Welcome to an entire month of Top 5 Tips for Authors!
Every day this month my friends and I will bring you a new set of Top 5 Tips to help you along on your author journey. 2017 was a year of change in the Indie author world for sure. So many happenings. So many new things to learn. So many old things that didn’t quite do what you’d hoped. Well, every day is a new day. And every year is a new year. So we hope that this month’s worth of tips will get you the kick start you need to make 2018 your best yet and please feel free to ask questions and leave comments.
Today’s guest blogger is Deanna Chase. Deanna is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a native Californian who transplanted to the slower paced lifestyle of southeastern Louisiana. When she isn’t writing, she is often goofing off with her husband in New Orleans, traveling, or playing with her two shih tzu dogs. For more information and updates on newest releases visit her website at www.deannachase.com or catch her on Facebook here.
So, you’ve written a book or five and now you need to figure out a way to get those books discovered. If you’re new to the industry, this can be a daunting task. Heck, I’m not new by indie standards and I still find it daunting for new pen names. Here’s my best advice for how to find readers. And before I start, let me say that everything I do revolves around writing and promoting a series. It’s a very uphill battle trying to promote one single book. Usually I don’t even start promoting until I have three books in a series. With that said, let’s dig in.
Top Five Tips for Getting Discovered:
Write a series and make book one free.
Make it free on all vendors and either wait for Amazon to price match to free or email them and ask them to do it for you. Most people have success with this even if Amazon gives a vague answer about it being solely up to them. I’ve gotten that response numerous of times and yet the book still goes free. Here’s the secret people don’t tell you: writing the books and making the first one free is the easy part. Now you need to figure out how to get that free book onto ereaders. Give that free book away to as many people as possible. You really can’t give enough away. The more you give away, the better your chances at sell through and creating your core fan base.
Places to advertise giving away your book: The holy grail is Bookbub. It can be tough to secure a Bookbub featured deal, but keep trying. Don’t get discouraged. I know people who have submitted over 75 times who finally got one and it was worth it. Use other smaller newsletter sites such as Ereader News Today, Robin Reads, Freebooksy, etc. Just make sure you vet your sites to make sure they are legitimate advertisers and not bot farmers. If you don’t know, ask your fellow authors. Run Facebook ads, Bookbub Ads (the ones that are at the bottom on the Bookbub email) if you have access. Ask your fellow authors to share your free book (I’ll have more on this in tomorrow’s post). Put it on Instafreebie. You get the picture. Give it away wherever you can, as many as you can.
Join anthologies and boxed sets that are tight connections within your genre:
Many authors have been joining boxed set with the sole purpose of making the USA Today list. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as the organizers are using ethical means of advertising, but I do anthologies for different reasons. The first reason is I want to reach specific readers, the readers who read authors in my genre because I know those readers are the ones who are most likely to become fans. If they like Angie Fox or Robyn Peterman or Kristen Painter, I know there is a better chance they’ll connect with my books than if I were to add a book to a set with someone like JA Huss. JA is great, but we write in wildly different genres. Some readers might cross over to my books, but a far higher percentage of Angie Fox readers will be predisposed to liking what I’m putting out there. The second reason I do them is because I want to work with these authors. I want to stay connected so that I’ll be considered when more marketing opportunities come along.
Learn Facebook ads/AMS (Amazon Marketing Services) ads:
Facebook ads and AMS ads have a steep learning curve, but they really do help get your books seen. I run either AMS or Facebook ads on each of my firsts in a series pretty much continuously. I run them for free and paid books and am constantly refreshing my ads.
Write in a popular underserved genre.
It’s a lot easier to stand out in a smaller crowd. Do some research to see which books are selling well but are not in an overcrowded category. Contemporary romance is the biggest selling subgenre around. But it’s very hard to get discovered because there is so much of it. On the other hand, historical romance has far less competition. Look for genres you’d like to write where it’s easier to find an audience.
Consider writing in a shared world or Kindle World.
I only do this if the genre and worlds make sense for my brand. Currently, I write in Robyn Peterman’s Kindle World. Crossover works both ways for this. We both have readers who say they have become fans of each other’s work because they found us through the Magic & Mayhem world. Robyn writes funny, sexy paranormal romance and so do I. It’s a good match.
As for shared worlds, I’ve done some under my pen name Kenzie Cox. Mating Season, Mating Fever, and Intergalactic Dating Agency. Each of these worlds worked like this: Every author writes her own series within the shared world. The branding is the same, the trope is the same, but each world is not the same. We were free to write whatever we wanted as long as the tropes and heat levels were similar. We each published our own work and pushed each other’s releases during a three-month release schedule period. There are different ways to do it. This was just our way. Because I launched Kenzie Cox with Mating Season, she was successful right away. It’s a really good way to get started.