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Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Magic of Networking by Jenny Twist

This weekend and next I'm handing over my blog to my two favourite people, Jenny Twist and Tara Fox Hall who want to talk about something dear to any author's heart - promotion (and FREE promotion at that!)
So straight's Jenny.

I always assumed, rather naively, that once your book was accepted by a publisher all you had to do was sit back and wait for the money to roll in. Well, it doesn't happen like that. In order for a book to sell, the author needs to have a fan base, to get fans the author needs to be actively marketed. Even the best publishers cannot spend time and money marketing an unknown author. They will only do this for new books from authors who are already best-sellers or for those whom they believe have a really good chance of becoming best-sellers - celebrities writing their autobiographies, for example.
So is this a Catch 22 situation?
Not quite.
The answer is you have to market yourself. Ultimately books sell through word of mouth, so the more people you can get to read your book, the better chance it has of becoming well-known.
I have no money at all to spend on advertising, so all my marketing is through social networking and blogging. Don’t knock it! You wouldn’t believe how many people you reach through Twitter and Facebook.

Twitter: You are only allowed 140 characters per tweet. Make every character count. Put RT at the beginning, which is an invitation for your followers to retweet. Every retweet will reach all the followers of that tweep (Twitter-speak for one who tweets) who may themselves retweet you. See how this works?
Always put the buy-link of your book in there. For example, if you are tweeting about a review by all means put the review link in as well, but include the buy link whatever happens. People buy on impulse. Make it easy for them.

Facebook: Create your own author page and post all your book news there. Invite people to share a link when you’re doing a full-on campaign. Don’t forget to include the buy link!

Join author groups - Yahoo has dozens of them. So does Facebook. I have a master spread-sheet with all the sites I post on so I don’t forget any. I also bookmark all the sites so it’s quick and easy to post one after another. Be careful to obey all the site rules. Some have certain days when you’re allowed to post, some will only allow certain kinds of posts.
Every time anything happens that gives you an excuse to say something, tweet and post it. When a new book is launched, when you have a good review, when you write a blog. You are building your fan-base. Make them remember your name. And remember, if you want people to support you, you must be prepared to support them. Thank them for sharing your link. When they retweet you, reciprocate. You will make good friends who will always support you.

Reviews sell books. Send your book for review to any review site that seems to be appropriate. Again I keep a spread-sheet for each book, tracking where I sent it and the response. As you go along, you will find the sites that like your writing and you will end up with a golden list of those you are confident will give you a good review. Here’s a site with a comprehensive list to start you off:
Ask other authors to review your work. Offer to review theirs in turn.

Offer to do interviews and blogs. It's time-consuming, but it really does work. When I first started I used to prefer interviews because the blogger did all the hard work. All you had to do was answer the questions. Now I’d much rather write a blog myself on some subject that interests me. It’s more interesting for me than trotting out the same answers all the time and I think it’s more interesting for my readers.
Every time you do this, advertise it on the social networks. Post the link to the site and ask people to comment. Keep revisiting the site to respond to them.

Free downloads: Finally, there is one avenue I have only recently discovered that seems to work like magic. If you have self-published a book you can put it on free download every so often. Amazon’s KDP lets you do 5 free days every 90 days. Advertise it on all the free book sites and promote it like mad.
Only a fraction of the people who download it will read it. Only a fraction of those will review it. But an even smaller fraction, the golden nugget, will become fans. They will go on to buy your other books. They will tell their friends, who will tell their friends.

Stardom, here you come!     

About Jenny Twist

Jenny Twist was born in York and brought up in the West Yorkshire mill town of Heckmondwike,the eldest grandchild of a huge extended family. 
She left school at fifteen and went to work in an asbestos factory. After working in various jobs, including bacon-packer and escapologist’s assistant, she returned to full-time education and did a BA in history at Manchester and post-graduate studies at Oxford.
She stayed in Oxford working as a recruitment consultant for many years and it was there that she met and married her husband, Vic.
In 2001 they retired and moved to Southern Spain where they live with their rather eccentric dog and cat
Jenny's first book, Take One At Bedtime, was published in April 2011 and the second, the highly acclaimed Domingo’s Angel, in July 2011. Her novella, Doppelganger, was published in the anthology Curious Hearts in July 2011, Uncle Vernon, was published in Spellbound, in November 2011,  Jamey and the Alien was published in Warm Christmas Wishes in December 2011 and Mantequero was published in the anthology Winter Wonders in December 2011.  She self-published Away With the Fairies, an intriguing modern fairytale in September 2012.
Her latest novel, All in the Mind, about an old woman who mysteriously begins to get younger, appeared in October 2012.

