Consider these details landmines that jeopardize your future sales potential, gain of readerbase, and ability to draw in more readers for future publications.
Recently, I researched the marketing advantages the self-published author (SPA), actually has at their disposal. I’ve found the number to be quickly diminishing or degrading into a state of minimal choices and all either have you spending more money than you’d like to, or stripping yourself of all shame and dignity to win sales.
Before you get the impression it’s all doom and gloom I write about, here are the three main choices you have:
- Direct Sales channels (Brick-&-Mortar Bookstores, Print-On-Demand, Smashwords)
- Social Networking (Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, Goodreads)
- Direct Advertising (Google Adwords, Adsense, Banner Advertisement)
These may not seem like much, but there’s a lot of potential packed in that savvy time-usage. The most influential of the three is Social Networking. Word of Mouth sells more books than anything you could drop a dime into to have someone else advertise for you. However, it will also spell your doom if you do not wisely choose your words or your fights.
- Learn the rules of a forum.
- Commit to the rules of the forum explicitly.
- Do not attempt to bend the rules. Ever.
- Talk to people as if they’re your kindly grandmother, aunt, or favorite pet. Talking like a salesman – even a good one – gets you nowhere.
- Spam/solicit where it’s wanted, not where you’ll get the most publicity. Do so and all that publicity will be bad.
I learned this via gauging customer forums like Kindlebooks.com and Amazon.com against one another. I’ve found that the smaller and more tightly monitored/moderated boards will provide you your best chances at a good start building your reputation. The larger and more conglomerated, I’m afraid, can’t be bothered to realize the Terms Of Service they create do not get followed by anyone.
For this piece I posed as what I now call a “Soapboxer”. I gave myself an agenda based upon what conflicts I’d witnessed within four popularly used forums. I spoke to others of that agenda to see how many people can help push the idea through.
The thought was: The forums already have features for moderation controls and are built by their owners to provide customer discussion space. However, several personality types try to jeopardize sales, reputations, and derail pleasant conversations even with these controls in place. These individuals must stop at what they do just as badly as those they fight against. They need to tell the less-than-active forum owners to do a better job of moderating beyond a few button and links to click. If I can rally a few extra voices in agreement then maybe my agenda has a breath left in its body.
Doing this slaps a target on your front as well as your back and you’ll begin to experience what I mean when you’re shredded of your dignity in due time. On no account should it be assumed that everyone I communicated with was nasty or rude; there were several that were quite nice.
However, there are 5 PROMINENT NEGATIVE FORUM PERSONALITIES you have to watch out for, and observe how to step around their unsavory attitudes toward SPA’s and each other:
The Cyberhood Watch
I know buzzwords, halo stereotypes, and cutesy clichés aren’t new. Get used to that because many of the same old negative ones will be used against you if you’re not careful. I’ll cover each in turn as this series progresses. Here’s the first:
(AKA: nuisance, solicitor, rulebreaker, spammer, Self-Published Author)
These unsavory types are the source of much discontent on forums; most especially for the Moderators. They thrive on pushing their book(s) to anyone and everyone seeing as how one of the few viable (free) sources of ad space comes from forums.
Well-run forums are kept small; making sure the Spamjacker cannot get far in posting book links and excerpts. Moderators can quickly move their ads to where they belong, delete the offending posts, or ban the poster from the forum until the poster successfully re-enlists with new information or their IP is blocked.
The antics of Spamjackers causes forums to be choked with ads for books, or deletion messages, or thread closure altogether. This detracts from the point of most threads and many other viewers are hesitant to continue reading. Thus, the spammers have hijacked the thread, hence: Spamjacker. It also – by one of the many boisterous claims of authors in the ranks of the Cyberhood Watch – gives all other SPA’s who play along with the rules a bad name. So I see no problem with including them in this series if they have no problem aligning themselves to Spamjackers.
Another example I had the misfortune of seeing for my own eyes: Amazon’s Customer Discussion Forum is the least-controlled forum of those I’ve visited. One thread started off with tepid reception seeing as how a “friend of an author” was trying to drum up interest and reviews for the books. Two of the SPA’s present (myself and another) gave known Facebook Pages devoted to that sort of thing as a way to politely and calmly redirect their spam to a more suitable location and avoid issue.
We got thanked.
Then we got spammed at some more.
You can probably guess that after two reports against this thread to Amazon, the Spamjacker and those that posted within it found the thread completely deleted.
Take the hint, trust my words, and don’t adopt this practice.
NEXT: The Soapboxer…