As someone who has been in the business of e-book writing, marketing and sales since 2013, I cannot say I am where I’d love to be. But I can say, I have come a long way and learned a lot of lessons along the way.
And because I have come a long way, I receive messages a lot from upcoming writers, asking for direction, support or assurance that their book will sell. Their approach sometimes is funny. See below for what our chats look like:
“Hi, I have been following your blog for a while now so I thought I should contact you. I have a story that I believe will sell very well. How do I go about publishing it on Okadabooks?”
I just go ahead and tell them how to publish on our platform and leave things like that. Why? Because of past experiences.
In the past, I used to start conversations by asking questions. And our conversation usually went like:
Me: How are you sure your book will sell well?
Author: Because I took my time to ensure it is properly written. The storyline is so tight
Me: Ok. So do you have a blog?
Author: No. It is too stressful to own and maintain a blog
Me: What about a Facebook Fan Page, or Instagram, Twitter, Google plus etc?
Author: No. I don’t have one yet.
The above is just a rough Idea of what some of these chats are like.
Now, moving forward, there are times I check the person’s personal profile since they have no Facebook Fan Page, or Instagram, Twitter, Google plus etc? And discover, sadly, that nothing about that soon to be published book is discussed or written about on their wall.
Truth be told. You cannot make sales if you do not beat the drum to create awareness for your product.
Now, on our Instagram page. @okadabooks, we make it a habit to sometimes re-post book posts made by any of our authors.
When we get a mention and we see that the particular book is on our platform, we re-post to our page.
On a particular day, sometime this week, I made a post on the page and one follower, commented thus:
Please buy my book. I published my book on your site but no sales.
I was touched by that, as we always want to do our best to help our authors. So I visited the author’s page so I could find any of her posts about the said book and re-post to our own page. This also helps to build followership for the author.
Well, Guess what? She only had pictures of herself slaying in lovely outfits. I frowned at that.
How can you have a book and not talk, write, or post pictures about it? Now you left a comment asking people to buy your book, but you didn’t even mention the title of the book. You don’t have it on your page. So how are we supposed to magically know your book title and what it is about?
I wrote a book about building an audience for writers early last year. And I have shared it with a lot of people. It is sad to say, very few, just a little over 10, that I know of, actually practiced what they learned in that book.
A few others complained to me that the workload is too much. They wouldn’t be able to cope. Seriously? Kiru Taye didn’t get to where she is by playing. Sally Dadazie didn’t build Moskedapages by complaining about the workload.
As long as you’re a self-published author, a lot falls on your shoulders, especially audience building. If you’re not ready for the work involved, then hire someone to help, or don’t even bother venturing into self-publishing.
So What Are The Basic Steps to Grow Readers for Your Book(s)?
- Post Your Write-Ups in Your Online Space: It could be on your Facebook fan page, Facebook wall, Instagram page, Nairaland, Okadabooks forum etc. You can also make submissions to a lot of other blogs, so as to be exposed to the readers on those blogs.
This helps people read from you and know what you are capable of. And when the time comes to sell your book, depending on how your earlier write-ups have been received, a lot of them will be willing to part with their money.
But when no one knows you or no one has read anything from you, you find only close friends and relatives buying your book.
- Have Your Own Blog, Facebook Fan Page, Instagram Page, etc: While you gather readers from other blogs and other social outlets, never forget to have yours and also, put a link back to your blog or social handles. And that link back should offer something really good, in exchange for email addresses.The idea behind this is that, apart from having email addresses of those you promote your books to and offer special discounts to, you need to still be able to keep in touch with your readers, even if something happens to your blog or social media handles.Your blog could go down tomorrow. Or the social platform where you have lots of followers suddenly folds up. It wouldn’t affect you so much because you will always be able to send out emails to your readers. Besides, those who part with their email addresses, are more likely to buy from you.
- Use Social Media Adverts: Facebook boost and even Instagram advert are very pocket-friendly. In other words, you can use as little as N399 for a one-day post boost, depending on your target audience.
I used to underestimate Facebook ad boost until 2015 when I worked with a team to build Nigerian Writers’ Hub. And the page grew very fast until issues arose and the team decided to split.
The good thing about boosting is this, if your content is good enough, you wouldn’t only pull in more subscribers, you will pull in followers too. These people are the ones who will eventually buy your book.
So should you boost every post you make? No. instead, boost the post you know will give you the desired results. Boosting posts carelessly can cause you to waste money and still have no growth.
Do you have questions concerning this? please drop it in the comment section, and I’ll respond.
Karo Oforofuo is an experienced freelance writer, an author of several fiction books, and a blogger at Pelleura, where she entertains readers with mouth-watering stories, real-life experiences, relationships and business articles. She also specializes in helping authors, who want to start and grow their reader base, through consulting sessions. When she’s not working, she’s busy reading the next best paranormal romance novel or writing one. Check out her novel “Strange Man at Iri“