Goodreads: so many opportunities, so little time

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This spring has been full of challenges as my primary client published 3 new books (and republished one), and another client anticipates publication of his first novel just days from now. Where will I get the most bang for my publicity buck?

A true story very similar to The Fault in Our Stars.

A true story very similar to The Fault in Our Stars.

an imaginative telling of society adrift as a result of climate change

an imaginative telling of society adrift as a result of climate change

I will admit looking into Goodreads as a publicity resource on several occasions, but usually my ADD kicks in and I go after easier hits like newspaper articles instead. But consider this — with 20 million users (last year’s number) the potential is staggering. For the same reason, it’s intimidating. You hear that being too promotional could get you in trouble… and the process for proper usage can’t really be achieved in one hit. We all need a map to find this goldmine of readers, and here are a few directions:

This article helps you get established as a Goodreads contributor if you aren’t already, and tells how to get involved in groups. It suggests introducing yourself as an author and joining this group at a minimum.

This is Goodread’s own road map to getting an author page.

This author suggests doing give-aways on Goodreads to get people interested (every eyeball is important in this business!).

This slideshow provides a ton of data about the possibilities in marketing to Goodreads users: imagine 5,500 people interested in your book before it’s published? Wow! But note some of the data relies on investing in ads, which few part-time authors can afford (I haven’t looked at the cost of ads or sponsoring the newsletter, which is noted on one slide).

the power of including Goodreads in your book marketing plan

the power of including Goodreads in your book marketing plan

Well, I guess I have convinced myself that it’s time to buckle down and really give Goodreads some time and TLC. After all, I enjoy contributing and I love a challenge.

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Why not Wattpad?

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I’ve been intrigued by Wattpad for a few months.Yes, it’s been around long enough to gain millions of users and plan to go global … I’ve never claimed to be an early adapter!

It’s a (free) huge platform based in Toronto and has mainly younger readers (18-30). It’s also a very hot property, having just received $45 million in some sort of venture capital funding.

wattpad

I love the idea of readers taking control of the market by finding stories they want — from authors who’d never get published by traditional means — and basically just consuming vast quantities of literature without a middleman deciding what’s “good” or “worthy.” So I’m considering it as an option for my clients, both established and first-time authors, to get their stories out there.

This article is a good “explainer”
http://contently.com/strategist/2014/02/25/wattpad-romances-brands-with-fanfiction-marketing-opportunities/

This includes a few bulleted strategies for gaining an audience via wattpad: http://www.authorems.com/2012/wattpad-for-marketing/

Here’s a blog post that talks about ways established/traditional authors can cross-over to its digital platform and link to a site to buy finished books. It’s free, so worth trying in my opinion.
http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2014/01/31/wattpad/

Wattpad is also a favorite of other well known authors in similar sci fi/fantasy genres like Margaret Attwood, although many people say it’s teen girls who make up the majority of readers.

The author quoted in this article talks strategies, like only posting complete books, posting the whole thing then taking some chapters out when it gains momentum (driving people to buy the book) and saying up front that it’s a first in a series.

http://www.lindsayburoker.com/book-marketing/can-posting-stories-on-wattpad-help-you-sell-books/

Don’t waste your time — or their’s

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Rejection: you have to embrace it if you’re going to last as a writer. Or, you can get better at avoiding it.

I find it so interesting that writers — often very sensitive, exacting people who invest their whole beings in each submission — are rejected routinely as part of their careers. Does anyone reject the work of Joe the mechanic or Tony the baker who turns out dozens of pizzas a day?

effective emails are as important as good prose

effective emails are as important as good prose

Today this essay about rejections (by an editor) popped up on my screen. My kneejerk response was to pick it apart for the writer’s insensitivity and sarcastic tone.

…we accept under one-third of one percent of submissions that come in. Given those numbers, rejection letters are necessary, and they are, unfortunately, unexceptional. In fifteen years in publishing, I have probably written more than two thousand rejection letters.

Then I realized that we writers have to accept rejections as a part of doing business, or avoid it by writing better proposals and better emails.

Your book proposal or published book may be a gem but if you can’t get anyone to review it your audience will never know what they’re missing.

This professor says:

You have 1.54 seconds, based on your email subject line alone, to convince the target consumer to open your email, according to Lon Safko, author of The Social Media Bible. That’s less than two seconds to convince your potential customer to read your sales message! It probably took you longer to read that last sentence.

Assuming that your fabulous headline convinces the consumer to click the email open, you then have less than 5 seconds to lead your consumer from that initial click to the action you want them to perform.

Your target’s decision about whether to respond favorably to your email marketing campaign happens in 5 seconds – start to finish.

They key, she says, is immediately stating the stakes, what she calls “What’s In It for Me.”

If you send dozens of emails without getting a response perhaps you need to revamp your approach. Try cutting the message down to a few actionable sentences.

And always, always study the publishers and review outlets you’re approaching to make sure they’re a match for your subject matter. It will save you a lot of time and frustration (see rejection section above) if you’ve honed in on those most likely to be interested in your topic.

Even if you create the algorithm that will churn out guaranteed best-selling books (as described in this scientific study) they’re only as good as your pitch to publishers and bookstores.