Life got a lot busy for me during the last couple of weeks, with the result that I’ve slacked off on editing and a job I’m contracted to complete by the end of this month. I’m sure we all face the same pressures with family, work and writing, but we try to cover everything as best we can.
As many of you know, I’ve also been trying to promote a MG book. That’s been an eye-opener in some ways. At some point—and I think this is one of my Aha! moments—we realize that writing is really a business and that we want to be successful at what we do. I had mentioned a book by Jeff Bennington earlier this month and what I’d learned from it. The most important lesson I took away from it is that for a book to succeed, there has to be a layered approach to marketing and promotion. It really doesn’t work to do a freebie, get to the top of the bestseller list and then leave the book in limbo. There has to be a sustained marketing effort.
I’m sure you know this, however, I woke up (again) to the fact that I need to organize myself at a higher level. I’ve started with Christine’s Odyssey in that I opened a file and documented all I’ve done to date to promote that book. I’ve also noted what has worked in terms of sales and what hasn’t. Needless to say, some efforts (including paid ones) were a bust and some things worked. I’m going to do this for each book I put out because I like trying different things and no two book releases are the same.
Another thing I’ve learned over the past couple of months is that not every paid promotional effort via social media sites—even those with heavy hype—work. What has given me new insight is research. Taking time to look at statistics posted on certain sites in terms of advertising and related book sales is worth the effort. Bookbub posts statistics on their promos, but no, I haven’t used them yet.
For many of us, it’s challenging to buy advertisement for our books. The reality is that unless we have a massive platform and fans ready to buy our books, getting our work noticed is going to be challenging. However, if you look at writing as a business, you’re going to have to invest in it at some point and by that I mean cold, hard cash. Cliché, I know, but I’m allowed to take certain liberties in a blog post.
To get back on point, I’ve done the free download route for Christine’s Odyssey and that helped bring the book up to No. 2 in one category on Amazon. It’s now in the 60’s, so some work is in order. I had many reservations about doing free downloads, but that story is for another day. I’ve also done several other things that haven’t panned out, but I have other plans to execute. Like that book by Jeff Bennington advised, step-by-step marketing activity is important.
I’ve used E-Reader News Today for Distraction and that was my first real promo activity since the blog tour (yes, that helped sales) in August 2012. Terrible, I know. The E-Reader promo worked and they only charge a small percentage of sales, which they invoiced afterward. The fee was negligible, considering that I sold over 100 books in a day. Small numbers, I know, but good ones for me and something I hadn’t done before.
The point of this post? Keep plodding onward, find out what works for your books and most importantly, despite those sales numbers that don’t move the way you want them to, never give up!
BTW. care to share what marketing and promotional efforts have worked for you?