The Author Blog Challenge writing prompt was: What are the three most important things you are doing to grow your platform? This is such a good question and everyone has so many different answers. I don’t have an answer. I have a survey of what I do. How to grow your author platform? Eh…I have a menu of stuff from which to choose. Choose to do what you’ll enjoy so you can be effective and sustain it.
Just today I read a fellow indie author opine that one day a week of concentrated social media, pumping and pimping, hadn’t helped him a bit. Mind you, his sample was a bit too small. He was only talking about a month, which translated to four workdays. However, he’s not alone in the complaint. You can do a lot of work and still not move the needle in a measurable way, and measurable is really what counts. I suspect what was missing was connection. You have to be interested in people and what they’re doing. Interacting is better than spouting (he spouted.) Failing earnest interaction, when you just can’t bear to rip your heart out of your chest again for another blog post or comment thread, do what I do and make more jokes about strangling mimes.
I’m really very consistent in establishing my web presence. I do something every day and here’s what I’m active in: three Twitter accounts (though the main one is @rchazzchute); Facebook pages; a podcast broadcast two times a week; the author site (AllThatChazz.com) and, of course, this site. I even do a little bit of Google Plus. I always think of G+ last, but I know I picked up a new reader (who promised to review my book!) through G+ today. I know that’s a lot. This is part of my full-time job, no whining. The rest of the time, I’m writing, and no, there’s not time for much of anything else. Most people can’t devote the amount of time I do to marketing and promotion, and yes, I realize I’m very lucky to have such a supportive spouse in She Who Must Be Obeyed.
When you do a lot of social media, you do risk annoying people. I certainly risked that today. My Amazon free promo day was plastered across my podcast, my Twitter and retweeted across at least 50 other Twitter accounts. I emailed some people and reached out a bit through Facebook. Somebody must have thought, “Yeah, yeah, we get it. You’re excited about your book but I got a sammich here!” Even as I was promoting, I noticed a fellow author got cussed out severely on Facebook for his pleas. In my defence, everyone who tweeted me got my support, too. I share. They share. Some would say that adds up to a lot of noise and signal degradation. On the other hand, my novel rose from a dark place in my skull a couple of days ago to #545 on the general Amazon list last I checked (UPDATE: and #73 in Mysteries & Thrilers! Yay!) Self-help for Stoners shot up 140,000 places as a collateral benefit so something’s selling in addition to all those free books.
I curate a lot of helpful information for indie authors. On the one hand, this blog brings me a lot of traffic, but they (well…you) aren’t necessarily interested in reading suspense, funny and weird self-help in the form of fiction, strange humour and crime novels. Some people say writing about writing is a complete waste of time. I say write what you’re passionate about and you’ll never run out of blog posts. I don’t want to blog about animal husbandry. It’s icky hanging out with naked animals.
When I joined Klout, I had assumed most of my influence came through this blog or Twitter. Klout says it’s Facebook where I make the most impact (though my Ex Parte Press page only has 37 likes and my personal page only 177 friends. That’s lousy, though it’s almost 177 more friends that I ever had elsewhere.) I doubt Klout, but it’s hard to say. Besides, maybe that’s too reductionist. In layered marketing, you do a lot of things in order to appear to be just about everywhere at once, like The Flash or herpes.
So what are the three things I do that are most effective? I’m sorry. No easy answers. I couldn’t narrow it down that much. I think my podcast, though small, helps me reach out to new people around the world and when the podcast went up at 6 pm this evening, listeners snapped up the free promo. Triberr is effective. World Literary Cafe Tweet Teams help. I’m exploring new ways to advertise on a tiny (to zero budget) like Masquerade Crew, Kindle Nation Daily, and Kindle Book Review. I have to reach out to book reviewers to get noticed. I have to find crime novelists or suspense writers willing to give up a blurb for Bigger Than Jesus.
There’s only one thing I am sure will help me sell more books: I have to get the next book up. And the next, and the next and so on until I am discovered, die or you decide you want you r kids back with all their thumbs attached.
What to do?
Do what you can. Do what you love. Get the writing done first. Nothing should cut into your writing time.
How do I do it? I don’t sleep much. It’s like cramming for finals every day and night.
It would be hell, except I’m having fun.
- Author Blog Challenge: In 12 hours, Bigger Than Jesus (chazzwrites.com)
- Author Blog Challenge 12: How to not write your book (chazzwrites.com)
- Author Blog Challenge 10: How to make me want to spread your word (chazzwrites.com)
- Author Blog Challenge 16: Why ebooks? (chazzwrites.com)
- Author Blog Challenge 18: The Top Ten Reasons You (yes! You!) crave this book (chazzwrites.com)
- Author Blog Challenge 17: How to talk with your graphic designer about your book cover (chazzwrites.com)
- The Author Blog Challenge: My Earliest Memory of Writing is the Typebrighter (chazzwrites.com)