Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Marketing – Should Be Its Own Curse Word

~~ Kathy L Wheeler

So, you have a couple or three, maybe seven books out. Does it really matter how many when you have no idea how to reach the reader? It is the reader you are trying to reach, right?
There are so many areas to choose from. I have a list:
Kindle Books and Tips
Author Marketing Club
Book Goodies.com
Pixel of Ink.com
 And these are just the services that send out a daily email. Then you have Facebook boosts, Ads on Goodreads, eMagazine opportunities.
Not to mention the marketing companies that send you opportunities for free books on marketing if you sign up for their newsletter.
Then there are the “reader sites”.
Or promotion services like askdavid.com which is actually not too bad. Here you list your books for free. Maybe at some later point you can buy $10 worth of tweets and put them out occasionally.
Seriously, theses lists are forever. So how do you choose? The first thing I would recommend is joining a loop that has members who help to promote one another. A couple of examples are:
Keep in mind that each of these groups have specific rules regarding promotion and self-promotion. Some do not allow you to post blurbs or excerpts of your books, or they might have specific days in which you send notes regarding a facebook/twitter notice others will share for you, etcetera, etcetera.
The point is if you are willing exchange your efforts on someone else’s behalf, they will in turn do the same for you. That way when you get on facebook or twitter you are able to share other fun things about you, your life, friends besides total self-promotion which makes people like you better anyway!
Another, excellent ploy in accomplishing your marketing goals is Blogging. As authors, we should have a website and a blog. A given. But try sharing your blog with other authors. Say you post once a week. You can take the pressure off of yourself by three out of four of those weeks having another author do the post for you! (As I am doing right now! See how easy? Piece of cake.) And how do you find these others? By joining those groups I mentioned earlier.

You’ve suffered this far with my rambling, of which I hope has been somewhat useful. So now I’m going to share the most successful service I’ve found out of all of the ones listed above. It’s truly an incredible story.
I have a Cinderella Series. The basic premise is that Cinderella’s glass slipper fits one of her evil stepsisters’ foot. (This is book i, The Wronged Princess.)
Now this book has been available on both Amazon and Smashwords for years. I did a “permanently free” through Smashwords for a couple of years which Amazon price-matched. It did okay. The downloads were fairly steady for quite some time.
I should add that there are two other books in the series as well. They were not on sale. The Unlikely Heroine – book ii and The Surprising Enchantress ­– book iii.
Look at the lists above. I participated on all of these. Most, however, did not pay off, until one Friday in late October. I somehow got accepted at bookbub.com. (I will tell you—they are expensive.)
Every morning I would check my downloads on Amazon. On that particular Friday (9:30a), there were approximately 1800. Not too bad. Sales on the other two books equaled around 30. Bad. However, right before lunch the bookbub email hit. And for some reason, looked happened to at the downloads again. 3574.
My stomach hit the floor. I thought something was wrong. I came back from lunch (1:20p) and the downloads had risen to 7500. Now I’m nauseous.
I have a group of friends we call the Martini Club. We meet every Friday night, schedules permitting. I checked the downloads again from my Kindle Fire—21,000 (4:30p). Now I know I have actually died and gone to book download heaven.
By the time I went to bed that night, because I can’t keep from checking, it’s up to 25,000 downloads. All through the next day, I can barely speak from the shock, it’s reach over 27,000! And for me, that’s saying something.
In any event, by the 31st (Halloween) there are over 35,000 downloads of The Wronged Princess – book i. The side affect was the sales of the other two books in the series. Sales jumped from around 30 to 270. This was October.
In November, the first book was still free for a week or so. I eventually raised the price but I will tell you that sales reached over 700 that month.
The kicker here is that BookBub decides if they will accept your book or not. I’ve since submitted three others since then that were rejected. So I’m unsure of the criteria involved. I would say BookBub has been by far the best of my marketing efforts.
So, now that you’ve written your book and you have to shush:(market) it, I still consider (market) a curse word, go out and do your damage.

