Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Book Marketing – Online Watering Holes for Authors – Facebook, Exclusive Watering Holes, and LinkedIn by Sally Cronin


So far in this series I have focused on Amazon Author pages, Goodreads and the book marketing potential of your covers, titles, tag lines and key words and making best use of your blog: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-book-marketing-series-2019/

This week I am going to Facebook in relation to book marketing and also the benefits of joining an exclusive watering hole on social media platforms.

This is not intended to be the definitive guide to Facebook, but just some suggestions to new authors who are getting started. I am sure that those of you with established pages find them successful for your marketing needs, and am only sharing my own experiences.

When I first joined Facebook ten years ago it was to keep in touch with friends from work and places we had lived. It was a simpler time, and people chatted about their everyday lives and you shared as much or as little as you wanted to.

Over the years it has become increasingly more complicated, especially if you are a blogger and author looking to market your books and blog without creating a page and being constantly hassled to upgrade, pay to advertise etc. Which I did for a year, until I realised that my page was followed by those already following me on my personal page, and therefore I was spending my time growing a following that I already had.

There are new policies introduced on a regular basis that impacts your visibility. Posting and interactions with others is filtered, and not everything that you should be seeing is available to you or your friends. Also Facebook will decide to put posts into places such as Timeline Review for that adds time and additional effort to ensure that they are shared with others.

Another interesting issue that impacted authors was concerning reviews on Amazon, and the purge of hundreds of thousands of reviews from ‘friends’ and therefore assumed to be paid for or fake.

First: when you are in contact with hundreds and even thousands of authors who are also readers, they most likely will review your book. That does not mean that they are fake.

Secondly: Allegedly Facebook sold all our information to Amazon which is the only way they knew about our ‘friends’.

Following the 2016 election and alleged fake news…. things got even more stringent and now, if you so much as dare post anything Facebook considers to be spam or unacceptable by their algorithms, you are rapped on the wrist for contravening community standards, and if they feel justified in blocking your content or suspending your account for a week or longer.

Earlier this year I found myself blocked from sharing any external URL on Facebook, or even sharing posts from Facebook to my own account. I went through the futile attempt to appeal, speak to a living person, reason with an adamant robot, and shut down my account and left for six weeks.

But, I kept getting messages from Facebook to my email about how I was missed by my friends and why had I stopped posting and when was I coming back. So I checked and found that despite closing down my account very firmly, it was alive and well and still active.

I missed my friends from Facebook and keeping up to date with all of them, and finally succumbed and began posting again. Also over the ten years I had developed over 4000 connections, most of whom are authors, and I didn’t want to lose contact especially as many are in the Cafe and Bookstore.

But in the meantime I had checked out some forums to find out how to avoid being blocked and suspended again.

The biggest problem is being labelled as spam and so if I share for example, Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Update, New Book on the Shelves, Book Marketing that could be up to eight posts in the week… Facebook would just see Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore and conclude that it is eight identical posts.  The same applies to most of my other posts which usually have Smorgasbord in the title. So sometimes branding your blog can be a disadvantage if you are a serial blogger as I am.

One useful tip that can get through as the URL does not contain the blog name or frequent named series is before you publish your WordPress blog post.

Click on Get Shortlink

Cut and paste the short link into Facebook manually then post.. that usually seems to work for me… but I am still careful about how many times a day that I post.

I have now managed to keep out of trouble by following this different posting process, but most of you should not have a problem if you are only posting external URLs once or twice a day.

You might find this posts interesting on the subject of staying out of Facebook jail: https://postcron.com/en/blog/how-to-avoid-being-blocked-by-facebook-jail/

As a new author to Facebook, without already having an established personal account, you might consider creating your own page on the platform, and to use it as a way to sell books direct.

The one drawback of starting from scratch is that it will take some time to establish connections. However, one way to do that is to join some of the writing and author groups that are well established and connect to their members directly.  More about these groups shortly.

I am not planning on reinventing the wheel and here is a very informative post on how to set up a business post on Facebook: https://blog.hootsuite.com/steps-to-create-a-facebook-business-page/

If you already have an established personal account on Facebook you can still market your books using posts from your blog and other’s blog, provided you don’t use the direct selling link.

The biggest red flag to Facebook is an external selling link such as Amazon. But you can still market your books and promote your blog on your personal account and boost that exposure by joining two or three key groups that have been established to reach new readership.

Once you have joined the groups you can also upload book marketing and blog promotion links directly into them. Again you will find that groups have also a policy against direct selling links, but those can be in your original post on your blog, or even someone other’s blog who is promoting you.

Exclusive watering holes for like minded writers and readers.

Whilst the main watering holes are helpful in getting your book noticed, you can make an even more effective impact by joining groups where your specific genre is appreciated and sort after.  Or where you are part of a community that shares and supports each other not just on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and your blog, but across all of the platforms.

