How do you like the idea of sharing your ebooks for free? If you don't like it, if it doesn't sit well with you, then this blog post is not for you. There are as many ways to get the word out about your book as there are writers. What I'm doing with my books is not considered a traditional way of marketing them. It works for me, it might not work for you.
However, if you're an indie like me who has started with nothing, may I put a bug in your ear and give you an idea that might propel your readership upward? If so, stock up on your favorite snack, make yourself comfortable, and read on.
You have a bigger chance of never being discovered than of your book being stolen.
Let's face it. Anyone can write anything, package it in minutes, throw it up on Amazon, and shout, "Hey, I wrote a book!" The new distribution model that made it easy for ebooks to spread across the sparkling internets also made it hard to discover great indie books in the flood of poorly written muck. At first it was exciting, and a ton of readers, me including, dipped into it only to come away disappointed. And after we got burned a few times, we started turning up our noses at anything indie, thinking that there was no telling if it was brilliant or crap. And so we turned to those who broke through this noise, writers like Hugh Howey and Amanda Hocking and Jasinda Wilder and many many more.
But what about all the others? How do you get noticed when everyone is shouting simultaneously everywhere and all you want to do is run and hide?
I started giving out my ebooks for free not because I was doing some smart marketing gimmick, but for another reason. Because my writing pulled me out of depression and I simply wanted to share it, to give my love back to the universe. I was surprised by the effect it had. People read my books. People who read my books, teenagers especially, told me to get on Wattpad.
At the time I had no idea what it was.
After being on Wattpad for 1 year, ROSEHEAD was featured and read 170K times. People continue to read it on a daily basis, mostly teenagers on their Wattpad app, the screenshots of which you see above. I get comments every day. It's easy to select a part of text and comment on it. I had people find mistakes and help me fix them. Yes, Amazon has the same feature (you can do it on Kindle) but I haven't seen much traffic on my books there, although I know other writers have. Download the Wattpad app on your iPhone and see what it is. It's also available for Android.
Something else happened since I posted my books on Wattpad. I started getting messages from readers that would inspire me to continue writing. These are not book reviews, and not blog comments, or tweets, or emails, although I get those too. These are different. They are letters of love, and I can't tell you how many times they have brightened my day. Here is one.
"I love this so much. It's kind of like a flowery Coraline. This is the first book I've ever finished on my phone and I really need an actual copy."
You know what happens next? You guessed it. Those who loved the story buy actual paper copies from my site. And that is one of my main incomes, money from selling signed paperbacks.
I thought that darker stories wouldn't do well on Wattpad, but lately IRKADURA started picking up readership as well. Here is a recent comment.
"WOW. That was intense and beautifully written. I love it. Well, not what's happening to this poor girl but the writing style is uber cool!"
Style. I was always wondering about this beast and what it is and whether or not I have it. And this little message made my day, my week, my month. It almost made me cry.
I know you're probably being bombarded with a million messages about a million other places where you could be promoting your book, but give Wattpad a try. Here are several things you must do to make your book visible there:
- Post it in correct formatting. You need to list every chapter separately, to make it easier to read. It's a pain to post it by hand, but it's worth it. I didn't know this and posted Siren Suicides in one huge block of text. As a result, it doesn't get as many reads.
- Respond to every comment. In other words, give love to your readers, and they will share your work for you.
- Follow other writers and see how they do it. Send messages, ask questions, try things. I'm still learning how to do this too.
- Produce new work regularly. If you post one book and abandon the site, people will forget about you and leave your profile. That is why commenting is such a powerful tool. It posts to your profile, letting your followers know that you're there and active.
Good luck! If you decide to do this, let me know how it goes for you or if you have any questions.
I love you.