Renee Writes

Posts in category Marketing/Promotion

Twitter Misuse: Don’t Make These Mistakes!

I’ve been noticing more and more that people are misusing Twitter (as in breaking rules set by Twitter), mainly in the area of Spamming. These are things that can get your account banned, so it’s worth looking into. Especially since there are a lot of people out there telling others that these things are what they should be doing to build their followers.

One of the biggest things I’ve seen is people following thousands of people, then unfollowing everyone including those who have followed back in an attempt to make themselves seem more popular than they are. Sadly this isn’t an isolated event either. Through using Statusbrew, I have noticed more than a dozen people a week who have done this to me.

It’s one thing to unfollow people who don’t follow back if your purpose for using Twitter is to network with like-minded people, but to follow just to get the followbacks and then unfollow everyone who has followed you is really rude and inconsiderate.

For me, it’s very irritating and reduces the person’s credibility in my eyes. I’ve actually removed authors books from my to-read list (which is extensive) for this kind of behavior. I’d rather read books from authors who are willing to network with me and get to know me as an author as well. That’s the main reason I use Twitter is to get to know other authors and help them promote their work (and hopefully have them promote mine as well). It’s a way of increasing everyone’s exposure. But people who want all the glory and have no interest in connecting with or helping other authors are not worth my time.

I only unfollow for 3 reasons:

  • Offensive behavior
  • Doesn’t bother to follow back (unless it’s someone I have an interest in following because I’m a fan of their work)
  • Follows me, then unfollows me after I follow them back.

If you’re following and unfollowing indiscriminately just to make yourself look more popular than you really are, not only are you risking losing your account, but your following is likely not to be loyal to you. You’re also risking your reputation.

After a lot of trial and error, I found the best way to get new followers is to 1) be an interesting person to follow by not just posting ads, but also fun stuff for people to read and regular updates (which I’m trying to do more of because sometimes I just don’t know what to say). 2) Engage with people! If you’re trying to network with other authors, talk to other authors: say hi, ask them how they’re doing, respond to their tweets, retweet their tweets, invite them to be interviewed or write a guest post for your blog. If you engage with another author this way, their followers are likely to follow you as well.

The other big thing that I’ve seen is people using @ReneeScatts simply to send me an advertisement for their book or other product/service. The purpose of the @ replies is to engage directly with someone on Twitter, not to promote yourself or your business. I’ve had a few people who started doing this on a daily basis to try and get me to buy their books, and I ended up blocking them in the end.

Again, this is something that not only can get your account suspended or banned, but it annoys people. It’s like the Twitter version of telemarketing. No one likes telemarketers, so don’t be one on social media. It’s another thing that can harm your reputation as an author.

Bottom line is, while it’s okay to promote on social media, your main goal should be networking. That’s what will get you more followers, readers and ultimately sales.

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InstaFreebie as a Promotional Tool (And Free Books)

new-2016-instafreebie-branding-teal

 

I began using InstaFreebie about a week ago after downloading a free book from there from another author. I wasn’t sure how well it would work out since I wasn’t familiar with it, but I figured it would be worth trying. At the very least it was another way to get my permafree, Shadow Stalker Part 1 (Episodes 1 – 6) into the hands of potential new readers.

In that time, to my amazement, I managed to get about 41 downloads of my book, which is better than what I get on a weekly basis on all other channels combined. More astonishingly, I haven’t even been promoting the link. I just set it and let it go figuring I’d just see what happens. I wasn’t expecting much, so I’m surprised and thrilled with the outcome.

Aside from that, it’s a great place to get free ebooks if you’re looking for something new to read. I’ve found quite a few good ones there in the last week.

There are three plans to choose from:

  • Basic – Free
  • Plus – $20/month
  • Pro – $50/month

I’m using the free plan at the moment, but I may upgrade it in the future when I have more books published and want to run giveaways.

With the free plan you can have unlimited giveaways, you can set an expiration for the giveaway as well as the number of copies to give away, and you also have the option of DRM settings.

