Martha Note: Indie publishing has come a long way and there are now many great authors out there who are marketing directly to the reader. No matter which route you take they have a lot to offer plus some great reads.
Guest Post by Stephen Hise
As an indie author, you have a lot of latitude and freedom. However, your work is also 100% your responsibility. You do not have an army of agents, publishers, publicists and media consultants working side by side with you to assure your success. It’s all you.
This is the indie’s dilemma. You want to write. You do not want to spend time networking and selling your last book when you could be working on the next one. Of course, you don’t have to do all that. Maybe you’ll be content with just your mom buying a copy of each of the many books you write. But if you want people you never even heard of to buy and read and enjoy your book, you are going to have to push it out there all by yourself. Your book deserves some effort.
You’re going to need to get a grip on social media.
I am no expert by any stretch of the imagination. Two years ago, I said something to the effect of, “I got no interest in the Spacebook or MyFace or whatever the kids are working on the google machine!” I may have even used the term “dagnabbit!” Well, I’m on Facebook now. I started my author page on March 18, 2011 and now have over 750 likes. I have a webpage, www.StephenHise.com. I have over 800 followers on Twitter. The point is that I am not an expert. This is not rocket surgery. If I did it, you can do it too.
I’m going to tell you the one thing that makes that kind of success possible. The community of indie writers is the warmest and most supportive community out there. These folks are not your competitors, they are an extended family and they will help you. They will answer questions, help you publicize your book, your blog, your webpage, they will interview you, they will read and review you.
By way of example, on my own Facebook author page, I seldom let a day pass without promoting the page of another author, linking to another author’s book, or a review or an interview or article about another author. I do this because of the warm and supportive embrace I got from the indie community when I was starting out on social media. I pay it forward, and you will find that almost all of us do too.
I cannot tell you whether there is a direct or proportional correlation between your efforts in social media and sales of your book. I can tell you I’ve sold a few books now to folks who would never have heard of me or my book except for my presence on social media. For me, it’s no longer only about selling my own book. It is about connecting with others who know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s about being part of a great community. It’s nice to know you’re not alone in this, isn’t it?
10 tips for Writers on How to Maximize Your Facebook Fan Page
1. CONTENT, CONTENT, CONTENT! Add content and update frequently. You want your page full and busy. Link articles, reviews, blogs, websites and videos and keep it coming.
2. Like back – if you can find the page for a person who liked yours, like them back. It’s just common courtesy.
3. Seek rich veins for more likes. There are a lot of book clubs on Facebook that have authors (just like you) who will be happy to trade likes with you.
4. It doesn’t all have to be about you. If you hear that another author friend got a great review or an interview, put it on your wall, along with some congratulations.
5. Integrate your FB page with your other media. I have my Facebook page set up so that my posts are automatically tweeted on my twitter account. If you have a website or blog, make sure to include links to your FB page.
6. Have some fun. It doesn’t have to be all work. You want to draw traffic to your page. I use photo caption contests as a fun way to attract visitors.
7. Pay it forward. Help out authors with new pages. Post a link to their page on yours and ask your friends to like theirs.
8. Visit other pages, they need traffic too. Leave a comment or a word of encouragement.
9. Make your likes count. Facebook only counts “people” likes. If you like another page from your fan page, it will not move the ticker. I use both my personal profile AND my author page when I’m liking, and I usually leave a brief comment as my page (even though that like doesn’t count) just to make it easier for them to find me and like me back.
10. Make your page colorful and pleasing to the eye. I’m no artist, and Facebook has certain limitations, but do what you can – add pictures, vary the length of posts, anything to make your page pop a little!