With the surge of independent publishing creating more successful mavericks along the likes of Amanda Hocking, J.A. Konrath and John Locke, more avenues/opportunities arise for aspiring authors to bring their ebooks through the muck of endless rejection letters to forge their path to financial success.
As ebooks come a dime a dozen nowadays, so too are the opportunities to promote them from home. Whereas Facebook, Twitter and blogging have been the dominant avenues for people to get the word out about their material, the digital community has opened up with even more avenues from Google + to LinkedIn and Pinterest. Whereas Google + makes use of the Twitter's popular hashtag trend, online pinboard community Pinterest has also done the same. A website dominated by female users, Pinterest makes use of boards where users can 'pin' virtually everything from clothing/accessories to cars and yes, ebooks. This strategy of marketing ebooks among indie authors is not entirely new, as it has been used ever since the site gained popularity. In recent years, pinboards dedicated to Amazon Kindle and its counterparts have enjoyed making quite a bit of noise in generating interest in aspiring authors with its use of some of the following popular hashtags:
- #IAN1: Reserved for members of the Independent Author Network
- #ASMSG: Reserved for members of Authors Social Media Support Group
But what about Instagram and where it fits in? Another social media site devoted mainly to photography, the biggest flaw in Instagram is that at present it doesn't allow for active links when users upload photos. Aside from posting a website or blog page in the profile info section, that's pretty much all users get when it comes to link sharing. The saving grace with Instagram is its use of hashtags, which can also generate much interest for ebooks if you have an eye-catching ebook cover that is designed by a professional. During a recent promotion for my new novel EXODUS: A REQUIEM FOR JACOB FORLORN via Amazon's KDP Select program, I uploaded the cover to Instagram with some of the following hashtags:
Again, the downside was that an active link couldn't be posted but my blog page was referenced in the ad where users could visit and click on the amazon link from there. On a typical three day promotion, nearly 15% percent of my traffic and free downloads came from Instagram users who also commented and liked the posts. 15% may not be a lot compared to numbers that an Amanda Hocking or a J.A. Konrath may bring in. However, 15% on the first promo run of a new novel is still better than zero, especially for authors who may not use KDP Select or even know what it is.
No one looking to get into indie publishing should consider it an immediate gateway to financial success, as most indie authors average less than $500 per year. However, by implementing multiple paths to marketing your material through all forms of social media, there is a mass amount of potential for your efforts to be lucrative in the long term.
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