I will admit that I originally put information about my novel “Mrs. Lieutenant” on every book site I could find. But then I realized that there is only so much time in the day to be active on these sites. And if you’re not active, then you’re not creating relationships with potential fans.
I learned from my initial mistakes and, in the three years since then, social media has become ever more important.
Thus in my opinion you should definitely be active daily on what I call the “Big Three” – LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. And you can use the free version of Hootsuite to make it easier for you to be active. (See blog post about Hootsuite at http://budurl.com/tryinghootsuite )
If you have more time, you could choose a couple of specialized sites on which to be active. These can be book author sites or sites associated with the topic of your nonfiction or fiction book. Or you can actively blog in connection with your book.
For example, because of my novel “Mrs. Lieutenant,” I share information to help military personnel and their families at www.mrslieutenant.blogspot.com and author Theodore Knell has started the forum “Hushed Voices” in connection with his memoir “From the Corners of a Wounded Mind.” (See blog post about this new forum at http://budurl.com/HushedVoices )
I’m not recommending you ignore other sites. I am recommending you commit to being active on the number of sites that you can personally handle without feeling overwhelmed.
Q. What does J.K. Rowling’s announcement of the site Pottermore mean for other authors?
I believe this news will have a very large impact on the emerging opportunities for ebook versions. And if nothing else, it should tell all of us that any new books we publish should have ebook versions.
On a personal note I’m particularly interested that she will NOT have DRM (Digital Rights Management) on her ebooks. In other words, she will NOT use DRM, which would have prevented her ebooks from being viewed on multiple ebook platforms.
I’ve been wrestling with this decision myself for the ebook release of the novel “Lt. Commander Mollie Sanders” and have decided to follow her lead. We authors should make it as easy as possible for people to read our ebooks in whatever format they want.
Q: What steps can an author from a small publishing house take to land on the bestseller's list?
If only I had the answer to this question!
Seriously, though, the question is also relevant for authors from a large publishing house. And outside of certain phenomenon whose stories we all know (“Harry Potter,” “Twilight,” etc.) I’m not sure there’s an answer besides trying to get as much visibility for your book as possible in front of your target audience.
Sometimes circumstances make it difficult to get in front of our target audiences:
As a former Mrs. Lieutenant, I knew that the PXs on every army military base would be a natural market for my novel “Mrs. Lieutenant.” But in 2008 I couldn’t get in the PXs because my self-published novel wasn’t returnable. And although I did have a Kindle version, there were few Kindle owners at that time.
And even if “Mrs. Lieutenant” had been published by a small publishing house, the book might not have gotten into PXs because of the particular book buying system for PXs.
In addition, at that time BookSurge insisted on a price for the book that I knew was too high, but there was nothing I could do about this. Now CreateSpace (into which BookSurge was merged) allows authors to set their own prices.
On the other hand, any online opportunity might be just the opportunity an author from a small publishing house can use to help her/his book sales.
For example, here’s an idea I just got from reading about the Pottermore site:
My business partner (and younger daughter) Yael K. Miller already has the website www.HurricaneHoodoo.com for her as yet unfinished Middle Grade fantasy novel “Jack Strom and New Orleans Hoodoo.” Especially given the story she is writing, perhaps she should plan on adding games or other activities to the book’s website.
In conclusion, the world of book publishing is changing so rapidly, an answer that might work today could not work six months from now. We need to try to keep up with the most important changes and see what opportunities these create for our own book marketing efforts.
And we have to remember to keep an open mind to new things. We can’t assume, for example, that, because J.K. Rowling is such an incredibly successful author, her tactics won’t work for us. After all, we’ll never know until we try.
© 2011 Miller Mosaic LLC
Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter) has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the co-founder of the social media marketing company Miller Mosaic. You can learn about her fiction and nonfiction books at her Amazon author page at http://budurl.com/PZMAmazonpage
* “Mrs. Lieutenant” is now available on Kindle for $2.99: http://budurl.com/MrsLTKindle