Works and What Doesn’t
and with three book releases under my belt, marketing has become something that
A) I knew nothing about and B) something that could make or break my career.
Talk about your recipe for disaster. Prior to starting my own book business (I
call it a business because I treat publishing as such), I had no background in
marketing or sales. I am a teacher and school counselor by trade, so if I could
get by with talking about my feelings on book sales, I’d be just fine. Alas,
that approach doesn’t seem to work. Instead, I attempted a series of trial and
error experiments and documented the results. Below is an accounting of those
strategies. Keep in mind that this is anecdotal data meant to be useful, but by
no means a guarantee that you will have similar results.
List or Newsletter
this and picked it up immediately. She had sequel notification sign-up on her
blog and mentioned it in the back material of her book, The Scourge. I have
found this to be exceedingly helpful. I used Feedburner to create the widget on
my website. It took a little bit of reading and tinkering, but for a girl who
isn’t particularly tech savvy, I was able to pull it off.
readers long so far. This is an invaluable tool and once it is set up, it runs
itself. DO IT.
people to your content, your website and your books. Susan is an excellent
example of a blog done right and I try to emulate her as much as possible. [Ed note: Aw, thanks!] I
maintain two blogs (scary, I know). The first is a review site dedicated to
Indie Publishing called Underground Book Reviews. We get a ton of hits every
day (upwards of 1500) from writers just like you and I who need reviews. How
many of those readers go on to buy my book? Again, it is hard to say, but it is
definitely nice to be able to do an announcement post and know that at least
one thousand people are likely to stumble on it that day.
thing about having my own blog is I can post any content at any time. I can do
giveaways, host guest, or just ramble. The drawback is writing the content. It
is not easy to find time.
update it very frequently.
decided it would be easy to create an author Facebook page. I like having a
separate profile for my writing so I am not inundating my friends and family
who aren’t interested in hearing about my book twenty-four/seven. It may be a
bit more work to maintain both, but not much. I check in on Facebook a few
times a day to post, respond to a few comments and get out of there. It can be
a time-suck, so I keep one eye on the clock. So far I have 1020 fans. It’s nice
to have numbers like that when you are releasing something new.
opinion. However, I know many people prefer it as their new method of online
interaction and I need to be where they are. It doesn’t come as easily, but a
post once a day is fine and easy to fit into my schedule.
followers is better than having none. I am sure the more I’m on there, the more
people I will reach.
something else you wrote. I am sure you’ve heard the more you can publish the
better. I’d like to think that the more WELL-WRITTEN
work you can publish the better. Sure, you can churn out content like a madman,
but all these suggestions cannot make a bad book into a gem. Marketing a bad
book will only make it fail faster. So, write good content and write it fast.
(Ha! That’s like saying, just don’t eat the cake to someone who wants to lose
stories and The Breeders continues to sell well (about 6000 on the Amazon
rankings today). I launched a new book a few days ago and the sequel to The
Breeders should be ready in September. The bottom line is if you want to make
it as an indie author you have to write a lot. No excuses. Then you will see
working with my super agent, Amanda Luedeke. She suggested that I try to
increase sales numbers and rankings before we went to submission on The
Breeders. I am always game for something that will make more money and create
more visibility, so I told her I was up for any idea she had. She suggested a
five day giveaway through KDP Select. If you haven’t heard, KDP Select is
Amazon’s book sharing program. If you opt in to KDP you agree to offer your
e-books nowhere but Amazon. The upside is Prime Members can borrow your book
for free. The down side is that Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Apple customers get
no e-book love. I opted into KDP pretty early on in my writing adventure. It
was clear from the start that Amazon was where I was selling and nothing was
going on anywhere else. KDP worked well, allowing people to try my book for
free through Amazon Prime. And I get paid a hunk of the money Amazon shares out
for its KDP authors (roughly $2).
set your content for free. I had tried this before and given away a good number
of free books. Each time I saw a little spike in ratings that would eventually
slide back down. I had never tried a five day giveaway before, so I decided it
was time and started to plan.
booming time for ebooks. Everyone gets sparkling new Kindles or Amazon gift
cards in their stockings. I thought it might be a good idea to run the giveaway
the week before Christmas and then return my book to $2.99, on the 23rd right
before the sales boom. So, I set my five days up and held my breath.
I got a ton of reviews, sequel notification emails and Facebook friends. My
book rating sky-rocketed (from 15,000 to 6,000) and I began selling quite a few
more titles each day. I went from selling five books a day before Christmas to
selling 15 a day after the promotion. And the wave still hasn’t peaked. This
month I am selling twenty books a day with little to no promotional leg work.
timed right. Now, I know you’ll have to wait a whole eight months before you
can take advantage of the Christmas boom, but I think that any special event
will help (i.e. the release of a new title or a marketing promo you are
running). The free books you give away will likely translate into sales that
will quickly make up for any lost revenue on those free days.
pros and cons as I see them. I’m always reading, tweaking and revising and I’d
love to hear from some of you as to what works and what doesn’t in the comments