Investing in Your Book/s

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

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?

20 comments:

  1. I've never used a paid service. When my books first spiked onto the best seller chart, my publisher decided it was the combination effort of me being active online - starting the IWSG, blogfests, etc. - and them sending out promotional items to science fiction cons.

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  2. Joy, you have some good promo avenues.
    Have you tried a radio interview? Maybe a smaller community-based radio station?

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  3. Joy, thanks for sharing. You are very good at marketing and keep it up. I have not given free downloads and I haven't paid for any marketing (yet). But I've given away free copies that brought in other sales. I am mainly selling my books by giving talks and getting them into some organizations. So my Amazon sales will not reflect my actual sales. I'll continue to do that because it's working for me.

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  4. Alex, you have a significant platform and great relationships, which helps when it comes time to get the work out there. You can't do much better than that. Good stuff!

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  5. Hey, Michelle, it's not difficult to arrange that with local media. The challenge is that most Jamaicans don't have e-readers, which means that for the books I have placed with publishers, I have to import them each time, which becomes expensive. I want to eventually do that with the books I've self-published, but I'll get to that in time.

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  6. Peaches, good move. I'd be doing what you're doing if I'd written a memoir. :) Our creativity is not only about writing, but finding ways to make an impact once the book is a product for sale.

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  7. Joy, I really appreciate you sharing the steps of your journey and what has worked and not worked for you. Thanks.

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  8. I continue to learn a lot about marketing from you. Thanks for sharing so generously.

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  9. I'm impressed by your tenacity and enthusiasm, J.L Campbell.

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  10. No worries, Julie. The internet makes it easy.

    Carol, it also helps me to remember that I'm not alone on this journey.

    Non-writers don't understand when I tell them that sharing a story means more to me than making money from it, but I also would love to be successful at what I do, hence the stick-to-it-iveness. Thanks for visiting.

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  11. I haven't done enough to know what works yet and what doesn't. Marketing isn't my favourite pastime, but I'm going to have to get over that ;)

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  12. Great promotional tips J.L. I think those paid sites work too. They better, right?! It's hard to keep up with everything so if something makes my life easier, I'm all for it!

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  13. Lynda, I know what you mean. The only part of marketing I like is the research.

    Thanks, Leigh. For the money some of them are asking, I'd think they should work. :) Yeah, if it easier and it works,I'm in.

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  14. This is the most helpful and insightful post I've read in months. It's really hard to understand marketing and see what actually works and what doesn't. Thanks so much for sharing with us, and please keep us updated with future posts like this.
    Thanks! :-D

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  15. Interesting post. They have people who major in marketing, so it shouldn't be a surprise that it takes savy, right? Intimidates the heck out of me. Thanks for sharing this.

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  16. Interesting post, Joy. The whole business end of marketing a book scares me, but that's probably because I'm so clueless about it. I'm not at that stage in my writing and maybe I'll never be. Still, it can be overwhelming to think about all the work that needs to be done to promote a book let alone, multiple publications. I bet you could write a book on marketing books.

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  17. I'm not there yet and these are great tips for promotion and marketing. Keep it up!

    Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

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  18. Lexa, I'm happy if this helps even one person.

    Donna, yes, now I understand. Book marketing sometimes feel like a hit and miss effort.

    Elise, I wish I'd know all of this stuff way before my first book was published, but I'm learning as I go along. If you don't think about it as taking small chunks at a time, it does feel like swimming in the ocean without any hint of land in sight.

    Thanks, Laura. It's been an interesting journey.

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  19. A very interesting post, Joy.

    And yes, never give up!

    Nas

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