Reaching More Readers: Getting Started

Now that my debut novel, Blue Violet, is released, my primary goal for this book has shifted from writing/publishing to attracting readers. Based on blogs I’ve read, and my own personal feelings, most writers will tell you that their main objective is to reach readers (and give them a positive reading experience). The side-benefit of that goal is making enough money to sustain the habit. Whether that means just covering the expenses of editing and publishing, or making a living off of the income is different for each of us.

Reaching readers means a certain amount of self-marketing. I had started this process pre-publication with my author pages: facebook, twitter, pinterest, google +, linkedin, blog (see previous blog posts). I will admit to being incredibly overwhelmed with just those media options when I first started. But my use of them has fallen into a rhythm that I’m happy with, and I now feel much more confident using these social media tools. In addition, after the learning curve flattened out a bit I’m no longer spending inordinate amounts of time managing them.

However, now that my book is released I am discovering many new worlds of self-promotion I have yet to explore. And I am right back to feeling incredibly overwhelmed…

In researching various statistics concerning self-published authors, several stood out to me. In the case of reaching more readers I found a very interesting stat in the book “Not a Gold Rush” by Taleist. Based on a survey of self-published authors, they reported that getting reviews can be a key method of reaching readers. The various activities in the survey included the following:

1. Give away review copies
2. Submit to book review blogs
3. Submit to mainstream press
4. Seek popular reviewers on amazon
5. Ask readers for reviews (through email lists, etc.)
6. Pay for reviews

I won’t give the stats away – buy their book if you’re interested, it’s very good information – but based on their survey results, trying these methods seems worth the effort.

Method #5 is a bit of no-brainer – posting the release of my book all over my author sites (and personal sites) and emailing family and friends was going to happen anyway because I’m so excited about this accomplishment. So I’d say that step is complete.

But methods #s 1-4…. hmmmm…. how to even get started?

As I work my way through the mysteries and pathways of these methods, I’ll post a more detailed blog on each topic. I would LOVE to get feedback from other authors and bloggers who’ve already traveled this road. Please, I beg you, point me in effective directions. As an author, I would much rather spend my time writing the next book, versus spinning my wheels on ineffective self-marketing!

2 comments

  1. There's a problem with method #6 – no one will take the reviews seriously. There's a perception among a lot of people that high reviews for indie authors all come from their family and friends. Paying for reviews enhances that perception.

    There are a lot of bloggers and review sites out there that do a fair and impartial job for free. No one pays the NY Times or Night Owl for reviews – for promotions, yes, but not for reviews.

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  2. Thanks so much for reading the blog! And for the comment. As a newbie in this game I appreciate feedback like this.

    I've found it really interesting how this topic is so polarizing. I can see why this has become such a hot button given some of the shady things people can do. It is definitely the proverbial slippery slope. I read a very interesting blog post on this just the other day. (http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2012/09/writers-code-of-ethics.html – a satire and bit of a rant but still very interesting points.)

    I figured for my first round I would try everything on the list I found on Taleist. And as long as the reviewers are transparent about the metholody and do provide honest reviews – I didn't see the harm. I will say that I've also taken the time to research and individually ask varous other reviewers (bloggers and amazon reviewers) for reviews as well. Like I said – trying all methods to determine which is the most effective for me.

    I'll be very curious to see the response I get on these. I appreciate your feedback and opinion.

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