Sarcasm Central

Indie Book Marketing and Engagement 101

reader engagementHere are the things I’ve tried so far to get the word out about my book.

Twitter

Google +

Bloglovin

WordPress Blog

Facebook Page and Profile

Goodreads

Blog Tour

Guest Blogging

Book Reviews

Blog Hops

Giveaways

I’ll talk a bit about each and whether I’ve found it effective or not and what kinds of things I’m going to try going forward.

Twitter:

I’m not actually a very big fan of twitter.  I just don’t have time to come up with witty tweets, nor does reading other people’s tweets really do anything for me.  If I had to choose between perusing a Facebook feed or a Twitter feed, I’d choose FB every time.  Twitter is actually kind of boring I think because you only have so many characters (and I’m SO WORDY!).  I’ve tried to use it, but I have not found that I get a lot of traffic to my blog from there, nor to my book.  I have found some interesting people to follow but most of what I see seems to be everyone just tweeting about whatever is going on. No one seems to want to have a conversation.  I also feel…stagnant with twitter.  Sort of uninspired and uninterested.  I should probably invest in Instagram because I think it’s more interesting, however I don’t always have a photo I want to take either.

Facebook:

Facebook was a very slow start for me.  At least the page was.  I had around 20 followers forever and then finally gained 10 more and had 30, but it stayed there for a long time.  The only reason I now have more FB followers is because I joined a few giveaways which required the participants to follow me on FB or Twitter and because of the giveaway during the blog tour.  So that has helped tremendously. I now have more than 300 followers where once there were 20!  I don’t have a lot of engagement on my page though.  I post about my blog posts or giveaways I’ve heard of or quotes etc.  Again, I feel kind of…stilted about what people want to hear from me.  My personal profile actually is going pretty well and is helping me significantly because I’ve joined author/blogger groups and have become friends with other authors and bloggers.  I love reading that feed because there’s so much funny and interesting stuff to see.  It’s far superior in my mind to what’s on Twitter.

Google+:

I’ve only used Google+ somewhat.  I have a page for Victoria Sawyer and one for Angst and now and then I post to them and I have some friends etc there, but I just haven’t delved into it enough to know if it’s worth it.  I think it has potential and there are some interesting groups for poets, bloggers, authors etc that are fun to be a part of, much like the ones on FB.

Bloglovin:

I don’t go to Bloglovin much but I do think it’s worth it to have the option for people to follow you there.  It’s unfortunate that with wordpress we can’t add a google friend connect button, but I do hear that that might be going away anyway, so Bloglovin and other services like them are probably the way to go.

WordPress Blog:

I think out of everything I do, blogging is the most pleasurable for me.  I can write about whatever I want and I get feedback from people.  I don’t think it’s helped book sales much but I do think you have to have one and I find it fun and interesting to blog and read other’s blogs.  So I’m quite happy with my experience. Plus it keeps me on my writerly toes!

Goodreads:

Having a Goodreads author page is pretty essential; I recommend it to any author out there. I have had some good success with mine and I’ve also integrated my blog so people sometimes find my blog from there.  The best way to boost notice of your book is to do a paperback giveaway.  You can’t do an ebook giveaway, but if you have physical copies I highly recommend it because it gets your book out there.  Due to a giveaway I did of 2 paperback copies I gained 300+ people who “added” my book as something they want to read.  Granted this doesn’t necessarily lead to sales right now, but it does get my book out there and will hopefully lead to future sales.  It’s also another great place for reviews that feels like more of a community than Amazon.

Guest Blogging:

Guest blogging is both fun and seems to do well for book sales and interest in my blog.  I love it!  I’ve guest blogged on several sites and it’s fun to come up with something that the readers of another blog would enjoy.  I think I’ve had the most fun guest posting at this blog, Natalie’s Live, Love, Laugh and Read because I can be as scandalous as I wanna be. I also enjoyed guest posting for Gus at Out Where the Buses Don’t Run, on The Official How to Blog and on Black Box Warnings.  I highly recommend guest blogging as a means for gaining followers to your blog and although indirect in some cases, to promote your book.

Book Reviews on Book Blogger Sites:

This is a must do, but the results will vary and there is usually no guaranteed turnaround time.  I’ve emailed so many of them I’ve lost count and given out so many copies of Angst that I have no idea who/where they are.  But that doesn’t matter.  All that matters is that my book is out there and these reviews will hopefully appear at some point in the future.  The ones that I have had come out have been successful or not as far as book sales, usually depending on the popularity of the blog, however there is definitely a satisfaction in knowing that someone read your book and posted about it, no matter if the blog is highly popular or not.

Book Blog Tour:

This is in the same vein as Book Reviews on Book Blogger sites in that you do get quite a few reviews and your book is featured on several different blogs. I set my Angst book blog tour up through The Book Enthusiast and she was able to get me with 20 blog tour stops in 5 days for $35.  Quite a deal, I think.  I also gave out around 18 copies of my book for review.

Overall the Blog tour was a good experience.  I had reviews of all sorts from 2 stars to 5 stars.  I also had over 3000 entries to my giveaway and I gained FB and Twitter followers.  I didn’t have many sales that week, but afterward I did see a spike in sales when I dropped the price of my book to 99 cents.  I think the exposure of a blog tour is positive.  Anything that gets your name out there is great.

