Attention: Free Book Giveaway. Details Below.
***Thanks go to you first and foremost for getting through this article, it's far larger than my usual posts about marketing. However, if you are able to wade through this tide, you may get a free 500 page novel out of it. Read below to find out how.***
I was recently asked how I got reviews for my book, Demon Vampire. Normally I'd just attribute it to hard work and let it be. However, the question provoked an overwhelming response in my mind. That is why I am posting this on the blog instead of through a private email.
Have you ever wanted to find people to review your book and were never able to figure out where to look. I feel your pain. Thankfully if you are reading this, you will not suffer for long. In searching for people I first noted the type of reviewer I wanted. The average person would not do. Those who review romance novels should not review true vampire epics. As much as you may think otherwise, the genres do not mix. There is a loss of validity when you blend too much romance with the raw strength of a vampire. It weakens them in a way that does not translate well on paper to those who actually know and love the real vampire subculture. What I instead searched for were groups of people that shared my interests in general. I didn't comb every vampire site, questing for the best reviewer imaginable. That will end in perpetual insanity. I sought out those who enjoy all forms of dark fiction. I found those who had been disenfranchised to the current form of my competitor's books. I searched for the estranged of my rival's novels. In a simpler sense, I found people that were pissed off about twilight and what it did to vampire culture as a whole. Angry people have things to say too. You just need to find them and give them a reason why your book is different than the one that made them initially upset.
My first location for disgruntled vampire fans was Facebook. I was able to find a few, but after about five to seven messages or friend invites, Facebook throws a red flag and suspends your activity for two days. There is a way around this at least. When the message comes up, promoting you to click “okay,” don't do it. I know that sounds simple, but it is what it is. If you are quick about it, 2-3 seconds, all you have to do is close the tab or window that has Facebook up. If you have multiple tabs with FB, close them all. This will prevent your account from being locked for the average two day stint. Regardless, Facebook I found was not the best place to find reviewers. Many of them want to charge for a review, that is not a review, it is a vanity service and nothing more. An honest review does not require a palm to be greased in any way, they are free and always will be.
After FB, my geass lead me to twitter. There I found the majority of my reviewers. Although there were still some tribulations as well. Twitter has limits as FB does, simply different. The largest untold number is the formula to how many people you can follow. As I have seen over time. It reads something like this. You are allowed to follow 2000 people until your actual account has over 2000 followers. Once you have this special number, the math is simple, you can have an additional amount equal to 10% of your total number of followers. That means at 2000 followers, you can follow a total of 2200 people. (2000 x 0.10 = 200) I currently have 4100+ followers on my twitter account @demongift , this means that I can follow 4510 people. (4100 x 0.10 = 410, a total of 4510 (410+4100)) There are also ways around this cap. Although Twitter frowns upon it, you can have multiple accounts to attract more people to follow your account. I started with a few dozen people following me. Them I set up two secondary accounts with names that were extensions of my book. I wad able to instantly follow three times as many people. Now you may be wondering why you should follow others when they aren't following you. It's simple, you need to spread your message. Whatever that message is, you need to tell people about it in order for them to tell others. Having others tell people about your book is ultimately your goal and constant aim. If you are able to do this, you have increased your effectiveness. Two people tells people about your book is better than one(yourself). You still need to tell more people about the book, but now you have word of mouth that is genuine and beyond your direct initiation. (It spawns from within, and generates more people that find you book irresistible.)
Still on Twitter, you will need a service to manage your three or more accounts. You can find them anywhere, but the best ones are one time fee programs that only cost under $40. If you have to pay monthly, don't do it. You will be at this for a long time and don't need to be wasting money on re-occurring fees. Just search “twitter programs” and you will find all you need. I'm not one to suggest any program myself, just be smart about it's pros and cons when you choose. Now as to what to do with your managing service, tweet!!! Find all the best content you have ever posted and link to it. Set it on a modulating loop. (Vary the loop.) You don't want to have the exact same thing tweeted every hour of each day, you will lose followers this way. Second, you will need to search out all those in your subculture. For me, that was those interested in gothic fiction, clothing, fantasy, dark fiction, vampires, and anything generally having to do with the color black. If you are gothic, you will understand. Once I found these people, I followed them. I waited a few days for them to follow me back, then if they didn't, I unfollowed. There is no need to have someone take up a slot in your 2000+ list that isn't going to follow you back. You of course need to make sure you give them a chance. Don't unfollow after a day, give them a few, then do it. At the worst, they will get a message telling them about your account and they might look into it. If they follow you, make sure to follow back immediately. Most of the services have this feature, make sure you use it.
I know what you may be thinking at this crucial moment, “Why collect people that only want to follow you back?” And if you aren't thinking that, you should be. When you see an author that has 325 followers on twitter, what do you think? Do you think they have a lot of followers? Of course not. You are used to seeing accounts with thousands of followers if they are popular enough. And if you don't see those numbers, you will naturally think they are unpopular and thus not worth your effort to follow. This is where it comes into play. If you have a larger number of followers, those who find your twitter account and follow it will be actual fans, not just follow back accounts. This is how you get reviewers. The old adage, “if you build it, they will come” fits very well here. This applies to all other avenues of your marketing program as well. If you have 4100+ followers on each account, as I have, that makes 12,000+ followers between all three accounts. Now that holds solid weight to it and means you are able to leverage other benefits as well.
