of your name, the title of your book, what you write, before it becomes recognizable, even familiar to those viewing it. One way of getting your name out there is via multiple sites. Another is to have a network of supporters who will share facebook posts, retweet your news--and write tweets of their own promoting your book, do blog posts about you, blog tours, interviews, reviews...etc.
Here is where we come into good form/bad form. And this can be relative to any aspect of anything we do. But for this post, it's about trying to get your book noticed. In my opinion (which means that you might find no value at all in this) good form goes a long way toward good will and being received well. Acknowledge others. Yes, when someone tweets you, comments on your blog or your facebook wall, reply. Simple, huh? But I see it everyday. The rockstar behavior. Don't do it. It's a turn off. Oh, there's so much more...
Be genuine in your interactions. It's time consuming, but people see past phony. Besides, being genuine makes worthwhile your time spent on platform building. Don't be a complainer or a whiner. Viewers will *click* and you're gone. Don't mess politics with your author pages and accounts. Serious. You're not Hollywood, and will likely turn off way more people than you'll ever sway to your political bent.
Always try to reciprocate a good deed. I can't stress this enough. Use lists on Twitter so you can initiate good deeds with the people who routinely shout out your writing prowess. Offer to read and review for others.
Never, never, never friend someone on goodreads, within a day message them to ask them to review your book, and include the link to the book's Amazon page where they can BUY your book so they can review it. Ha! You ask, why would she include that? :/ Yep. Someone did. I won't name names. But he lost all kinds of credibility with me when he did that. If you are asing for a review, provide a copy.
It's nice to support fellow writers, too. I buy books all the time to read and review. And authors rarely fail to thank me once they notice the review.
And while we're on that train of thought, I'll add, it was a good example of the reason to have a platform and a network of genuine followers/friends online. Sometimes you have to get the tweet out there to let your online friends know what you need help with, But if you have to keep calling attention to your book all by yourself, it's kind of like "Hey!! Look at this! Look at what I wrote! It's good because I think it's good Buy it here! Only .99!" It's helps when another person says, "I really liked name of book. The author can really pen a fast-paced tale! Five stars!" See what I mean?
One last thing. The master of platform building on Twitter, Claude Bouchard is the best example I can think of of how well this works. He has amassed 472,000 twitter followers. And he does use Twitter to promote his books. The thing about Claude that is striking is that he responds to individuals who tweet him and friend request him on facebook. A post about how he grew his followers is here--Coming Clean About my Twitter Success Being nice has paid off for Claude Bouchard.
Most of it comes to down to what your mama taught you. Use manners. Be kind. Watch talking about religion and politics. And keep plugging away at that building your platform.
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