Now that April is over, my first month as a self-published author is complete. I learned a lot in the last 30 days, and the one area where I learned the most was in marketing. Since I know there are other authors reading this who are either contemplating going into self-publishing or who have already self-published, I thought it might be helpful if I discussed the ups and down of my first month of promoting both my books and myself as an author.
Before I go any further, let me say that marketing and promoting yourself takes a lot of time and work. If you don't enjoy social networking, then you're really going to struggle with this aspect of being a self-published author. Fortunately for me, I LOVE social networking. I've made contact with a lot of wonderful people on Twitter and Facebook, I've discovered some incredibly well-written blogs, and I've gotten loads of great book recommendations from GoodReads. Even if I don't end up selling a single book to any of the people I've met, I've still made some great new friends.
I'll talk about each social media network in more detail below, but here are my raw numbers:
I didn't create a Facebook Fan Page until after I'd released my first book on April 1st, so I'm pleased that I have 139 fans, especially since only 56 of those fans are people I was already connected with on Facebook. I also have 25 pages (created by other people) that are fans of mine, but those numbers don't show up in the main head count.
Some things to consider with Facebook Fan Pages:
- Once you have 25 fans, you can give your fan page a short url. For mine, I chose scott.niven.author.
- You can change the name of your page as long as you've got less than 100 followers. Once you go over 100, you're stuck with whatever name you've chosen. My page name is Scott Niven - Author. I had thoughts about removing the - Author from my name, but now it's too late.
This is where I really had no idea what I was doing. When I first started out on Twitter, I believed that the best thing to do would be to get as many followers as possible. I searched on Google for people who always follow back and found dozens of pages containing long lists of people who promise to follow you if you follow them. I started following as many of these people as Twitter would allow me to per hour, and sure enough, many of them followed me back. Soon my follower count was approaching 500, and showed no signs of slowing down.
But something was wrong.
Most of these people weren't writers, or book lovers, or people that I had anything in common with at all. In fact, a huge portion of these people were just people labeling themselves as social media experts and professional marketeers so they could pump up their own follower count, then spam those people with ads and links.
I quickly realized this was NOT the Twitter path I wanted to follow. I stopped trying to increase my numbers, and instead, focused on meeting people I could really talk to and get to know, people who loved to read or who wrote blogs or books. This turned out to be much more fun and enjoyable, and it showed me that the real power of Twitter was its ability to help me locate interesting and real people.
In terms of numbers, I went from 3 followers on April 1st to 790 followers on April 30th. There's a good chance this number will go down by the end of May, because I'm slowly going through the list of people I'm following and I'm removing the spambots and marketeers.
At the beginning of April, I had a website that was separate from my blog. Keeping both of those sites up-to-date wasn't easy, so I merged them into one entity. This site, scott-niven.com, is now hosted at Blogger, giving me a single place to make updates or blog posts about my books.
I've really been surprised at how much fun I've had blogging. Plus I've met tons of other great bloggers, all with distinctive voices of their own.
The numbers for my blog have definitely improved now that I've combined the blog with my website. In March, I had a grand total of 10 pageviews. By the end of April, that number had jumped to 992. I also gained 46 Google Connect followers and 2 NetworkedBlogs followers (although 1 of the NetworkedBlogs followers is me, lol). I think all of these numbers will continue to increase as long as I have something interesting and helpful to say on here.
I haven't really used GoodReads to its fullest potential yet. Mainly I've just been finding new authors who have written books that appeal to me, then adding their books to my "to-read" list. I started the month with 8 friends, and now have 58.
All in all, I'm pleased with my first month as a self-published author. Despite the fact that I've kept track of all these numbers, I'm not nearly as concerned about them as I was at the beginning of April. Now I'm more focused on making my existing friendships stronger. Oh, and writing. I'm also focused on writing. :)
If this was a helpful post, let me know and I'll post my numbers at the end of every month.