As an independent author who is very active on social media (twitter, facebook, and pinterest), I see a lot of book marketing posts. If you read this blog regularly, you know I have eleven titles out and will be publishing my twelfth, Princess Anyu Returns, sometime before the 28th of February. So I feel like I know something about this business.
Here are the top four mistakes I see independent authors making that are absolutely certain to drive away potential readers.
#1 Mentioning you checked spelling and grammar in your book description or on social media.
I am genuinely shocked at the number of times “authors” tout this as a reason to buy their book. It takes MINUTES to run spell check in a word processing program. You do not get a gold star or a pat on the head for doing this. Adults are expected to do this. Likewise, telling us that you hired an editor to correct your typos only tells us that you do not possess the language skills to write, let alone publish a book.
Writing is a job, a profession. Treat it that way. If you need editorial help, hire an editor. That is fine and many experts say you should anyway. But for heaven’s sake, the only appropriate place to mention you used one is in the credits of your book — quietly and without any noise.
#2 NOT correcting spelling, grammar errors
Right after telling someone you corrected your spelling errors, the next best way to drive away a potential reader is to publish with spelling, typing, punctuation, and grammar errors in your book or in the book description.
Why? Because leaving these errors in your published book screams of unprofessionalism. It says “I expect you to treat me as a serious writer, but I am not going to bother to fix my mistakes before you read my book.” It disrespects readers and it hurts your reputation.
That said, mistakes do happen and sometimes they slip past the best of editors. What distinguishes the best professionals from everyone else is the response given to locating these errors. Professionals will quickly and quietly fix any errors they find and resubmit their books to their publishing platforms, knowing that doing so offers future readers a more perfect and more desirable product for purchase.
#3 Indiscriminately spamming social media and bloggers
No one likes a hard sell. As a matter of fact in today’s world we are so accustomed to advertisements across media formats that we instinctively tune out ads in favor of engagement. We want to be talked to and not talked at.
Enter social media forums and facebook groups, each of them designed around a central theme or purpose. An effective group offers members conversation and social opportunities. An effective book marketing group is a place where readers (potential customers) can discover new books without having to sift through a flood of advertisements for books they are not interested in. This is one reason why I love Tom Tinney’s “Promoting My Published Book,” group. By enforcing a strict set of rules for posting, readers are able to browse listings relevant to them without having to sift through posts of absolutely no interest to them.
Follow these rules and you are golden; you reach the readers most interested in buying your posts. But post without care or concern for what the group is about and you alienate not only readers, but the colleagues and potential reviewers most willing and able to get the word out about your books.
#4 Being difficult to reach
For me personally, the number one reason why people buy my books is that I am accessible. I am easy to reach and I spend large sections of nearly every day on social media answering questions and talking to people. The easier you are to reach, the more people connect with you. The better they connect with you and the better the rapport you build on social media, the more likable you become and more appealing your books become.
Remember: people buy from people, not corporations. Be a warm, friendly, accessible professional online and you are certain to see your sales skyrocket.