All Jenny's titles are available from Amazon. Just click on the following links: Amazon US and Amazon UK


Anonymous said...

Always good to read some advice on this topic.I found the article very helpful. Thanks.

Su Halfwerk said...

Hey Jenny,
It's always good to be reminded of the power of promotion. It's time consuming but worth it. Thanks for sharing your process :-)
Your fan,

Jenny Twist said...

Hi Richard.
Thanks so much for commenting. So glad you found it helpful.

Jenny Twist said...

Su! Darling, are you really my fan? I'm so flattered.
We're doing the blog because we get asked for advice so often, we thought it would be worth doing a definitive piece we could refer people to.
Love you lots

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Excellent overview, Jenny, and I'm awed at your organisation! I think I only do about half of that but I'll re-read your advice later.

Jenny Twist said...

Hi Lyn
I was so excited to find out that Su was my fan, I forgot to say thank you for having me on your totally fab blog
Lots of love

Jenny Twist said...

Thank you for the compliments! I'm blushing.
I learnt long ago that I have to be organised because I have such a pathetic memory! I am in awe at my Spanish friends who never write anything down and yet remember everything!

ManicScribbler said...

Jenny - it's always a pleasure to have you on my blog and when you come with such sound advice for others, it's a win-win situation all round :)
Hello to Richard, Su and Rosemary - thanks for dropping by.

Nancy Pennick said...

Great advice as always. I consider you my guru! :)

Rose Anderson ~ Romance Novelist said...

Great tips Jenny. :)


Brenda Whiteside said...

Great advice, Jenny. Free advice and free promo!

Tara Fox Hall said...

A Fabulous post, Jenny. Sharing to FB right now! :)

Jenny Twist said...

Nancy! How totally fab! I've always wanted to be a guru!

Rose. You are such a star. Thank you.

Brenda. You too. I value your friendship so much, girls.

And Tara! Just going to prove exactly how to do it. Bless you


Karen Michelle Nutt said...

Great advice! :)

Anne Patrick said...

Jenny, interesting post with some great great advice. Last month I published/did a free promo with KDP and have been blown away by the numbers. I wish I'd done sooner:). Thanks for sharing!

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Jenny,
Great blog, very interesting and informative.



Joy V. Smith said...

Jenny, thank you for the detailed tips! I've copied them and filed them in an email.
Appreciatively, Joy

Jenny Twist said...

Hi Karen, Anne, Margaret and Joy.
Thanks so much for your lovely comments. Very glad you all think it's useful.

LizB said...

Great advice, especially struck by the idea of putting RT on the tweet. Never thought of that and didn't know it worked as an invitation to retweet. That alone is worth knowing!

Paula Martin said...

Excellent advice, Jenny. Must admit I tend to do my promo in fits and starts! I'd be interested to know what you consider to be OVER-promo i.e. the kind that, to my mind, ends upwith a negative effect.

Jenny Twist said...

Hi Liz. Lots of people picked up on that one. I'm seriously worried I might end up being personally responsible for Twitter overload!!

Jenny Twist said...

Hi Paula
Interesting question. I'm sure I overdo it. I spend much more time promoting than writing. I always feel it's worth putting the effort in now to get my name recognised, but I long for the day when it won't be necessary. Please let there be a day when it's no longer necessary!

Sydney Jane Baily said...

I hate promoting and do it haphazardly at best. In fits and starts. I think organization is key. I know that, I just don't practice it. I should try your spreadsheet method.

Thanks for the excellent tips.

Linda Acaster said...

Great advice, Jenny, thanks for sharing.

Re your last comment, I was going to ask... how you manage to sandwich all this promoing into your day? Do you have set times when you try to hit everything, or is it set days for individual aspects?

