Sharing Is Caring…

To pay…or not to pay…that is the question.

I think perhaps because folks are so bombarded with constant sales pitches and endless commercials, etc. we become immune to the tactics of paid advertisements, skimming by all the hype, largely unnoticed.

This brings me to the question: Are there any ‘paid’ promotion/marketing sites for authors that are effective in increasing sales? Perhaps.

I personally have been contacted by more than a few marketers claiming ‘high visibility’ and ‘loyal fan base’ for their paid services, though I have not found any verifiable references to support their claims.

I am sure that, as with most all businesses, there are legitimate sources, as well as numerable scams. But how does an author know which ones are good, and which are not?

For many new authors trying to build a reputation and increase their sales, the urge to find any means possible to promote their work can lead to much heartache and frustration, as well as the loss of money.

I have found that one of the main problems with the paid advertising methods for authors, such as Facebook ads, is that the message is broadcast to folks that really aren’t generally that interested. There may be hundreds of thousands that see the ad, but only a few individuals that even bother to look at it. Of those few, maybe one or two will actually buy the book.

So, what are the options for authors to promote their work?

Word-of-mouth warriors…

From an author’s perspective (along with seeing the ‘real life’ numbers and facts) I know the value of sharing our work through word-of-mouth, personal recommendations, and leaving reviews. These precious methods of ‘advertising’ do more to boost sales and reputations than any means of paid advertising. When someone we know (through whatever the means or association) gives a personal recommendation, we tend to pay closer attention, often deciding to purchase an item, or not, based on that recommendation or review.

This is particularly true of authors and books. I have talked to many successful authors that have stated their single most effective salesforce is the word-of-mouth sharing by their fans, and other authors.

One the first rules of successful authordom is to know who your readers are (your target audience), and to connect with them. This takes time and commitment to engage with your readers, building a form of friendship that in turn builds a loyal fanbase.

Another important rule, as my friend, Seumas Gallacher, pointed out in his guest post, is to write what you know about.

Most authors concentrate their efforts in writing to one or two niches or genres for 2 reasons.

The first reason is that it just makes good sense to write about topics that you know well. In a world of billions of available books competing for the readers attention, you have to make your work stand out from the rest. For example, non-fiction works on the topic of Wall Street Markets is not a subject that I would do well with, as I have little experience or knowledge in this area.

However, in ‘Faith, Hope & Miracles’, I shared a first-hand account of the tragedy, struggles, and triumphs that followed my son, Christian’s accident in 2010. The purpose of sharing that story was to let people know they are not alone in their suffering, and to encourage with hope and faith. And in my book, ‘Crazy Critters #1’, I wrote about funny, but true, stories of several of the animals I have shared my life with. The sole purpose of that book was to share some laughter with folks that have pets.

The second reason that authors tend to limit their categories is that for each niche or genre, your audience will likely be entirely different, and it takes a lot of time and work on your part to build and maintain those audiences. Over time, this is possible, though not recommended for those just beginning their writing career.

The business of writing is not an easy one.

Regardless of whether you write in non-fiction or fiction, once you have a top-quality book in your hands, well written, edited, formatted, and an eye-catching cover, you still need an audience of readers. And there is no short-cut to building that foundation.

Other avenues for promoting your work can include interviews on other websites, podcasts, radio, newspaper, and TV shows, although I don’t have time to discuss all the various details on these today. But they are definitely a viable means to help get the word out there.

In closing, I would like to suggest that you should always be genuine and sincere in your efforts to establish relationships with your readers and fellow authors. Treating each other with courtesy and respect can go a long way in helping to expand your potential audience and building your reputation as a professional.

That is why, when I come across a fellow author’s work that I admire in some fashion, I am happy to share and promote it.

In the coming weeks, I will be sharing more guest posts and author interviews. So, if you are an author and are interested in sharing your work on this site, please include a link to your website in the comments and I will give it a look.

Thanks, and God bless!  – Amber

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