Goodreads Blog

The Successful Marketing Behind the Debut Novel "Lilac Girls”

Posted by Cynthia on August 22, 2016
Getting attention for a new book is always challenging, but breaking out a new book by a debut author is especially difficult. Without an established fan base, you need to work extra hard to create opportunities for readers to discover your book.


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One example to study is the remarkable success Ballantine Books has had with Martha Hall Kelly’s debut novel, Lilac Girls, which follows three characters whose lives converge at Ravensbrück, the women’s-only concentration camp in World War II. Kelly did almost ten years of research for the book, and it shows. Readers are raving about the book’s story, Kelly’s writing, and her ability to transport the reader to another time. More than 50,000 readers have added the novel to their Goodreads shelves in the first four months since it was published in early April 2016, and it has an outstanding average rating of 4.3 stars. So, the book already had an inbuilt advantage—it’s a great story that resonates with readers.

But a well-written book is not enough. This is where preparation and a good marketing strategy come together to give a good book the audience it deserves.

To understand the role Goodreads can play in your marketing strategy, you need to have the right mental model. Goodreads is about book discovery. Your goal is to get as many people as possible to add your book to their Want-to-Read shelves (Tip: You can see how many people are adding a particular book to their Want-to-Read shelves by going to the book stats page, linked in the upper right-hand corner of every book page on Goodreads) and to follow you as an author. Once you do this, you’ll see in this case study how Goodreads offers multiple ways to further promote your book.

Early Preparation: Setting the Stage for Success


One of the primary ways to get people to add your book to their Want-to-Read shelves is to run a giveaway on Goodreads. The publisher kick-started awareness of Lilac Girls six months before publication by running a giveway for 25 copies of the book. This giveaway resulted in a several hundred readers adding the title to their shelves. This had two benefits: 1) friends of people entering the giveaway saw a post in their Updates, 2) now this debut author had her book on the shelves of a few hundred people, starting to build her fanbase on Goodreads. Running a giveaway this far in advance of publication is one of our key recommendations for authors and publishers.

In addition, you should focus on building up your online profile. As a debut author, your biggest challenge is to make it easy for readers not only to discover but to remember you. As part of her marketing campaign, Kelly kept her online branding remarkably consistent. She uses the same author picture and images of lilacs across her website and social media pages. This helps readers distinguish and associate the author as they start to become aware of her through other channels. “Martha’s website was up way before publication,” explains Debbie Aroff, Deputy Marketing Manager at Random House, the publisher of the book. “We beefed up the book club section a few weeks after the book went on sale.”

When Delighting Your Readers Pays Off


Debut authors benefit from any opportunity to engage with readers, even if it’s just a small group of fans at first. As soon as the first giveaway ended, Kelly started taking questions from readers and engaging with them via Ask the Author. Ask the Author is the Q&A platform on Goodreads that allows readers to submit questions to an author via their author profile. Only when the author chooses to answer the questions do the questions become public. They show up in the newsfeed of people who follow the author, as well as to the friends of the reader who asked the question. In addition, the answers are included on the author’s page, helping build out a richer and more engaging profile. Readers value learning more about an author, so spend time on meaningful answers that share personal anecdotes, give more insight into the book, or show your sense of humor. Remember, you’re a writer so use that gift to write a good answer and don’t just dash off perfunctory responses.

This early buzz and activity for the author paid off and generated more awareness of the book. As a result, it helped generate twice as much demand for the second 25-copy giveaway a few months later. The snowball effect starts to build and more and more people added the book to their shelves, which in turn displayed the book to more and more readers in their Updates. All of the different pieces start to add up to significant buzz over time.

“Over time” is the key phrase there. Another important thing to remember about Goodreads is that social is at the heart of everything on the site. It takes time to build a groundswell of buzz through social interactions but the resulting fanbase can end up being one of your most powerful marketing assets.

The Most Critical Time for Bestsellers


The weeks around publication day are the most critical window for success. That’s when media will run their interviews, bookstores will host their events, and readers are finally able to purchase a book they’ve been hearing so many great things about. If you’ve done your early preparation work well, you’ll have a book page with several reviews and a healthy number of readers adding the book to their Want-to-Read shelf. This was the case for Lilac Girls around publication date. Awareness for it was high, and when readers visited the Goodreads book page they could already see several reviews as a result of those very early giveaways. These reviews played a key role in helping convince new readers to take a chance on the book.

Adding Extra Oomph Post-Publication


But the book promotion doesn’t end with the publication day. A few weeks later, to keep the momentum going, the publisher ran an Author Recommended email through Goodreads. Part of our paid marketing options, this is a personalized email sent to fans of another author. In this case, the email went out to fans of Kristin Hannah, whose book The Nightingale shares a similar theme with Lilac Girls (Be sure to read our case study of The Nightingale here.)

