By Roxanne Rustand
Though I continue to enjoy writing traditionally published novels, I spent part of this past year working on some self-published novels for Kindle, Nook, and other e-formats. It has been both an adventure, and a challenge, for it means finding ways to market to readers who enjoy digitial format–and become visible in that ocean of other indie books being published every month.
There are lots of books available on the process of marketing self-published works. A host of great articles to be found on various blogs, and all of that is helpful. But something else can prove very valuable: strength in numbers. Many of us have worked to develop our social media presence via a personal website, blog, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. Some have joined a collective of authors formed to build a much wider readership through shared fan bases, shared efforts. Have you considered doing this?
A year ago, just such a group formed: a small, closed group of authors who either write inspirational, or sweet secular romance of all types. Sweet romance is basically a “good, clean read,” with no graphic violence, and the same range of limited sensuality one will find in the current range of inspirational fiction–but without the faith thread.
We then began forging a social media presence with our www.sweetromancereads.com. Worked on building a presence on Twitter, Goodreads and Facebook, to also reach new readers and begin promoting our new releases. And next, fourteen of us put together an anthology of novellas and full-length novels as a boxed set. What a grand adventure this has been! Working with a cohesive, hard-working group has been a joy and an education, for members brought different social media skills to the table, everyone met their deadlines and obligations, and we have learned from each other. We all had assignments to help with different aspects of promotion (much of it free, but involving time and effort), and the most experienced people volunteered to manage each of the social media areas.
As of last week, the Sweet Christmas Kisses anthology has made the USA Today Bestseller list three weeks out of the four since its release–partly because of our efforts to make it visible to potential readers, partly because every author had her own fan base, partly because this new world of indie publishing and e-books helps authors reach readers from around the world. That we put it “on sale” right away, at 99 cents, certainly helped–but reaching new readers was the object, not trying to make money. We all hope that some of these new readers will be decide to give our other books a try.
If you are a published author, do you use social media to reach your readers? If you are an aspiring author, have you considered building your Internet presence in anticipation of having books to market in the future? Have you considered joining forces with other writers for your social media efforts? I would love to hear your thoughts!
Roxanne Rustand is the award-winning author of thirty-five traditionally published novels, and four self-published novels. She can be found at www.roxannerustand.com and www.facebook.com/roxanne.rustand.