Lies That Bind – Kathy L Wheeler
Latest book blurb: Would a modern day woman marry for convenience to protect the identity of her child?  Hell yes! Kelly Mancer doesn’t want a man. Any man. But danger has a way of changing a woman’s mind.
Alex Gentry needs Kelly, but convincing her to help him pursue a dangerous enemy who’s enamored his younger sister would not be easy.  When the tables turn and Kelly becomes the prey, Alex may save his sister, but at what cost?

            Kathy L / Kae Elle Wheeler has a BA degree from the University of Central Oklahoma in Management Information Systems that includes over forty credit hours of vocal music.  She is not in marketing. She is a computer programmer who utilizes karaoke for her vocal music talents. Other passions include fantasy football, NBA and musical theatre. She is a long time member of several RWA Chapters, including OKRWA, DARA, and The Beau Monde. As an avid reader of romance and patron of the theatre, her main sources of inspiration come mostly from an over-active imagination. She currently resides in Edmond, Oklahoma with her musically talented, attorney husband, Al, and their bossy cat, Carly.


Rose Anderson said...

Great post, Kathy! Thanks for mentioning the Exquisite Quills. :)

Kathy L Wheeler said...

You're welcome, Rose. We all need any help we can get.

Kayelle Allen said...

You are so right. Was pleased to see Marketing for Romance Writers mentioned. They do a lot for members.

L.M. Brown said...

Very interesting information. I have tried everything I can think of without success, but now I can try to at least add a few more options to my efforts.

Thanks for taking the time to post this.

And yes MFRW is a great list. Lots of information and always someone around to help and answer questions.

Unknown said...

Nice post. I feel your pain, Kathy! Marketing is not fun. (most of the time...it actually can be :-)) Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Unknown said...

Good to have you here at the Vineyard, Kathy. Welcome!

M.J. Schiller, Romance Author said...

Love the post! I had one that was like minded titled, "There's A Reason Social Media Starts With S&M!" I would so like to go the Bookbub route but they also rejected me. I had over 30 reviews, a 4.5 average, and, what I consider a very good cover. I'm not done trying, though. It may have been a timing issue. I've also heard that they've kind of saturated the market so the revenue return isn't nearly what it was in the past, but it's still better than most. Wish we knew what the next Bookbub will be! Thanks for sharing your experiences with us. (Title drew me like a magnet!) :)

Kathy L Wheeler said...

MFRW does do a lot for its members! MJ, on the Bookbub thing, keep trying. Don't give up. It's worth it.

I want to add, that there are still sales going on because of those 35k downloads.
In addition, I looked at my Smashwords yesterday, and to my great surprise, I should be getting a chunk of money on Jan 31.
Marketing is tough, but its kind of like drugs, especially the good kind when it begins to pay off. Thanks for commenting everyone.

Kathy L Wheeler said...

Thank you for having me, Ute!

Unknown said...

Great post, Kathy. Love the title and completely agree. Developing my marketing strategy for my debut contemporary romance has been a struggle. Trying to find the right approach and not sure any of it's working. Your blog gave me some new resources to reach out to. Thanks!

Calisa Rhose said...

I've heard of a lot of these on your list but will check into some I haven't. Thanks for sharing your experience with Bookbub! I've been getting their emails for over a year and hadn't realized they don't just randomly pick and choose which books they promote until you did it.

Your new book sounds great too. Good luck with *marketing*. :)

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Use MFRW this morning. Good post.

Kathy L Wheeler said...

We need all the help we can get. These are just some compared to what is out there. Authors just have to pool their knowledge together in this "dog eat dog" vortex of information.

Big Mike said...

Wow, Kathy. Excellent post and a lot of interaction. Well done.

Michael Davis (Davisstories.com)
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

Kara Ashley Dey said...

Kathy, This is such an awesome post that I've bookmarked it. Thank you!