Groups, Social Networks, and Sales

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I see a lot of indie authors promote stuff on pages for authors. good job. you did it. handclap emoticon. you wrote a book… yay. A lot of those posts just seem downright “salesy.” That’s cool. But I’m probably not going to buy your book. Most author groups I’m a part of are there to give support and feedback (and that’s kinda what this article is meant as) to fellow writers.

Let me do y’all a service and remind you that promoting exclusively in author circles is probably gonna leave you with a pretty low glass ceiling for sales numbers. Lots of support and love… muchas reviews, yes. cash money? probably not so much. Remember, those authors are all doing looking for their own sales and promotions avenues, too.

Personally, I have a promo plan I follow every week in order to grow my platform and network with others–this isn’t sales exclusive. I know I’ve lost that focus in the past and that lack of proper expectation can make me feel like I’m spinning my wheels in the mud when I expect something to happen (usually either sales or people reading or providing feedback) and it never does.

I’ll be blunt. If you only post in social, authors’ groups and expect you’ve met some kind of social media marketing mandate in doing so, you will only sell a limited number of copies and your networking will fall flat. Those sorts of groups want to get to know you first, and then learn about your book. You’ll maybe sell a couple books, sure, but those numbers are a false positive and you’ll eventually hit a wall and not know why because “it worked before… why aren’t I selling any groups in The Stay-at-Home Mom Fellow Authors Group, etc?”

These groups are a bit like real life relationships. If you’ve been invited to a a regular coffee gathering and every time you speak you bring up Amway, ItWorks, or some kind of multi-level-marketing thing you’re involved in, the group might just change their meeting time/location and never tell you. I know they say “always be selling,” but it isn’t always appropriate to sell the product. Sometimes, in some places, you have to sell your self first in order to keep that door open. It’s called human interaction or building relationships.

Groups like this are one leg of a multi legged stool. I’m just cautioning against it being someone’s only avenue (or only posting when trying to sell–that’s a good way to become a tiresome nuisance to those who use the group to interact and network.) There are also some groups exclusively used for selling–it’s a whole different mindset and both have a different purpose. One is for authors, the other is for stories. Remember which is which and use them properly; these ideologies are kinda like an Offspring song: you gotta keep em separated.

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