For the past couple of weeks, a friend and fellow author has bombarded me with self-promotion. There is nothing wrong with letting people know about your book. Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, email, and other resources are good tools, but authors should use them in moderation. I’ll give a big tip for you – use email sparingly. Seeing something on the news feed (within reason) is acceptable, but emailing me more than once about your book is not.
I have a lot of author friends, so I get to see both good and bad of book marketing. I know how it feels to want to get the word out. The best marketing plan is patience and building an audience. Grabbing someone by the ankles as they drag you down the road is not the way to build an audience.
One of the big downsides of using twitter is that your post has a lifespan of only a few minutes. So posting multiple times is necessary, but there is a clear difference between marketing and spamming.
Direct messaging people is almost always spam. The exception is if you already have a normal two-way communication through DM. Again, once might be okay, if a good relationship is already in place, but keep in mind that they also may be getting direct messages from many other authors. Yours might end up being looked at as another annoyance in a sea of digital noise.
Don’t flood someone’s timeline with thirty tweets about your book. This might be a shock, but getting your book noticed is not the most important thing in marketing. Some people get noticed by people saying, “I’ll never buy from this annoying person.”
I’ve unfollowed and even blocked some authors who push everything out of my feed except their book. If you saw two people having a conversation, would you walk up and shove one out of the way and say, “Look at my book. Want to buy it?” That wouldn’t be an effective sales tactic. It doesn’t work on twitter either. When someone does this, I’ll ignore it once. But if they keep clogging the communication line, I block them and unfollow.
Use hash tags to get noticed by people looking for something on your topic. Don’t hash tag something that is unrelated. Post several times, but spread it throughout the day or week. It’s better that someone miss your tweet than block your tweets.
Do not, under any circumstance, tag someone’s name in a photo of your book. To have someone else’s book show up in my photos is a violation. If someone tacked up an ad on the front of your house, what would be your reaction? That is how people feel when you hijack their photos.
People create events and invite their contacts. I get thousands of these a year. I ignore all of them, so it isn’t an effective tool. But at least it doesn’t bother me like someone posting an ad on my timeline or tagging me to make their photo show up in my photos. Use Facebook promos or build a following with interesting posts. If people are coming back to read your interesting posts, they will also see your post about your book. If you only post items of self-promotion, people won’t be interested in reading your posts.
I’ve recently picked back up on Google Plus and it is a great tool for connecting with people. It does have a more limited audience, but there are a lot of great communities that are very active. It seems a little more personal than Facebook, but that’s probably because it has a smaller active membership. Those who are active are very interactive.
Here is a big no-no with Google Plus. When you make a post, Google Plus asks you if you want to email all the contacts in your circle. Say NO. Use this option *very* sparingly. When you select this, your contacts are emailed your post. If someone wanted to be emailed every post, they would enable that option in their profile. I just unfriended someone I would have liked to maintain a connection with, but they send 10 to 20 posts a day to my email box about their book. They are emailing their contacts for every post. If you have just two or three friends doing this, how my spam is that a day? And how do you think your contacts are going to respond if you are doing this? In a short time they are unfriending those who are flooding their email.
The right way
Try to connect with people. I know it isn’t possible to personally interact with thousands of people, but you can connect on other levels. Tweet interesting facts, inspirations, humor, or valuable information to your followers. Read and respond as you are able to others who tweet meaningful things. Post similar things on Facebook and Google Plus. Blogging is a great way to connect with those who hold similar interests.
Just ask yourself, would I want a dozen people sending these things to me? If the answer is “No,” don’t do it. Everyone is busy and when you value others, they are more likely to value what you are sharing.
Remember one thing: Spam is evil.
Market without spamming and you will have an effective strategy.