I recently attended a book club where one of the members had a niece who was a successful YA author. She is traditionally published and is able to write full-time. I say congratulations to her!!! Because she has had some success, her publisher arranges signings and readings and presumably, handles some advertising. However, she must still maintain her own blog and handle various other parts of marketing her books. This seems to be one trend I’m hearing more often. Another thing I’ve heard quite a bit lately is that even if you find success (translate sales), that will not necessarily guarantee loyalty from your publisher (unless you are a Grisham or King type) if you are unable to sustain a similar level of success. This is not a criticism of the publishing world – only a statement that reflects the way the publishing business continues to change. So, what any writer wants to know is, how do you get and maintain sales?
I’ve previously mentioned a bit about advertising as a viable option and while I have found Goodreads to be somewhat rewarding, most of the limited advertising I’ve done has not translated into significant sales. Blog advertising is not terribly expensive so it’s worth trying if you don’t mind parting with small amounts of money. Blogads is a good site that will report your clicks as well as how many times your ad was shown. I think this type of advertising, however, is most effective when it can be specifically targeted. If you’ve written a diet book, you may find several sites that are about losing weight.
A more expensive route to investigate is using Kindle Nation Daily (KND). Prices range from $29.99 to $399.99. Whether or not you choose this route, I do like the amount of information that is provided by KND to help you make your decision. They provide a spreadsheet reporting by month the success of each campaign. Individual campaigns are listed by author, genre, and campaign type. The spreadsheet also reports where the book’s sales rank before the ad runs and at it’s peak while the ad is running. That’s helpful information! To see the most recent spreadsheet, click here. In addition to providing data, it’s been reported that KND has great customer service. As I get further into it, I will let you know if that can be confirmed!
There are several different types of ads you can run on KND, from one day to one month. It seems to be particularly successful for books that are free (separate campaigns exist for free books). KND also offers a free ebooktracker tool although I can’t say you will learn anything from it you can’t already get through your Amazon Author page.
One of the things that makes KND intriguing as an advertising option is that according to their site, they reach 138,000 people each day. That is significantly more than any blog could hope to reach. Also, wouldn’t you assume that most people who subscribe to KND are actually looking to buy books (or receive them for free)?
Another thing to be aware of with KND is that many of their campaigns are booked far in advance. If you have a book coming out soon and you want your promotion on KND to coincide with the book’s release, be sure to consult their schedule.
Recently a friend who works in advertising asked whether or not I had pursued readings at the local library or at independent bookstores. I had not. This is not because I am opposed to the idea but mostly due to the feeling that independent book stores are not fans of self-published, independent authors – especially if they published with Amazon. Perhaps I’m wrong though and each store is different. If you think this is the case where you live, definitely pursue a signing or reading at your local store.
I have also just discovered Shelfari which is owned by Amazon. This is a site that is similar to Goodreads and allows you to add books and interact with other readers/writers through online community forums. LibraryThing is another site you may want to investigate. As with all of these types of sites, I only have two words of caution.
- Constant self-promotion will lose you friends and supporters on either site. It’s okay if there’s something specific but if every post has to do with publicizing your book, your posts will soon be spammed.
- Don’t join more sites than you can actually spend time on. If you spread yourself too thin, how will you find the time to write?
As I’ve said many times, marketing is hard work. Even harder, however, is finding what is the right approach for your book. Although I continue to make headway and sales have been steady, I’m still looking for that “big spike” that shows me some bit of marketing has really had an impact. Until then, I will keep trying and learning as I go along.