Friday, February 15, 2013

Raising Your Profile

For any writer, raising your profile is important. Here are a few tips I picked up at the Novelists’ Inc conference in New York. 

Social networking: 
You can’t do everything, so choose what suits you and do it well.
Try to find out where your readers are. How are they finding you? Fewer than ever find books in stores now. Sad but true.
Facebook and Twitter. Attract - engage - don’t put people off with buy, buy, buy, or book, book, book. Don’t be philosophical, complaining or negative.
Likes are good, comments better, share is best.
Pure text posts have less impact: Add a picture or link if you can.
Profile pictures should not be a book cover. Use a picture of yourself so people can connect with a person rather than a product.
Involve readers in choices for your books. E.g.: name for a dog you intend to feature.
Talk about the book or writing of it in a fun way. Let your personality shine through.
Check your reach in your stats on the hide part of your Facebook Page.
Use Tweetreach to discover how many people you reach on Twitter.

Goodreads and Shelfari:

Do reviews on Goodreads, but always good ones. Otherwise you could incite trolls.
Do a Goodreads giveaway.
Both these sites are for readers. An author can add bonus material but make sure it’s correct and don't criticise anyone.

Pinterest and Linked In: 
Can be a major time suck as you have to find pictures to pin. There are copyright issues too, so always leave in place the link to the site you borrowed the pic from, or get permission to use. I haven’t tried this one yet. Nor Linked In, so do share if you have any comments on this.

We had an excellent talk from David Wind on how to improve our website. Whether it’s a free Word Press one, done by a web designer, or any version in between, it should have all the important words to describe your books at the top of the home page for best search engine optimisation. (SEO) A good catch-phrase to describe your brand.
Don’t use all caps. The web crawlers don’t pick them up.
Always tag pictures so they can be picked up too.
Keep the site updated.
Add value content such as excerpts with links, or more information about the fictional world you’ve created, or settings for your book.
Add links to FB, Twitter, Pinterest, Blog, etc.
Add a sign-in for your newsletter.
Offer a free short story or download of an ebook.
Put on a counter to check out your stats, or use Google analytics.

Only do one if you can keep it up at least once or twice a month. Don’t forget you can schedule posts in advance. You can also synchronise with FB, Author Central, your website etc. Guest blogs are a good alternative, or you can do these as well. Find and list suitable sites and keep their details in a separate folder for future use.

Liz Maverick
Liz Maverick gave lots of advice on this subject:
Aim to drive people to something on your website first, then on to your buy link.
Have an enticing subject to encourage an open click.
Keep it short.
Quality over quantity.
Aim for a soft sell. Be chatty in your own personal style. Be excited.
Make it feed into your general strategy.
Put the links in the editorial.
Be consistent with your timing, and test the response for the best time.
Keep it simple. Remember it has to look good on a smart phone/mobile.
One column, no side bars, works best.
Have contests and giveaways, but don’t give away chocs or stuff that will attract contest junkies. MailChimp allows you to check your analytics to see which works best for you on click throughs. Compare with your sales spikes.

Videos, trailers, etc: 
Apparently only 5% actually finish watching a 2 minutes video, so if you make one, keep it short.

Amazon: Dan Slater from Amazon gave an excellent presentation taking us through the tools of promotion.

What drives sales?

Barbara Freethy talking about self-publishing.
Sales drive up the rankings, but encourage your readers to like your book pages. This helps to raise it in the search engines and gets it picked up by Amazon’s algorithms, which will help create sales. Choose the right tags.
Reviews - develop a thick skin, and never respond.
Don’t have fellow authors review your books, Amazon will take them down.
Price strategies drive traffic. Have a promo price that creates a snowball effect by driving traffic on to your normal priced books. With ebooks it’s about the long tail, not how many you can sell in the first month.
Make it easy for the buyer. Link your backlist to Amazon titles.
Author Central. Helps communicate with readers. Fill out your profile, add links to your blog etc. It also offers sales data - rankings - history of rankings which change hourly.
Search inside. These sell 8 - 9% more.
Once you start selling well, Amazon will send out automated emails, recommended for you, customers bought - etc.
Associates: Use links, widgets to do this.

Kindle Owners Lending Library: 
Prime account holders who own a kindle device can check out one book at a time once a month. Amazon says lenders go on to buy books by that author, that KOLL titles grow faster than non-KOLL titles. But the book has to be exclusive to Amazon. I haven’t tried this myself as I am wary of offending my readers if they can only find me in one place.

Support Teams, or lifeboat teams as they are called in the US:
Work with other authors to share and retweet, or you could mention each other’s new titles in your newsletter.
Like each other’s pages.
Some have done an anthology together to promote each other’s work.
If nothing else they can offer emotional support, which we all need at times.

Most important of all: Write the next book! 

Best of luck,


Janice said...

Enjoyed reading this. Lots of good info. Thank you!

Joanne Hill said...

Lots of really good stuff here, thanks so much.

Gilli Allan said...

Love the Hemmingway quote. Interesting interview. Godd luck with All Over the Place.