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  1. #661
    I like SF. SF is cool. Steven L Jordan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josh Lemay View Post
    I didn't see mention of it, but I also didn't have the time to read the entirety of the thread, so I apologize if this has been discussed before.

    I think a more interactive approach to marketing is both fun and more interesting to the general populace. Things like contests, or just talking, having fun, Facebook status stuff, etc. People generally enjoy things like this, and while it's a bit more time consuming than just tossing up your website somewhere, or giving out a free book, or whatever, I think it has better overall results.

    Results are also probably a bit slower, but I'd say they are longer lasting, too.

    As a random example, I'm fairly small time in terms of writing. I don't have a huge presence or anything, but I did decide to hold a contest on my website awhile back. I enjoy playing online games, so I decided I'd give away gift cards for the games I play and mention it on the forums for those games.

    This was when I first started my website, so it was really really slow in the beginning. I had 80 and 86 total hits in the first two months. I started the contest at the end of the third month and still managed 554 views(around 300 in one day), and the fourth month skyrocketed at 1,277. After that my total views per month definitely rose, though it's not as high as when I held the contest. Still, I'm seeing about 3x more people per month checking out my site than I first had, so there's definitely something to that.

    And it was fun! People enjoyed it. I gave away some decent prizes, though nothing super expensive. No one minded me posting on the forums for those games because I was a player, plus I was offering prizes related to the games in question.

    I don't think this is the end-all-be-all promotional/marketing tool, but for me it was a lot of fun and I think everyone who joined in the contest had fun, too.
    And how has that impacted your book sales?

  2. #662

    Fascinating discussion

    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.

  3. #663
    Registered User Josh Lemay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven L Jordan View Post
    And how has that impacted your book sales?
    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.

  4. #664
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    Hmmm...

    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. :-)

  5. #665
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    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:

    http://www.theindieview.com/indie-reviewers/

    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:

    http://www.waterstones.com/waterston...blishers/1931/

    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:

    http://www.thebookseller.com/advertising.html

    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.

    Wattlespalf

  6. #666
    It could be worse. ~tmso Moderator N. E. White's Avatar
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    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.)

  7. #667
    KMTolan kmtolan's Avatar
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    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.
    2. Facebook.
    3. Scribd, Goodreads, and other reader sites.
    4. Conventions.
    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.

    Kerry

  8. #668
    Riyria Revelations Author sullivan_riyria's Avatar
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    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."
    Last edited by sullivan_riyria; August 13th, 2012 at 06:24 AM.

  9. #669
    Quillhammer Quillhammer's Avatar
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    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.

  10. #670
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quillhammer View Post
    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.

  11. #671
    Compulsive Writer MLSawyer's Avatar
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    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.

  12. #672
    The new guy. GordyGordy's Avatar
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    Dummys Book

    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.

  13. #673
    Where have I been? Moderator JRMurdock's Avatar
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    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.

  14. #674
    The new guy. GordyGordy's Avatar
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    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.

  15. #675
    Where have I been? Moderator JRMurdock's Avatar
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    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. :-)

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