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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The biggest problem the indie author industry faces today and – what to do about it

A glance at Twitter February 1, 2017 6:30 pm EST

Being a member of a dozen author Facebook groups, I noticed that many indie authors aren't all happy; they are not selling as many books as they used to. Here is why:

Social Media has been hijacked

For years, book promoters told indie authors "Online marketing is the way to go," which was true at the time. But, since November 2015, President Trump is trending on Twitter and on Facebook, all day long, every day.

As I am writing this blog (1/31/17), the following topics are trending on Twitter:

#London – 296K Tweets


The Republican Fausts – 4,212 Tweets
responding to an article in the NYT about the GOP's relationship with President Trump

#GeneralStrike – 21.8K Tweets
About Googlers walking out to protest President Trump's immigration ban

Barkley – 19.1K Tweets

About Steve Bannon

#BackwardsThinkingIs – 2,974 Tweets
Different topics including US policies


We're Falling For It – 4,675 Tweets
An article on titled "The Immigration Ban is a Headfake, and We’re Falling For It"

Sam Waterston – 1,889 Tweets
Sam Waterston's opinion article in the Washington Post: "The danger of Trump’s constant lying"

(for February 1, 2017 results please see the blog header)

Six of ten topics trending on Twitter are about the US president's new policies. Even on a day the White House doesn't take any dramatic action, journalists are analyzing and weighing in on the new policies, as is their job.  

On days when the White House actually issues new policies, as many as eight or nine trending topics will circle around these events.  Grassroots movements for and against Trump have been tweeting nonstop for longer than a year. In short, Twitter as a marketing tool for authors is greatly diminished, if not dead.

How can indie authors overcome this problem?

1) Start by being a realist! – Regardless of what's going to happen, this situation won't change anytime soon.
In fact, since the new US president as well as journalists love tweeting, American indie authors may see years of politics taking over social media.
Even overseas authors aren't immune, because the US reader market is the biggest English reader market in the world.
Also, as I write this blog, 1.5 million Brits are outraged about a potential President Trump visit to Great Britain, and they are sharing their opinions.
If in fact President Trump is going to move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem, the social media marketing problem could move farther east.

2) Stop listening to promoters who tell you that online marketing is the answer to everything. – They may not  be paying attention to what's going on.
Having worked in marketing for more than twenty years, I noticed the Trump-tweets-problem first in January 2016 and began working on my book about offline book marketing. Even though I thought that Hillary Clinton would win the election handily, I was sure that Donald Trump would not disappear from Twitter but would use it to challenge the results. For sure he wasn't going to retreat like other former presidential candidates.

3) Invest in your education! To prevail in this market, you need to learn as much as possible. More authors, more books, more sensational news reduce your chances to be successful if you don't get solid information.

4) Check out your sources ! – A promoter who promises you to get you on TV needs to show that recently (not ten years ago) he got another unknown author on TV (not a celebrity); the same goes for promoters who tell you that they'll get your book in libraries. Also, though there are thousands of book marketing blogs recommending social media book marketing, I haven't seen a single blog that addresses the "politics has taken over social media"-issue.

5) Market your book offline! 
47% of people who watch the news on TV watch local news. If you pitch and get featured on local TV, at least 5,000 to 10,000 people will get to see you, even in a smaller city. It's doubtful that any of your tweets get actually read by that many people. Also, people who see you and your book on TV are more likely to buy print books.

Does this kind of exposure work? YES – Please see my BookScan.

If you pitch magazines and get featured in one or more publications, your work will be introduced to people who actually spend money (on the publication) instead of scanning the Internet for free stuff. 

People who learn about your book offline are also more likely to read your book sooner. Readers who have gotten accustomed to downloading free books every day can't read everything they acquire; they might get to read your book only in a few months, or – never.

Additionally, Amazon is less likely to delete the reviews from readers who review paperback books because they know that people who engage in review-exchanges favor ebooks.

Use the media coverage your book receives to get your book in public libraries, then tweet the news. Having researched Twitter for a long time, I noticed that library tweets get retweeted regardless of what's going on in politics.

Offline marketing is the way to go!

What's online marketing been like for you, this last year?


Gisela Hausmann is the multi-award winning author of "BOOK MARKETING: The Funnel Factor: Including 100 Media Pitches", "NAKED TRUTHS About Getting Book Reviews", "NAKED WORDS 2.0: The Effective 157-Word Email" and other fine books.

Her work has been featured in the SUCCESS magazine, in Entrepreneur, on Bloomberg (podcast), in NBCNews, and other publications.

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© 2017 by Gisela Hausmann 

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