Firstly, let me say I am in no way an authority on SP and probably never will be. I don’t believe here can be such a thing anyway. There is no step by step guide to ensure you get noticed or famous.
Instead, there are ideas and good suggestions to help you, which is where I come in. None of them are certain to work, all have just as much chance as the other. So here goes.
I’ll be adding to the list as time goes on and time between my projects allows. I’m proof of what I put down and will add things as I grow and learn myself.
- Never, EVER think you need to pay someone or buy something to guarantee success in the publishing industry. Whether it’s SP or not, NO ONE can guarantee you anything. Authors can be the nicest but also most gullible bunch, and where there is desperation, there will be scammers. Like paying for a review. Think about it, as a reader, would you take a review seriously if you knew the author had paid for it? A review is something that can be asked for and often is, but should be given willingly because the piece moved the reader in a positive or negative way. This doesn’t only include books, but anything. Movies, restaurants, coffee shops, small time bands etc all know the best and cheapest advertising is word of mouth. You would know yourself when someone tells you about something great/terrible they have experienced and they really mean it. It gets you engaged, makes you want to know more. As much as I hate it, that is where 50 Shades of Grey won out. You have half the readers crowing about how great it was, and the other about how absolutely atrocious it was. What’s the common aftermath? Most people hearing either side feel intrigued enough to give it a shot. “Oh, it cant be that bad…” or “Well, if it’s that good I might as well…”
So the next time you are online and see Kirkus reviews, or $5 video promos etc save your money. They look cheap, don’t work and will not help you sell more. Better to have no reviews than a 5 star bullshit one.
What CAN help you, is setting up a Twitter blast or Facebook ad. What you need to do, is know your audience and target accordingly. There are plenty of book bloggers on Twitter, and there are a heap of Twitter accounts that tweet and retweet book links for a fee. The ones I used were about $10 a month and tweeted out 5 different tweets about the book and a link to purchase it to around 19,000 followers. Cheap, risk free and very little time and work on my part. It was done automatically, every day for a month and I got some decent sales too, but nothing major. But be careful. There is no use paying @KIDS_BOOKS to tweet about your Dystopian Horror novel.
- I learnt the hard way with a lot of things. Being new and naïve, I thought if a company looked reputable at face value, they could be trusted.
Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should anyone ever contact Raider Publishing International, Green Shore Press or any of their affiliates. These people are criminals that have violated their own contracts with authors, taken them for thousands of dollars and left them in the dark. I repeat, there is NO REASON whatsoever you need to pay anyone to publish your book, or guarantee you best seller status, reviews, places in magazines, interviews etc. It is 99% bullshit. Hopefully now that things like Create Space, Amazon KDP and Smashwords exist, these phony scammers can be left to the dark corners themselves, where they belong.
Then there is Publishing Push. These guys are a murky one for me. I used them early on, and spent almost $800 for them to “pitch” Night Walker for me for a month to bloggers, reviewers, increase and manage my online presence with the hope/goal of getting more sales and increasing my fan base. In a month, I got 1 sale, 1 review and 1 blogger who took it on board but eighteen months later I am still waiting for this review Publishing Push say they can get. When I mentioned I wasn’t exactly thrilled with this result, the response was and I quote “I understand. Would you like us to keep pushing for one more month?”
“No, the same cost.”
“No thanks. Why would I waste another $800?”
In contrast I sought the services of Ilovevampirenovels.com and got over 500 sales and over 2,000 downloads in less than a few days, all for just over $100. The thing with Publishing Push, is that no matter what anyone says, they can’t honestly get reviews for you if their network of people isn’t big enough or isn’t interested. I’m thinking they did with my book what they have done with others, and the ‘others’ got a few reviews and sales etc. But if you pitch a crime story to your blogger followers and almost all of them love crime novels, of course you will have success. But pitching a paranormal novel to the same people? Not so much.
My book is about vampires, so I researched and found a group that dealt with paranormal and they sent word to people that were interested in that specific genre. So maybe I can’t blame PP wholly for the lacklustre experience. Still, another lesson learned the hard way.