Introduction, Part III
Your Online Friends and Followers Are Not Your Target Market
In future sections of this guide, I am going to talk to you about setting up a Twitter account, a Facebook page, an AuthorCentral page on Amazon, a Goodreads author profile, and other kinds of social media contact pages. I am also going to discuss the merits of establishing and / or maintaining a blog.
However, I do not want you to think of these platforms as ways to reach out to book buyers, because they are not. (Which is a good reason not to spend too much time on them.) Way back in 2013, I wrote a post entitled “Promoting Your Book on Twitter and Facebook is a Total Waste of Time.” My thinking on that subject has not changed. I cannot trace a single book sale to anything I ever did on Twitter, Facebook, or even this blog. I will talk more specifically about this in a future post.
In the meantime, I want to you to make a mindset change before you even start on your book promotion. Do not think of your real-life friends, or your Facebook friends, or your Twitter followers, as the people who are going to buy your books. Resolve that you are not going to waste your time or theirs by pitching your book to them. If you do, you will end up being very disappointed in your friends and aggravated with your social media contacts, because most of them are never going to take your bait. (There are always a few loyal and generous exceptions. Connie, Ruth, Chris and a few others: you know who you are). In general, you need to forget about marketing to those in your immediate and ongoing / extended circles.
The way to do this is to imagine that you are standing at the top of a hill. All around you, in every direction, as far as you can see, are all the potential readers of your book in the world. There are kazillions of them, or at least many thousands. Closest to you are your friends, relatives, acquaintances, and the guy who just reposted your tweet about your cat. You know the names (or at least the social-media handles) of all of those whose faces you can see.
Resolve right now that beyond letting these people know that your book has been published (if they do not know already), you will ignore them when it comes to book promotion. You will never urge them, nag them or try to guilt them into buying anything you have for sale. The people you will target with your promotion plan are, instead, the ones beyond this circle, the ones whose faces you cannot see very clearly or at all, because they are too far away. These are the readers who comprise the market for your book.
Always keep this image in your mind when you are developing a book promotion strategy. It will do two things for you: 1) it will mean that you do not feel disappointed and petty when your friends don’t by your book because you will know you were not targeting them anyway, and 2) it will mean that you don’t worry about trying to gear your promotion scheme to people you know and end up conflicted by doubt over what they will think of you when they see it. Most likely, they won’t even notice it.
Besides, just think about how many friends you have in the real world and on the Internet. How many are there in total? A few hundred? Why would you try to flog so few people to death to get them to buy your book? Don’t you want to sell thousands? To do that, you need a bigger vision. To sell to thousands, you need to speak to thousands. So let’s do that.
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I am going to cover five major areas of book promotion in this series. They are as follows:
- Let’s Get Visible (building your online presence)
- Legitimizing Your Book (reviews, launches, etc.)
- Free promotion
- Paid advertising
- Extensions / Cross-Selling
In the next post, we’ll actually get started!
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Throughout this series, I encourage you to share your own experiences and knowledge about book promotion through the comments section below. If your comment isn’t posted immediately, be patient. I review them first, to avoid spammers, and (believe it or not) I’m not always online.
Well, that’s a good general reminder – and I need far more marketing and promotion beyond the pale, as it were – but you do need those folk you have actual contact with to get your first reviews and some readers (which you’ve probably already planned to talk about).
I’m looking forward to what you have to say (and I hope you have comments on numbers, too) about all the topics above, but especially paid advertising. I’ve had a massive fail there so far (new promo starting tomorrow – hope it does something other than fall flat on its face).
‘Write a good book’ is not enough. And you’re also correct about friends, etc.: it usually isn’t the basis of the friendship to have similar reading tastes, so most of your friends don’t actually like the kind of writing you do, BUT with 7-8 BILLION people on the planet, there ought to be a few out there who will like your writing.
You speak the truth, Alicia. I hope I address your questions satisfactorily in future posts!
I am looking forward to the future posts. I must admit ‘selling my book’ is not my strongest skill and have tried various strategies that have fallen short.
I hope future posts will help.