How to market your book. Wait, I should probably finish it first…

I came across an interesting article after being prompted by a friend to possibly look into ‘kickstarter’ to fund marketing my books.  I originally self-published Book 1 on Amazon, so I decided to check it’s ranking.

 

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #264,002 Paid in Kindle Store

 

Huh, ok.  Well, that’s actually an improvement.  Back in January it was #600,000+.  A perfectly painful example to ‘it could be worse’.  In any case, I go over to Kickstarter and register, starting my project.  Then I came across this.

 

Funding goal

 

Hrmm.  I start to google – how much does it cost to properly market your ‘indie-published’ book, which sounds considerably better than ‘self-published’, personally.  I came across a blog by Lindsay Buroker, another self-published author with an interesting blog.

 

Book Marketing by Lindsay Buroker with guest post by Colin J. Earl

 

Colin writes:

 

Between these three INDEPENDENT authors millions of book were sold from around 2008 to 2011 and there is a lot of speculation on how they did it. John Locke even wrote a book on it – “How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in Five Months” (This book received less than stellar reviews). So much speculation and scams out there – allow me to offer my two cents and you might be surprised at what I have to say. The three things these authors had in common to make them successful were: timing, content and price. That is how they each sold so many books –there was not much beyond that.

I am really serious. If you took time to read Michael’s blog, Amanda’s Twitter feed, or even John’s “How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in Five Months” book. They really didn’t “do” much in the way of promotion. Michael used book bloggers to some extent, John really likes Twitter and Amanda used some combination of both. So what was so instrumental to their success? Well first was price. All of their books were less than five bucks. Still are for the most part. Second, and content, books, books, books, each author had books to spare when their sales blew up. Third and I think the MOST important, they were the front-runners in a space where consumption was EXPLODING, they used price and content push themselves to the forefront of that explosion and sold a whole lot of books because of it. Yep, it was a simple as that.

So what has changed? Why aren’t I selling 9000 books a day?  Several things I think:

  • Ebooks aren’t new anymore – just a couple of years ago ebooks were new, exciting and while Amazon and Barnes & Noble are still selling thousands of ebook readers the consumption of ebooks has or will top out on its share of the market place at a bit above 30 something percent. Don’t see it going much above that. It’s established.
  • Competition – lots more authors and wannabe authors out there. Amazon ain’t a “pond” like it used to be for ebook writers – is a freaking ocean and its real easy to get lost in that ocean.
  • Pricing – “wars” have driven down the price enough so that .99 cents for an ebook is not out of the ordinary. People expect it now because there are so many people doing it.

I could name more. What’s my point? My point is that putting up a book, making it free or low priced is not enough anymore. With changes in the market place, stiffer competition and the like going on, you need to have a better plan. (Notice I say plan)

Several suggestions – Global strategy – this is the first step now that you realize its not as easy as it used to be or you used to think. You need to come to a strategy to create exposure.  Obscurity is the greatest enemy of the author. That’s where marketing comes in and planning comes close after that.

Have a Marketing plan, but only after you have several projects out. I wouldn’t even start thinking about spending any real time marketing until I had at least 3 books out. Remember! Content is key. You need to have content to gain traction in the market place.

Once you have content, come up with your plan. My plan involves a mix of paid and unpaid marketing platforms. I base my plan on the “Free Loss Leader” meaning I give a book away for free knowing that a certain percentage of those readers will “convert.” I like this platform because it allows people to “enter the fold” at little to no cost. So step one in my plan is to push people towards a free product. Step two, use five different platforms in conjunction. Here is what I am using right now.

1.     Twitter
2.     Google Adwords
3.     Bloggers
4.     Bookbub/Pixel of Ink/FreeEbooks.com etc
5.     Facebook
These are a combination long term and short-term exposure sites. I don’t do use more than five platforms at any given time, because then you cannot manage everything. Remember doing something half way is like not doing it at all. Time is important with these endeavors, try to coordinate to use your endeavors in combination to create even more exposure. This is part of the reason I like the loss leader so much. Getting that free book moving on Amazon can put the Amazon marketing algorithms to work for you. If you can get those algorithms working for you. You are going to sell books.

 

 

I’ve done 4 out of the 5, but I’m still struggling.  I do not have delusions of grandeur about making a profit off these books, or even manage getting an agent, much less publishing, but it’s one of those ‘bucket list’ things I promised myself.  I enjoy writing and there are a few people who enjoy reading what I’ve wrote.  For now, that’s enough.  Hell, for a while, that’s plenty.  I’ll probably set this kickstarter thing aside and finish book 2 and 3, then maybe look into agents.  Or cheesecake.  Probably the cheesecake first.

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