Marketing, Promotion and Life’s Other Mysteries

calvin1 hobbes intelligent life

I am the first to admit that I am not a marketing guru. In fact, up til last July, I was perfectly content to be completely unknown. But then I published my first book, the necessity of self-promotion became apparent. Obviously, people can’t buy my books without knowing those books exist. Thus began my crash course in marketing.

I am a reasonably fast learner and a hard worker, but the art of marketing is just that. An art. Were it a science, I’d have it down by now, but no… just when I think I have things figured out, I realize I don’t. Here are some examples:

  • During my final free days with Amazon for my first book, Solomon’s Throne, I placed ads with Bargain Ebook Hunter and Pixelscroll. I paid for featured ads of one day each. I also did an ad with FreeBooksy. I had done the first two before, and had pretty decent free days, but I’d never done FreeBooksy before. That’s important, because it seems to be the only thing that was different than any other free day promotion. But I had almost four times the downloads! 7909 in TWO days. For some genres that would be considered low, but for action adventure, which is a teeny tiny piece of the genre pie, it was huge. Obviously, I have elevated FreeBooksy to the top tier of advertising. But that’s for FREE books… Which doesn’t actually make me any money, right?
  • I am currently participating in two blog tours, as I said in my last post. (Well, one starts the 20th, but they’re doing some Twitter blasts about the free giveaways now. Here’s one link to enter.) I have gotten a lot of new Likes on my Facebook page, but so far no sales of IXEOS, which is what the tours are highlighting. Now, if people actually see my posts on Facebook (you have to specifically make a selection to see all posts), it is certainly possible that they will decide they like what I have to say enough to check out the book and/or this blog. I enjoy both the blog and Facebook, so that’s totally fine with me — I love the whole relationship aspect of being an author. But the tours aren’t free, so I do have to look at both exposure and sales when analyzing the effectiveness of the dollars spent. So far, I’d say an A for exposure, but an Incomplete on sales. (There have only been 3 posts so far, with MANY more to come over the next several weeks, so I’m withholding judgment for the moment.)
  • The weekend I was traveling to Uganda, starting 2/16 and going through 2/17 or early 2/18, I sold over 125 copies of Solomon’s Throne.  I normally sell an average of 20 a day — sometimes 16, sometimes 25, but I average 20 of that book right now. Sales are climbing, but slowly, 5-10% a month. So what happened in the middle of February? I have no idea! I had done the Kindle Book Review HOT DEAL the two days following my free days (those had been 2/12 and 2/13). But that ended Friday. I had virtually no sales, no even my normal 20, during those two days. But then, over the weekend, it exploded and kept going, although not to that big an extent all month. That made February my biggest month to date, beating December by over 10%. But why?

You see the quandary. I will probably try the Kindle Book Review again soon with IXEOS under their HOT NEW RELEASE package and see what happens. If those sales had happened while that ad was running, I’d say that was surely the catalyst… But they didn’t, so it’s not cut and dried. At $40 a pop, it’s not a lot for a big boost in sales… But it is a lot if that had nothing to do with it. And at this point, I honestly don’t know.

This coming week, I’ll have both blog tours going, plus I have two free promo days for IXEOS on Tuesday and Wednesday (please go over to Amazon and pick it up!). I’ve got an ad running all week on The Cheap EBook, both days on FreeBooksy, and one day on Pixelscroll. Monday and Thursday (and then the following Tuesday)  I will have social media blasts from the Book Tweeting Service. Saturday I have an ad with Ebook Impresario, and all the following week, I have an ad on The Cheap. After that, I go out of town for Easter… (Maybe going out of town is what does it?!)

I’ll let you know how it goes. Obviously, by layering all these things for the launch, I won’t be able to pinpoint any one venue as the most helpful, unless one particular day just goes crazy. But I think layering for a new launch to get exposure is a good approach, one I couldn’t afford when I launched my other books. (I launched three books in four months!) Especially since I make things hard on myself by switching genres all the time, I am having to continually reach new readers — basically start over.

If you have any tips, please let me know! And stay tuned for the continuing saga… Will we unravel the mystery, or only become more deeply mired? That is the question!





Filed under Self publishing, Writing

4 responses to “Marketing, Promotion and Life’s Other Mysteries

  1. Wow, this is all confusing!

    • Yes… It really is! I have a calendar app on my laptop that’s just for marketing and promotion, and I’m still confused most of the time! I guess my philosophy is to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks! 🙂

      • I’ve only recently started thinking about self-publishing; I don’t even know what most of these things are! I guess the good thing is that you don’t HAVE to do anything, as long as you don’t mind not selling books. It’s OK to start small… I really admire your organizational skills!

      • Today’s post is about that very thing – you don’t have to do it all! There is a ton of advice out there, mostly conflicting. I don’t give much advice, except to ignore the advice that doesn’t resonate with you, but I do try to share my own experiences (for better or worse!). Good luck with your book! I love being an indie author. Perhaps it’s the control freak aspect of my personality!

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