Thinking Outside the Promo Box
Thinking Outside the Promo Box
By Lois Winston
I belong to quite a few author loops. Every day authors on these loops beseech their fellow members to “like,” “follow,” “retweet,” “pin,” “vote for,” or “Thunderclap” for one of their books. I don’t believe this really helps authors sell books. An announcement about a new release is fine, but to me, most other social media postings about our books are like preaching to the choir.
For example, the people who follow you on Facebook are mostly your family and friends or readers who are already fans of your writing. They’re going to buy your books anyway (unless they’re the sort of family and friends who expect you to give them free copies whenever you have a new release.) You don’t have to hard sell these people. As for sites like Twitter, I’m convinced most people only follow you because they want you to follow them. If you don’t, they quickly un-follow you. These people rarely read your pithy 140 character posts any more than you read theirs. Social media, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, is often nothing more than a competition to see who can claim the most followers—followers who for the most part won’t buy your books. Social media might work for Taylor Swift, who has more followers than anyone, but it doesn’t do much for the average midlist or indie author.
So how do authors find new readers? Independent publicists? Forget it. Most are snake oil salesmen who cost a fortune and guarantee nothing. Giveaways? Another waste of money. Thousands of people troll the Internet daily for contests to enter. They’re only interested is that Amazon gift card you’re waving as a carrot. They won’t buy your book whether they win or not. If they have to sign up for your newsletter to enter, they’ll unsubscribe the moment someone else wins.
What I’ve found to be extremely successful is teaming up with other authors to produce boxed sets, anthologies, and cookbooks. These group efforts are not about making money. Most of the books sell for 99 cents. Divide that between the ten or twelve authors participating, and each author makes pennies per sale. The goal is to broaden our audience. When this happens, and it does, the end result is an increase in sales of our other books.
Last year I had an idea for a cookbook featuring my fellow authors. The result was Bake, Love, Write: 105 Authors Share Dessert Recipes and Advice on Love and Writing. My hope was that people who bought the book for the yummy recipes would be introduced to authors new to them, thus gaining new readers for my fellow authors and me. I donated a portion of the profits from the sale of the book to my local food bank. When the book became an Amazon bestseller, many of the participating authors suggested a follow-up cookbook. After giving it some thought, I came up with:
Have you ever wished you could find more time to do the things you want to do, rather than just doing the things you have to do? Most authors juggle day jobs and family responsibilities along with their writing. Because they need to find time to write, they look for ways to save time in other aspects of their lives.
Cooking often takes up a huge chunk of time. The cookbook contains easy, nutritious main course recipes. All of the recipes require a minimum of prep time, freeing you up to spend your time elsewhere.
The authors who contributed to this book are a rather creative and resourceful bunch when it comes to carving out time from their busy lives. So in addition to timesaving recipes, the cookbook features timesaving and organizational tips for other aspects of your life, including a section on writing tips.
A bio with website links is included for each of the authors who contributed to the cookbook. Anyone buying the cookbook for the quick and easy recipes will have a chance to learn about these authors. Hopefully, they’ll click on the links and maybe buy some books.
The ebook version of the cookbook is only 99 cents. There’s also a print version available, and once again, I’m donating a percentage of the profit to charity, this time to No Kid Hungry.
Google Play https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Lois_Winston_We_d_Rather_Be_Writing?id=1nfCCgAAQBAJ&hl=en
|13 Cozy Mystery Holiday Stories|
Happy Homicides is also being offered for the incredibly low price of only 99 cents and includes a bonus downloadable file crammed with recipes, craft tips, projects, and more.
I’ve found these group promotional efforts have resulted in far more sales of my books than I’ve ever seen from social media, independent publicists, or tchotchkes. Now of course, if I could get Taylor Swift to tout my books on her Twitter and Instagram accounts, I might think differently about book promo on social media. Hey Taylor, if you’re reading this, check out my website at www.loiswinston.com.
USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry. Visit Lois/Emma at www.loiswinston.com and Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog, www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com. Follow everyone on Tsu at www.tsu.co/loiswinston, on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/anasleuth, and onTwitter at https://twitter.com/Anasleuth. Sign up for her newsletter at https://www.MyAuthorBiz.com/ENewsletter.php?acct=LW2467152513
NOTE FROM JACKIE KING:
Thanks, Lois, for these great promo tips!