Hello everyone! Just before we start I wanted to say thank you so much for all the positive feedback you guys have sent so far about my marketing posts. Also thank you to the Crownless Publication team for letting me loose on your blog! (Always helps to butter up your bosses 😉 ).
It’s been great to hear all about your experiences in the world of online marketing for authors. A few of you have emailed with questions asking roughly ‘what is wrong with this tweet?’. As we have covered what you should put in a tweet I thought I would take a little time to cover, what not to put in a tweet. I hope this will answer your questions!
So, back to the world of Twitter we go. Now, I’ve read quite a number of very excellent indie books. Beautiful prose, stunning imagination, pure creation. You writers out there have so much creativity brimming inside you! And all I can think sometimes, when I see author’s tweets, is ‘where did all that creativity go!’. I know, it’s hard to be thrust into a new platform. Especially for writers the 140 character word limit is a new, feral and unpleasant beast.
Now, I won’t go too much into the best sorts of content (pictures, quotes and shareable mixes of the two) as we have covered that in previous articles. Let me focus on what we don’t want to see –
1. OMG Best Ever Book Only 99c!!!!
‘Best Read Ever, now only 99c! Get in while you can!’ #bookpromo #barginbooks #99c #amwriting
Now, you are all lovely, intelligent, very good looking people. I’m sure that you know exactly what makes a good read. However, with the best will in the world, might you be a bit biased about your own book? Is it really the best read ever? Even it is, can you prove that? Might it not be better to quote a review? An interesting review that differentiates your book from all the other people shouting ‘best read ever’? Just give it a go!
Now, to address the 99c aspect. I’m not saying never put your book on sale. Sales are tried and tested and in the right context can work wonders. However, there are a couple of reason I wouldn’t lead with the price. Firstly, when you see something cheap, often your first thought is ‘what’s wrong with it?’. In this new information sharing age people are willing to shop around. Readers and shoppers are savy and informed. It doesn’t help that self-publishers still have an unfortunate image of being substandard compared to their traditional counterparts. Shouting that your book is a mere 99c is going to reinforce this image, no matter how ill deserved it might be.
The second reason I wouldn’t lead with the price is a big one….
Story time: I used to work for a huge, national telecommunications company. This is where I received my first introduction into the world of marketing. Our trainer always used to say to us ’emphasis the qualities. Ignore the price, leave that until last.’ Younger me thought this was ridiculous. Surely the price was the only thing that people really cared about! I was wrong. Sure there were some customers for whom the price was everything. They were the minority. When selling a product we got far more sales when we matched a product to a customers needs, selling only its relevant and positive attributes. If it happened to be on sale, or a good price, that was the last thing we dropped.
What I’m saying is, if you want to put your book on sale, or sell it cheaply, that’s fine. However, you want a good sale to be the final knock out punch, not the hook. Lure in your potential readers with quotes, rave reviews and unique selling points. Once you’ve got their interest, then hit them with the price. Sold.
2. The New XXX…..
Hands up who has seen tweets along the lines of ‘New Teen Vampire’ ‘The New Hunger Games’ ‘Sexy Sparkly People’ ‘Werewolf Teen Struggles With Handsomeness’
OK, well maybe I exaggerate (but not by much sadly). However, there are a myriad of sins at work here.
Now, no matter how you feel about Twlight or the abuse of the vampire aesthetic, you can’t deny there is a market for it. One of you out there may have even written the new best selling vampire trilogy. And that’s great. However, the world is full of sexy vampire wolf hybrids with enough teen angst to destroy the world as we know it.
What is your USP (unique selling point)? Whilst I may hate the phrase with a passion it is a useful one. What is it that makes your book stand out from those around it? Stand out from the crowd.
The second thing is the phrase ‘The New Hunger Games/ Game Of Thrones etc’. Now I will concede that this not all bad. You have probably seen many a traditionally published book with a review across it’s front with the same accolade. Personally, I would phrase this slightly differently ‘If you liked Game Of Thrones you will (insert expression of childhood wonder here). You want to give people the assurance that your book has all the things in it that makes a book great, however, remember, you still want to differentiate yourself. No one wants to read a slightly ‘less good’ version of a book they’ve already read. I say ‘less good’ because no matter how good your book is, the first book your reader read will always be better in their mind. And, if yours happens to be just as good, people are going to start to use the words ‘rip-off’ and ‘copy’. So be careful not to invite any unfaltering comparisons, no matter how ill deserved they may be.
3. Relevant to your audience
In our post last week we talked about creating content that can do something for your reader, as well as yourself. Think carefully what it is that you are offering your readers. As we know, content is king. People love to share content they feel is relevant to them and their friends. The fact your book is 99c is not relevant to your readers friends. The fact that your book features one of the first heroines modelled on modern feminist principles? That might be relevant to them.
Share ‘behind-the-scenes’ knowledge. For example, J.K Rowling still occasionally tweets new information about Harry Potter. People still love hearing new things about their favourite book, even long after the books have finished. Engage readers in ‘The World’. It’s not just a new fantasy book for 99c. It is new friends they can discover, new journeys they can go on. Flesh it out. If your feeling particularly good about your time management create a Twitter account for one of your characters. The last time I looked even Lastrade’s moustache and Mycroft’s umbrella had Twitter accounts. There are no limits.
4. Appropriate linking
With only 140 characters to play with, inserting a link to your book every time you tweet will take up valuable space. By plugging the link at every opportunity your going to shatter the illusion of this beautiful world your creating through your Twitter. I’m not saying never do it obviously, just keep an eye on it. Of course, always have a link in your Twitter bio so it’s there for when people need it.
Reading a book is a big investment of time. There is nothing so disappointing as picking up a new book and thoroughly hating it. People invest a lot of time into reading books. You are asking people to surrender a portion of their lives to you. Remember, you are not marketing a book, you are marketing a new world and a new experience to your readers. Fully immerse them in that experience and do not shatter the magic by suddenly shouting… ‘AND IT’S ONLY 99c’.