Here are some groups that you might like to join on Facebook and Twitter, and in particular the ones that  that I belong to. As an author it is good to be in the company of others and don’t forget that authors are readers too.

The Literary Diva’s Library for book news, reviews and interviews: https://www.facebook.com/groups/658119141244524/about/

The Literary Diva’s Library started as a creative collaboration between admins D.G. Kaye, Colleen Chesebro & Sally Cronin with the intention of providing a place for independent authors to get the word out about their books, through thoughtful reviews, and book promotions. Think of us as the place to find your next favorite read!

As a member of this group you can share book reviews you’ve written, book reviews written about your own books, and book promotions featuring price specials including and announcing release dates.

Other posts that can be shared are those that discuss how to write book reviews, how to design book covers, and other book review related information from Amazon, GoodReads, and publishing platforms like Draft2Digital.

Currently at 217 members and again growing, it is small enough that you will soon get to know everyone, and if you interact by liking,commenting and sharing posts, visiting co-member’s blogs etc, you will find that in a short space of time you are being shared too.

Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Group- https://www.facebook.com/groups/1829166787333493/about/

A supportive group for authors, bloggers, and book bloggers to create a community of like-minded individuals. Admins are M. J. (Marjorie) Mallon and D.G. Kaye (Debbie Gies). and is a great place to share your blog posts and news about your books. Currently 150 members but growing.. and you get to know people better than in some of the larger groups. Too big and you get lost in the noise..

The Poetry Sharing Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/167743577260827/about/

Again another supportive group and if you are already a member of the blogging community you will be familiar with many of the faces here. Robbie Cheadle is our Admin and has grown to 108 members quickly. If like me you participate in poetry challenges, or you have a poetry collection being released, this is a great place to showcase your work.

An example of some of the other groups that are more genre specific that it can be useful to join to gain more readers. Do be aware that they have strict guidelines on what you can post.

Romance Writers and Readers United: https://www.facebook.com/groups/RWRUnited/

This group has been active since 2013 and the Admin is MIchelle Miles and Moderator is Doug Simpson. Currently with 2083 members it is still at a size where you won’t be lost in the daily postings.  If you are uncertain about the sub-genres acceptable get in touch with Michelle.

Welcome to the group! This open group is a place for readers and writers of romance to connect! All subgenres welcome.

NO SPAM. This is for ROMANCE BOOK PROMO only. Do not post nonfiction books or a genre other than romance. NO ADS which includes posts on how to increase your kindle/nook/etc sales. Posts will be deleted and users banned immediately. No exceptions.

Please do not post your stories in their entirety here. They will be deleted.

Readers and Writers of Paranormal Romance and Horror: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1396861690594247/about/
This group has been active since 2014 and has 763 members and the admin is Tracy H. Kitts. When you check through the members it will tell you how many of your current friends are also members, which is a good indicator of the effectiveness of the group.

This group is for people who love to read and/or write Paranormal Romance and Horror. All are welcome to post book links, reviews, and blog posts. My only request is that you do not share links more than once a day. 🙂 Oh, and no porn, please.

You will find similar groups on Twitter
If you are a London based writer for example, then this group might be useful for you as it is not just online but holds events and competitions etc.
 London Writers Cafe with 7,300 membershttps://twitter.com/LDNwriterscafe
London’s most active fiction writing community with 3,200 members. Emissary of enviable writing, competitions & events. Led by  https://twitter.com/LisasShare @lisasShare and https://twitter.com/ElizabethWaight @ElizabethWaight –
If you are one of those about to challenge yourself to writing 50,000 words in November then this group would be worth joining
NaNoWriMo – One of the biggest with 190,000 followers for writers completing the November book writing challenge: https://twitter.com/NaNoWriMo
Interesting that nearly 1000 of my own twitter followers, are part of this group, not sure I will see much of them over the next month!
Dive into the literary mayhem! Pen a novel in a month with NaNoWriMo, Camp NaNoWriMo, the Young Writers Program, and the world’s largest writing community.

You get the idea. These are the specialist watering holes and most platforms have similar groups to check out. I suggest that next time you are on social media that you search for your particular genre on non-fiction subject, and location and find yourself an exclusive spa to hang out on.

I have now covered the main platforms that I use for book marketing… my blog, Twitter and Facebook.

I also am on LinkedIn, Pinterest and the newest social media on the blog, MeWe.

LinkedIn

I have been on LinkedIn for many years as it was useful in relation to my career, but I stayed there as an author, as I am now self-employed and in business. Over the last two to three years more and more authors are using LinkedIn to promote their books and blogs and unlike the other platforms, many who follow me there are not duplicated. So fresh eyes to my marketing.  I recommend that if you have been on there and built up a reasonable following over the years that you update your profile to including your books and blog and add your posts on those that you feel other business people and authors would find interesting.

