Author advice guru David Gaughran has posted a very interesting column on the most powerful selling tool for books — personal recommendations and reviews, or “social proof”. If a potential reader receives a strong social signal via reviews or a personal recommendation from a friend, they are much more likely to purchase. It therefore follows that independent authors need to do all they can to foster and amplify such signalling for their own work.
We asked author Roger Mendelson, author of Eliyahu's Mistress, to jot down a few thoughts re. promoting his book in the age of social media:
"The days of publishers promoting novels are over, unless you are a high profile author. If you want to promote your book, you have to do it yourself. I am on this journey and despite my novel, Eliyahu’s Mistress winning the IPPY 2018 Bronze Award for best Australian/NZ fiction, am finding it difficult to gain momentum. There is no magic bullet. If you believe in your novel, you require more persistence with promoting it than writing it.I say this as someone with considerable business experience, so I can only imagine the frustration most authors must feel.
Traditional media is fast dying, so if you have a very low budget, social media is really the only option. For this to be effective, you need to define who your readership is likely to be and target this group. It needs to be very specific. Eg middle-aged country people, single older women, retired couples, young single men. I am not an effective Facebook user but I can see that with a very low budget, this really has to be the major medium to use."
Despite the presence of 'book' in the name of social media's behemoth, Facebook is usually not associated with book selling or promotion. But with 1.6 billion regular users (about which it knows a great deal), Facebook offers a massive opportunity to engage in savvy marketing. Digital Book World recently published an article by Mark Dawson, who describes himself as "pretty much the definition of a midlist author". He cites specific strategies, gives his own sales figures and engages with commenters. Well worth a read.