And the winner (according to Random.org) is raquelaroden!
I’d like to thank everyone who entered and all those who’ve offered their support. Every ounce of it means the world to me– whether you’ve just been lurking or you’ve been front and center.
Even if you didn’t win the book this time, there is another giveaway on Goodreads. Otherwise, for everyone who entered, I’m still going to send you an early copy of The Two Brothers, just through email rather than a physical copy.
I’ll be sending emails out probably starting tonight! Thanks for entering, everyone!
I have not done much in the way of promotion.
This is something I continually run against when I’m out and about reading blogs. Others say how much hard work goes into self-publishing. They say the writing is not the hard part, the promotion is the hard part. You need to work hard to get your name out there and get your book visible over the crowd.
Well, having lurked on the Kindle Direct Publishing forums and being on twitter where I can see some authors in action, I am beginning to think that over-promotion is another sign of an absolute rookie.
Don’t get me wrong, some advertisement is normal and reasonable. Contests, blog hops, offering free ebook files, and signing up for reviews– this is all a normal part of the process. I’m talking about those writers who do nothing but flog their one book everywhere, then can’t understand why it hasn’t sold.
As of right now, I’m selling very weakly, but still somewhat steadily, and I haven’t done much of anything to say, “buy my book!” So far, all I’ve done is put a sample on Indie Snippets, posted a little something on Indie Books Blog, and done a couple of #novelines on twitter. I’ve sent out two emails to reviewers, but that takes a while if they decide to do it at all.
All of my promotion is saved for the weekend or off hours. They’re things I can do while I’m watching TV or when I have downtime at work. It isn’t something I’m working incredibly hard at, and you know what? The book really is selling itself. Actually, the readers are the ones selling it.
Now reviews on the book page do not always sell a book. Readers don’t trust those, and I don’t blame them because so many authors swap reviews. On the forums, I’ve seen people complain about bad reviews and ask others to vote them down. That has gotten me curious, so I’ve done the “look inside” on Amazon and read a portion of this supposedly awesome story that wasn’t worthy of a one star only to find that this story with tons of four and five star reviews has some very clear issues. (At this point, I just back away, having learned all sorts of valuable lessons about my fellow “indies” and how some of them roll.)
But I will say that when I get reviews from people I don’t know, my sales spike. So far, I’ve gotten got two reviews from people I am sure I don’t know that were positive. I then had a few extra sales. I imagine that on my own, the book does one or two sales a week. But last week, when I got a review, I sold about four. That is probably the effect of the reviewer telling someone, “You have to buy this!”
So what’s my point here?
Books are not like movies. Publishers have sort of twisted the business model until we’re using the same one that is used for summer blockbuster movies. If you don’t sell a lot right out of the gate, you’re doomed to failure and your book will disappear. This is something I think that authors have adopted, and so the over-promotion is an attempt to not fail.
The best promotion is just being yourself and doing your thing. There are a lot of ways to passively advertise yourself and your book without actually doing so– like putting links in bio pages and in forum signatures. Don’t bother hanging around writing forums. Do you like video games, painting, taking pictures of abandoned buildings? It helps if your extra hobby is something that’s inspired your writing, but it is not required. People will check on links if they’re engaged by the person.
And as always, trust the reader. I dread the day I get a bad review. While I know I’ll probably be red in the face and needing a lot of chocolate, I am going to read it. This doesn’t mean that I have to accept the review. I can choose to use my own judgment and ignore it just like when I get back suggested edits.
I’m taking everything in steps because I know myself. Best not to rush things too much. Most “marketing” I’m going to do will be passive or on weekends. By passive, I mean links in signatures or profiles while I’m commenting on things that make me want to say something.
And on weekends, well, I’ve been making lists of book bloggers. If there is even the slightest chance they may be interested in the genre I’ve claimed, then I put them down. Right now my search is for readers interested in science fiction, fantasy, and literature. Preferably all three.
But the rest is all about feeling. I not only look at submission guidelines, but I also check out their reviews and what they have to say about themselves, and if I like that, then I make a note that I’d like to try submitting my book to them. So far, I’ve come across one blogger that I liked so much after reading her reviews, her guidelines, and an extra interview she had linked that I submitted before I was even done with my list (my list which was sort of a stalling tactic this entire weekend).
It is just like querying, and I admit I’ve never done that or wanted to do that. It’s kinda frightening. There’s distance between my book and I now, but it’s still a frightening prospect to offer up something I’ve made for judgement. I’m more of a live and let live type of person. I read and write for enjoyment. If you look at my Goodreads page, I like everything I read, but that’s just because I don’t read things I don’t like, and if I don’t like something I read, I won’t bother rating or commenting on it.
Of course, one problem with looking at book blogging sites and being a reader is that I keep running across more books to add to the TBR pile. Like geeze. It’s as bad as posting a link to something on Etsy. So my tip if you’re looking for book bloggers? Cover your eyes, and try to land directly on their submission page! Oh, also, I’ve started a book blogger twitter list if you’re interested. There will be more added to the list. Mostly people who are friendly to self-pubbed and indies.
The amount of support I have received has been amazing. Thank you everyone for passing on the link at work, on blogs, and on Facebook even. I was pretty sure that I wouldn’t get more than twenty downloads– just the friends who’ve been watching and supporting me.
But no, as of now I’m at 150 downloads. (Is it gauche to talk numbers? Oh well, those are all free anyway.) The point has been to get the book out into as many hands/e-readers as possible, and I think that’s been done. Will I hear from anyone? I don’t know, but I’m waiting nervously over here for someone other than those who’ve already read it to say something.
Over the weekend, I brought my ereader to Dad’s house and showed him the book. I’d mentioned it, but I knew until I had something in my hand that I could show him it wouldn’t be anything more than one of those ideas. The front page has a dedication to him (which is ironic considering the relationship of the main character to the man she learns is her father– but he don’t need to know that), and he was very happy and excited for me.
Next little magic trick will be turning the ebook into a real print book. I’ve got the interior done, I think, but I need some help with the cover. I’ve got the art for the front cover, which is large enough for print and has enough DPIs, but I need to work on the spine and the back cover part. Or maybe get someone else to do it for me. If anyone has any suggestions or recommendations, I’m open to them.