Adding more fuel to the fire, the publisher ran a third giveaway for the book, resulting in another round of updates about the giveaway and people adding the book to their Want-to-Read shelves.

If an Author Recommended Mailer is not in your budget, teaming up with a successful author in the same genre is a valuable strategy to explore. Perhaps this takes the form of an endorsement on the book or a review on Goodreads, or maybe a joint event at a local bookstore. Consider your resources and connections, and be creative.

Goodreads Editorial


Another boost for Lilac Girls came when–thanks to all the buzz the book was getting–the Goodreads Editorial team chose it as one of its Hottest Books of the Summer, driving additional spikes in interest when it was posted on the Goodreads blog and featured in the Goodreads monthly newsletter (note the increased interest on the graph above).

Lilac Girls made it on the New York Times Hardcover Bestseller list as well as the Publishers Weekly and ABA IndieBound Bestseller lists, among many others, within several weeks of publication.

Takeaways for Authors and Publishers


We realize there’s a lot to digest from this case study, and it’s only a snapshot of everything that went on to make this book a success. Keep in mind you can apply the exact same tactics we outlined here and achieve different results as there are many variables in play.

Here are a few key takeaways that any debut author should consider when trying to build buzz on Goodreads:

Start planning your marketing campaign months in advance. Start outlining your campaign nine months in advance and start active promotions six months before publication date. Read Preparing Your Goodreads Marketing Timeline

Run as many giveaways pre- and post-publication as you can afford. Double down, especially if it appears that the book is losing momentum. Each time you list a giveaway, members who have marked the book as Want-to-Read are notified by Goodreads, as well as all the people who follow you.

Make it easy for your readers to find you online. Make sure your Goodreads profile is set up, be open to questions, and respond in a timely manner. Keep your online branding consistent. Allow readers to find you and immediately recognize the real you (especially if you have a very popular name).

Delight your readers. Interact with readers on their terms, and identify some universal themes from your book that will convince readers to take a closer look. As you’re building your reputation as an author, every interaction you have with a reader counts. Your readers will be the ones who insist that other readers need to read your book, so you want them to have a positive experience. Readers value any attention you give them personally, so make any connection you have meaningful to them.


Updated note: Lilac Girls continued trending throughout the year, and the ongoing efforts paid off when the book was nominated for a Goodreads Choice Award for Best Debut as well as Best Historical Fiction. While the title didn't end up winning, it received an additional bump in shelvings and has continued to be a success with over 60,000 reviews to date.

Have a great tip that helped you break out as an author? Share it with us in the comments below!

Next: Preparing Your Goodreads Marketing Timeline

You might also like: How St. Martin's Doubled Down on the Success of The Nightingale

Goodreads Authors can subscribe to the Monthly Author Newsletter by editing their account settings.

Comments Showing 1-36 of 36 (36 new)

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message 1: by Isis (new)

Isis Sousa Very nice! As always, I am always curious to learn more about the success behind a book or author! :) I will try some of those practises for my upcoming novel.

As an indie author who writes on my free time, on a hobby basis, one of the great (and affordable) things which has worked for me is indeed a GoodReads giveaway. I found it to be a fantastic discovery tool, and the most powerful giveaway for books anywhere on the web.

And I am really looking forward for the ebook giveaway to expand beyond the US, it will be very handy for people like me, who live in other country.


message 2: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon Isis wrote: "Very nice! As always, I am always curious to learn more about the success behind a book or author! :) I will try some of those practises for my upcoming novel."

Thanks for the kind words, Isis!


message 3: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Harstad Great information.


message 4: by H.A. (new)

H.A. Raynes I had a great experience with a goodreads giveaway for my debut novel. And being active on the site is definitely key. But I do wish goodreads allowed giveaways for ebook versions. Thriller readers are voracious readers and I've found many who love their ebook readers and will take more chances with debut novelists. I hope goodreads will consider opening this option in the future. Nation of Enemies A Thriller by H.A. Raynes


message 5: by Katie (last edited Sep 13, 2016 07:59AM) (new)

Katie Ritter I VERY MUCH APPRECIATED your specific and clear advice, Cynthia! As a first-time novelist, all of this is very, very new to me.

It took me almost nine years to write, research more, rewrite VIKING: THE GREEN LAND and if I learned one thing in that process, it's that determination is the single most critical factor in reaching my goal. Determination plus great advice....that's the magic formula to creating what looks like good luck!

I've noted your several suggestions in my marketing planbook, and will follow them. Thank you! Quick question - where can one find out about the Author Recommended Mailer costs?


Best regards,
Katie


message 6: by Sherry (new)

Sherry Good information. I just have to learn how to use Goodreads more to my benefit.


message 7: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon H.A. wrote: "I had a great experience with a goodreads giveaway for my debut novel. And being active on the site is definitely key. But I do wish goodreads allowed giveaways for ebook versions. Thriller readers are voracious readers and I've found many who love their ebook readers and will take more chances with debut novelists."

