Wow, and here I am. I am honored to be mentioned in your article, and I do worry about being too "in your face" with my promotions, but I also promote others and am working very diligently to create a community for Indie authors. My self-promotion is less about selling my books and more about getting known so Indies know that it's not hopeless, being one of the 1.5 million plus authors out there. In order to build a community, people have to know who I am. I could just as easily be promoting M&Ms (and I might have more followers that way). 

I missed your tweet, Jen, but I did appreciate the heads-up via Facebook message, and I'm happy to share five bits of inspiration about self promotion. 

1. No one else will promote your book like you will. Don't be afraid to promote, but, there's a fine line between self-promotion and over-saturation. I ride that line at times, and I apologize if I ever go over the line. I try to offer valuable insight into the publishing and marketing world via articles, which brings me to number two.

2. Social media is about marketing, sure, but it's also about gaining valuable information. When I want to research a topic or need to find an article on writing, the first place I look is Twitter, and in the same respect, I try to provide information that is helpful to others. As an Indie author who is gently climbing the ladders of success, and clawing to hang on in a world of big publishers, I'm learning a tremendous amount, and I try to pass that along to others. Use social media to give, not just take.

3. Social media is about connections. I have met some of my closest friends via Twitter and Facebook, people I have never met face to face, but that I would walk across the country to help if need be, and I know they'd do the same for me. In growing WoMen's Literary Cafe, I reach out to everyone in the literary field, not just authors and aspiring authors, but also readers, editors, and Indie publishers. What is your goal in promoting? Selling books? Getting connected? What else can you glean from the people you meet on Twitter? If you're there just to sell, I doubt it will go over very well. No one wants to be assaulted with sales all the time. Mix it up. Take an interest in all of the interesting people you meet. Join a charity that you care about and use some of your tweets to HELP that charity. In other words, make connections that matter in the grand scheme of life, not just in the sales of your books.

4. I've talked a lot about social media because I was driven to this post by someone I met on Twitter who then contacted me through Facebook. Awesome networking, Jen. Bravo! Let's talk about other aspects of promotion. What else can you do to let people know you exist? Blog tours are a great venue for connecting with readers. Readers frequent blogs that discuss and review books. What better way for your book to be featured to thousands? I've scheduled a 60+ stop blog tour for COME BACK TO ME, my third novel that is currently available for pre-order. That blog tour will not only give my new book exposure, but it will also provide a great way for me to give back to the bloggers I work with. I will be providing articles and taking part in fun interviews. Readers will learn more about me in the next three months than ever before, and aspiring authors will gain valuable information. Exposure for everyone and my book. Try a blog tour, but remember, bloggers work extremely hard. They read our books for free, and provide honest reviews. Sometimes those reviews are not very positive, and other times they're glowing. The key, is that they ARE honest. Be sure to thank and promote those bloggers because they could have just as easily told you they were too busy. Always pay-it-forward. 

5. Lastly, and probably most importantly, take part in something (or many things) that are bigger than just your book sale. I believe in collaborative marketing, and I think it's one of the strongest ways for authors to work together and get their books known. With the launch party for COME BACK TO ME, I'm working with 35 other talented, dedicated authors to bring all of our books to readers. We've spent 30 days working together, interviewing, promoting, connecting, and have established friendships that will last a lifetime, as well as the framework for future book launches through WoMen's Literary Cafe. As I said, pay-it-forward. 

I want to add something else here, even though it's more than 5 ideas. You do NOT have to pay thousands of dollars to get your book out to the masses. You do NOT have to hire a publicist, in fact, what they can do for Indie authors is very limited. What you DO have to do, is create a marketing plan that is realistic. You have to work hard, and you have to work smart. If your goal is all about you and your sales, my humble opinion is that you will not succeed in the same way that you could if you were always thinking about–and acting upon–what you could do to help others.

Just my thoughts, a little rambling in nature, and I do apologize. It's early and I haven't had coffee yet. 

Thanks, Jen, for seeking me out. I truly am flattered that you even noticed me. Sometimes I wonder if I'm whistling into the wind.

Write on, everyone, and remember two things #ShareTheLove4Authors and always think happy.

Melissa Foster