My student teacher finished her placement on Friday, which means it's back to my other full time job, the one that actually pays. That's not to say that writing doesn't pay. Just not enough yet that I can do anything with it other than plow my meager profits back into promotion.
In a way, I feel like I have three full-time jobs, or, more accurately, two full-timers and a part-timer, with writing itself, sadly, being the part-timer. Teaching is obviously the first one and the other is book promoting. It feels like all my spare time is spent doing things on various social media outlets to get my brand in front of as many people as possible. And when I'm not doing that, I'm making phone calls to set up signings and such.
The big emphasis this week has been Twitter. I realized that sales had come to a complete standstill, so I started reading blogs and websites with ideas on how to increase traffic on social media, specifically on Twitter. One suggested that I start following at least 25 people a day, which I did, beginning last Sunday. Actually on Sunday, I probably followed upwards of 100. I searched for the hashtag #booklover and followed a bunch of those folks in the hopes that they'd love my book too. I also followed fellow writers and anyone that seemed in any way about or interested in books, indie authors, or publishing. And it worked well. I started Sunday with 224 followers. As of this writing, I'm at 496 followers, so I've well more than doubled my following.
Yes, there were some glitches along the way. I started out just blindly following back anyone who followed me. That led to some rather embarrassing tweets filling my feed, such as ads for erotica and even pornographic videos. I had no idea how many sweet little old ladies are writing adult fiction and trying to sell it on Twitter. So I got a little more careful about who I followed back. There was also the issue of a constant stream of private messages advertising other authors' books. One of the first things I learned in a blog about Twitter etiquette was that you should not barrage people with PMs trying to get them to buy stuff. Apparently, not all authors read that post.
I've also done some work on Goodreads and Amazon with giveaways. There are three ways to get free copies of books. First, on Goodreads, you can go here and just register. No obligation whatever. You don't have to follow me or write a review or agree to receive a bazillion emails from me (I don't send out a bazillion emails anyway). But hurry--there's just one day left! You can also go here to enter to win one of five books from Amazon. The only requirement in this case is that you have to follow me on Twitter to be entered. Finally, and this one takes a tiny bit of work on your part, you can go here and ask me a question. I'll answer your question and one person will receive a free autographed copy of Harsh Prey or my next book, Kisses and Lies when it comes out in a couple months. But again, hurry--it ends soon.
So the good news is that I do have more people following me and retweeting my tweets. The bad news is that it's resulted in exactly zero sales so far. But I'm not losing hope. I'm banking on the idea that I'm planting seeds that will pay off in sales over time as I publish more and more books. By making people aware of my name and by putting free books in the hands of as many people as possible, the plan is to build a loyal following that will become my core audience as time go by.