I’m not a marketing guru. I’m not a social-media expert. I can’t give a sure-fire way of improving your book marketing. But I am a reader, and I am on social media. A lot.
In other words, I’m the kind of guy you’re trying to get to click on your book links. So I’m going to help you out by listing five things that DO make me want to see more about your novel, as well as five things that DON’T.
(Disclaimer: this isn’t an always/never list. It’s just the general way I think and react to your marketing attempts as a reader. Don’t take my perspective as law. Also, when I say ‘do’ or ‘don’t’, I mean ‘probably will’ or ‘probably won’t.)
Things that DO make me click on your novel link
- An original cover: your cover is the first thing I see, so if it stands out from all the other covers in its genre, I’ll be curious.
- A reason to care about your protagonist: make me care about your protagonist and his/her friends (or enemies!) as quickly as humanly possible, and I’ll at least read your free sample. Guaranteed.
- A genuine person behind the link: I’m much more likely to be interested in your book if I’m interested in you as a person first.
- A title I can relate to: ‘The Chronicles of Mumbo-Jumbo’ is just too generic to grab my attention at all. Give your book a name that means something to potential readers.
- Creative marketing: think outside the box, and you’ll find yourself standing outside the box. If you’re outside the box, I’m more likely to notice you and your book.
Things that DON’T make me click on your novel link
- Discounts and free promotions: I’m broke, but I’m willing to pay $2 for your book. But if I don’t want to buy it, telling me it’s half off probably won’t change my mind. Even if it’s free, I’m still investing time and energy by reading it.
- A super-cool plot tagline: ‘Ben finds himself in the fight of his life.’ ‘Everything Liz thought she knew is a lie.’ ‘Hank discovers the power he never knew he had.’ Look, I’ve seen all this before. These taglines are supposed to grab my attention, but they just don’t mean anything to me.
- Amazon ranking: these days, everyone and their cousin is a bestseller. With niche genre settings, it’s not that hard. Even my novel was #2 on Amazon’s free fantasy list for a few days.
- Reviews: okay, so reviews DO make a difference, but I prefer to formulate my own opinions. Besides, and I don’t mean to be rude, there are some pretty bad pieces of work out there with shiny reviews. It’s a subjective system.
- Attractive characters: I don’t give a gerbil’s fuzzy tuchus how good-looking your characters are. If all you’ve got to sell your book with are a couple of great bodies, I’m not interested.
That’s my feedback as a reader to you as a writer/marketer. But at the end of the day, do what works best for you. Try to think like a reader! They’re the ones you want clicking on your links.