Self-promoting authors on the internet: This is what you're doing wrong

Sunday, November 11, 2012

  1. Not bringing value. Contribute. Think of blog posts (whether on your own or on other people's blogs) as articles, rather than press releases.
  2. Sending thirty thousand emails that are all non-specific and self-congratulatory. People will just delete these. (Also re Facebook invitations: it turns out that you can resend an invite to like your page after someone has rejected it, however it appears that you just haven't invited them yet. So maybe don't repeatedly invite someone who doesn't like you to like you? Learn from my mistakes.)
  3. Just trying to sell and not actually interacting. No actual meaningful interaction occurs if your sole goal is selling lots of copies of your book. It does happen if one of your main goals is making your blog/Twitter/whatever else interesting to read rather than just a method for selling your work. And don't just 'network'. Try to legitimately connect with people.
  4. Not promoting others. Don't expect something for nothing. Promote others! Return the favour! But only people you genuinely like the work of. And not everybody at once, because that's just overwhelming.
  5. Not being interesting, or being anything. Really. Don't find your niche or whatever and then stay comfortably wedged there. If your blog is identical to hundreds of others, how are readers supposed to know your work is unique and brilliant and worth reading? This is just basic life advice, you-only-live-once type stuff, but applicable here: just do you.
  6. Not thinking about what engages you as a reader. Think about the books you purchase, and why. Think about the authors you like. Don't think 'I will sell a lot of copies by emailing everyone in the world, repeatedly' because no one is paying attention anymore. People are just deleting your emails. People who are vaguely annoyed with you do not generally purchase or promote your book.
  7. Choosing quantity over quality in terms of communication, who you're contacting, the social media websites you are on, your blog, etc. Again, not emailing everyone in the world repeatedly and having a blog that is just 'this is my book, give me your money' over and over again. It's okay to blog less regularly, really! People have limited time, so they probably would prefer to read a small amount of interesting stuff rather than a large amount of the same old boring stuff. Contact a smaller group of more relevant people rather than a big group that includes everybody (people enjoy feeling special, and only being contacted about things that are relevant to them).
  8. Making people do too much. I'm not going to tweet and Facebook and blog and write a sonnet in order to win a copy of your book. I don't actually care for winning copies of books anymore to be honest, but I think you really need to think about what is easy and fun for your readers, rather than just what will get you the most exposure.
Proudly designed by Mlekoshi playground