New Book Promo Group For Speculative Fiction Authors

I noticed a lot of fantasy/scifi and other book discussion groups have a strict ban on advertising your own indie/small press books and the existing book promo groups are flooded with erotica and self help stuff. Indie and small press authors are having a hard time promoting their books around. How are they supposed to get the word out when every fantasy/scifi forum out there is shunning book promo?

There’s no place for speculative fiction authors to promote their books, so I created a Facebook group for promoting speculative fiction books. I established some rules to keep the group from turning into a link spam dumpster. You need to do an elevator pitch and let the people know why they should buy it and what’s special about it.

The group is public and open to everyone, feel free to join and invite your friends. Readers and bloggers who want to discover new books are welcome. Here is the link:

Utilizing Google Plus To Promote Your Books and Blogs

Today I am going to share one of my book promo tricks: The Google Plus communities allowing blatant self promotion. I have compiled the following list a few months ago. Those allow promoting your own books and blog links. For authors, it works best if you have a discount deal going on. I have seen significant rank boosts on self pub titles after promoting in those groups. This will not only benefit the indies but tradpub authors, bloggers and reviewers too.

My advice is don’t just copy paste the link and blurb, but write up a short summary info to draw the interest of potential readers, make it sincere and add the link in the end. They will read the official blurb in the preview and when they click the link.

Some of the groups have specific sections for the type of posts (book links, blogs, author infos etc) on the left menu list, make sure to read & respect their rules and post in the appropriate section.

I hope this will help some struggling authors and bloggers out there.

Writers, Authors, Bloggers 35,089 members

Google Plus Book Club 37,003 members

Kindle & eBook Writers And Reviewers 6,895 members

Authors – Blatant Promo 4 Writers, Blogs! 6,829 members

Support-a-Writer 6,085 members

Readers Meet Authors And Bloggers 6,740 members

Promote Your Book! 9,999 members

Love 2 Read 1,542 members

Kindle Ebook Promoter 2,568 members

Indie Authors & Readers 7,233 members

Indie Readers & Writers 10,335 members

Self promotion for Authors 4,457 members

Book Bloggers, Book Worms and Book Reviewers 3,623 members

Books, Blogs & Give-Aways 4,495 members

Writers’ Corner 32,226 members

Books – The Passion for Reading 6,010 members

Book Reviews 10,500 members

Book Club 19,951 members

Book Publicity 3,329 members

Writers of Google+ 7,348 members

Book Reviewers 13,274 members

NOTE: Removed one of the groups since I am informed it no longer allows book promotions and intended for discussions only.

How To Become a Goodreads Power User

I just stumbled upon this awesome article and wanted to share it with you guys. The strategy is great and bound to be successful if you take the time to do the things listed there. Half an hour everyday should do the trick. Goodreads is a great platform for promoting books and I think this article provides an excellent game plan for getting your books noticed.

Link to the article

The Power of Wattpad: Jaw Dropping Info & Crash Course

Wattpad is a game changer for authors, espeically YA authors if used right. It has 35 million active users, most of which are young adults. Non-YA authors can benefit a great deal, too, there are millions of speculative fiction readers on Wattpad.

Here is one success case featured in The Guardian article: “Brittany “The Book Slayer” Geragotelis is a Wattpad superstar. Her first serial on the platform, Life’s A Witch, gained more than 19m reads and lead to a six-figure, three-book deal with Simon & Schuster.”

Excerpt from the author’s bio:
“After 10 years of rejection from the publishing industry, she began to post her original novel, Life’s a Witch, on the online writing site, Wattpad, hoping that others would enjoy reading her book. A year after the first upload, the book had received 19 million reads, which caught the attention of Publisher’s Weekly, The Huffington Post and The Wall Street Journal.”

Not kidding you. There are a few other cases mentioned in the article.

Well, how does it work?

