Man it is all I can do to keep my eyes open at work this afternoon. I woke up around midnight last night and apparently had hit the end of a sleep cycle and I was AWAKE. My brain was ginning and would not let me go back to sleep until I dashed off some emails and got the topics off my mind. Since I was up I got to see that I’d made another sale on Amazon, Smashwords had finally shipped to Barnes and Noble (though it hasn’t shown up yet), and I had a couple of good ideas for blog posts.
As I have said before, I am planning to do a blog tour in May as a means to promote myself and get my name in front of people who don’t currently know I exist. This is something that J.A. Konrath did with great success a couple of years ago. He, of course, being a somewhat known midlist author with a whole lot of backlist. Whether he wanted the job or not, he’s become a major face for e publishing, and he’s got indies quoting him and his publicly disclosed numbers regarding his Kindle sales as very good reasons not to be traditionally published. Regardless of whether he’s okay with it or not, that’s the sort of following he’s got right now, and lots of indies out there want to emulate him.
Well here I am, a virtual unknown. I have not been traditionally published. I don’t have any kind of backlist. I have one lone novella that really amounts to test marketing. And I plan on openly disclosing my sales numbers as well, so that we can see whether an unknown (albeit one who has spent the last two years developing social media connections, blogging, and taking up as much free internet real estate as humanly possible to get her name out there) can make a significant jump in sales using some of the same marketing tactics that Mr. Konrath has.
Every day for the month of may, I will be visiting a new blog, offering up either a guest post or an interview. With the exception of one stop that specifically asked me to talk about Forsaken By Shadow, I won’t be doing any of that obnoxious “I’m AWESOME; go buy my book!” promotion. I hate that crap and have had to unfriend a few people on Goodreads because I got sick of their promotional spam. I’m hoping to offer up thought provoking, interesting, informative, and/or entertaining information at every stop. DIFFERENT posts at every stop (yes I have a busy month this month getting prepared).
Right now I’m selling, on average (since release day March 25th), about a copy a day. Maybe slightly less than that. Update: I’ve sold 24 copies as of this writing, at an average of 1.6 a day. Sales have been scattered. 3 at Smashwords, 6 at Scribd, and something like 15 at Amazon last time I checked. My Amazon ranking swings wildly. I’ve been everywhere between 40,000 and 7,000. As some quick number crunching, based on my current sales rate, if I don’t increase AT ALL and just maintain steady sales, in 1 year I will make $204.40 (Note, this is based entirely on the Amazon royalty rate, which is my lowest–I get $0.35 for every sale–, so in fact I would likely make more than this), which covers the cost of my cover, the copyright, the domain forwarding on this website, and gives me enough of a profit to snag a few books. I don’t expect my sales will stay this low.
So what are my hopes for this blog tour? Well my BIG hope (other than to make sales) is that I can get my Amazon ranking under 1,000 and get myself into the top 100 of some of the subcategories on Kindle, which would make me more visible and, in turn, lead to more sales, which would then help to maintain the rankings. That is probably a pie in the sky aspiration given that a lot of the places I am visiting have smaller readerships. Nothing wrong with that, though. These interviews and posts will become part of the electronic record. Provided the sites don’t go down, they will hang out and build my Google ranking until the end of the internet. That’s all exposure. I am also hoping that at least some of these folks will then, in turn, subscribe to my blog or start following me on Twitter. And I probably OUGHT to make a mailing list for that once in a blue moon when I have something to tell them. :makes note:
I know plenty of indie folks and they’ve run the gamut from no marketing to decent marketing. I’m trying to do organized marketing, and I’ll be interested to see what the numbers do in response to that. Konrath doesn’t think an indie can see big, sustained growth. And no, without being known it’s not going to be 36,000 copies this year. But we shall see what’s realistic for someone organized and determined. Stay tuned!
Your marketing plan is more impressive than mine. Actually my plan starts out with great intentions but you’re actually DOING it. lol
It’s that compulsively organized thing. Really handy in some ways.
You can sign me up for that mailing list. Look forward to hearing more from you. Best wishes!
Okay okay, hint taken. I’ll figure out what I need to do to set the thing up…
Your plans are amazing. (I’ll get it together and send you questions for your stop at my blog…soon! Promise!) I have deep respect for JA Konrath and am an avid follower of his blog (plus, I love his Jack Daniels books). Sure, he has a backlist and some experience with a big publishing house but I think you have a great plan for forging your own publishing path. If anyone can do it, you can! Keep up the hard work, chickie. Let me know if you need anything (I’m not good for much but I’m all about supporting my fellow writers!).
Well one of the big things I hope to do in a Pay It Forward kind of way is to have a bunch of the folks who are letting me guest come guest over HERE. That way, hopefully, you’ll all be able to get exposed to my theoretically increased traffic, plus the people who follow you over who might not have seen my post in May will get exposed to my nice big announcement up top and might check me out. It’s circular, I hope.
I’m so looking forward to posting our interview on the blog, Kait. And you can count me in if you decide to go ahead with the mailing list. 🙂
I have to disagree with JA Konrath. Just because no one has YET managed sustained growth of that level as an Indie doesn’t mean they can’t. We’re all just getting to grips with all these new ways of publishing/marketing/getting in contact with our readers.
As it becomes clearer what works and what doesn’t, as we watch each other (closely) and learn from one another’s mistakes just what exactly we can expect to work (and expect to fail miserably) and as more readers get e-book readers, I don’t see that level of growth from being impossible.
Maybe not this year…
…but within the next five, I reckon.
Nice blog, by the way.
Thanks for stopping by Chris! And yeah, I agree with you. I think it can be done with the right person, the right marketing plan. People make hugely successful blogs by just finding the right niche, being charismatic. Make people like you, and yeah, you could see that kind of growth.