Tag Archives: self promotion

Where My Readers At?

I’ve been gradually ramping up my efforts to find out where my readers are at and trying to make my fiction available in those places. To that end I’ve begun selling books at Goodreads, in addition to Smashwords, Amazon, and my very own bookstore. I’ve also sent out coupon codes to podcasters, writers, and bloggers to share with their audiences and I set up my story “Fetch” to be featured on Daily Kindle Bargains. Finally, I’ve been using Google Plus and have found new friends, writers, and a fan or two.

All of this is very early days yet, and I’m still trying to figure out the best way to reach prospective readers. One thing I’ve noticed (reinforced by Nobilis Reed) is that on social media sites like Google Plus, authors tend to network with other authors. That’s good to a point. Iron sharpens iron and all that and most writers are also readers, but I’d like to find readers who are primarily readers.

So I open the floor to the writers who are more successful fiscally than I am, where do you find your readers and how do you connect? Also, in my efforts to reach out and offer ways for people to sample my wares, I want to avoid being a douchenozzle and bombarding folks with spam. So, where do you draw the line on self promotion?

Not to leave readers out of the questions, where/how do you find new authors and how much self promotion is too much? Are coupons/free samples a driver for you to try new things? And how much of a role do reviews on sites like Amazon and Smashwords play in your decisions to buy?

Thanks for any input you have!


I’m seeing something that I hope isn’t a trend on Good Reads. Two authors, both of whom have large following in the podcast community, are rating their own works. Now, I’m all for “shameless self promotion”. I learn what to do and what not to do by watching those who have gone before me, and I try to come up with my own spins. Along the way I’m bound to make mistakes and want folks to call me on it.

As a writer I know you have to believe in your work. You need to be your own drum beater, horn blower, and cheer leader. You need to work on your stuff until you think it’s good enough to send out and should talk about it to anyone who wants to listen once it’s out there. This is different though. This crosses the line into something truly shameless (shameful)?

Here’s what I know to be true. You should avoid signing up on your own message board under a pseudonym to defend yourself. You should avoid responding to your critics in a negative fashion if they rake you over the coals. And, I’d think this goes without saying, you should avoid rating and reviewing your own work.

You don’t need to “prime the pump”. If folks enjoy what you’re doing, you could certainly share with them where you’d like a review (though this probably isn’t necessary). Doing that is fine. Rating yourself, in my mind and in the mind of many I follow on twitter, is only going to make you look like a douchenozzle. That will likely lose you more fans than it will gain you.

Personally I’m on the fence at this point as to whether or not I’ll ever listen to their podcasts or buy any of their books down the road. I’m not naming names and I don’t want anyone here to either. I sent a message to one of these guys, hoping for an explanation. None has been forthcoming. I am interested in what you think, primarily if you think I’m missing some good point to this.

Future Plans

I know my buddy advised me not to talk about numbers and that may be sound advice, so moving forward I won’t worry about them so much.

Okay, I’ll worry, but I just won’t say anything. 😉

What I will say is, I didn’t make the numbers I wanted to. Yes, that’s a little frustrating. I set a reasonable goal, but people buying what I have to sell is out of my hands. So, I can’t let that frustrate me. As one person told me, I might see an uptick in sales there once Ginnie Dare is out. We’ll see.

Moving forward, I plan on creating recordings of some of my stories. I’ll likely put those here and on Podiobooks so that those of you who enjoy podcast fiction can enjoy them. Keep tuned to this station.

I also wanted to put a link here for “Battle of Wildspitze”, an awesome ten-thousand word short story that Zach Ricks and I wrote.

We’re writing more in that universe and plan on putting more of these stories out, maybe a print anthology of them too. We also plan on podcasting it down the road, cause we’re cool like that. I’ve also included a bit of sample text after the jump for you to have a look at.

For those that support me both in spreading the word and in buying my fiction (both are important), I thank you.

Continue reading Future Plans

Self Promotion

I often worry that I try too hard or am completely bollocksing my attempts at promoting my stories. I have no formal education when it comes to marketing or promotion. The things I do know come from watching other, savvier people and even trying to do the opposite of people who have turned me off with their attempts.

So when a friend of mine took the risk (and dispensing advice, solicited or not, to a friend is always risky) of telling me what he thought of my efforts, I listened. He made the caveat to me that he’s not a marketing pro, but he does have at least a decade on me in age and experience and has done enough different things in his life to achieve some wisdom in my eyes. Some of what he had to say also came from people in his life that are/were pros.

This is what he told me (and I’m paraphrasing a little):

When I talk about the stuff I’m throwing out there, make it “Scott Roche’s thrilling novel, blah blah blah”.. third person only. It’s okay to say how great it is, IF it’s in the third person and nobody knows (except me, haha) that you wrote the ad. And when I talk about a review that a book/story I wrote got, say “X got a good review.”, not “I got a good review.”

When I post to Twitter or Facebook, don’t say “buy this now” or “my story is for sale here”. He believes that that’s off putting and it would be better to say “Download ‘Fetch’ here.” and provide the link for Amazon/Smashwords. People will know I’m selling as if it were free I’d probably say so.

He was also of the opinion that reviews don’t work so well, if they’re reviews done by someone that is a complete or relative unknown. His belief is that a good bit of cover copy goes a lot further in terms of enticing a reader to read.

He also said that I should probably never talk about sales numbers. I’d been talking some in the public stream about how low they’ve been and my efforts to improve them. I did that to endeavor to share with my fellow writers the reality of my own self publishing experience. In doing so though, it may make people think “if he’s not selling well, then maybe it’s because it’s no good”.

That’s the jist of what he said. He did go on to say that if he didn’t know me, if he weren’t close friends with me, that he would likely have blocked my feed because of what I’ve been throwing out there. I respect that. I have a higher tolerance for people pitching their stuff, but if that’s all they’re doing then I’d do the same thing. Hopefully there’s enough other stuff in my feeds that the promotion doesn’t overwhelm. For people like him, and maybe like you, even a little is too much.

I think what my buddy gave me was good, concise, commonsensical advice and maybe there’s more where that came from. Now it’s time to ask you folks, what do you think of this? What has worked for you in marketing your stuff using social media? Is he way off base? Have I annoyed you to the point where you’re ready to unfollow/block/put me in the corner? If I haven’t, has someone you follow managed to get under your skin and why? Whether you’re a self promoter or not I know a lot of people would benefit from talking about this.

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