I did an informal poll about this on Twitter yesterday and thought I’d bring it to the blog today (since I am still on a brain crunch from lecture writing). As an indie author, promo is of paramount importance to me. If people don’t know who I am and haven’t ever come across my little novella, they can’t very well buy it, now can they? So I did the month long blog tour. And I’ve been lucky enough to get a very public line of pimpage from pal Zoe on her Amazon product listing page. I make occasional comments on blogs (not as many as I should due to time constraints). I actively Twitter and am working on growing my Twitter following (though the whole concept of branded tweets rather than conversation is still kind of blowing my mind). And I very deliberately priced myself at a very reasonable $1 to entice people to take a chance on a name they’d never heard of. To great success given the near 800% sales growth last month.
Still, sales have fallen a bit. After last month’s heady high of 525 overall ranking in the Kindle store, I’ve fallen back to hanging out in the 1,000s range, even dipping into the 2k range a few times this month. I’ll probably sell about 100 fewer copies this month than last, though I will still top 1,000 sold, which is really exciting!
In any event, it highlights the necessity of continual marketing. Now given my jobs and time constraints, I do not have time to spend on active social media all the time. I can’t comment on every blog I read. I don’t think I’ve visited the assorted ebook forums I signed up for when I first released Forsaken By Shadow, though certainly I need to make an effort to swing by at LEAST once a month. Life intrudes, though, so I have been giving some thought to what forms of marketing will fit into my time schedule and give me the most bang for my buck (in a time is money sense).
The thing that came up most often was free reads. This is a no brainer and fits with my own philosophy of using my work to sell my other work. Although it hasn’t helped me come up with any handy dandy little short story in my Mirus universe that I can whip out in a week or two. Other free read options I definitely want to try is to serialize some of my work. Of course, that means getting the entire thing written and edited before I can even start releasing it in serial form. So that’s more a long term goal.
Sort of in the same vein is serializing the book in audio via podiobooks. Zoe’s planning on doing this as well, I think. I have easy access to recording and production (my hubby runs a freelance studio on the side), but I hate the sound of my recorded voice and I don’t know that I read all that well. Perhaps if I could talk hubby into narrating (he has acting skills that I do not possess) I might give it a shot, but he wasn’t real enthused by that prospect when I brought it up.
The other option that was brought up was networking with independent bookstores who actually have a stake in the books. Which is great if you have a physical book but kind of irrelevant if you’re e-only. So for now, that’s out.
So as I’m kicking around marketing plans, I ask you, my readers, what is your favorite form of book promo? What gets you to try new books?
What has made me want to try new books lately has been checking out authors that comment on Zoe’s blog. That’s how I learned about you, J. A. Konrath, and Ty Johnston. And I haven’t been disappointed yet. So I would suggest that you definitely continue to comment on popular blogs.
I think Zoe will be the one with the best suggestions on promos. 🙂
She definitely knows her stuff, and I’ve followed (and will follow) her example on a number of fronts. I envy her not having to juggle an evil day job while doing all this!
Yeah, I know about the evil day job. Although, mine is only evil because it keeps me from writing as much. :0)
I do believe I found you and some other great authors via Twitter, but for the most part I judge a book by it’s cover. If I’m looking for a new book, I’ll skim the covers on Amazon. ebooks I buy from B&N through my ereader account, but if I want the real book I buy from Amazon.
That’s probably more than you wanted to know, lol.
Yeah covers are huge for me in book buying decisions…at least in terms of getting me to look further. I guess the big thing I’m looking for is that other than just straight up browsing, what would prompt you to go check out a new person’s work in the first place. 😀
lol, that’s a good point!
I like a good cover, but I’ve given books a chance without a great cover if they sound good. If I went by the cover, I would never buy a Charlaine Harris book. lol
Word of mouth gets me to try new books, good reviews from other readers who love the same kinds of genre I do is one way I find new authors to read. Book Blog sites and Twitter has clued me in when reading the convos of others who are all excited about so and so’s debut book. E-Books that are free PDF or on Amazon free to the Kindle app for my Mac will get me hooked. Covers occasionally stir my interest, do not sell the book to me though because the cover is not the story in between it’s pages!
A number of the books I’m reading now, I found through recs on Goodreads. Not through random browsing, but from people talking them up in the groups I belong to. What’s a turn-off for me is an indie author who has mentioned her book more than once per in the same and I haven’t seen her really contribute much else to the discussion. (Maybe I haven’t been paying enough attention.) I think these two situations are cool: mentioning your title in your intro when it fits into the group theme, and mentioning it if someone asks for a rec and yours fits the bill ALONG WITH giving at least one or two other recs and making an effort to seem helpful and not so smarmy Read Mine! What I really like, though, is when someone else mentions that book. There’s a lot of hype in the YA for adults group over Jason Letts’ The Synthesis. Someone started a thread for that, a bunch of people have jumped in to say they bought it, and Jason’s right in there seeming genuinely appreciative and excited. Make me like him (and yes, I bought it and it’s one of my current reads). If you can develop a relationship with someone who reads what you write, enough to feel comfortable approaching them, maybe send them a PM and ask them to read a free copy of your work. Frankly express your hope that they’ll review it favorably and talk it up on Goodreads if they’re really excited, but of course there’s no pressure. If they don’t like it, no harm no foul, and in that case, if they’re interested, you’re totally open to hearing their feedback on what didn’t work for them. A lot of readers love to express opinions, it’s why Goodreads and book blogs exist. And if it’s an indie author you approach s/he will completely understand why you’re asking. But in that case you might want to make sure you can get behind their work in return before you approach them.
I’m a big fan of teh freebie. Searching out more book review blogs and giving away more review copies seems like a possible way to increase exposure and make a few more people aware of you. @MyNextRead’s tweets should have links to a bunch of book review blogs.
Ask more of your friends. Because this one is blonde and sometimes forgets things. If we supposed to do something for you in the realm of promo, like post a review somewhere, ask and then remind. If we should do a write-up so of something you’ve done on your blog, tell us what you want. If you want us to RT something, say hey, I just tweeted this, will you RT it? Because if we all sit around doing this super-polite chick thing and never ask for what we want, it’s never going to get done.
Promo is so not my thing. [is a problem] That’s all I can think of right now.
“once per in the same”?? what the hell was I saying?
more than once in the same group
Recommendations from other authors and guest posts on their blogs go a long way – I found you on Larissa Ione’s blog, and then started reading Zoe through you.