If we have not connected to LinkedIn as yet here is my link: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/sallycronin1

MeWe

MeWe is very similar to Facebook but guarantees that is will not sell any of your information. I have a personal account and also belong to mirror groups as an admin, such as The Literary Diva and Author/Blogger Rainbow support group. Both of which are still growing and have unique members who are tired of Facebook’s restrictions and use of personal data. It will take some time to be as effective as Facebook just on sheer numbers but well worth considering, especially as it will grow in numbers over time.

Personal Account : mewe.com/i/sallycronin
Authors/Bloggers –  https://mewe.com/join/authorsbloggerscircleabcgroup
Literary Diva’s Hangout: https://mewe.com/join/theliterarydivashangout
Poetry Sharing Group: https://mewe.com/join/poetrysharinggroup

My Twitter and Facebook links

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sgc58
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sally.cronin

Next week a look at a local approach to book marketing with print copies, and how to get the news out to the press and local radio.

Thanks for dropping in and your feedback is much appreciated as always.. Sally.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Book Marketing – Attracting your readers, Covers, Book Titles, Tag Lines and Key Words by Sally Cronin


Attracting your readers, Covers, Book Titles, Tag Lines and Key Words

Authors are small businesses with a product that needs marketing to obtain sales. Once you start thinking of yourself as a business it tends to focus your mind differently.

One of the jobs that gave me some perspective on marketing and promotion, was the several years I spent as advertising sales manager for a free paper in London and then a holiday publication company.

One of the key elements of marketing and selling is to attract the right customer for your product and in book marketing this is your readers.

Part of my job was writing copy for clients who could not afford to spend a fortune with an agency. This was quite an interesting challenge because most companies, whatever their product wanted to put their name in large letters front and centre. So for example:

Great name, but what does the person who is looking for a new car see when they are skimming the adverts for cars?  Steve Smith and Sons.. but that is not the product for sale and is not going to grab the attention of the person looking to buy a car. If you are looking for a car, you are more likely to be interested in reading the same advert, but arranged very differently.

Using key words effectively will significantly increase your chances of reaching your customers and more about that later.

Unfortunately this is also a mistake that we tend to make when we market our books.  Unless we are J.K Rowling or any other bestselling author who has a dedicated following, putting our names in very large print on our book covers is not going to achieve sales.

For an author trying to sell a first book and even others that follow, it is almost impossible to stand out from the other millions of books on sale on the primary online bookseller Amazon.. or even on the bookshelf of your local bookstore.

If you look in the average bookstore, novels are shelved alphabetically, not usually by genre, there are no reviews and they rely heavily on cover and back blurb to encourage you to buy. Non-fiction books do have an advantage as they will normally be listed by subject matter which does narrow the field somewhat.

Both however need to have a cover that reflects the contents of the book fiction or non-fiction or, is so visually stunning, that it invites readers to explore further. And very importantly, books need a title that screams out to the reader “buy me, I am the most informative, entertaining, interesting, relevant, novel, self-help book, inspiring story you will ever read” and also find away to convey all that is between the covers!

This is not easy since most titles are only usually between 1 and 5 words.

Finding a book title that sells your book.

There are millions of books available today digitally. This is why it is so important that your title leap out from the page and grab potential reader’s attention. Novels are tough as most of the words used to describe each genre are well used. For romance novelists it must be a nightmare since the words love, destiny, fate, romance, desire etc have to be used in a title in the most imaginative way.

With non-fiction it is not easy but it is simpler – providing you get your USP (unique selling point) in the title….Remember that there could be thousands of books that are cover your particular subject matter and you want the reader to buy your book.

So what is your unique angle that makes your book different from all the other books on a particular subject that can be  incorporated in your title? This is where using MY comes in handy.. for who is more unique than you? Instead of A Lonely Childhood.. My Lonely Childhood etc.

Finding an original title for a novel can be tough since there are only so many words within each genre that you can use to convey the subject of your book.

Obviously the genre is a starting point – SF – thriller – comedy – Romance – Humour, Children’s etc, and my suggestion is that you take a good long look at other newly released books in that genre so that you are not duplicating – write several down and still see if you can get something unique into your own title – try it out on all your friends and family and when you have your title, it is also important to Google it to see if anyone else has a book by that title to avoid confusion.

You may find one or two but if you play around with the wording you can usually find one that is not already in use.

And another search that is worth doing is on your name. How many Sally Cronins are there and might be an idea to add an initial in the middle or as I did in the beginning, my middle name Georgina. The other Sally Cronin seems to have disappeared so I am back to that now.

Remember – this is your advertising headline for your book – it has to grab the attention of your potential readers and also those that can help you promote the book.

Using Key Words as Taglines.