I am no expert by any means but I am aiming to establish my presence on Wattpad, therefore I’ve spent some time analyzing how things work there. First of all, you don’t want to post long pieces. Wattpad users love serials and they get a buzz alert on their phones when an author they are following uploads a new piece. Majority of them read on their phones, so keeping it short keeps the audience engaged. I have deconstructed the pattern from the most followed and read authors on Wattpad and here is what they do:

* They upload a few pages at a time, usually once or twice a week as a running serial.
* They don’t upload whole chapters.
* They cut the text at an exciting scene, making the readers ache for the next update.
* They don’t upload new parts daily, but more like twice a week.
* At the end of each part, they remind the reader to vote and comment in bold letters. Adding the little reminder at the end of each new part makes a huge difference. I forgot in the beginning but I noticed how other popular authors were doing it so after I started adding the reminders, I started getting more votes and comments, which has resulted in more new readers.

If the story is compelling to the Wattpad crowd, they vote and then recommend it to their friends using the social media sharing widget. As I mentioned, most users read the stories on their mobile phones with the Wattpad app (yours truly included.)

If the story receives a lot of votes and comments, it climbs up on Wattpad top charts and more people see and add it. This is how I discovered a few great stories, by checking Wattpad’s top charts and daily recommendations. Social media sharing widget makes it very easy for people to spread the stories they like. Wattpad’s share button automatically tags them with #wattpad hashtag so the other Wattpad lovers see it on Twitter too, not just your readers’ Twitter followers.

When people add a story to their reading list, vote on it, comment on it, follow someone, it all shows up in their friends’ Wattpad feed much like the Facebook updates. So if someone adds your story and their friends happen to see, they might add it too or ask their friend if it’s good. This is how those authors got so many readers. Wattpad’s interface allows the stories to go viral, both by word of mouth between friends and the social media sharing tool.

To build up your initial audience, here are the steps to follow:

* First of all, link your blog, web site, social media profiles and Amazon page/book links on your Wattpad profile. Then add your Wattpad profile link to your blog, web site, social media profiles and announce it on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and what have you. Let your friends and family know about it.

* Pick the most popular stories from Wattpad’s top charts that are in your genre and add them to your reading list. “Discover -> What’s hot” shows you the popular stuff. There are also genre links in the Discover menu which show you the most popupar stories in your selected genre.

* If you add a story to your public reading list, your Wattpad friends/followers will see it in the update feed.

* Click on the authors’ profiles and follow their followers. This is much faster to do on your phone/tablet than the computer. Trust me on this one!

* Follow Wattpad’s own tips about following and engaging the people:

* If you have a lot of Twitter followers, I recommend manually tweeting your story with a compelling text and tagging it with #wattpad and #wattpadlife hashtags. These hashtags have a lot of followers and if you choose an interesting tagline, it will get retweeted and reach even more readers.

* If you have a blog or web site, make sure to add the Wattpad widget to it. Wattpad help section has instructions on how to do that:

*Wattpad has a cap for maximum 1,000 users you can follow. If you reach this limit, unfollow some people to add more. From my experience, approximately 40% of the users follow back. But then again I have not been adding much content, I only uploaded a very short prologue piece, perhaps I would have gotten more followers if I ran a serial.

* Add new parts twice a week. Don’t make them too long and end the part at an intriguing or cliffhanger kind of scene. Just like the old school magazine serials.

* Remember, as long as you are engaged with your readers, answering comments, thanking them for following and voting, also reading and voting on other people’s stories, you will get more followers every day. Besides, you will get to read some great stories form very talented folks.

Once you follow these basic steps and get a few hundred followers, then start running your serial. One thing I really need to mention here: Covers are important. Make sure to make an eye-catching cover. There are some amazing folks in the Wattpad community who make covers for free. You can message the writers who have great covers and ask them who made it. Wattpad people help each other out, friends promote each other’s stories. It’s an amazing community and you can benefit a great deal by being a contributing member.

Now, some of the people with stories read by tens of thousands of people do not have a huge number of followers. I am guessing the stories go viral and reach a huge audience over time. I have no idea how long it took to get the number of reads for each one. The follower building strategy I wrote above should give you a good head start nevertheless and make things quicker. Remember, you don’t get a huge number of reads overnight, it takes time as the word spreads. The important thing is to run it as a serial and supply it in small pieces.

