You published a book? Yawn. . .
I recently read that the major reason people don’t buy your new book is indifference.
Some say it’s price. Some day it’s because you’re unknown and the readers’ to-be-read list is already filled up with mainstream authors from traditional New York publishers. Some say it’s because self-published and small-press books aren’t even seen (ads, Facebook, major review outlets) by prospective readers. All true. But still, if you haven’t given them a reason to care, they’ll remain indifferent to it.
Most regular readers can afford your book because most of them are buying a lot of higher priced books from big publishing from authors they have already come to know and trust.
So, how do we become one the authors in the know-and-trust group?
Everyone and their brother has talked about the value of a good story, a carefully selected genre, an eye-catching cover, and a well edited book. So, there’s no need for me to say all that again.
Since most of us don’t have the clout to get free New York Times or Kirkus or Publishers Weekly reviews or to hire a publicist who has reporters calling to set up author interviews, that leaves us to some extent with the social media where most of us probably need to be doing more than we are to interact with people.
As Mark David Gerson reminds us in his new book Engage!: Winning Social Media Strategies for Authors, the social media are social and that means interacting with the people on our friends’ list rather than displaying a list of our recent activities, an occasional buy-my-book post, and a lot of cat pictures.
We’re all busy, so when we’re not creating Facebook status updates or sharing, we’re mostly clicking LIKE. This is a short-sighted approach. When somebody comments on a post of ours, clicking LIKE doesn’t cut it. As Gerson says, Engage with them–that is, converse. When you see a post on another person’s profile, LIKE is the easy way out. Make a comment even if it’s simply “great news.” Better yet, if the subject is something you care about, ask questions and share helpful links.
How does this help? People get to “know you” and that leads to them trusting you when you say you have written a book that really does deliver on its promise to entertain them. Basically, we have to do what bestselling authors don’t have the time or inclination to do: spend time with our prospective readers. If we do that, we’ve gone a long way to counteracting those indifferent yawns and persuading them to spend some time reading our books.
Four of my Kindle books are FREE during my Halloween sale 11/28 through 11/31: At Sea, Waking Plane, Dream of Crows, and Willing Spirits.