Your book cover and the wording are your advertisement and whilst it is not a good idea to crowd the cover with text, having a tag line can help.

Book available: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jane-Harper/e/B001KI8MCE

 

If the book had just been the image and the title, the book would have had no identity. The fact that it is written by Jane Harper would have attracted her fans; but what about a reader who is browsing to find a murder mystery or thriller, who had not read any of her books previously?  But because of the key words and endorsements, the moment you look at this advertisement for the book you know exactly what is between the pages.

And as a bonus there is another hook.. Who really killed the Hadler family?  Using a question as a tag line is very effective.

Here is another example of a non-fiction book that uses key words to attract the attention of readers. This is written by Sir Max Hugh Macdonald Hastings, who is a best-selling author, historian and journalist who can use his name as key words, as can J.K. Rowling, Stephen King and other established best-selling authors. As you can see the use of any form of testimonial is important as is the use of specific words to identify that you are going to be reading about Spies, Codes and Guerrillas 1939 – 1945.

Book available: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Max-Hastings/e/B00MWZQP4G

 

Here are some more examples that show you how tag lines can provide you with that USP that makes your book stand out from the crowd.

Your genetic makeup – Your grandmother’s legacy……..”. “Training a deaf dog – The hand signal manual”. “The Passion and the Anquish”…..Horror Stories from Beyond the Grave. “Murder at the Fair……. Do you dare ride the Ghost Train?”

If you have already received an editorial or advance reader review then you can certainly put a few words on the front cover with the name of the reviewer that are appropriate. It may not be The Guardian or The Sunday Times but it is still a recommendation to buy.

Note: If you convert your print books to Ebook after you have received reviews.. make sure to mention one or two on your Ebook cover.

Note Two: If you are publishing with Kindle rather than as an independent self publisher you will find that there are restrictions on some wording that you put on the front cover. Check that out before completing your cover design.

So this is effectively your car advertisement, and when you are designing your cover, you do need to think about those select few key words you are going to include in addition to the title and your name to attract readers to buy your book.

Book Blurb.

Amazon offers you the chance to put our back blurb on the selling page so that readers can find out more about the book. This is also part of your advertisement and whilst you should not writer a chapter on the book, you should let a reader know what they can expect.

Put yourself in the reader’s shoes.. If you were looking for a book to read, what would make you click the buy button.

Genre – basic story plot – main characters and importantly work your key words into the blurb as well. Add in some teasers too..

“Can Sally get to the chocolate before the cookie monster eats it all?”

You can also put some headline reviews from any advance readers here, especially if there was not room on the front cover.

“Fantastic edge of the seat read” – T.Jones – “Couldn’t put this thriller down until I had finished” – B. Smith  –  you get my drift.

Amazon Authors Page.

I won’t go into detail about this vital element of your book marketing as I shared a step by step illustrated guide how to set up your Amazon Author Page HERE

Categories and key words on Amazon as part of your advertisement tool box.

On Amazon you do have a number of different options to choose when you upload your book in addition to your cover and blurb. These include the option to choose a number of relevant categories, and very important key words that a potential reader might search for to find their next book.

Back to the example of the advertisement for cars!

If you are looking for a used car and are searching the web you would enter some key words so that you were not faced with 3000 sites to forage through.

Used Car, scrappage, guarantee, Insurance Included, MOT, London E18.

And to show how that works.. I was looking for a car in the UK when living with my mother and this was my search. (I had seen a dark green focus and thought the colour was great and so I added that in, prepared to take it out if the search was too narrow).

Used Car, Ford Focus, Green, Automatic, Low mileage, MOT, Portsmouth.

This was the first car that popped up in my search and I did a test drive and bought the same day.

If readers do not know your name, they are not going to search for it and find you. But if they are looking for a specific genre or sub-genre they will be using certain key words. So you have to be in the right place in the bookstore so that they at least might catch sight of your title and cover.

This requires you to be very specific with your chosen book categories and key words.

On Amazon you can use up to 5 – 7 key words for your book but you may find more impact by combining multiple key words together which is useful. Two or three together have more impact than just one.

For example non-fiction

Rapid Healthy Weightloss is more specific than just weightloss Give up Smoking, Cooking with microwaves, Lancaster in 1960.

For fiction

Murderer for Hire, Romantic short stories, Love Poetry, Thrilling Flash Fiction, Historical Romance, Young Adult drama etc.

NB.I suggest that you take a look at any older books that you have on Amazon, as they have introduced more options  for categories in the last couple of years. Here is a link also to a post that might help you with key words. Also check the blurb and  see if that might need a little TLC.

https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/A2EZES9JAJ6H02

Having established a place on the bookstore where the casual reader can find you, you now need to reach out and let specific fans of your genre or non-fiction book know how to find you there.

Next time… joining the right waterholes to find your potential readers for both print and ebooks.