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Artist profile: Alp Mortal reveals how he promotes his books

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Alp Mortal is a filmmaker, author and publisher of #LGBT fiction.

The current project, in conjunction with The Carter Seagrove Project, Roy Allen and Hal Sinden for Eulogy Media is a short, experimental film called Juxtaposition - an abstraction. This video-based artwork is one of the six films that was shown as part of HIVideo 2016, an Art for Worlds Aids Day event organised by Balaclava.Q. The screenings took place on 1st December 2016.

I asked Alp if he uses social media to promote his work?

I do promote my work on social media, predominantly via Twitter and Facebook. Using social media has probably been the single most important marketing and publicity decision that The Carter Seagrove Project has made since its inception on 4th February 2015.

What is working really well for The Carter Seagrove Project?

By far, Twitter has been the most important platform for us in terms of building our profile and connect with our audience. I think we have been successful in attracting followers (currently +27k) because we tweet a large range of content, not just self-promotional tweets relating to our books.

What else do they tweet if it’s not all self-promotion?

We tweet about books and publishing, but also music, indie film, health and nutrition and ecology. We learned pretty early on that a timeline of only self-promotion tweets was the biggest turn-off. It does come at a price; maintaining our social media presence is a full-time job on top of everything else we are trying to do, but it pays off.

Where does Alp actually sell his work?

Our books are sold through a large number of ebook retailers, in the main, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, The Kobo Store, iTunes, Smashwords and All Romance eBooks. Our ebook sales these days are split roughly as follows: Amazon (1/3), Smashwords+B&N+Kobo+iTunes (1/3) and All Romance eBooks (1/3). We used to have our own eStore but it was a waste of time.

With over 27k followers on Twitter, The Carter Seagrove Project has a ready audience. Does that mean they have developed techniques to move people from followers to buyers?

The simple answer to that question is No, there is no technique to converting followers into customers other than in a) engaging with the community, b) advertising our presence and our products and c) promoting our latest titles. We always see a spike of sales after a new release; otherwise it is a lottery, largely because the competition is extremely fierce, and fans are notoriously fickle.

Alp Mortal and the other people involved in The Carter Seagrove Project have developed an ethic that their work is based on.

Our philosophy is simply to publish the best stories we are capable of in the hope that readers will be excited, entertained and enthralled. One thing is absolutely key - publish often. We try to publish at least 2 new titles each month, knowing that most fans will be keeping their eyes on the New Releases. Ebook readers have a rapacious appetite for new material.

It’s often so difficult to know how to price your work. The Carter Seagrove Project have grappled with this question.

Price is a hotly debated issue among ebook publishers - we took the decision in February 2016 to price all of our books at 99 cents - we want to share our stories, not become millionaires.

Social media is, necessarily, grounded in technology. There are so many tools available to help promote yourself online. What does Alp use?

We do use some apps. We manage our Twitter account with the assistance of Status Brew. But largely, it is a manual exercise - that involves more work for us (usually me) but it also means we can be much more responsive to things that emerge during the course of a day.

Alp’s top #3 tips on using social media to promote your creative work are…

1. Decide how you intend to connect with your audience and concentrate your energies there - don't spread everything too thin. We chose Twitter as our social media vehicle of choice, and dedicated ourselves to it. In 2 years our following has grown to +27k.

2. Integrate your marketing activities. Our Twitter timeline feeds our Facebook timeline; our blog posts feed both Twitter and Facebook. Cut down on the double and triple keying. It also ensures that everything we put out is consistent and timely.

3. As authors, we have to work hard to engage with our audience; we do that not only through our books/book promotions but also through a wide range of other topics. Readers don't just read; they listen to music, watch films, support causes, etc.

Alp’s work can be found on The Carter Seagrove Project website.

This article first appeared on the Follow Magazine blog. For more interviews with creatives about how they promote their work, check in with Follow Magazine.

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