Growing Pains…Am I REALLY Promoting Myself?

Okay, we all know…get a Facebook page, get a website, get this, get that. Even with no money for advertising, it can be done, somehow. I see it can, we diligently write regularly a blog about a relevant subject on our site, have one page dedicated to our books and hope we get a decent following.
By the year 2035 we can be on the NY Times best seller’s list and have multiple movie deals. Of course it can be done with little to no budget, it’ll just take lots of hard work and a lot more time (I’m on the 2035 plan).

Don’t forget to engage your fans and friends on your Facebook business/ author page. That is really important. You can’t set it and forget it. Engaging an audience helps draw them to you and you become a real person, more likely they will want to read your work, support your brand (yes, I see the irony in you being a brand and a person). That’s how it is as an indigenous author… or, self-published, or indie, or whatever you call yourself, I don’t want to offend.

The next step, no there is not a specific order, just for the blog’s sake. It is your email/ reader’s list. Keep reminding them you are around. For heck’s sake, don’t annoy them by being salesy, but say hello and give them advice if you’re an editor that writes about grammar tips or a coach of some sort. Send videos of cats if you write books on cat detective fiction. Just keep your readers aware that you care about them.

Now that we have a few basics, let me tell you how I dropped the ball (I love that cliche). I have the website, I am not writing on a regular basis. Yes, I do have a regular blog subject; the growing pains of a newbie author, as you can tell. I write about the missing elements of my marketing tactics, the lack of confidence of writing professionally and other issues newly published authors face. This may not be the best subject for sales of my books, but it will help my growth when I look back six months from now and see what I have done since my first post.

That was the original reason for the blog. I felt this was perfect for me as an author. I also felt other newbies could learn from my mistakes and hopefully they could read my blogs and the publishing or marketing mistakes became theirs. My audience might be authors, not readers, but it was more for my benefit (originally) and to get my act in gear for the future. So my growing pains subject isn’t a mistake, it is a choice and it is a good one for the future. The mistake is I am not writing weekly or as much as when I began. Was that me trying to justify a mistake? Hmm…I hope not. I’ll continue my blogging this subject but I’m not sure about this argument/ justification.

Moving on, I learned my website could use some tweaking. I have changed it multiple times in the past six months. I most likely will change it again. I read many articles/ blogs that have differing advice on how to set it up. To this day I’m confused. For today, I’ll keep it. Check it again next week and it might have a makeover.

My Facebook page and groups: This one, oh boy! I thought I was killing it on Facebook. I had engagement, Live events and lots of fun. What did I do? I had my group picture NOT promoting my books.

How much of a punch in the gut is that? One of my groups is called Books & Blogs. This group is dedicated to avid readers that aren’t into my Forbidden group but would like to be involved in free reads and up to date on events concerning me or just memes about reading. My wallpaper was words of a poem. It wasn’t even my poem. I loved it but it does nothing to remind readers I am an author. It says nothing to new members about my work.

I decided to take Mockupshots, Bookbrush, and Shutterstock and create some images to make a new group cover photo. Using multiple websites may not be the way to go for you but I found it to work for me. I don’t have the budget to pay for one site so I need to experiment and since it is for my own use I am within the boundaries of terms and agreements.

The images are great and you can do so much to edit on Shutterstock. GIMP is great too but there can be a learning curve. GIMP is basically Photoshop for poor people like me. It is the free version of a Photoshop program. I can’t afford an expensive graphics program that will allow me to edit designs and make them awesome so I can use GIMP for that, if I have time. Many times I use Shutterstock because there are less tools to play with, but if you want it more professional, GIMP would be the way to go (a book cover if you’re talented enough to do that).

I’m still on that learning curve. I know sometimes you can Google questions and issues but that’s when your project gets sidetracked. A quick cover for your Facebook group page doesn’t need to be three hours long. We want to create something that takes a half hour at the most and looks professional/ semi professional and will have your audience reminded you are an author, not a Facebook host of a group page.

I made it simple and will recreate another at a later date when I have more books. For now this will do.

You may not like it but it is better than not showing my work. Now my audience sees I have at least four books, and I am available on audio. I did not want to make it cluttered, it is an advertisement of sorts, but not my focus. I want my members to notice it, not be offended by too much going on. Clutter will have the reader not know what’s going on. My latest book is in front center and I used a light blue background to let the pink pop. But like I said, it’s not an advertisement (not paid anyway).

Last, I engage my email list and try not to be salesy. At times I overdo it. I notice this. Other times I under do it. I give them free reads from book promotions I am on as much as possible. I am aware they are already on my list so it means nothing to me to give them other links. I do this to keep them happy. The free reads links has many books they can sign up for to receive other authors in similar genres.

I tend to forget to send links for my audio books (big mistake). Audio books are big money, they may have read my ebooks but the audio sounds different. I sent emails about my audios about to come out but I don’t think I sent a link to the actual audio books when they were out. MAJOR EPIC FAIL

I’m fairly disappointed I get more involved in Facebook and the blog than I do in my readers list. I try to engage with my email list but I tend to promote my Facebook instead of just engaging with my readers. You think you are doing everything right then you notice how much you do wrong. As a matter of fact, the banner I have going for Books & Blogs doesn’t show a picture of me nor does it have a link to my books.

I had a lot wrong, but I am getting better at doing more right. I have learned a lot in the six months, but there’s a long way to go. I am slowly learning bits and pieces here and there. NY Times best seller’s list 2035 here I come!!

Stay fabulous newbies and hopefully we will all get on that BS list one day soon. Maybe ten to fifteen years sooner than my goal.

Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough. - Og Mandino

Robyn Branick

aka

Robbie Ellie

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