Unsure What to Do? 5 Questions Authors Need Answers To

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Answers to Authors' Questions by Frances CaballoI’ve gathered a list of questions authors have asked me during the past five months, and I’m providing my answers so that everyone can see them. If you want to see an earlier post in which I published an author’s FAQ, you can see it here: Indie Authors’ FAQ on Publishing and Marketing.

Without future ado, let’s get started.

Kindle Unlimited is hurting my sales.

I heard this complaint at a meeting recently. An Indie author who published his first novel a year ago complained that providing free e-copies of his eBook through Kindle Unlimited caused a drop in book sales.

The author said he planned to withdraw his book from the program as soon as possible.

My response? Don’t do it.

Years ago at a meeting of independent publishers, Joel Friedlander said that the biggest threat to Indie authors is anonymity.

How can we combat that problem? By giving books away for free, joining Kindle Unlimited, selling eBooks for less than $5, and hosting Goodreads giveaways.

That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t sell our books or try to recoup some of the production costs. We are in the business of making money from our books, after all.

Yet, it’s a fine line at times.

I often carry several copies of my most recent book on social media and give them away at meetings and workshops where there are writers.

After all, I’m not Ernest Hemingway. I want my name out there and I want to help authors so it makes sense to me to give away copies of my books.

Yes, I would earn more if I didn’t give so many copies away but, hey, at this point in my career I’m trying to generate awareness of my books.

My advice is that you need to determine what your goal is right now and make your decision accordingly.

Should I start using social media now or wait for a website?

If you don’t have a Facebook profile or LinkedIn account, you can certainly start using those social media networks.

A Facebook profile can be fun to have and it’s a good way to get to know how Facebook generally works. I would also recommend starting a LinkedIn account. You can join a few groups, learn from colleagues, and generally start to get a feel for this network.

But generally, I recommend that authors establish a website before engaging in social media marketing. Why? Because you want to use social media to connect with readers and prospective readers, and to drive traffic to your blog and website.

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Your website is where people can read about your books and where you can convert these website visitors to readers and depending on what your goal is, even clients.

When should I start marketing my book?

You need to start marketing your book as soon as you start to write it.

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Tell your readers where you are when enjoying a writing session. Let your readers help you select a book cover.

Share with your readers any challenges you might be having. Ask them for suggestions of names for your characters.

Involve them in the writing process as much as you can without giving away the plot.

Including your audience members will help them to feel invested in your next book.

Which social media networks should I use?

You only need to use those networks that your readers prefer to use. I wrote extensively about this topic in How to Target Your Readership and How to Stop Wasting Time and Focus Your Book Marketing.

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You will be more efficient in your marketing and have more time to write if you focus on those social media networks that your readers prefer. Period.

One example is that YA writers need to use Instagram, Tumblr and perhaps to a letter degree Twitter. Romance writers need to use Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

When should I start blogging?

You should start blogging as soon as you have a website. Don’t use Blogger and don’t use WordPress.com. It’s best to host your blog on your self-hosted website.

For a list of blogging topics, check out 34 Blogging Topics Just for Writers and my eBook Blogging Just for Writers.

How would using Pinterest benefit me as an author?

There are multiple ways Pinterest can help with your marketing.

Pinterest is fantastic at driving traffic. In fact, Pinterest is the third most prolific generator of traffic to my website following Twitter (in the #1 spot) and Facebook.

This network also offers a visual platform for connecting with readers. We are moving toward a visual social web – or perhaps we’ve already arrived – and Pinterest provides a means to connect with readers without much text.

You can also use this network to fill in the details about your books by creating pinboards of the clothes your characters wear, the meals they enjoy, images of venues where they live or visit, etc.

For a list of ideas on how to use this platform, check out my post Pinterest Tips for Authors (Plus 57 Pinboard Ideas).

Do you have any questions you’d like me to answer?

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Frances Caballo- Author of Avoid Social Media Time SuckAbout the Author of this Blog: Frances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. You can receive a free copy of her book Twitter Just for Writers by signing up for her newsletter. Connect with Frances on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+. Be sure to check out my Social Media for Authors Podcast.

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