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!