Last month I promised to deal with issues that can frustrate an indie author trying to get their books read. I’ve lost count of the emails I’ve had from people encouraging me to promote a book on their site.

Some of the following names will be familiar to you. I don’t know which of these sites are genuine, and which aren’t. Each has suggested that using their services will change my life. What do they all have in common?

They claim to have large followings on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. They promise to write exclusive content and spread the word  on my book for anything between 2 days to 2 years. Their pricing structure looks almost identical on whichever site you view.

What makes me suspicious?

The numbers of followers never matches the claim in the email when you check the main account. They reckon they have multiple accounts but don’t disclose the names. How can you check whether they’ve sent the content they promised? How can you estimate how many people they reached?

The person sending the email isn’t someone you can trace on social media. I suspect the names are fake, because I looked everywhere, believe me. Oh, a couple had died recently. Any testimonials are from authors with one title of non-fiction, one in an obscure genre, or someone with several books, none of which has warranted a ranking.

If that’s life-changing, you can keep it. 

So, whichever site it is between Author’s Book and Writer’s Warmth and the many others in between that pester me – I have no idea whether they are genuine or not, but I know they can’t deliver what they promise.

What’s the life of a social media post? Twitter – less than 30 minutes. Instagram and Facebook – around 24 to 30 hours.

Why does anyone believe you can sell books on Twitter by posting tweet after tweet, anyway? It didn’t work a decade ago. Nothing’s changed. The same goes for Facebook and Instagram. 

In ten years, I’ve learned a promotion costing less than $50 is pointless. You might get one decent ROI and then you need to walk away. These sites rarely have enough readers on their listings in your genre to support more than one visit, and the small sites stagnate quickly. There’s no point in me peppering a 25k listing every 90 days hoping to find new Freeman Files readers. Far better to submit to BookBub, pray for a Featured Deal, and access four million crime fiction lovers. There are only a handful of sites where the numbers get refreshed by newcomers on a regular basis – Freebooksy and The Fussy Librarian are the two I use regularly, and although their ROI will drop over time, it can take three to four years with a promo every 90 days.

So, choose the sites you spend your hard-earned cash on with care. Never rely on social media-based promos, because they never provide measurable positive results. Build a mailing list of readers you know are invested in your books, and hang onto them. They’re gold dust. I’ll be back in August with updates and another rant.

Best wishes

Keep reading

Ted Tayler

Categories: The Long Hard Road