I was able to find reviewers through twitter that honestly enjoyed what I had written, then I asked them to review the book. And of course, they said yes. This is called a rigged slam dunk on a track with gravy wheels. You get the analogy. However, those reviews will not cut it when it comes to your average person. You need credible, non-bias reviewers. You need people that aren't already fans. This brings me to my next location for finding reviews, TV.
You may think this is a lost effort. That no one famous will take the time to read and review your book. And you may actually be 99% right. However, all you need is one. You read correctly, one. It doesn't matter if that takes you a hundred attempts or a thousand. All you need is one. The reasoning behind this is simple, clout. When is came to my book, Demon Vampire, I contacted several known authors about reviewing my book. I sent a Facebook message to Don Henrie, Michelle Belanger, Charlaine Harris, Anne Rice, and many more famous authors in my field of writing. Most never replied. Some did, of those a few said no and a few said yes. To those that replied in favor, the remainder never followed through. Thus why I do not have any of the above names listed for a book review of Demon Vampire to date. Regardless of the fact of their rejection to my proposal, I did it. This gave thought to contact others, besides the normal famous authors to write a review. I searched amazon and the internet for vampire books. I found a few promising authors and I contacted them with the same proposal. Michael Clutton, Amy Mah, and Amy Dawson said yes and followed through. It proves that even though you may hand many ideas of how to market your book, nothing beats experience, good or bad. It pushes you to think in new ways and travel down harder paths that you wouldn't normally take in order to get to where you need to be.
Finally, and recently, I have ventured into using youtube. The glorious grand gabble of the visually victorious viral video. I searched for people, not reviewers, that honestly might like my book. When I found them, I messaged them. About twenty a day. If I found something unique about their current videos that I thought might be applied to a video review of my book, I noted it in the message and told them about it. Of course youtube has restrictions of how many people you can message an hour, for me, that was 18-20 people. Of those people, only a few responded, some simply had other things to do, or their account were too old. (Always check the last date of their most current post.) If their account is too dormant, there is no need to message them, the light are on, but no one's home. A video review is a great and infectious way of letting people know what your book is about. Far too few people take the time to read a paragraph, unless you give them an incentive. (More on that later.) Video Book Reviews let your audience see what your book is like from the eyes of someone that has taken the actual time to read it and enjoy it. They are a powerful way to spread the message of a book, even if that message is “I was written dammit!!” I currently have one video book review live on youtube and am in the works with three more. (An author, a video game reviewer, and a gothic band.) Never dismiss an avenue untreaded by other authors.
Last there is your personal site about you and your books. Write, write, and write. Always have new content each week to entice new people to join. Offer then a prize for being a follower. A book, a poster, a t-shirt, anything to get more people to join and stay on your site. They'll sign up for the giveaway, but stay for the content if they like it. However, they may not sign up if not given an incentive to do so.
This brings us to the giveaway mentioned at the beginning of the article. Thank you for reading everything up until this point. Starting December 1st, I will be giving away a free book to one lucky follower on this blog. I will be doing this each month on the 1st. Some months the book will be from the Demon Vampire series, others will be novels from like-genre authors. There may even be a gothic CD thrown in if things go well.
The conditions for this giveaway are simple.
- Be an open follower of the blog. Not just an anonymous feedburner subscriber. I do enjoy the fact so many people are subscribing to the feed, however, they will need to show their numbers publicly to be eligible for the monthly giveaway. Those in the Google subscribers category will be eligible for the giveaway, but entering in as a follower and a subscriber will not increase your odds of selection. (Granted it doesn't hurt them either, so sign up for both;)
- You will need to check the blog every 1st of the month by 11:59pm Eastern Standard Time to see the name of the winner. If you are the winner, simple comment on the post announcing the winner and wait until I reply. (Generally the next day.) I will confirm that you posted a comment and write down my email address. All you have to do is email me your physical address (don't put it in the comment box, I don't like sharing fan's addresses with anyone. There are a lot of people that visit the site and I'd rather your email isn't spammed with nameless ads for viagra.) Once you email me your address, I'll send the book to you, absolutely free in the mail. All you need do is enjoy it. Obviously, if the book is from the Demon Vampire series, it will be signed, and if it's from another author, it will be signed by them.
The giveaway will be featured one week before the deadline of the 1st. All public followers will have an equal chance of winning, including new ones. Sign up to follow the blog by visiting the right hand side bar right now.
***Important: This is a dynamic giveaway. That means that for every 50 followers or subscribers this blog has, another book will be given away. (While supplies last of course.) Tell your friends about the site and have them follow as well, your chances of getting a free book go up for every person that becomes a follower.***
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Demon Vampire is here, Spread the Word.