*** I will be updating this post regularly to add my experience with new book promoters.
In another article, I mentioned that "follows" on Twitter and "likes" on Facebook can be bought. If you haven't read it yet, check HERE. I don't really care if people want to fool themselves and others by buying followers and pretending they have an audience, EXCEPT when they start taking the money of authors who only want to get more exposure for their book.
The book promotion business has grown by leaps and bounds. On twitter, everywhere you look, there's a promotion service offering to help authors market their books. It's a lucrative business since many authors feel that they are not reaching their desired audience. $10 doesn't seem like a lot of money if a service can tweet the book to their hundreds of thousands of followers. Some of them have genuinely helped during book promotions and events.
But because there's an option to buy followers, how do you know if their followers are even real?
How can you determine if an entity offering to help you reach more people has true social media presence? or if they're only shouting out to ghosts?... Who will definitely not buy your book.
Which of these book promoters are worth the money?
The selling point of these services is their social media presence, where they display the number of followers your book could get exposed to... often in the tens of thousands. What should be examined closely are the promoters whose so called "presence" is imaginary. Because that is false advertising and fraud. People pay to get exposure and if the followers aren't real, to whom will the books be exposed to? So these services are "knowingly" misleading us. There are even those that guarantee an increase in sales. What sales talk! Let me tell you for a fact... only people like Oprah can guarantee book sales if she endorses you.
But if the book promotion service is legit, it could help on free days, new releases, giveaways... just to build book buzz and make some noise. And that's good enough. We must remember that we're availing of these services for exposure, not sales, but only to INCREASE the possibility of sales. We have to manage our expectations and avoid disappointments.
But if it's not legit, well, it can shout until it's hoarse and no one will hear but their followers from beyond. If you paid for that, it would have been a waste of your money.
So, how do you determine which service to choose?
Check their social media feed, and not just the number of followers.
That number can't be trusted anymore.
Who's following them? Are they profiles of REAL people?
What is the status of their tweets? Is anyone engaging with their posts?
It's a lot of work to do this manually, so you can use sites like Klear or Klout to determine their REAL influence. Cause if a promoter has LOW influence scores, they shouldn't be selling promotion services.
Just search for their Twitter handle and see what the analytics say. On Klear, you can even see a twitter's True Reach. If you compare this statistic with # of followers, it's easy to see if the followers are real. Klear also shows the twitter's top post and how many times it was RT'd. If a promoter has 50k followers and their top tweet gained 6 RTs.... well, something fishy is going on. You can also see what their followers are interested in, and their audience demographics. Good info to have when you're about to spend for a promotion.
Klout and Klear can be used Free but they also have paid features if you want to see a more detailed analysis of influencers. But for the purpose of checking profiles, the free account is sufficient.
Twitter Promoters I've Used
But most importantly, and what I should have checked first, is if anyone is engaging with their posts. If you look at the feed of Enas at @, most of them have no RTs. None. Maybe the author, which is 1. Even after several days have passed. With 29k supposed followers, that is a very dismal performance. You know right away that your book is being shared with ghosts who don't give a damn. Lesson learned.
On Fiverr, I'm very wary of promotional services. It's very easy to put up a promotion gig by buying followers and then charging author $5 for a shout-out. But I found this service to help me when I did a campaign for Ken Fry's Suicide Seeds, which was a success by the way.
@BooksPromotion on Twitter and click this link to go to their Fiverr gig
What I like about this service is they communicate with you. That's important because if the promoter does not understand the goal of the promotion, how will they help you meet that goal? At the height of my campaign for Suicide Seeds, they tweeted using several of their accounts, and whoosh, the noise we made. They also take time to compose tweets instead of just pasting on the title and the link. And only for $5. Worth the money.
Choose FREE if possible
There are book promotion services that are free and active on Twitter, and you can see from the RTs that their followers are real. But not only that, their websites are helpful, and an author can improve their platform's SEO by creating a profile on their site.
Recently, I tried Quotes Rain, an unlikely name for a book promotion site, but I found them quite satisfactory for a free service. They also offer paid promotions with added features, but their free membership allows you to create a beautiful page on their quality website. @quotesasimage
Here's my profile as an example: http://www.quotesrain.com/page/EevaLancaster/
Remember that your author platform is improved whenever you are mentioned in other places, so this should be part of your marketing campaign too... exposing yourself. :)
But what I love the most about Quotes Rain is their Twitter Scheduler. After you've added your books to your profile on their website, you can schedule a maximum of 4 tweets a day. You compose the tweet and connect your Twitter account. And it will show up as your own tweet. Love that. Big help.
I don't have a long list since I seldom ask for external help. But sometimes, when I have a planned campaign, I do seek the help of promoters for added oomph. They can help if you choose one that's right for your campaign.
Ask yourself.... what results are you expecting? And then find the service that can genuinely help you reach your campaign goals.
On the other hand, why pay for promotion at all? If you're active on social media and you help others with their own campaigns, they will hep you with yours too. That might even get more engagement than if you pay a book promoter with imagined followers. I have followers on Twitter who send me a DM when they want me to RT something for them, and when I see it, I do make time. If you ask the help of people you engage with on social media, they might help.
Just remember the rule of Karma, eh? Don't always ask ask ask. Give something back. A thank you is nice... but surely you can do more?
Do for others what you want them to do for you.
And to authors, that's RTs, Shares and Likes.
On Twitter, there's #PDF1, #IARTG #BookBoost and Tamara Ferguson. There's me, if you're my tweet bud.
Join a group like @IAN1 or #RRBC or #ASMSG
Paying for social media promotion should be secondary to building your author platform. No matter how much you promote your book, if the book has a bad cover, a boring blurb, was not formatted, and not edited, a boring Amazon Page --- nothing will happen. Believe me, it will never get traction. You will not genuinely reach your readers. Waste of money. Marketing efforts should not only aim for sales spikes. It should be sustainable and have a long term effect on your platform.
With my own clients, before I start promoting their work, I make sure they have a strong author platform first, a high quality book, and a good Amazon page --- before I start any campaign. But that's a different service. It's hard to promote a low quality book... and I don't.
I know we all want exposure, in the hopes that we can find our audience. But be wary and watch where you're spending your money.
Let me know your experience with book promoters. I'd love to learn about the good and effective ones. To wash away the bad taste in my mouth left by the bogus ones.
Recommended Reading: Part 2 of The Author Platform Series - Building Your Online Presence