Marketing experiment – the next 6 months

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I just got back from a week and a half of the beach, and it was much needed! When I left, I was feeling really burned out. I had just finished all but the production of my 6th book in 10 months, as well as having both my kids graduate (high school and college respectively). We’re also now 3 weeks away from a wedding. (My uncle sent me an email and said, “I just can’t picture you as a mother-in-law!” WHAT??? That was my first semi-freakout. Mother-in-law? Me? Wow…) I was ridiculously tired, not sleeping well, and my brain was mush.

Other than spending a few hours on getting some marketing stuff booked for June and putting together the last post with all my links, I really didn’t think about writing much. It was pretty great, to tell you the truth! I’ve always been kind of obsessive about doing and learning things, so it’s not really surprising that, once I discovered my  passion for writing novels, I went somewhat nuts with it. Now that initial frenetic pace has passed by, I am finding my way back to my normal type-B personality. I’m happy to have it back. I feel much better!

Once my brain started working again, I had an idea. Well, several, but here’s the one this blog is about. My marketing experiment. From now through October 2, I have a lot going on, so I decided to take 6 months and do try something. (The great thing about ebooks is that they never go away. I don’t have to get all my sales in the first 6 months or year like with traditional publishing. I can play around a bit!) Here’s what I came up with. I’ll let you know how it goes!

KDPS – I have used KDPS (Kindle Direct Publishing’s Select program) for each of the first books in a series. The theory is to give away a lot of books, which hopefully will drive sales to book 2. This worked well with Solomon’s Throne, and I’m doing it with IXEOS as well, although the release of book 2 was delayed a bit. I tried it with Undaunted Love as well, although there wasn’t a 2nd historical romance. By the end of February, all my books were out of KDPS so that I could put them on other venues. The problem is, 99% of my sales are from Amazon, and I lost the borrowed book royalties I was getting from Solomon’s Throne. So the added venues was doing nothing for my sales. So my plan is to re-enroll the books over the next couple of months, after previous commitments are met. I am not sure if I will enroll my book 2’s (The Hoard of the Doges and IXEOS: Rebellion), but all the rest will be part of the KDPS family.

PROMOS – One thing this will do is greatly simplify my marketing efforts. I hope to advertise my free days on BookBub (they have to approve your ads, and have rules about how many times a book can be advertised per 30,90 and 120 days), and use eBook Booster to consolidate my advertising efforts for the free days with one paid source. For my two book 1’s, I may also add FreeBooksy, which I’ve had great success with. And that’s pretty much it. There is a lot of advice to hit promos hard right after your free days, and for a lot of people that seems to work, but I’ve never had success with that, so I’m not going to do that for these 6 months. I’ll keep track and see how the sales are right after the free days.

PR – I use Jitterbug PR for public relations stuff. Alicia does a great job getting reviews and blogs, tweeting and Facebooking new reviews and releases, and organizing other things. This is an expense that crosses all my books, and something I can increase during a release month (Darian’s War will come out in the fall).

So there it is! This period will end at the holidays, so I certainly will have time to tweak things before the Christmas shopping season. Also, Amazon is always tweaking their algorithms and other things, so if something changes that I can’t foresee, obviously I’ll adjust my plan. But knowing how much I have going on, this plan really settles my mind. I can finish writing Darian’s War, plan to do NaNo in November, get everything else done, and still breathe. It’s more along the lines of Joe Konrath’s advice than some other, more aggressive marketing gurus. I don’t think anyone is right or wrong; getting different information that we can all take and use as best suits us as indie authors is an amazing gift. For me, right now, this plan seems right. I’ve been doing the more aggressive plan, and it hasn’t really paid off in terms of sales (they’ve been steady, with no spike from any ads or promotions). So I’m going to go the other way, with a steady but less aggressive approach.

We’ll see what happens! And I’ll let you know.

Also, meanwhile, we’ll be having a great array of guest bloggers this summer, along with my regular posts. In order to keep the blog active while I’m involved in all that life has for me this year, I’m excited to be able to bring you some great authors and bloggers to fill these pages. I hope you enjoy it and support them! Thanks for reading Words on the Page.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Marketing experiment – the next 6 months

  1. Can you provide some insights into how effective you find things like BookBub & Jitterbug?

    • I haven’t done BookBub yet – my first listing will be on 6/13 and I’ll definitely post the results. I had already set this up before my change of strategy, and I’m offing a sale on Solomon’s Throne, but not free (the book will be $1.99, down from $3.99). I have sent them a request to run IXEOS in July as a free listing, so those two results will be much different. Also, I know that what genre your book is in makes a huge difference there, as well. Romance and Mystery does really really well. Unfortunately, I’m not in romance or mystery! YA does the least well. Solomon’s Throne is action adventure, which seems to be in the middle, and I entered IXEOS in sci-fi instead of YA, which does better, too. So stay tuned there!

      On blog tours and book blasts… I would say results are mixed if you are just looking at sales. However, if the adage about it taking 3-5 impressions before someone purchases your book is true, it’s great exposure. From the book blasts I’ve done in the past, I’ve gotten over 1000 new Twitter followers and about 400 Facebook Likes, which means those people are seeing my posts and perhaps going to the blog, which hopefully will eventually encourage some to check out the books. Blog tours get exposure, and I’ve gotten good reviews on Amazon and Goodreads from them, which is difficult to do in normal circumstances, so that’s a good result. But neither have resulted in a huge spike in sales. Still, you need to keep your books and your brand in front of people, and those are good ways to do it.

      Good luck!

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