Working on it ;)


message 8: by Terence (new)

Terence Park Interesting and informative. The business of a Goodreads fan base sounds key. Having said that, this is Ballantine Books who not only took on Ace Books successfully, on the matter of Tolkien's royalties, but also played a prominent role via Ballantine Adult Fantasy in reviving the genre. They are a significant player and wouldn't still be about if they weren't market savvy. I expect Lilac Girls to be a good read (even if it's not my genre).


message 9: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon Katie wrote: "I VERY MUCH APPRECIATED your specific and clear advice, Cynthia! As a first-time novelist, all of this is very, very new to me. It took me almost nine years to write, rewrite VIKING: THE GREEN LAND and if I learned one thing in that process, it's that determination is the single most critical factor in reaching my goal. "

Congrats on the book Katie! Wow, talk about perseverance! Keep up the determination and educate yourself about the next steps in the publishing process. There are a lot of great resources out there. And of course, stay active on Goodreads :)


message 10: by Katie (last edited Sep 13, 2016 12:07PM) (new)

Katie Ritter Oh, thank you for your kind words, Cynthia!

Staying on task was part perseverance and part a sense of destiny: on December 27, 2007, I received a very startling - and physically quite uncomfortable - kind of epiphany which basically demanded I write it.

Now that publishing is finally accomplished, I have delved into learning marketing. I'll follow your posts with great interest! I just read the last newsletter and have already set my author page to "ask questions" and queried the advertising department. Onward! :-)


message 11: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Davenport Thank you very much for this advice - which I will surely apply to the marketing of my next novel.
Would you list some good Goodreads-based tactics for marketing a novel after its pub date - particularly when there was insufficient pre-publication marketing. How can one "catch up?"


message 12: by H.A. (new)

H.A. Raynes Cynthia wrote: "H.A. wrote: "I had a great experience with a goodreads giveaway for my debut novel. And being active on the site is definitely key. But I do wish goodreads allowed giveaways for ebook versions. Thr..."

Thanks, Cynthia!!! :)


message 13: by Rod (new)

Rod Raglin A giveaway you say?

So how does an indie author do a giveaway on Goodreads post publication? If you're self-publishing on Amazon there's no opportunity to have you book available for a giveaway without it being listed for sale on their site.

Ballentine is a division of Random House, the largest general-interest trade book publisher in the world. To giveaway 25 books is certainly no big deal for them (why not 100?), but for an indie author that likely represents at least $240.

I can almost guarantee the author would not recoup the cost of the giveaway in books sales.

What about all those people who click "to-be-read"? After several Goodreads giveaways I have 895 people who plan to read my books. The point is they never do - nor do they review or buy my books.

What's the point of highlighting the marketing program for authors who have the good fortune to be picked up by the world's biggest publishing house? How realistic is that?

Here's a challenge - design a book launch using Goodreads' resources and expertise for an indie author with a budget of $500.

Chicken? I double dare you.


message 14: by Ann (new)

Ann Girdharry hello,

I enjoyed this informative article.

However, I agree that the financial resources of a large publishing house cannot be compared with the average budget available to a debut indie author.

The Giveaway program is a good one for raising awareness and for readers to add a book to their shelves and I've seen success with this myself, so I agree with you.

However, I wonder, what is the cost of the 'author recommended email' that you mention in this article?

I think that linking the book you talk about here to one that was already established on Goodreads and highly popular ('The Nightingale') was a key step in the process that you describe, plus, of course, the book being picked up by the Goodreads editorial team...

I also use the Goodreads advertising platform, which works well for a small budget, though I think the placing of these ads means that they are less likely to be seen than other advertising on the site.

(By the way, I like Rod's challenge but I think the budget should more be in the 200 dollar region...)


message 15: by Terence (last edited Sep 15, 2016 02:25AM) (new)

Terence Park Ann wrote: "hello,

...However, I agree that the financial resources of a large publishing house cannot be compared with the average budget available to a debut indie author... ...I think the budget should more be in the 200 dollar region."


Interesting point which is worth exploring. I wonder what expense indie authors should be expected to commit to promoting a first book? And when should they promote and where? What about reviews - this area seems more like a free-for-all than measured traction that homes in on your target market. Any thoughts?


message 16: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon Stephen wrote: "Would you list some good Goodreads-based tactics for marketing a novel after its pub date - particularly when there was insufficient pre-publication marketing. How can one "catch up?" "

Hi Stephen! I think there's still plenty that needs to be done after publication date (that date isn't the make-it-or-break-it deadline after all!). Sharing your content so readers can talk about it is definitely the most important, whether that's through giveaways or excerpts. Also, finding ways to share your expertise, whether that's plainly on writing or a specialized topic, helps get your name out there and associated with a book.


message 17: by Cynthia (last edited Sep 14, 2016 06:25AM) (new)

Cynthia Shannon Rod wrote: "What's the point of highlighting the marketing program for authors who have the good fortune to be picked up by the world's biggest publishing house? How realistic is that?

