Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Beginner's Mistake in Marketing

It's been roughly two weeks since Hot Hands released, and five days since A Life Without You came out and I've been busy promoting. My contracts, after all, requires me to do what I can to promote, so it's part of my job. I have a degree in marketing and the subject has always fascinated me, so I tend to look at what other people are doing. Seeing what others are doing, however, and doing the same can be risky without careful consideration first. I'm guessing that most new authors go through a period of trial and error when it comes to promoting and I can only hope the readers bear with it.  

So here I am, posting my own errors in hope that other new authors will learn from my mistakes.

I've made two monumental ones on Goodreads: I rated my own work and I put them on lists. I didn't see the harm in either back when I was a reader. It also made perfect sense from a marketing perspective now. I begun by putting my work on lists like "Best Gay Virginal Characters" and "Best Gay Romance Featuring Characters Attending High School/College" so people who had interest in those kind of stories would be able to find mine (Goodreads doesn't have genre search). But I also put them on other lists. This, however, is frowned upon and ever since it was pointed out to me I've done a little online research and see that it's considered embarrassing, tacky, and desperate by a lot of readers. In fact, some boycott authors who do this. 

I may have made another mistake in a Goodreads Group as well, but I'm not entirely sure. It has to do with 'book of the month' and nominations. In another group, authors are specifically told they aren't allowed to nominate their own books, but in this group there is no such restriction. Out of eight nominations, four were authors nominating their own books. The books to be nominated were to be by new authors, so it may very well be that the moderators are giving new authors a chance to get their own work out there, I don't know. But I'm hesitant about nominating my own book again.

Facebook: There's a delicate line between promoting and spamming and it takes a great deal of thought to figure out where the boundaries lie. I'm hesitant to post on my facebook page every time I get a good review, and yet I'm required by contract to get my work noticed. In the future, should it occur, do I post whenever I'm nominated for an award? It makes sense to let the people who like your work know about it, so they can give you their votes, but it can also be considered tacky and spammy. Do I post whenever I win an award? It's important to let people know that your work is valued by a mass of people to get more readers, but it can also be considered bragging. So what's a poor, striving author to do?

The only way I can see around this one is to make an Author Page and keep most of the updates there. People can choose if they want to follow it or not. Since facebook only lets you message 20 people at a time, I went in a very roundabout way to invite the people on my friends list, with a polite message, promising they'd never receive such a thing from me again. A number responded, so I figure those are the ones who'd like to keep track of the status of my work. That doesn't mean I won't mention the works at all on my timeline. I want to share some of the excitement with my friends, but I'll try to keep it to a bare minimum. 

More to come as I learn...


  1. I feel your pain!!
    I hate self promoting! I'm always worried about how much to promote and when to do it. I don't want to look pushy about my books, but then again, I have to promote them too. UGH!
    That fine line between talking about your work and BRAGGING about it is mighty small sometimes.
    *bangs head on computer*

  2. Don't punish the computer!

    All joking aside, yeah, it's a pain. And a learning curve.

  3. I have no idea how to promote my books, none at all. :(
    The author page thing sounds like a good idea though. Is it hard to set up?

  4. K-lee, no, it's very easy. You go to this link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php?campaign_id=372931622610&placement=pghm&extra_1=0 choose Artist, Band or Public Figure and go from there :) Let me know if you need help and I'll walk you through it.