We recently had the opportunity to interview author and book marketing expert Pavarti Tyler on Google Hangouts. In addition to learning more about Pavarti’s books, we covered a number of topics related to book marketing and promotion on various platforms including Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon.
Check out the interview below. Or if you are pressed for time, glance through the notes below the video.
Financial Planning for Authors: The moment you publish a book, you are a business. Maintain proper financial records even if you are not making a substantial income from book sales at the moment. Document all expenses. Maintain separation of funds – between your money and the publishing money.
Marketing Books on a Budget: Get your book edited. Without a quality, professional product you cannot expect to sell. Ensure good cover art. Make a book that you can be proud of. Then you have a chance of word of mouth kicking in. Also, try to find something that works for you … such as getting a mailing list. And be willing to try new marketing channels. Think out of the box like BookBuzzr. If something works, it’s possible that all the other authors will get on to it. So don’t be hesitant to try something new. Advertising is important. Genuine book reviews are essential. Amazon’s algorithm weights the number of book reviews that you have. And it’s okay to have negative reviews.
Handling Negative Reviews: Nine times out of ten, do nothing. If the review is personal, then walk away. If the review is about the product, then examine it. If the review was for the technical quality of the product (poor formatting, etc.), I would respond and offer a refund.
Getting Your First Couple of Reviews: It’s a chicken and egg problem. Blog tour companies will help you get reviews. Some of them are worth every dollar you spend on them.
KDP Free Days: Used to work well but then Amazon changed their algorithm. They can produce a spike in sales but usually not a huge one … they used to provide a spike in sales and reviews but it is not the case now. Readers have figured out that authors do these free days and simply download the books that look interesting without reading them.
Pricing: The marketer in me resists 99 cents as the price point because how can you run a promotion if your base price is so low? The lower prices is not a huge advantage. I like to have books priced between $.99 and $2.99. And then you can do promotions and sales.
Giveaways: Rafflecopter is a fabulous tool to run giveaways. Unfortunately, there are still people who cheat. So you need to go through all of the entries to ensure that people actually did what they did. Promote the giveaway in multiple places not just on your blog. The real goal of a giveaway is to get people excited about it. If you give away three copies of your ebook, what are readers going to buy? Creative giveaways are the best way to do it. When I did White Chalk, I gave an autographed copy of the book but I also had bracelets, necklaces which the character would wear and it was fun for people to get something that was really unique.
Balancing Writing, Work and Family: I’m blessed because I work from home. I try to write at least a thousand words a day after I drop the girls off to school. If the words flow, I don’t do the other managerial work. Else, I get to the promotional and other work.
Pinterest: Pinterest comes in fits and spurts. It’s a fun medium and very visual. Sometimes nothing happens and all of a sudden there is a lot of engagement. I’ve tried to have a lot of independent pinterests instead of putting up every blog post. For White Chalk I put up coasters of characters there, and also celebrities that I would use for various characters. And this engages readers. Very immediate, very visceral responses come up.
Facebook: I love Facebook and find it to be the most conversational and the easiest to use. The key is … don’t tell people to buy your book. My book is different because of what I have to say. So let that voice shine through and they may become interested. It’s all about engagement and having a conversation. I’ve tried the boost the post feature and its fabulous. Very often I end up having new followers.
Twitter: I don’t get Twitter. I’ve ended up with a stream of chaos. A couple of months ago, I viciously slashed my twitter followers from a couple of thousand to a couple of hundred. And it still has not worked for me. There is just too much spam. I know it works for people. But for me it does not work.
Google Plus: It’s a really cool tool but for most people there is no reason to switch from Facebook. And unfortunately, even on G+, there is a spam. It’s a tool for younger, more tech savvy audiences.
Amazon: Difficult to know what works. Be careful whom you talk to on Amazon. Just stick to social media and be the person you are. Too much time on Amazon will land up looking like advertising or you will get yourself into conversations that you should not be in.