If you are trying to promote a published book, then I recommend uploading 2-3 chapters as serials in a few weeks’ time and directing the readers to buy it on Amazon with a note in the end of it, such as: “If you want to read the rest, my book is available on Amazon/Nook/Kobo and here is the link”

Some authors presell books before release by uploading teaser chapters, using Wattpad as a launchpad. Some authors build an audience by posting standalone short stories featuring the characters of their novels. There are many different strategies you can try.

Here is The Guardian article about Wattpad for additional details:

My own Wattpad profile has 382 followers to date and I haven’t invested much time on it. But I have friends there with whom I talk via Wattpad private messaging facility, I read/vote on their stories if I can find some spare time. Between the full time job, reading books to blog about, my own writing and chronic illness flaring up at the most unexpected times, I haven’t been too active on Wattpad myself, but once I finish my novel I am planning to invest more time and upload some short stories and sample chapters before my book launch. My Wattpad profile is here: You can add me and read my stories there.

If you know any other tactics and strategies for success on Wattpad, please feel free to share in the comments section so everyone can benefit. I hope this article has been useful.

How Amanda Hocking sold 1.5 million on Amazon: I’m revealing the secret!

You might have heard of Amanda Hocking, the indie superstar who sold 1.5 million on Amazon and got picked up by a big house and signed a movie deal for her Trylle Trilogy.

This is the exact quote from her explaining how her sales exploded after the book bloggers spread the word:

Then in June, something truly magical happened. I discovered book bloggers. I had no idea such people existed. They just read books and write about them. And I don’t mean “just.” These people take times out of their busy lives to talk about books and have contests and connect with followers and writers and other readers.

These guys are honestly my heroes. I’m a little in love with all of them.

I asked several if they would be interested in reviewing my books, and most of them said yes, even if they didn’t generally review self-published work.
Then something surreal started happening. My books were selling. Like, really selling.

Here is the whole story in her own blog:

She mentioned she owes her great success to book bloggers in many interviews as well. So, many indie authors took the cue and started flooding book bloggers with review requests. But the thing is, she didn’t approach the book bloggers, she asked people to review her book in her own blog. She started blogging in 2009 and had been very active. She talked about herself, her life, her books. She interviewed indie authors on her blog. She published a load of books on Amazon, and answered the questions of her readers. She also talked a lot about movies and music. She interacted with people and wrote in a very sincere manner, as a friend. She built a reader base over the months, ran giveaway contests, did author interviews and promoted other authors.

This is the blog post where she asked the book bloggers and Amazon reviewers to review her new book:

Look at the comments. Dozens of people said they are interested in receiving a review copy. They asked for it. So she didn’t go around pestering book bloggers, she already had a whole bunch of them among her followers and she got them interetested. After these people reviewed her new book on their blogs, Amazon and Goodreads, her book sales have exploded and avalanched from there.

I think as indie authors we all have a lot to learn from Amanda Hocking’s experience. There really is no secret recipe to it: Be active in the blogger scene and the social media, interact with people, write sincere posts, write about your life, write like you are writing a letter to your friends. Write comments to other bloggers. Find the people who are reading your genre and interact with them, but refrain from promoting your book. Promote their blogs, their books, do author interviews featuring other indies in your blog, be a nice person. Chat with other authors and bloggers on social media, ask how their day has been, what they are reading, actually care about people (this comes natural to me cause I’m an extrovert and very friendly by default, but it’s really not a hard thing to do!) You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. You will meet some awesome new people in the book scene and make friends.

If you act like a human being and not a spam bot, people will eventually ask to review your books. I myself would rather promote a friend than a stranger. I promote the books of people who are nice to me on Twitter and help me out in my writing journey. Not even one of them asked me or offered ARC copies, I purchased all of the indie books I review or plan to review soon. I wanted to be nice and I believe in supporting indie authors, so I purchased the books of the indie authors I have befriended and I review them as I read. If a friend offers an ARC and asks for reviews, I will drop everything else and give their book the first priority. If a random stranger contacts me for a review, they will wait for a long time. That’s basic human psychology.