Firstly, apologies for the time between this post and the last. Life, in the shape of a new ‘day job’ and moving into rented accommodation, got in the way. Anyway, apart from the forthcoming inevitable Christmas and New Year upheavals, things are more or less back to normal. Well, perhaps normal is not quite the right word. Normal– for me–since 2008 has been living on a boat and attempting to sail around the World. Last night was the first spent in my own ‘gaff’ and it was unusual to not have to worry about the anchor dragging or having a reef leap out of the dark and hole the boat. Yes I have been living ashore since mid-April but always in somebody else’s abode. True it mainly wasn’t the case that reefs leapt out at me but hey, I write fiction, right?
So then, marketing. The first thing to say is that there is a plethora of information ‘out there’. As always with the Internet, some of the information is good, some is people trying to make easy money off the gullible and some is just plain wrong. I have been taking a lead from a guy called Nick Stephenson. According to him, he is a successful self- published author and is sharing the secrets of his success because he wants all indie authors to be as successful as he is. If that sounds a less than glowing description it was not meant as a criticism or a comment on Nick’s honesty, it’s be merely me being cautious and not wanting to add to the mass of misinformation. I have no reason to doubt that Nick sells the numbers of books that he claims to sell and apart from charging for a ‘how to’ manual, his advice is freely given and judging by the time I spend blogging, he must spend literally hours writing what he posts. In short, I think that he is the genuine article.
So, following his advice, how did my not so recent free give-away fare? In a couple of words, not so well. Following three weeks of pretty intensive tweeting, face-booking and blogging, all things that Nick and indeed my publishers, suggest is absolutely vital, over a three day period there were one hundred and fifty-odd downloads. Again, following Nick’s advice, I paid US$40 to advertise the free download on some forty sites that list forthcoming freebies. All in all, I was a little disappointed with the immediate results, however I certainly boosted the number of people who follow me on twitter and the number of views of the blog(s) increased. Many but not all of my tweets got re-tweeted and I got a new review—five star– from a reader in the States. Sales after the free period increased slightly. They started from a pretty low number, hence the need for a ‘day job’. So, whilst the immediate results were not what I was hoping for the longer-term prospects are more encouraging. Interestingly, despite the fact that both my self-published and published books feature on my Amazon author’s page, any increase in sales has only been in the self-published books. In fact, despite engaging with the publisher’s tweeting activities and joining in with other promotional efforts that they sponsor, sales of those books they have published are very, very low. Whilst it is true that they are clear that they will not market individual books as they have neither the time nor the budget, it does beg the question why go with them at all? I will return to this subject at a later date but suffice it to say that the next couple of books will be self-published, unless anything extraordinary transpires. If nothing else, at least with the self-published books I can see sales figures in virtually real time whilst I get a monthly summary from the publishers—which to be fair is better than most publishers.
Being totally honest, did I follow all of Nick’s advice? No. I could have spent a lot of time ‘tweaking’ keywords on the book descriptions, following my chum Larry Jeram Croft’s advice and standardising the ‘look’ of my books and I could have been more aggressive in emailing people but you know what? Personally I am fed up with receiving marketing emails and reading tweets that just repeat—ad nauseam—buy my book, buy my book.
I will need to have a bit of a think about this marketing business but in the meantime there are a projected—and already researched– two books to write next year, as well as making sure that I blog on a more regular basis.
I wish you all well over the festive season and hope that 2015 brings you all that you want it to.