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I am determined to not only share the good things I am doing to market my first novel, but also the mistakes I make along the way. Some of my favorite people to follow on YouTube are those willing to show that they aren’t perfect and that they need to try something more than once to get it right. So here are two things NOT to do while promoting yourself and your new book.

Website Blocked on Facebook

Some of you may have noted in my last Quest post that my website was blocked from being shared, posted or anything else on Facebook. I have tried to contact Facebook about this multiple times and heard nothing back.

I know why I was blocked – I mistakenly posted the same thing twice in quick succession. A Quest post, actually. I’m not sure how it happened, it may be that I didn’t think it went through the first time, or that I had an auto post set up though multiple channels. (I was using both Hootsuite and the social media posting from Mailchimp at the time, so it may have been that?) Either way, I was banned as spam.

Another thing about Facebook

I also learned that even if you have an author page, like I do here, and people are liking or following you, they will not be notified or even see everything you post there. For that you need a Facebook Group, and you need to change the settings so that people know you are posting there.

This is very disappointing, as I thought the point of having an author page was so people could keep up with your Facebook posts. So I’m starting a Facebook Group, both to keep people informed about what’s going on with me, and to encourage a community of people who want to make the world better with their creative endeavors. Right now it’s only open to people on my mailing list, but I may change that later.

What did I do about it?

I changed my domain name. I know, it sounds drastic, but it’s not so bad, depending on your hosing provider. So you may notice this is now melissamatosauthor.com rather than momtoast.com. I will strive to not get blocked again.

Mailchimp List Warnings

The second mistake I made was taking part in a Bookthrone giveaway. Don’t get me wrong, there was nothing shady about this giveaway. You pay a small part of the prize, which in this case was a new Kindle Oasis filled with 50 fantasy and sci-fi books. Bookthrone would advertise the giveaway, people who wanted to win the Kindle would sign up and agree to be added to the newsletters of all the authors who contributed to the price of the prize. And after Bookthrone would send us the email list. It is clearly noted on the giveaway page that this was how it worked.

I thought it sounded like a good deal, as the audience would be geared toward reading fantasy, and though I expected quite a few unsubscribes, I thought it would be a great way to add a lot of people to my list very quickly.

What I didn’t know was that if you reach a certain percent of unsubscribes from one email campaign, Mailchimp starts to send you warnings. Scary warnings. Apparently if you get too many unsubscribes at once, certain email clients will automatically mark you as spam, which hurts your future campaigns as well as your email provider.

It also affects your open and click rate. I was getting close to 40% open rate, and 15% click rate before. It’s dropped a lot, down to 15% opens and 5% clicks. That ends up around the same number of people, but growing your list is pointless if it doesn’t also grow how many people on your list are actually reading your emails.

Better Options

Rather than try to rush this, I should have stuck with Story Origin, Prolific Works, and tried Book Funnel.

These services offer a free story or book to people in exchange for their email address, and automatically add them to your list for you. Growth is slower, maybe 100 or so a month for me on Story Origin and Prolific Works combined. But that’s 100 people who wanted to read my story specifically. BookFunnel is much higher, about 150 so far and I’ve only been on two weeks. I still get unsubscribes, but only one or two per email.

Story Origin is free, and BookFunnel so far has the best return for the price.

Social Media Update (August 19, 2020)

Twitter Followers: 1729 (+1)
Facebook Author Page: 24 (+14)
Instagram Followers: 250 (+49) I have been doing a monthly challenge. Challenges are great for Instagram. Give them a try!
Pinterest Followers: 116
Mailing List: 1,049 (+750) Most of this jump was from the Bookthrone campaign. We will see how many stay.

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