Coming Home From Vacation

Two weeks ago I released my first self published book onto the world.

Then I went on vacation. Well, despite a complete lack of any effort at marketing on my part, I have still managed to sell nearly a dozen copies or my book. That’s a lot more than I thought I would have. None of the people who bought the book have left a review yet either so I would imagine that sales will increase a little once I start getting reviews.

It’s been a great vacation, but now it’s time to go back home, go back to my day job, work on getting the brewery running again and work on trying to sell a few more copies of this novel. I hope to do a fair amount of guest blogs in order to get things going. I also would like to do a few more podcasts. I had fun being a guest on the podcast I did with 5 seconds in the paint and I have a feeling that stuff like that will be really helpful to get the word out.

I also plan on doing the formatting to get a print on demand paperback version ready through CreateSpace. I didn’t have the time to get the formatting done before I went on vacation so I just put that off until I came back home. I am hoping that will help a good bit since a large number of people don’t own ereaders.

I also want to do a good amount of research on marketing overseas and in India. Have any of you successfully marketed your book overseas? Do any of you run a podcast about writing in India and would be willing to have me on? I would imagine the best place to advertise in these areas would be where people from those areas look to decide what they want to read, but I am having a terribly hard time finding out where those areas are. I doubt there are any people that follow my blog who live in India, but on the odd chance that there is somebody that stumbles upon my blog who reads fantasy and lives in India, I would love to know where you look to decide what you want to read and what draws your attention to a book. Any information and advice you might have to offer would be greatly appreciated.

Well, tomorrow we fly back and then Monday it is back to work. I should also be posting more frequently on my blog once I get back home. I have greatly neglected everything social media wise while I’ve been on vacation.


Joe Donahue Blog Invasion

Wow wow wow wow!! Being nearly ready to self publish my novel, hopefully sometime in the next few weeks, I have been doing vast amounts of research on the avenues of marketing available to indie publishers. There is so much out there! It’s almost a little too much for one single person to try to soak in.

I could see why somebody would want to go the traditional route of publishing in order to have somebody dedicated to marketing your book. I, however, don’t really think that there is anybody that could market my work with the ferocity or passion that I would. The other benefit of going through a traditional publisher is having a professional editor work with you on it, but I really don’t know if that outweighs the pains of going through the process of getting a traditional publisher to notice you.

The main thing I have noticed while doing my research is that you cannot constantly shove your book down the throat of people through social media outlets and expect them to want to read it, or even more so, pay to read it. You have to get a little creative. You wouldn’t think it would be hard enough for people who are creative enough to write a novel to also be creative enough to come up with ways of marketing that novel other than “BUY MY BOOK, please,” but I guess that isn’t always the case.

I have decided to focus on four things in my marketing campaign and I honestly don’t know if there’s even going to be enough of me to adequately address these four things.

Twitter – This is an obvious marketing technique and is actually probably going to be one of my least used. I plan on mainly using it to network. The more followers I get on Twitter the more people will see when I post a blog since my blogs are linked on Twitter the second I post them. I also plan on using it as an avenue for reader of my book to contact me if they wish.

Facebook – I’m essentially going to use it the same way as Twitter.

Goodreads – This is an excellent community that I have just recently stumbled upon. I wish I found it earlier. I absolutely refuse to push my novel down the throat of people though. I haven’t been researching this long, but I can tell that’s not the way to do it. I plan on mentioning my novel in the forum topics where it is allowed though. The other way I plan on doing it is just joining a handful of the groups on Goodreads and getting my name out there. People want to connect with you on a personal level instead of just having you tell them to buy your book. I haven’t had as much time as I would like to focus on this, but I definitely plan on working on it more once I get my novel out there and self published. Right now I’m still having to do a lot of work on getting my novel ready to publish.

My Blog – This is where I plan on doing a large majority of my work towards marketing. If you come here to read about my beer then I’m sorry, because over the next few months this space is pretty much going to be filled by post about the progress on my novel and guest blogs about whatever people want to guest blog about. That brings me to the topic of this blog and what I really wanted to focus on.

