Now, this is a touchy subject. If anyone has been on the Amazon Forums you’ll have seen the absolute rage that self-promotion of an author’s books generates in some readers. And to be fair, in some cases you can understand why. Someone with a passion for books asks for advice on finding a new author that’s similar to the ones they like and suddenly they get inundated with responses from people saying “read mine, it’s only 99p/£1.50/£5.99”. I’m trying to promote my books and that annoys even me…
I’ve been trying a slightly different approach. First of all, yes, I post on those threads on the Forum that say “promote your work here”, “tell us about your self-published novel” etc. Because these are dedicated threads that other Forum users don’t have to read. How effective they are, I don’t know. They don’t seem very helpful to me. Most people (me included) seem to go on there, post an entry promoting their masterpiece, and then leave without giving the other entries the time they deserve.
What I’m doing breaks down into about 4 different areas:
1. I’ve tagged my books with the names of a couple of other authors who I think are similar in style. This just helps perhaps bring a few readers my way that are likely to enjoy what I’ve written.
2. I’ve made some use of listmania, associating my book again to a list of others that I think are similar in style or content.
3. I’m a Vine reviewer for Amazon anyway, so I’ve been upping my game a little bit with reviewing in the hope that other discerning fans of the same things I like may make their way, via my reviewer profile, to my author’s page.
4. I’ve made a conscious effort to participate in the Forums a little bit more. Not to push my own work, but to talk about the books I like and try to make some valid points about them. There’s a satisfaction in helping other people find work they may also like and in talking about something I love – reading. But also, if I’m being honest, it also helps make me more visible which is no bad thing when you’re trying to promote yourself. I’m determined, however, to maintain my integrity and to participate as a genuine fan of literature, not as a thread hijacker… I do recommend books by other independent writers in Forums if I think they’re good, in the same way I do with established authors, and I’d like to think other people would recommend mine if they enjoyed it.
At the end of the day, it’s all about striking a balance. Obviously I want people to read my book, and I need to find ways of drawing their attention to its existence without ramming it down their throats. The hard sell is just counter productive anyway. But this is the approach I’ve been taking – would be interesting to hear what other people are doing…