It’s alright, for a long time I didn’t know mine and the reason was simple – I never visited the damn things.
First of all, what is a Google+ Community? Simply put, this is a place where people sharing the same interest get together and talk, discuss current news and issues, share artwork, post links, and generally thrive amongst likeminded individuals.
Great, that’s wonderful, but how does that help you, and frankly, is it worth the damn hassle? I mean, it sure sounds like there’s a lot of hassle involved, right? Or at least a lot of my time. And don’t tell me I’ve got to pay money!
Whoa…hold on! It’s pretty much ‘no’ to all that shit.
Here, take a look at my Google+ Communities:
Simple truth…I don’t. Some of those groups I rarely visit anymore because they rarely add anything new.
I can tell that group has one new message since I’ve last been there because it’s got that little red box in the lower right-hand corner, which shows a “1” in this case.
Some of those groups you can see have much larger numbers, like these:
Obviously that’s a very engaged group (they’ve got nearly 300,000 members!) but it’s easy because you put a photo up and leave…pretty simple.
Take a group like Writing Resources there, which has just 17 messages since I visited yesterday. That group has more useful content than the photo group, which let’s face it, takes longer to put together and share.
In this writing group you’ll get discussions and links to helpful blogs. The photo group is just kind of where you go to take a rest from the brutal internet landscape around you.
I like my communities and I go to my favorites each day to share helpful links, my own content on occasion, and relevant photos or quotes. I’ve done this enough over the past few months to bring my number of followers up from under 100 to nearly 1,000.
It’s why I’m putting together this Google+ Guide for Self-Published Authors that I talked about awhile ago, which is coming along.
But until then I’ll regale you with some of my groups and why I think they’re helpful to you.
Helpful Google+ Communities for Authors
- The Creative Community: This group is run by Ginni-Lee Naylor and only has 450 members or so. But they get lots of interesting things, a real mish-mash if you will. There’s fun photos, interesting blog posts from around the world, and some good quotes. It’s also a nice place to share your own links if you’re also sharing and being engaged.
- Writer’s Discussion Group: Run by John Ward, this group of nearly 20,000 is really great for getting discussions going, as its name implies. I’m also able to share some links to my own articles because I routinely go in there and comment on posts and reply to comments on my own posts. It’s all about engagement, folks, and if you can do that you’ll have a successful Google+ experience.
- Fantasy Writers: Chris Andrews runs this group of just over 5,000 members and I think he does a pretty good job. There’s good discussion, and one of my favorite things to do is put up an old fantasy book cover or some fantasy art. People will stop in and leave comments and it’s just fun. You’ll also find interesting new books and discussions on the fantasy genre.
- Author Rank & Google Authorship: This is a pretty back-alley kind of group. You get some seedier link-dropping and people from third-world countries. You also get some interesting perspectives and new ideas. The group has more than 20,000 members and I routinely get quality articles from surprising places, like the Philippines and even India. New perspectives don’t hurt, and you’ll find them here.
Google+ Book Promotion Groups for Authors
You can go to several groups for that, but will it make a difference? This is where that +1 Button really comes in handy, and it’s easy to track that from your Google+ Profile page.
If you’re actively involved and engaged on Google+ you’ll have people commenting or +1ing your posts. I often post the same blog article or promo post to three groups and then see which got the most engagement a week or so later. That’s how I know which groups are giving me the most marketing juice.
So I went to my profile page and scrolled down all the way until June 21, which is nearly 3 weeks ago now. That’s a lot of stuff and it took me a few minutes. And in that time I saw many books I’d promoted along with other posts and photos, but hardly any had a single +1.
What does this mean? It means promoting your books in book groups and communities on Google+ is kind of a waste of time. Two groups that did give me a few likes (+3 on a G.I. Joe book and +2 on an author marketing book) were eBook Publishing and Kindle & eBook Writers And Reviewers.
I can’t help but think those will eventually get them to click on my profile, someday head to my site, and perhaps if I’m lucky to Amazon to buy one of my books.
So that’s what Google+ community marketing is all about for self-published authors. Good luck!