My biggest problem is that I am a slow writer - 1500 words in an 8-10 hour stretch - which leaves little creativity for promoing!

Carly Carson said...

Thanks for the tips. I hope you're going to write a book featuring an escapologist's assistant!

Jenny Twist said...

Hi Sydney
I hate it too. But it's more bearable when you organise it. Keep going, Sweetie

Jenny Twist said...

Hi Linda. This is going to sound really anally retentive. The only way I get anything done is to have a strict routine. It is this
1. Deal with emails
2. Promote if I've got anything to say
3. Check I've written any promised blogs and write the next one if I haven't.
4. Write at least 1,000 words of the WIP (I write quite fast as I've usually worked it all out in my head before I start)
5. Write a review (I always owe at least one review)
I regularly don't get past number two but at least most days I make some inroads into the WIP.
You'll like the next one, by the way, based on Greek mythology. Right up your street.
A friend of mine said, "First pay yourself." Good advice. Writing is more important than promoting.

Jenny Twist said...

Hi Carly.
Hasn't happened yet but most things in my life end up in a story eventually. I did talk about it in an interview on this link:
It's not quite as glamorous aa you might think!

Anonymous said...

Love your advice, Jenny. Free promotion is the way to go when you can't afford much else, or don't know where to look. Great post. Glad I stopped by.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

I see there isw a lot of interest in this post. Most of us really hate self promotion, but it so necessary. I am a twitter idiot. I haven't a clue how it works even though I have an account for the purpose of promotion. I really appreciated those helpful hints you gave. I do use my Facebook page, but I have no idea how well it works. I used to be a blog-o-phobic and tensed up just thinking about writing a blog. I had to force myself to do it, but now I;m getting used to it. I belong to blogs that are genre appropriate for my books. Funny, the blog I neglect is my own.
I think there is a fine line between not promoting enough and doing so much promo that readeres become desensitized. I would rather have a good signature line and just chat in groups with authors and readers than to promote my books every day. I also try to change up excerpts so they don't become stagnant.
A wonderul and useful blog, Jenny. Thanks.

Jenny Twist said...

M J. Thanks, Hon

Like you, I've no idea how much, if any, of this works. I am told, but have no proof, that repetition is the thing. People begin to remember your name and therefore are more likely to buy your product.
I personally only get de-sensitised if I find the advertising in question annoying. But the idea that I might be desensitising people fills me with horror. Aaaarrrrggghhh!!!
I must do more with excerpts as well. I used to, but I've got bogged down with all the other stuff.
Love you lots

Linda Banche said...

Jenny, I think you're smart not to spend money on promotion. I did and it was a total waste. I don't recommend that anyone do it.

As for guest blog posts, they never generated any sales for me, so I gave them up. Glad they work for you.

I still have my doubts about KDP Select. I really wonder if all those freebies generate enough sales to make up for all the books given away. I havent' done it yet, and don't know if I will.

Jenny Twist said...

Hi Linda
I must confess I'm unconvinced of the efficacy of paying good money to advertise. I can't afford it anyway, so it's a moot point.
I don't think the blog posts directly generate sales. It's more a matter of getting your name noticed. And, of course, each one is a sample of your writing - so is advertising.
I was told to look at KDP freebies not as lost revenue, but as free advertising. Most of the people who download it wouldn't have paid for the book. Maybe none of them. But if they read it and just tell one friend, you've advertised successfully. I DID notice a rise in sales for my other books after I tried it. I would say it's certainly worth a go.
Have you got a short you could try it with?


Linda Banche said...

Hi Jenny, I never thought of KDP that way. I don't have a short to try it with, and I'm still not sure. But I'm glad your other books got a boost.

Jenny Twist said...

I'm working up to doing another one. It's just the time to do the cover art and so on. There is NEVER enough time!

Melissa said...

Thank you so much!!! I was starting to drown before I even got to the self-marketing pool and this was super helpful.

Jenny Twist said...

Hi Melissa. So glad it helped.


Diana Rubino said...

Excellent advice, Jenny. I posted your link to my new author FB page. Please stop in and say hi! Diana

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