Advice To New Writers 10: “Please Look at My Book and Love Me!”

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            You’ve written, edited, rewrote, and published your book. So now you are a famous author, men and women want you, riches are pouring in, and Stephen King is your best friend. The two of you take walks every day and you make sure the wildly driven vans don’t strike him.

            I am so right … right?

            No, of course I’m not right. Most likely you have sold little if any copies of your book. I mean fuck my parents haven’t even read my novels I can only imagine how hard it has been for you to get strangers to look at your book. So with that in mind I am going to give you another handy dandy “Josh Bullet List” of what has worked or me when it’s come to promoting my own work.

            Notice I said me.

            Allow me to reiterate, ME!

            I make no guarantees that any of this advice will work for you I just know I have gotten so decent results. These are presented in no order because I am too damn lazy to decide what ones are more important.

Twitter – Twitter is a good way to promote your work but if you go in there and do nothing but whore your book you will get zero help. I would suggest before you start screaming “Look at my Books!” in the Twitterverse you take a couple of months to build followers and interact with them. Remember it’s a marathon not a sprint, I will be repeating this.

Facebook – For the love of god if you are an Indie Author and not on Facebook you are an idiot. Facebook provides you with multiple ways of promoting your work. From the groups and pages centered on the topic of your book (trust me no matter what you write there will be many groups and communities to whore yourself to) to paid targeting advertising. Although let me clear if you are going to avail yourself of the Facebook paid advertising start small, start with a couple of days and a budget of less than $20.

Mailing Lists – Every writer needs a mailing list. A mailing list allows you to stay in contact with people who actually read your work. My only advice to you is to update your list at least once a month. If you fail to regularly your list it will be minimized in its value.

Goodreads, Shelfari (ETC) – The book community sites are useful in promotion. It is up to you to make sure that your entries on these sites are kept updated. For Goodreads in particular bear in mind that the reviews over there tend to be a lot more critical than Amazon reviews.

Amazon Author Page – Set up you Amazon Author page and keep it current. If you feel so inclined make sure to set up your Amazon UK page as well. Seriously I have a disproportionately high number of sales and reviews across the pond. (Love you people in the UK!)

Website – I cannot even begin to tell you the number of authors I know personally who DO NOT HAVE A WEBSITE! Websites are easy to set up and cheap. If you don’t want to own your own domain (Shameless plug à www.joshhilden.com) there are many free sites. Google and Wordpress being the big 2. But I say screw it and pony up the cash and buy your site. Either way you need a site where you can direct people so they can learn about you and your work.

Free Copies – I know it may sound counterintuitive but hear me out. Free copies will eventually lead to more sales. There are 2 big options when it comes to playing the freebie game.

Reviewers & Bloggers – Sending out free copies of your book (digital or print) to reviewers and bloggers is often seen as a good way to drive reviews and thus encourage sales. I have done this and the results have been so-so. Few if any sales have been the result of these freebies.

KDP & Giveaways – KDP is the Amazon Kindle program that in return for a period of exclusivity allows you to give away a limited number of free copies and participate in the lending program. There is a debate raging amongst Indie Writers as to whether or not the pros outweigh the cons. I don’t know in the long run where I fall in the argument but for now all of my work is only available on Kindle. I love giveaways, giving free copies to people who want to read my work makes me feel amazing. I don’t know if it has helped with sales but I love the reaction of people who get free copies.

Networking – Now before you run screaming about this being the 21st century and networking have gone the way of the mid afternoon cocktail and the secretarial blowjob hear me out. Networking with other indie writers, publishers, and reviewers may be you number one way to broaden your name recognition, and trust me kids that is a good thing. Networking can get you invited to conventions, events, and to submit to anthologies and other writing projects (amongst other things).

Don’t Be Afraid – This is my last bit of advice, don’t be afraid to whore your art. I am not saying go out there and be a dick about it. Be respectful when you are putting your book out there to be seen and appreciated. Ask before posting or promoting your work in Social Network sites. Don’t spam your followers. And try to at least be entertaining when you are promoting. Remember, just because you’re a whore doesn’t mean you need to be a horrible person. (Stolen from the Nostalgia Critic  Moulin Rouge Review)

            Alright that’s it for today. Next time I am going to tell you what you should and maybe shouldn’t do when asshats and jack holes slag on your work. Until them write, play, have some sex, and then write some more!

          - Josh

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Josh Hilden

When I was born on August 3, 1976 in the great state of Michigan the hills shook and the sky was swept with fire. These were portents of the greatness for my future that was written in the stars ... I'm still waiting for that greatness. My name is Josh Hilden and I am many things. I am a husband, a father, a son, a friend. These are all important things but at my core I am an artist and the medium that I work in is words. I am a writer of Horror, Science Fiction, Drama, and Role Playing Games. I worked for Palladium Books (www.palladiumbooks.com) and Third Eye Games (www.thirdeyegames.net) before striking out on my own and founding a small press publishing company Gorillas with Scissors Press (www.gwspress.com). I also work for Fat Goblin Games (www.fatgoblingames.com). In the everyday world I can be found spending time with my family and friends. I have been married to my lovely wife Karen since 1996 and we have six amazing children. We tend to be a family of unabashed geeks and gamers who were geek before geek was chic. If you are really interested in me I am very active online with a personal and a writing blog along with a plethora of social media outlets. If you have any questions or just want to chat hit me up!