Writers, please take the survey on the state of publishing – pub, unpub, trad pub, indie pub, just do it (hey, I even invented new words!)! Now I shall let David Farland speak – writers AND readers pay attention!
David Farland’s Daily Kick (reposted as it came in my inbox)
Yet it seems to me that as authors, we ought to be spending more time trying to connect with readers than with writers.
The power of social media as a sales tool was brought home to me recently by a friend who created a site that sells movies online. He put up a documentary and started selling it, linking it to a social media site for people who talk about movies. In a matter of weeks he got millions of dollars in sales, and he’s on his way to creating an empire.
Some sites already cater to book lovers. Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com, and similar sites have some built-in social marketing capability.
Similarly, you have Facebook, MySpace, Google+, and similar sites where people might tell their friends about their favorite books.
Then there are places like Goodreads, where readers not only post their reviews about books, but also often belong to specific reading groups. Goodreads lists some 20,000 different reading groups, where like-minded people discuss their favorite books.
And of course you have private blogs, where people simply talk about their hobbies—which may include reading.
It seems to me as an author, that all of these resources might be helpful in spreading the word about a new book. Often we will look for ways to advertise—by purchasing television ads, getting books reviewed in newspapers, and so on. But those methods can be expensive, and to be honest, I don’t think that they’re as effective as word-of-mouth advertising. It used to be that newspapers did a lot of book reviews, for example, but over the past decade, most of the papers have shut down their book-review lines, citing the cost of it.
In the past few weeks, I’ve been getting dozens of pieces of fan mail about my latest release, Nightingale. I suspect that for every ten pieces of fan mail that I get, only one person will mention it on Facebook, or put up a review on Goodreads, or mention it in a blog.
So I’m wondering if it would be helpful to educate your fans on how to help spread the word. You might say something like this:
1) “If you loved this book (or any other book) the best thing that you can do for the author is to write a brief review, then post it on Facebook with a link to the purchase site.” The review doesn’t have to be extensive, just something as simple as “I just read the coolest book! Check it out: http://www.nightingalenovel.com”
2) You can also post your review on Goodreads or similar sites. Here are a few: librarything.com, shelfari.com, books.google.com (use with gmail), anobii.com, weread.com, chapters.indigo.ca, revish.com, reader2.com.
3) Post your review on your own private blog. Sure, it might only have a couple of dozen readers, but the six-degrees of separation principle suggests that your review could help create a domino-effect, one that would eventually help the book get made into a movie or otherwise go ballistic.
4) Tweet about the book to your friends.
Of course, if a reader were to take any one of those actions, it would be wonderful for you as the author. If they’d do two or more, it would take you much further down the road to becoming a bestseller.
Yet I have to wonder. What other opportunities are out there? I’ve heard, for example, that there are some good new social media sites in Europe that allow people to join into fan groups. Some sites for young readers are closed to adults, some are for librarians only, and so on. So in order to better educate myself, I’m going to ask: What cool new networks for book-lovers excite you? Send your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org, and if I get a nifty list together, I’ll compile it.
Dave has a couple of openings left in his Novel-Rewriting Class in August, and more in September. If you have a novel that you think has strong potential, but you just need to get over those past few hurdles, check out his workshops here.