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I’m a California-based voice & visual artist. I immerse myself in creative adventure by exploring multiple genres, styles, and forms in my writing and art. I also make short films. ❤️robots.

Authors & Readers Creating Billboards

Guest Post by Betsy Graziani Fasbinder

Betsy Graziani Fasbinder's tips: writers can ask for help.

"If you haven’t impregnated a Kardashian, toppled Wall Street, or starred in your own syndicated un-reality show, you may not have an instant platform for promoting your newly minted book. Let’s face it, for most first-time authors—and even for many of the multiply published among us—the first recipients of our new books are our closest friends and family members. With any luck, these people tell people and friends of friends enter the small circle of people who know about our books. With more luck, they tell more people.
I’ve learned: The people who love us, or readers who love our books are often willing to help us. But, those not in the book biz (and even some who are) have no idea how to help your book’s success beyond buying one. They need specific instructions about what is actually helpful and they generally welcome your guidance. Key learning here: People need help to know how to help your book gain commercial success. They really don't know. So, help them to help you. 
'I’m as hesitant as anyone to ask people for favors. I get shy and embarrassed, but I’m finding—much to my delight—that people are thrilled to help when you’ve created a book that they enjoy.'
When you’ve written a book and shared it, you’ve entertained, educated, inspired or amused people for a very small price on their part. What else gives you ten to fifteen hours of entertainment for under twenty bucks, I ask you? And how many times have you spread the word about a book you love just because you love the book? Happens all the time, right?
So as an author, why not ask for help?
How to Help Your Indie Author Friends, is the exact content that I put onto what I call my “blue sheet.”  It’s only blue because I print it on bright blue paper. (Brag alert: I chose blue to coordinate with my exquisite book cover and because it stands out more than white.)
When I’m hand-selling, I fold one of these into the cover of each book and briefly explain to my buyer what it is and how they can use this to help any author whose book they appreciate, including me. When I send a giveaway or promo copy, or even a thank-you note, I insert a blue sheet as well. I offer an e-version of this flyer to every writer or indie artist of any kind whom I meet in exchange for their email address and the okay to send them the occasional literary update about my book or events. 
'Honestly, people have no idea how easy it is to help you and that “likes” and reviews are a really big deal. I tell them that they're helping me to buy free billboard space with every review. Let them know. And the tips I include below are simple, free, and don't take too much time.' 
Bonus tip #1:  Many of the suggestions on my blue sheet are useful pre-publication and for supporting indie artists, musicians, etc. as well. You can solicit help from friends and social network associates to build your platform even before your book is published. A musician friend of mine adapted this and now hands it out at his gigs. Who knew?
Bonus tip #2: You can support your own indie author buddies and She Writes sisters by following these steps yourself.
And hey…if you appreciate the information I’m providing, follow a few of these instructions to supportFire & Water, wouldya? (I can't very well claim to be a platform builder without asking, can I?) I know I sound a little like Sally Field in her infamous Oscar acceptance speech here, but “like” me, “friend” me, or “follow” me. Hint: My contact information is at the bottom right where yours should go on your own flyer. 
There now--go start viruses, epidemics, even!   
How to Support your Favorite Indie Authors
A few hints from Betsy Graziani Fasbinder

Promoting a book is almost as hard as writing one. Publishers only promote their high-profile authors.  Lesser known authors shoulder the expense themselves. You can help the cause of good books and authors you love, with little or no money and very little time. If you genuinely enjoy a book and want to support the author, here’s how:" 

  • Friend and befriend: Check out and “like” fan pages on Facebook, author profiles on Goodreads, and Amazon and other online booksellers, as well as LinkedIn.  The small task of “friending”, “liking”, “endorsing”, or “following” seems trivial, but it helps indie authors and their books become visible.

  • It takes a village to promote a book: A book becomes a commercial success when people tell others about it.  If you enjoy a book, tell friends.  Use your own social media outlets to mention and link to the book or the author. Ask your local bookstores and libraries if they’d consider stocking the book because you know others will enjoy it.  Invite your book club to read an indie.  (Lots of authors will visit book clubs to chat about their book either live or via Skype).  Giving indie books as gifts is another way to share the love.

  • Help make connections: Authors will often have giveaway download periods or big discount days on Amazon and other sites.  This is essentially free advertising.  If you hear about these, tell friends and they can get a free or very discounted book.  If you want to go the extra mile, download the freebie yourself (even if you have the book). If you are in the market for another book of a similar genre purchase that one at the same time.  This couples the indie book with the established book. The two books become linked and automatically promoted by the engines that do such things on that site. Magic!

  • Offer endorsements or reviews:  Write an honest, positive review on Amazon, Goodreads, or other online retailers. This is how a book grows legs. A positive review or endorsement is more valuable to the author than a single sale because it makes the book visible. Even a sentence or two is a giant help.  Tip: Don’t refer to the author by her first name in the review. Sounds like you’re her mom or dad!

  • Subscribe to and interact with writers’ blogs and tweets: Blogs and tweets are another free (other than the labor) way for authors to gain visibility.  Good blogs don’t just hawk books. They provide information, inspiration, or entertainment for the reader with occasional information about a book launch or event. (Bad blogs are just ads.) Follow, like, friend, endorse…you’re getting the theme here.

  • Show up and bring friends: Attend book events for authors.  Bring friends.  The support means a lot. Readings and book events almost always free. They benefit the author, the bookstore or coffee house that’s hosting, and can actually be a fun way to spend an hour or so.

Betsy's debut novel, Fire & Water launched 3-1-13.  If you enjoy the book and want to support her publication efforts her social network contacts are as follows:
Website: www.betsygrazianifasbinder.com   Twitter: @WriterBGF
Find her using her full name Betsy Graziani Fasbinder on Facebook, Goodreads, and LinkedIn.
Thank you for your support of independent writers and other artists.

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