It was also pretty fun to put together the materials for it.  I did 4 bonus scenes, 2 poems, 1 guest blog post and 2 interviews.  There were however some frustrations with it as well.  One is that some bloggers didn’t post on time, which was okay with me, but some of them never ended up posting at all.  Some of them didn’t do reviews even though I gave them my book for review.  And others would post about my blog tour but then post several other posts either at the same time or during the same day so that my tour would be buried under a bunch of other reviews, cover reveals etc.  So that was a bit frustrating.  I had thought, naively I’m sure, that my book would be the focus on their blog for that day, but I guess many of them are in the habit of posting a bunch of stuff per day.

Blog Hops:

Blog hops are a lot of fun, so if you have chance to be a part of one, I highly recommend you do.  A hop is basically where several blogs agree to post on the same day about the Hop itself and link back to everyone else in the hop.  I’ve done 2 of them, one for Valentine’s day and another for Indie Authors with people I met through blogging.  It definitely increases awareness of your blog and you get a lot of views.  You don’t necessarily get a lot of new followers or book sales, but usually these are done with a giveaway so you’ll get new FB followers or Twitter followers depending on how you choose to set up the giveaway.

Giveaways:

Giveaways are fun too.  It’s great if you can try to get in on a giveaway with a big book blogger and they like to do them often.  This gets you lots of great exposure for whatever the cost of the item you’re giving away. I’ve always given away ebooks, but you could do whatever you wanted to from gift cards to signed copies of your book etc. I’ve done giveaways of my own, on Goodreads and with Blog Hops, Tours and with Book Bloggers and I think with the Book Bloggers and Goodreads are your best bet.  I also think it’s just fun to giveaway your book to people!  And hopefully they will give you a review.

So, that’s what I’ve done so far as an Indie Author.  I’ve made a lot of great friends along the way and I think it’s been a very positive experience overall. It’s also been a lot of work!  But all the work I’ve done has really only required my time and a small amount of money.  The only things that really cost me anything at all are the cost of the giveaway items, giving out books to book reviewers and paying for the blog hop. Otherwise everything has been FREE.  I wouldn’t say that I’ve made it by anyone’s standards, however I’m getting there, slowly. My book on Amazon has been ranked anywhere from 250,000 to 19,000.  I’ve never cracked anything higher than that, but I hope to eventually.

So where do I go from here?  I’m not sure.  I’m sort of burnt out at the moment and would like to focus more attention on my next book.  I’ll also definitely continue to post to WordPress, Facebook and Twitter.  I’m part of a fun Blog Hop for Authors happening tomorrow so that should be good.  And if I want, I might consider trying some of the pay-for promotions and see how that goes.  I know some authors have had success with certain things.

I hope you found this (very professional list) helpful!  I’ve surprised because I’ve actually been truly helpful and not at all snarky or sarcastic or crazy!  WOW.  It’s an accomplishment in itself.  Maybe I’m growing up since I turned 31?  Haha.  Doubtful.

Related Stuffs:

How to Become an Indie Author in 101 Easy (Hard) Steps
Writing Makes You Look Fat In Those Jeans
Love It or Hate It:  Oh the Controversy!

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About Victoria Sawyer (282 Articles)
Victoria Sawyer is a blogger, author, aspiring graphic designer, social media enthusiast and mental health advocate. Shocking, honest, sarcastic and humorous, Victoria aims to make readers feel tangible emotions and physical sensations through writing that brings you into the mind and body of someone suffering from panic attacks, anxiety and this strange often darkly hilarious thing we call life. She published her novel Angst in 2013, which realistically and often graphically depicts life with mental illness. Along with crazy blogging, Victoria enjoys reading historical novels, playing with her naughty cats, engaging in rants and metaphysical existential meltdowns and using punctuation to excess in everything she writes.

8 Comments on Indie Book Marketing and Engagement 101

  1. I seem to agree with what you say even though I haven’t started marketing (still editing) my books. Just in how much I see out there of books I review, Twitter seems the least helpful. Reblogging. 🙂

    Like

    • I agree about Twitter. Lots of people swear by twitter, but I just haven’t found my niche yet and no one ever seems to reply to anything I post, so I get discouraged. I find I get better conversation with blogging, hence I seem to like it better. Plus no need to be brief!

      Like

      • Exactly! <–Wait, I could have done that on the Twit! But I have a tendency to write novels not short stories, so keeping it down to a tweet's worth is next to impossible.

        Like

  2. Found you on twitter (which I hardly use ironically lol) 🙂 This post was really helpful–I never understood what a “blog hop” was so thank you for explaining that…I feel like being an indie author is DEFINITELY a humbling experience– I learn something ( I should’ve known a longgg time ago) every day

    Like

    • No problem! I find lots of people are confused about what a blog hop is. I was too when I did my first one, luckily it turned out fine! haha. Funny too because I said Twitter was not helpful in people finding my posts but you did! Might have to revise that part of my analysis. 🙂

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  3. You forgot to mention sandwich boards. I wear one all of the time with details of my next book … Marketing is an Everest to climb. You’ve given me some more ideas though so thank you!

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    • Haaa. I need to try the sandwich board idea, or maybe some kind of full blown character costume! Scandal! P.S. BTW my good sir, I have started filling out your questionnaire and will send along shortly!

      Like

  4. Really helpful info! Muchas gracias.

    Like

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