I’ve mentioned Talli Roland, Twitter friend and author of The Hating Game, on this blog before. To celebrate the release of The Hating Game in paperback, I asked Talli if she’d write a guest post for me, as her experiences with e-books and social media are well worth studying. As Talli is published by a small press and took on the mammoth task of establishing an online “author platform” herself, her story should be of interest to both traditionally published and self-published authors alike. So I thought today we’d have a Talli Tuesday!
“Everyone says writers should use social media to sell books. Okay, we get it! But what people don’t tell you is how to build relationships that will help others invest in your book’s success – and how to use your contacts to actually sell books.
As a debut novelist published by a small press with a very low marketing budget, I knew I’d be relying heavily on social media to spread the word about my novel, The Hating Game. Almost a year before the book’s planned release, I started a blog with an aim to get as many followers as I could before launch day. I blogged from Monday to Friday, and I actively sought out other blogs to follow – if someone commented on my blog, I always returned the comment on theirs. To build relationships in the blogging community, it can’t be a one-way thing; you have to consistently participate through blog fests, contests and giveaways. By visiting an average of seventy blogs daily, my follower count grew rapidly. I used the same principles for Twitter and Facebook, and when it came time to think about a launch strategy, I had a small army of around two thousand supporters behind me, as well as a whole new group of wonderful writing friends.
So now the question: how could I use those two thousand people to help my sales? I needed a specific goal to drive towards, something tangible where people could see the results of their assistance: Amazon rankings. If I could get even fifty people out of those two thousand to buy on that day, my Amazon Kindle rank would shoot up, potentially helping my book break into the top 100 Bestsellers on the day of its release.
Loathe to request my online contacts buy my book outright, I asked them all to post about my quest on the same day: December 1. By splashing my news across the Internet in a co-ordinated campaign, not only would I be generating word of mouth but also – hopefully – sales. A steady stream of bloggers, Facebookers and Tweeters signed up to let their contacts know my mission by posting a blog, Facebook status or Twitter status – all linking to my novel on Amazon.
At 6:30 am on release day, I checked my sales rank on Amazon: number 806 on Amazon.co.uk and 7,192 on Amazon.com. Crossing my fingers, I hoped The Hating Game might break into the top 200 in the UK and maybe, if I was lucky, the top 100. Over the next few hours, more and more people began tweeting about my Take On Amazon quest using #TheHatingGame hash tag, posting links to their blogs, reviews and more. People started to retweet, I could barely keep up with the hash tag and blogs being posted, and my Amazon rank began to rise. By 10 a.m., I was at number 149 in the UK Paid Kindle Store. Before 11 a.m., I’d hit number 86. I was now on the Amazon Top 100 Bestseller list!
But it didn’t stop there. The tweets, blog posts and reviews kept coming and my rank continued to rise. At 11 am, The Hating Game was the top book on Amazon UK’s Movers and Shakers, a whopping 17,829 per cent increase in sales rank from the previous day. By 2:30 pm it reached number 25 in the UK and was starting to creep upwards on Amazon.com, too. On Twitter, one reader was even live tweeting as she read the book.
By the end of the day, The Hating Game had reached number 24 on Amazon UK and 460 on Amazon.com, with hundreds of blogs, tweets and shared Facebook links from friends and strangers alike. My debut novel was now an Amazon Kindle Bestseller on the day of its release – with no marketing money spent and masses of social media power.
Social media isn’t something you can turn to every once in awhile, then ask for support when you need it. Like anything in life, it’s a network of relationships. Sure, it takes time. But the result – in terms of friends I’ve made as well as marketing outcomes – is more than worth it.”
Congrats, Talli! And thanks so much for sharing your experience with us.