Discussion in 'Writing' started by juzzza, Aug 16, 2006.
And how has that impacted your book sales?
I just spent all afternoon reading this discussion, which surely gives me the right to tell you all about my book--
Nah, just kidding. Actually I want to give some props to the mods here who must be fabulously weary of the drive-by promoters. Also interesting and educational to see the opinions, in the early years of the thread, by those who are, ahem, no longer with us.
I'm working on finishing a first novel, started during last year's Nanowrimo, which was an exciting thing to be part of. If you started a book during Nanowrimo, it seems to me, that you could get a certain amount of cred and perhaps promotional mileage out of that community.
I'd also like to point out, to you published e-authors, the existence of @kindle_promo and http://kindlepromo.com/
There are some good ideas in the historical portion of this thread, and I'm ever so grateful to find it at this early stage in my writing career, when I can work on being a good community member before I have the temptation to pitch anything to all y'all.
It's hard to say, since the book is free, so that skews numbers a bit. Also, I didn't release my first self-published eBook until after the contest was finished, so I don't have any data from before the contest to compare it to.
I've written a lot, but this was my first venture into self-publishing, so I didn't really go into it with a lot of expectations. I'm not a well-known or anything, by any means.
The first eBook is available at a bunch of places, distributed through Smashwords and then put up on Amazon separately. I mention this because Amazon doesn't let you set your book as a free eBook, so I can use that to compare a little bit(maybe sort of).
Amazon has sold... nothing. The eBook is $0.99, so not outrageous or anything, but still nothing.
The others have done pretty well, though. Granted, it's free, so easier to "convince" people to check it out, but since 5/7/12 I've gotten 153 Smashwords downloads. The other sites report to Smashwords, which then reports to me, so I can't give specifics there, but my sales rank on B&N is 125,909 and rising, which as far as I know is pretty decent.
Basically, I can't say for -sure- but the stuff I mentioned before has worked well for me. I don't really do any traditional marketing as of yet, I just try to interact with people and add in the book if it's relevant(or just as a thing, like an icebreaker "Hey, this is me, I like to do this. Also I've written this. You can check it out here: <site>." And then the contest, which is also a part of interacting(to enter the contest, they had to go to my site, read one of the stories, and leave a comment of relevance and substance on that website page, otherwise the "entry" didn't count and was deleted). Another thing to note is that I told people they were welcome to leave "negative" comments as long as they were also of substance and relevant, so it wasn't just "praise me" kind of stuff going on. I think people like it when you tell them they can be critical of something and still benefit from it(in this case, by way of possibly winning a prize).
I really do think contests and things like that are a good way to go about it if you have the time and inclination for one, though. It's great marketing to begin with(since everyone likes contests, especially if the prizes are more general so they can use it for a lot of purposes), and it's not intrusive. By saying "Hey! Read my book. I'll give it to you for free," it's still kind of a thing that not everyone will be interested in. But offering a prize for doing something somewhat meaningful, but not too difficult, you're giving incentive and making it interesting, which sets you apart from all the other "free samples" out there.
The prizes don't even have to be that big, either. I had a "tier" system(meaning more entrants meant more prizes, so more incentive for people to tell their friends about it) and only ended up giving away $20 worth of gift card stuff while still getting some good marketing out of the whole thing. I had to actively promote the contest to people who would be interested in it, but it was still a whole lot more fun than trying to market my writing to people who had no reason to want to read any of it.
Step 1: Give away free samples of your writing at Wattpad and here at sffworld's story section.
Step 2: Include at the conclusion of the story a link to a website or purchasable book, then post the links to the free stuff EVERYWHERE, like I just did here.
That is my advice on the thread topic.
Make them want to read more by letting them read free. I dont mean FREE novels. I mean FREE Flash and Short Stories. I didn't peruse the thread. This is just MHO.
So you've published the book... how do you market? I need ideas
So you've published the book. What do you do next? I'm still learning and need new ideas, note that I'm not sure whether this should go in the promotions bit, but I think it might be a nice thread for writers in general (self-publishers especially), and as well as helping me, might help others. This is a list of what I've done so far. Can anyone else add?
1) Submitted book for reviews on all the major review sites and blogs that will review independent books including the bookbag / sfbook.com / fantasybookcritic / booklore / lovereading / fantasy cookie / fantasy book review / speculative book review. Got some, didn't get others.
Useful link noting blogs that review self-published books as follows:
2) Doodledbooks.com - have sent them 'doodled' books - admittedly acceptance was on the back of a certain review.
3) Sent free copies to schools books clubs (11 so far) - advertised via Amazon / Facebook / contacted directly.
4) Gone round 'local' (50 mile radius) independent bookshops and given away copies in return for shelf space.
5) Given away copies to Oxfam Bookshops (not the normal Oxfam charity shops) - they are really good-looking shops and popular.
6) Approached local Waterstones (Hull, Lincoln, York) about an author event -as far as I can see Waterstones are really proactive and open to local authors. And contacted head office about gaining a full listing. See following link for details of how to apply:
7) Gone to local arts centres, sold books at work, my partner has sold way more than me at her place of work - they're all scientists, though
8) Giveaways on Goodreads (including a limited time free ebook), via review sites, facebook.
9) Promoting posts (£4 a go) on facebook to generate interest.
10) Got in touch with the bookseller (industry publication) about advertising in the magazine - prices are prohibitive. See link for details:
11) Have produced flyers, posters (pre-author event), business cards etc.
12) Also gone to local pubs, cafes, hairdressers, hospitals and given a free copy along with flyers.
13) Started to get involved on forums like sffworld.
