Raising your profile with Authors Den

For many self publishers the battle with obscurity will begin as soon as the ‘publish‘ button is pressed and we realise that readers aren’t going to automatically flock to our books. Through unsolicited reader reviews and emails from people about your books, you can quickly establish that, yes, your book isn’t crap and there are people out there who are loving it. This can help stop the huge disappointment that is likely to ensue when book sales are slow. If you’re getting one and two star ratings, then perhaps your works needs some fine tuning. But, if you’re getting positive reviews from the few readers that you do have, then it’s a shove in the right direction to keep persevering.

Obscurity is a very hard problem to cure, and visit any self publishing forum you’ll to see hundreds of threads about how to get more sales. Reviews will encourage new readers to buy, but how do you get these reviews in the first place? Getting into the Top 100 is likely to get you seen by more people, but how do you get enough sales to reach these desired spots? Around 1,000 Amazon sales and you’re entering the realms of catching the eye of an algorithm or two so that you’ll appear in some of the spotlight lists. After launching your book and noting sales dribbling in, you may wonder whether you’ll ever make that 1,000.

It seems as if the most positive think that you can do is to write. Write more books, add to existing series, put out titles that people will want to read. However, this takes time, and you can be raising your online profile whilst you write. A Goodreads marketing campaign or a LibraryThing giveaway may help readers find your work and spread the word. Joining sites such as Shelfari, Goodreads and LibraryThing will also help, especially if you participate in discussions. A new site that I’ve come across is Authors Den, and with the owners claiming to have a million visitors a month, then surely creating a profile here is a good idea. Making a profile is easy and you can add books, WITH sales links. It may not give you a thousand sales, but in my eyes, anything to get both your name and book titles seen my more people is a bonus.

Shelfari; A Worthwhile Resource?

If you publish with Amazon, which is highly advisable if you’re trying to reach the Kindle market, then they take great pains to mention Shelfari as an extra resource. Like Goodreads, this book group community offers a place to create libraries of your favourite books, rate and add details about novels, and meet with other readers. But I’m wondering, is it any good?

I’m not well versed in Goodreads and as Inside Evil doesn’t yet have an ISBN, I haven’t had the chance to discover whether this community can help build a book’s profile. Amazon’s Shelfari offers to be a promising tool, particularly because Amazon state that the extras which are tagged onto digital books in Shelfari can be made available to readers. This ultimately means that readers can access a custom built library of characters, book themes, places etc to either supplement a book that they’ve read or offer an added attraction to buy. But, does it actually work??

Like Goodreads, you need to build up followers and friends, so launching a book into Shelfari offers little initial help because your work falls in front of no one. If you’ve been using the site for a while, then it could promise a few sales as you’ll already have friends and followers. I’m also unsure as to whether this is actually a thriving community of readers, or a place which offers a few days of novelty before users drift away. Could the same be said for Goodreads? I’m not sure.

I’m determined to continue with Shelfari for a while, adding some character biographies and book extras to see whether any sales can be created. Once I get my ISBN I’ll also give Goodreads a shot and compare the two.

Do you use either website? Have you found it helpful as either a reader or a writer, or both? Let me know and we’ll see whether we can determine if each resource is worth the time and effort.