Marketing 101 for Authors

This is obviously addressed to authors, but readers might find it interesting to see what we go through as well, so please feel free to stay non-authors.

As a disclaimer, I am not an expert. My sales rise and fall. But I’ve been in the business about a decade and I’ve seen what works. I’ve seen what doesn’t. Most of all, I pay attention to what READERS say. READERS – not other authors. More on this later.

I’ve followed the big boys and girls for quite awhile. I’ve had one-on-one conversations with a few of them who were generous enough to spend the 5 minutes chatting with me. I spent most of the time trying to act like a professional instead of squealing like  a fan girl, but still… they gave me their TIME.

I have a very altruistic nature. I care about this business.  I care about you, my colleagues.  I’ve given my assistance to other authors over and over and over again. I will continue to do so. I’m a director at the Erotic Author’s Guild. I host the Erotic Authors Panel. I’ve beta read, alpha read, reviewed and hosted for other authors. I’ve donated my time (which is already stretched too thin) and my money to the cause.

So What Now?

First of all, you too should do your research. Kristen Lamb is a social media expert. She has a few books out, which I highly recommend you buy. She blogs and gives advice away for free. You should follow her. Read her books. She’s a saucy broad from Texas and SHE LOVES AUTHORS. Follow people who are successful. Read. Read. Read.

Now I’ll get to Marketing.

Your Marketing Guide

1. Twitter – Stop auto-tweeting your book links. Readers HATE IT when their twitter feed is nothing more than ads. Engage people. Talk. Hell I tweeted with someone about #chopped (the Food Network Show) and got a DM from two people who bought my book just from cracking a joke about making dessert from Corned Beef Hash and Beets.

2. Don’t be an asshole. Seriously. Don’t do it. We hate used car salesman. Why do we act like them? We’re not selling Avon. We’re selling WORDS. Give them your words. I admit, out of desperation I tweeted ad after ads. Then I remembered I was acting like an asshole. No one likes an asshole.

3. Facebook – Okay, Facebook replaced MySpace and gave us all these cool features: groups, events etc. Problem is, it’s entirely overused. I just clicked on my FB profile to check my stats. I’ve been put in 20 new groups this week (without my knowledge) and have… wait for it… 300 INVITATIONS TO EVENTS. Book launches, cover reveals, follow parties… you name it. What the EVER LOVING FUCK??? Most of the people I don’t even know. I’ve never spoken with them. How did I get here?

It’s like waking up drunk at a party you didn’t remember going to. Not cool.

4. Be gracious. Be giving. Be ALTRUISTIC. – Now I hate book pirate sites. I hate them because they have no right to give away my stuff. I WANT TO GIVE IT AWAY.

What? Anita! You can’t make money giving away books!

Wrong! I track everything. In a decade I’ve given away over 2,000 books. When someone says, “I put it on my TBR or Want List on Amazon,” GIVE THEM THE GODDAMNED BOOK. Email them and offer it to them. Why? Because they’ll remember you. It will impact the reader. You gave up that two bucks and what you’ve received in return is a FAN FOR LIFE.  There’s no better marketing tool than a complete stranger going on and on about how they love an author. Besides, it’s a gift. Everyone likes gifts.1416350_91168614

And you don’t know why it’s on their TBR list. Maybe they have a sick family member at home and they’re financially tapped. They only have $10 in disposable income. But they have 30 friends who love books and aren’t in the same situation. Don’t be greedy. You’re investing that $2 in royalties. And, you’ve probably made a Street Team member you’re totally unaware of.

5. Everyone is hopping on the Street Team bandwagon now. Buyer beware! You must must must reward your street team members. Don’t use them as your doormats. They’re not doormats. They are your TEAM!

6. DO be yourself. Don’t treat people like shit.  But if you’re shy – talk about it. Lot’s of people are shy. They will RELATE TO YOU. If you’re witty, snarky and a downright wiseass. . . others will like you (and some won’t.)

7. Don’t be a jerk to other authors. Even if you hate them. I have one I hate and I have to fight myself EVERY DAY not to out her as the condescending HAG she is trying to throw us back to the Victorian Era EVERY FUCKING DAY! If she were on fire, I wouldn’t piss on her to put it out.

8. STOP MARKETING TO YOUR COLLEAGUES. We are not your mothafuckin demographic!

9. Buying ad space. I just spent all my disposable income last month on ad space. I’m tracking it now. I WILL post where I put the ad and the results when they come in. Why? Because I want you all to be successful.

Dear God! What now? I’m terrified!

Relax. The best piece of advice (and often the most repeated) by successful authors (one making 100k a MONTH!) is: Just Keep Writing. Write more books.

I know it feels like a high school popularity contest… and it is. Except the pool is bigger. There are freaks, weirdos, comedians, stoners, loners, loud mouths and others. You’ll find your crowd and they will LOVE YOU.

Most of all… don’t bitch at folks who leave you less than favorable reviews. As a very wise woman once said, “You can be the tastiest, most delicious green apple in the world. Not everyone likes green apples.”

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