2 Ways to Beat the Book Marketing Blues - #getpublished - #bookmarketing #indieauthor #selfpubbed

Book marketing is not an easy part of being an indie author / self-published writer. To be honest, I loathe it. Promotion is not fun. It is tedious and time-consuming and nerve-racking, but a necessary evil as an author entrepreneur. 

I published a book this week, SMASH INTO YOU that I was feeling very proud and excited about. It is a New Adult Romance and I ventured out of my comfort zone to write this tale. But the minute, I started promoting it, that evil little voice of doubt entered my head. 

What if no one likes it? What if I get only negative reviews? What if the storyline sucks?

I feel super anxious whenever I have to start contacting book reviewers and requesting a review. I mean, physically sick to my stomach even. It is hard enough to release your “baby” into the world, but asking strangers to basically critique your work and post their opinion of your novel on the Internet for the world to see is downright scary. I always hope that readers like my books, yet I'm realistic enough to know that not everyone will enjoy my brand of storytelling.

Now I try VERY hard not to read reviews anymore. Good or bad. Sure, positive reviews can boost a writer's ego; however, the negative ones can rip it apart. You are not alone if you feel this way, too. When you get less than stellar comments about your "baby," it is a natural response to want to defend your hard work. PLEASE DO NOT. Just don't do it. Ever.

Okay, yes, I have responded to a bad review in the past and embarrassed myself. Yes, I have made some stupid mistakes when requesting reviews. Yes, I have even unintentionally pissed off a few book bloggers by sending them updated ARCs after sending the first one.

I recently read another blog post on this same topic on author Heather Hill's blog that warned writers about the dangers of responding to negative reviews. Authors will discover more bad reviews on Goodreads  than any other book site or forum. Like Heather said, "Do. Not. Engage." Go rant and rave and cry to your family and friends, and then go write another book. Don't let it discourage you or make you feel defensive. Every author has good and bad reviews, but they are just that person's opinion. For every one-star review, I'm sure you have ten glowing ones to discount it. I think a few one-star reviews make your five-stars look more legit. If you have only five-star reviews, it does look somewhat suspicious. (Like only your friends and family posted the positive reviews.)

But I realize that reviews help to sell books and spread the book love to readers. I know if I don't reach out to readers and reviewers that I won't sell as many books. Hence, the need to promote. And be thick-skinned once those reviews are posted.

Some authors use book tour companies to help them with new releases. I have used a few in the past, but it wasn't worth the money in my opinion. I even hired a very nice book publicist once and paid her two hundred dollars (which is a lot of money for a single mom) last year, and I still have no idea what promotion she did for that payment. Now, I do all of the marketing myself. 

I have a list of over two thousand bloggers to contact whenever I have a newly published novel. BUT I have to contact each one individually and request a review or offer a guest post, which is a slow process. Maybe five out of thirty respond. That's why I try to contact at least five hundred or more. I'll spend about six to eight hours each day contacting reviewers for a month. 

Like I said, I loathe it. I'd much rather be writing or editing or blogging. Or sticking a hot poker into my eye.   
While I don't have a simple answer to deal with book marketing blues, I can offer some advice that might help.

Make sure you have an informative "book request letter" that includes all of your novel's information, including links to Amazon, goodreads, and excerpts. Some reviewers get hundreds of requests a week, so make it as easy as possible for them. Be polite and courteous. Be professional. If they decline, just move on and ask someone else. Be respectful of the reviewers time. 

If you need help writing a "review request" letter, please feel free to email me and I'd be happy to help.

So, how do you handle the stress of author promotion? 

How do you deal with negative reviews?

Any marketing advice you'd like to share?

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