The paid options obviously offer many more features including Mail Chimp Integration and allowing those who download your free book to sign up for your newsletter. So it’s also a great way to build your newsletter or mailing list.

Authors!

If you want to give InstaFreebie a try, click this link and sign up today!

Readers!

If you’d like to download some free books, click this link and get started!

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Indie Authors Taking the Industry by Storm!

I just read an article, Maverick women writers are upending the book industry and selling millions in the process, that validated a lot of my feelings about where the publishing industry is headed, especially in regards to self-publishing. In fact, I was just speaking with my husband this morning about a lot of these things before I read the article. So it came at a really good time.

The first issue has to do with claims that it’s better to be traditionally published because they have more experience and know what readers want. Of course, I’ve never believed this, but I didn’t have evidence to back me up. The only evidence I’ve ever had was my own experiences and the experiences of other indie authors I know.

The subject of the article is a romance author, H.M. Ward, who suspected if she took her stories (which featured a “nice guy”) to a publisher, she’d be told, “Nice guys are boring”. I mean, I’m not a huge romance fan, but I do like to read them on occasion (especially if they’re fantasy, sci-fi or paranormal romances). And if you’ve ever read a romance, most of the time the male is the “bad boy” type who treats the female harshly to begin with (or maybe even all through the story). At the very least they have to appear “manly” or gruff. You know…a man’s man. Bottom line, you never see the nice guy in those stories.

If I had to wager a guess it’s because publishers have decided all women like the “bad boy” image, and it’s just a cliche that has stuck. Kudos to Ward for having the courage to step outside the box and publish her books to see how they’d be received. And well, it worked to her advantage.

Although we don’t really know for sure if her stories would have been accepted by the publisher, just from my own knowledge I’d pretty much guess she’s have landed in a slush pile somewhere. On her own, her books have become best sellers and she’s sold millions of copies of her books world wide since.

What have I decided to take from this?

Don’t believe anyone who tells you that they (or their industry leaders) know what readers want. The only way anyone could know what readers want is by asking them, and I have never seen any evidence that the publishing industry leaders have ever bothered polling the public to find out what they like.

If you have a story idea, and you’re not sure how it will be received, you have two choices. Visit forums and groups in your genre and poll the readers yourself to find out what the interest level is for that kind of story, or just write the book and see how it does. See for yourself what kind of feedback you get from it.

Another issue that I discussed with my husband was all about covers. Your book cover can make or break your book. So I’m constantly doing research and finding out what most attracts a reader to a cover. One thing I have learned is that the publishers don’t always know what readers want in this area either. Maybe they did at one time, but people change over time, and it seems the big publishers do not want to change with them.

In the article, they mention that the traditional smutty covers used in romance are actually not what the readers want. The covers are being toned down quite a bit by many indie authors and those books are getting a lot more attention than the smutty ones. So it’s very much the same with covers… don’t assume someone else knows what readers want simply because they claim to have more experience in the industry.

Something I know a lot of indie authors are doing now, and it seems to be working, is they are asking for a fans feedback on their covers before the book is even released. They will have at least four different concepts done and they will set up a poll to ask their readers which concept they like best. The one that gets the most votes becomes the cover for that book.

Not only does this find out what images the readers are most attracted to, but it helps your readers feel as though they are part of the process.

That’s another big difference between indie and traditionally published authors, as pointed out in the article. Traditionally published authors (for the most part…it’s not the same for all) are removed from their readership. They are essentially untouchable as far as the reader is concerned. Indie authors build a community around their readers. They interact with them on a daily basis and allow their readers to be part of their writing process instead of having to just wait around for that next book.

Maybe this is why indie authors are taking the industry by storm. Our readers want to feel like they’re part of our success.

If you haven’t already, I highly recommend reading the article. It’s got a lot of great information. Although it’s centered around the romance genre, the information is valuable to all self-published authors.

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