A bit of money has been spent, all in all around £300-£400 so far (inc postage, free books, general advertising), but have sold books covering costs in the process, so partly self-funding.
Am flagging now, I'm sure there's more... it's been a long day, nearly bedtime.
Can anyone give me and others any more ideas? The more 'out of the box' the better.
Have a good night.
Great list, Wattlespalf. Thanks for posting. I hope to use it in the near future!
(I merged your thread with this old one just to keep things tidy.)
I don't directly promote my books in any forum unless that forum is specifically for promotion - and then I do it sparingly. Such forums tend to become amateur hour very quickly, and I'm not keen to be associated with such things.
I'll simply re-enforce what most folks have already said - in writer's forums you stay on topic. Don't kid yourself in that this is not promotion - it still is. People will check you out if you spark their curiosity, but keep in mind that you won't be getting the bulk of your readers this way. That is what author websites, conventions, Facebook, and as many reviews as you can muster are for.
A quick check list to go over what's already been said (just to pound it in).
1. Author's website.
3. Scribd, Goodreads, and other reader sites.
5. Distributors (Amazon, Smashwords, a publisher, etc)
6. A book that's a great read.
Number Six is usually the most important part of the whole mess (grin). Put out crap and people will avoid you regardless of how good your promotion is. That's why learning the basics before sending something out (or getting an editor) is SO important.
Let's not lose the forest for the trees and that it all starts with a quality product that means:
An attractive cover
The marketing "blurb" - found on the back of the book or the product page.
The importance of the book's opening
Just about every book these days will go through a "sampling process" whether it's reading the first few pages while standing in a bookstore, downloading a sample to your ereader, or using Amazon's Search inside the book feature.
If you have a weak or boring opening...you can do all the marketing you want but you'll not "close the deal."
Social media awareness
It seems to me that posting on forums should be like using any other form of social media to sell something. You have to have something interesting to say or people will move quickly on to someone who does. The selling has to be secondary, even though everyone recognizes it's happening (?) But what do I know. Very new at this.
I am new at this too. Outside of close friends and family I have not sold anything worth bragging about. But I already got decent reviews for my debut novel so my expectations have been exceeded in that regard. So at least now I know that my material is not bad, but I still want to improve as a writer before my second volume is ready to be published.
Anyway as to what is considered exciting or boring writing really depends on the individual reader IMO. I myself get bored to tears reading anything similar to Twilight or Harry Potter, yet there are many that do not share that same sentiment. As a reader, I am more tolerant if there is some buildup for the first 10-20 pages before things get "interesting" or what not. Then maybe I will be compelled to finish reading the whole book. If the book has a bang beginning paragraph but the next 50 pages of the book is boring, I won't be able to force myself to finish the book as opposed to the former. If the overall body of work is good and interesting enough then I would have no problem finishing reading the entire thing.
Wattlespalf - how about a book teaser? I don't have a major budget - so thought I'd have a crack at it myself. (you can follow links on my blog or head to my website to check them out).
I've mentioned that they're home made and though I can't really meausre if they've made much of a difference, but they're a bit of fun and it's another avenue to get your work out there.
I've been doing the whole self promotion thing for about 4 days now and mostly I just seems to annoy people. It's a sharp learning curve when your new.
Somebody should write a dummies book on how to do this without annoying people. e.g.
Chapter 1: If you want to promote something, go to the area in the forum specifically for that.
Chapter 2: If your friends what to help by writing a review for you, that's nice but tell them to at least read the damn thing first.
It should be more about promoting yourself and not the specific work in question. People don't want to be flooded with buy my book buy my book I have a book out buy my book. That can get old very quickly.
Small doses are fine, but spend more time getting involved in conversations on social media, posting in forums, getting interviewed on podcasts and blogs. People want to hear about you and be able to discover your work rather than have your book shoved down their throat.
I'll try, it's really difficult though. It looks like there's a massive self publishing wave so you just get lost.
I've vowed to start being more patient and try to learn more.
There is no quick path to getting discovered. It's a long, slow path. The best way is to get one piece out there and start working in the next. The more work you have out there the easier it is for people to find you.
And every once in a while say....hey, I wrote a book.
Sounds good in theory. Just wish I had more spare time.
My theory is if I could make enough money to take 1 day a week of work then I could easily write more.
Finding time to write is never easy. We have a thread for that too
Ha! You guys are pros. I'll go have a read.
Tell me about it. I myself plunged into the self publishing world just this year. So far my fan base is just close friends and family that actually understand my literary concept and sense of humor. Still, I am pleased that I got decently fair reviews for my work so far.
Even if they are PAID reviews, I still believe my manuscript was just as legitimately judged as it would be with any trade published reviewing house, or any random book blogger on the internet that can't be bothered by self published authors who write within a non commercial genre like myself.
Not that it has happened here yet, but I have been met with negatively rude criticism on other forums over this. The notion that I purchased a paid review because I wanted a 5 star review without the reviewer actually reading the book/manuscript is insulting. Anyway, the self publishing route for me is both rewarding yet frustrating at the same time.
Here's the problem - when someone bothers to read the review and then check out the reviewer. At that moment, you probably lost a reader as your review's credibility just went out the door. What you do want is those Amazon reviews - if you see them, they should be first and forward in your promo.
I do understand the frustration that sends you to these sharks (and yes, as far as I'm concerned these are parasites preying on new authors), because getting any review is hard as hell even when you are with a publisher. Especially one without a NY address.
Have you thought about approaching blogs? Networked at conventions for a review? Yeah, it's work, and not often going to get you a review, but boy when you do hit pay dirt, you got a keeper. Not something you might want to brush back into a corner.
Kerry (all opinion)
Separate names with a comma.