How do #authors actually find #readers? I’m stumped.


How do #authors actually find #readers? I’m stumped.

3 paperbacks

So far, since becoming a fiction author in 2013, I have spent time on most popular sites and established a presence on several, I have yet to find a lot of readers. I mostly find: authors (a LOT); those providing services to authors (even more); potential authors (a few); and, trolls (I block, but they do pop up).

I first published my ebooks via Smashwords which then distributed my ebooks for me to iTunes/iBooks, nook (Barnes & Noble), Kobo and many other affiliates globally. I then published to Amazon Kindle. As of last fall, I now have paperback formats available via CreateSpace (where I offer discounts; see below) and Amazon as well.

You may ask: what else have I done, so far? A LOT!…

—I belong to several dozen and am active in several Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ groups/communities and I am less active but do belong to a few groups on Goodreads.
—I have author and book pages pretty much everywhere they’re free to have and manage to update them regularly (I hope).
—I have posted my free ebook (see below) on dozens of sites that allow free books to be posted for free.
—My first Spanners Series ebook, This Changes Everything, is permafree.
—The second volume, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, came out about a year ago and the third one, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, released last December, so I have the supposedly magic number of 3 books out, now.
—All 3 are out since late 2015 in both ebook and paperback formats.
—I offer discount codes for the paperbacks on my own site.
—I participate in occasional sales organized by two Facebook groups (Clean Indie Reads #CR4U and Fantasy and Science-Fiction Network #FSFnet) I am actively involved in (several per year).
—I give free ebooks to reviewers and always follow their guidelines and wait to be invited before sending the ebook to them.
—I have had more than a few reviews for each book, but not up to 50 for any (yet).
—I actively sought readers/reviewers on BuView and got a few but not as many as who accepted my free ebooks.
—I never pay for reviews or participate in review swaps.
—I post interesting, varied non-fiction content (never all about my books or asking others please to buy my books).
—I re-blog.
—I re-share posts.
—I thank others for re-sharing (not always).
—I retweet (but not everything).
—My posts go up on many sites.
—My WordPress blog is cross-posted on Tumblr and on several other sites automatically.
—I re-post my own on Pinterest and StumbleUpon about once a month, to give them another set of views.
—I put most of my Google+ posts into Collections about once/month, which also gives them a boost in views.
—I do occasional reviews, usually outside my own genre (#scifi) and post my reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, and sometimes my own blog as well.
—I invite and host guest bloggers on my site.
—I guest blog/give interviews on others’ sites regularly.
—I have articles/reviews that have appeared on very popular sites, some of which have paid me for my posts.
—I have buy links, interview and review links and other links on my own site (look right; scroll down).

I am frequently on

Twitter.
Facebook with both an individual and a Spanners Series page.
Google+ with both an individual and a Spanners Series page.
Pinterest, with many Boards and not all related to my books, either.
YouTube (I have my own channel and a video talk show, CHANGES conversations between authors, since 8/2014 and posted book trailers, author readings).
LinkedIn.
—I started a Patreon #crowdfunding campaign over a year ago, but haven’t garnered much dough.

I am also on/use

Authors’ Database
Authors’ Den
New Book Journal
Koobug
Bublish

I am occasionally on

Goodreads.
Library Thing.
Shelfari.
BookLikes.
—and other many other author/book sites.
—I visit and comment on many blogs.
—I have been on and listen to/comment on a few Blog Talk Radio shows’ sites.
—I was on Authonomy (it closed, but I did get some great reviews from posting my WIP on that site) and am still on Wattpad with excerpts.
—I used the Pre-order function, with half-price discounts for all three ebooks, several weeks prior to each book’s release on Smashwords and Amazon and other sites.
—I post excerpts from my books while they’re in Pre-orders on my blog.
—At the end of each book, I post the first Chapter of the next volume in the The Spanners Series.
—I post a CTA (Call To Action) asking for reviews, followers and readers at the end of each book.

Started but stopped…

—I joined and posted for a while on Ask the Expert and Quora, but got too busy to keep doing that.
—I joined Reddit but I hated the way the monitors interacted with posters and the rules are too rigid, so I quit.
—I joined Medium and some other sites (can’t even remember them all) but hardly use them. Apparently I have followers, but unless my blog is cross-posted on a site, I don’t know what they are following.

I’ve learned to do/decided to do these actions and listings because I spent a lot of time researching prior to and since publishing my first ebook. I read and followed the instructions for “how to find readers” from many “experts,” but I still usually encounter the above categories of people. Not to say authors and others aren’t readers, but I’m looking for those who identify as such and not elsewise in the industry.

I want more people to read, review, enjoy and comment on my books: doesn’t everyone?

added TODAY (3/15/16): Share! #Booksales best achieved NOT on #TWITTER, FB, LI or G+! Use #Youtube! http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2016/the-authors-three-step-test-for-sellability/

How do YOU attract more readers?
How do you know what works among all the things you’re doing to market yourself and your books?

All suggestions and anecdotes welcomed, except forget recommending I go on Instagram. I hate that site.

Thanks!

Sally Ember, Ed.D.

Please comment here: http://www.sallyember.com/blog or email me: sallyember AT yahoo DOT com

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9 thoughts on “How do #authors actually find #readers? I’m stumped.

  1. Hi Sally, I think it is a case of ‘readers being spoilt for choice’ these days. Thousands of new books are published each week. I do many of the same activities as you and revised my first book in entirety last year. I really enjoy getting constructive feedback and take it all on board to improve. It is possible either your books or your marketing strategy need more work. Maybe try hiring an agent to advise you. Best of luck, cheers, Kasper 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sally, you are doing a remarkable job, I could never be so active online as you. I’m finding it difficult to keep up with twitter, hardly ever go on Google+ and Linkdin but I’m pretty active on Facebook and my blog, like yours, is also linked to tumbler. I’m on Medium as well but haven’t the time to participate fully with it. It could be the genre you write in. Have you tried switching categories? Amazon don’t like too many changes like that but I changed my YA trilogy to medical thrillers and it did much better. My HF series is selling well, though, as that has become a popular genre lately.

    It can take a long time to get into the top 100 of your category on Amazon but slow and steady seems to be better than a quick surge and then nothing, I think. Could you do a talk for some writers’ groups about self-publishing or blogging and in return they give you reviews, to get you to the 50 mark? I think Amazon start promoting books once they achieve this. I can’t remember when they began promoting mine, I just saw an email on Amazon UK one day, promoting one of my books and showing the links to the rest of them. This did help my sales a lot. Some time after that, I received an email promoting them on Amazon. com. Every now and again, they run a promo on my books. I suppose it’s in their best interest to do this for books that appear to be selling well, so if they see any of your books with enough reviews they might pick them up and promote for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sally Sue, this is definitely the great mystery. I’m about to launch two freebies: one for an historical mystery series and one as a “funnel” for semantic writing with a bigger, interactive book in the works. I’ll be interested to see the responses here.

    Liked by 1 person

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