Mapped @ Image Mapper

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Marketing Yourself When You're a Self-Published Author: June 2011 Numbers

Here's the latest in my series of articles where I go behind my monthly numbers and explain them. First let's start with the chart:

I experimented with more advertising on Facebook this month. Out of all of my social media experiments, my Facebook fan page is the one I think will prove to be the most beneficial. The reason for this is because I get the feeling that many of my fans are truly lovers of science fiction and fantasy. This makes sense, right? I mean, I am a science fiction/fantasy author. But what makes my Facebook fans stand out is the fact that many of them became fans of mine because they wanted to read my free short story. I'm taking this to mean that they have a genuine interest in speculative fiction. I've also received lots of wall posts and emails from Facebook fans letting me know they enjoyed reading my free story and/or my books.

This month I did things differently than I have in the past. I still avoided adding the obvious spambots, but I didn't spend as much time trying to determine if this person or that person was really someone I wanted to follow. This caused me to follow a lot more of the people who were following me than I had in previous months. You might think this would present a problem now that I have so many followers, but to keep things straight, I've started using Twitter Lists. These lists allow me to compartmentalize my followers into categories.

My Blog
I began a new feature on my blog this month where I interview indie authors. I wanted to do this to give something back to the indie writing community that has been so good to me. (If you're an author and would like to be interviewed, let me know!) I had another great increase in traffic, but I think it will level out this month, as I noticed a slowdown in growth from week to week throughout June.

I made a lot of great new friends on GoodReads this month, and my numbers reflect that. GoodReads is full of people who love books, and many of them are authors. I found myself spending more and more time on this site as the month progressed. I think my to-be-read pile is now over 200 books long!

I did several things this month to try and cross-pollinate my virtual identity. On my blog, I added a box on the right that shows my last few Facebook wall posts, as well as photos of some of my fans and a big "Follow" button to allow people to become one of my Facebook fans without ever leaving my blog. I also added Networked Blogs and Twitter feeds to my Facebook fan page. I used separate sub-pages rather than auto-posting stuff to my wall, as I don't like auto-posting and I don't think other people like auto-posting either. On Twitter, I changed the link in my profile every few days. Sometimes I linked to my Amazon books, and sometimes I linked to my Facebook page or my blog. I don't know how much traffic this technique generated, but I'll probably keep doing this to keep my Twitter profile from becoming too static.

I tried Twitter advertising for the first time this month. Twiends allows you to buy "seeds" that are then used as rewards for people if they follow you via the Twiends interface. You can also earn seeds by following others. The site receives tons of traffic, so I figured it was worth a shot, but in the end, I wasn't impressed. I did pick up lots of new followers, but I don't think that most of these new followers are a part of my target audience. Many of them were spambots, although Twiends does do a pretty good job of discovering spambots and refunding your seeds if they suspect a spambot used them.

Identity Crisis
I'm about 75% done with my first draft of my new novel. I'm going to talk more about my novel in a future post, but one thing I need to consider now is how to change my marketing efforts to reflect the fact that my novel falls squarely in the fantasy genre. Calling myself a Fantasy/Science Fiction author worked well while I publicized my speculative fiction short stories, but I'm considering dropping the Science Fiction from my title to focus on my Fantasy author identity. If you've got any thoughts on this, or if you've already been through this particular issue, let me know! I'd love to hear your opinion!

Next month I'll be adding a new row to my charts for Google+. It's still early in the game for Google's newest social media tool, but the more I use it, the more I'm convinced that it's going to become a major player. If you haven't already given Google+ a try, I think you're in for a pleasant surprise. It's intuitive, easy to use, and fun! I think you still have to be invited to try it, so if you're interested, let me know and I'll send you a friend invite.