Yeah, you read it right. I want to go beyond doing a blog tour. I want to do a blog invasion. I’ve already started working on it and I honestly think it is going to be the best way to get the word out about what I’m doing. I’m going to make it fun though. Who would want to participate if it wasn’t going to be fun?

How am I going to make it fun? All of these guest blogs are going to be done from the POV of a character from my novel. They are going to be done from the POV of the archdemon Azrael. I’ve already written several of these and had a lot of fun writing them so I hope people enjoy reading them. I’m mainly focusing on writing/fantasy themed blogs at first but I’m not limiting it to that. I will post a guest blog to anybody that will have me. Alyssa Vaughan (@LyssaPearl) runs a custom nail polish company and I have written a possible guest blog for her where Azrael discusses nail polish. Like I said, I don’t want to do a guest blog tour, I want to do a full guest blog invasion. So if you’re interested then it doesn’t matter what you typically blog about. I’ll write up a guest blog from the POV of Azrael and we’ll have some fun. Who knows? It could be a way to spice up your blog and get you some new readers.

The Science of Twitter and Interaction with Celebrities

I’ve been thinking a fair amount over the past couple days about the science involved in getting exposure on Twitter and other social media outlets. I’m sure people have probably posted similar things to what I’m about to say and I am in no way saying that these are original thoughts. They are just the conclusions that I have been coming to.

The end goal of every social media service is to gain a following, to reach the point where people read what you write. Looking at it that way it seems pretty straight forward. You post something and people read it. It’s not quite that simple. Well at least in the beginning it is not that simple. If you have millions of followers then it is that simple.

Every person on twitter has what I call their window of exposure. The size of the window of exposure is directly proportional to the amount of other tweets that person has to go through in order to see your tweet. Usually that number is directly proportional to the number of followers that person has as well…or…how many people that person follows. This leads to the case of why it can be so difficult to “catch the eye” of celebrities or people with lots of followers.

You have to also add on the fact that people are not always looking at Twitter. They may get phone alerts or be able to see when people are posting things, but they are not always looking at Twitter on their phone. So now your window of exposure is narrowed down even more to the time that they spend monitoring their twitter account.

I have found that the best way to track the optimal time of exposure is to see what times of day they post. It may seem like your stalking them, but realistically if you are out for exposure and interaction with this person then it really is the only way to do it. What times of the day do they tend to post and what lengths of time do they seem to be active? That gives you your windows to work with.

There are some celebrities that will use bots that will automatically post things for them at designated times. That will basically throw off the previous technique. I haven’t found a way to plan around that. The only idea that comes to mind is to possibly make more notice off when they tend to reply to posts from other people. Anyway, I digress, that might be a topic for a different blog once I get a better handle on things.

I have noticed, even by myself, that people assign a level of priority towards tweets that show up in their window of exposure. That adds another variable to the equation. I think it is imperative to find ways to work your way up that priority list. Even if it falls in their window of exposure, a tweet from somebody that person has never seen a tweet from is going to be at the very bottom of the priority list for them. Unless it is an incredibly funny or incredibly unique tweet then chances are it will quickly be flooded off their screen without really being looked at much.

Replying to posts! I honestly think this is the most important way to garner yourself exposure. You build your reputation and exposure by replying to posts in a way that would get their attention, possibly amuse them, without being over the top or abrasive. You can easily lose all of the priority you have gained with one post, no matter how long it took you to earn it. Once you have done this for a while then they will start to recognize your name when they see future posts and might pay a little more attention to it. There are two clear divides…people they follow and people they don’t follow…and I think there’s a priority hierarchy in both of those groups.

Getting people to retweet for you is a very powerful tool. You may only have a few followers, but if you have a friend that has hundreds of followers and they retweet something for you then suddenly their hundreds of followers will see it as well. One of their hundreds of followers could have millions of followers.

I know some of you are probably saying, “you’re new to Twitter, what makes you think you know best on how to use it?” I don’t think I know best. I don’t think I’m even close to knowing best. These are just some thoughts I had and I thought I would put them out there. I probably made it a lot longer than I wanted to. I’m just trying to think of the best way to further my web presence as I get closer to self publishing my novel and these are the strategies I have come up with to this point. I could have made it a lot longer, but I honestly thought it was probably way too long as it currently is.