As a new author, I obviously browsed through countless of blogs, books and web articles about how to promote myself. The recurring advice is: use social medias. Build your platform. The more people know about your site, the better. So being the good girl that I am, I followed the advice. Opened a Twitter account, built a website, and a Facebook page. I even started (though got bored quickly) a Pinterest account.
My eyes bulged when I noticed that a lot of authors had Twitter followers in the thousands, and had a successful website/Facebook/Instagramm page (read this as: lots of Like/e-mail followers etc…). So I pushed harder and started hitting the Follow button like a maniac, everywhere.
It worked. Soon, my own list of followers increased. It could have risen faster, should I had chosen not to remain picky with the people I follow, but I never saw the point of following someone I had nothing in common with.
Then I realized something.
A lot of people follow others for the sake of increasing their own following, like I did.
And couldn’t care less about what we have to say, what we think or what we sell.
So I checked my hunch. I browsed a few unknown authors with a big following posse on Twitter (over 10K) and had a nosy on their Goodreads and Amazon profiles.
All of them had less than 5 or 10 reviews, and not very stellar ones either. One of them had over 50K followers and 2 reviews at 2 stars! Those authors also self-promote heavily: their posts constantly show on my feed with the same “my book is great, read it!” A lot of noise, a booming profile, I had assumed they were best sellers…
It reassured me. As a self-confessed introvert, I feel more comfortable in small groups than large ones. So I decided to forget about the so called advice, and here is what I did:
- I created 2 Twitter’s lists. One for the hilarious/interesting Twitter accounts, and one for the authors who not only do not self-promote all day long, but also disclose some quirky thoughts, bits of their life and appear altogether friendly. The total for both lists comes at 74. Out of 791. I might have let some deserving people out of the net, but I can always add them on later.
From now on, I will check and interact with the people from those lists only.
- When someone writes an appealing post on a blog/website/Twitter, I comment on it. I want to show my appreciation to someone who isn’t simply interested in selling themselves or their product. I think someone’s true nature shows through a post. I don’t care if they have 1 million or one follower(s) and I am not hoping for their Follow Back anymore.
- I don’t Like a Facebook page for my own to be Liked in return because I get asked to anymore. I thought I was helping another author, and they were helping me. Wrong. It leads to nothing but an increased useless number. I now Like what deserves to be.
- I don’t sweat the poorer number of entries for my giveaways compared to other writers. For example, when I checked them on Goodreads the day I had offered 2 printed copies of Forever Hers for free, ALL of them had over a thousand books in their to-read list, including mine (GR automatically adds the title to that list if the reader enters a giveaway), and most had over 10000. No way are they all going to read my book.
So some people might be genuinely interested and I’m glad a giveaway has allowed them to know about it, but now I realize that a huge percentage of participants are only after some free goodies, and don’t care about the book itself.
- I am not going on Instagramm, YouTube or invest myself in Pinterest. I’d rather concentrate on the medias I feel comfortable with, and I guess I’ll have more affinity with the people who think the same.
Of course, the more followers, the better chance of reaching some real readers, but there is a fine line between quantity and quality, unless you’re called Joel Friedlander, Joanna Penn, C S Lakin, Jane Friedman…you get my drift. Some bloggers do have a true, wide following, but I bet they had to work at it harder than simply hitting the Follow button.
I’d rather connect with a small circle of genuine, friendly people (truth be told, my best promotions have always come from them) than an oversized group I get lost in. The small group can only grow 🙂
What is your own strategy to reach readers?