Here's a challenge - design a book launch using Goodreads' resources and expertise for an indie author with a budget of $500."


Ann wrote: "(By the way, I like Rod's challenge but I think the budget should more be in the 200 dollar region...)"

Hi Rod, Hi Ann! I think you both make excellent points. We're always looking for case studies that we hope will educate and inspire authors and publishers, and this one on a debut was the response to feedback we received after the case study on an established author (Kristin Hannah, which you can read here.)

Sure, Ballantine is a traditional publisher with a dedicated marketing budget. But I wouldn't dismiss the author's contributions in the promotion process (plus all the years that went into research and writing!). There are many independent publishers and authors with small budgets and I think that challenges them to be more creative and thoughtful about what they do to promote the book.

Here are a few more resources that might be helpful when developing your marketing approach:

How to Make Your Goodreads Author Profile Great

Five Things to Remember When Engaging on Goodreads

How to Get the Most Out of Goodreads in Five Minutes a Day

Author Program Video Tutorials

Advertising Information


message 18: by Simone (new)

Simone Martel Great tips. One question though: where should I post reviews on my author's page? I have a debut novel coming out in December, and a review I'd like to share, but I'm not sure where to put it.


message 19: by Rod (new)

Rod Raglin Cynthia wrote: "Rod wrote: "What's the point of highlighting the marketing program for authors who have the good fortune to be picked up by the world's biggest publishing house? How realistic is that?

Here's a ch..."


Hello Cynthia,

I'm back. Thanks for your response and links.

Are we reading the same posts?

Most of the comments I'd guess are from newbies - and good for them. Writing a book is an achievement we all should be very proud of - but not go broke in the process.

Even with the successful author's you mention it's difficult (impossible) to assess if any of their success came from being "engaged" on Goodreads or from hooking up with a huge publishing house with sophisticated marketing department (I'm thinking the latter). I'm not hearing any glowing endorsements of Goodreads from the people participating here. Bryan said he had "mixed success", a euphemism I use for failure.

Perhaps you have an example of a newbie (debut), indie author who has used the resources you mention to achieve a level of success? I'd love to hear about it.

There are, of course, different types of success. If you measure it in followers or "to be read numbers", I'm sure your suggestions work. Unfortunately, at least for me, measuring success in anything other than books sales is delusional.

I may be a failure, but I pride myself for not being delusional.

(Just an aside here - how would a person know they're delusional? I mean, if you're delusional, than by definition you don't know what's real, right? Could that mean I'm really a successful author? Nope. That's why it's all about book sales.)


message 20: by Simone (new)

Simone Martel Rod wrote: "Cynthia wrote: "Rod wrote: "What's the point of highlighting the marketing program for authors who have the good fortune to be picked up by the world's biggest publishing house? How realistic is th..."

My short story collection was published by a very small publishing house with almost no budget for publicity. I did a Goodreads giveaway -- just 3 books -- and about 360 people entered and most of them put the book on their to-read lists. That made me happy and I noticed a small spike in sales. Of the 3 winners, only 1 posted a review. That made me less happy. If Goodreads could find a way to keep winners who don't post reviews from entering more giveaways, that would be a big help to authors who have to pay for the postage themselves.


message 21: by Joyce (new)

Joyce Hertzoff Rod wrote: "A giveaway you say?

So how does an indie author do a giveaway on Goodreads post publication? If you're self-publishing on Amazon there's no opportunity to have you book available for a giveaway w..."


Rod: Thanks for bringing this up. I'm facing the same problem.


message 22: by Rod (new)

Rod Raglin Joyce wrote: "Rod wrote: "A giveaway you say?

So how does an indie author do a giveaway on Goodreads post publication? If you're self-publishing on Amazon there's no opportunity to have you book available for ..."


Hello Joyce,
Sometimes I get a bit, lets call it enthusiastic, and put my foot in it (that would be my mouth).

I thought I should double check with Amazon to see if there was a way to have your paperback proofed and ready to go without them putting it up on their site to sell. This would give indie authors a chance to order copies and send them out to reviewers in advance of publication to build "buzz" (as Cynthia calls it) .

Turns out there is though it sounds convoluted. Evidently, all you have to do is disable all the sales channels from your Createspace member account for that specific title. Then the book sits there unavailable to almost everyone.

Hmmm?

Sounds dumb, at least from my perspective. Besides, no one can post a review until the book is "available" on Amazon so how are you any further ahead?

Are you totally confused? I know I am and that's why we turn this stuff over to the "experts" and get charged $5.00 a click - not a sale, a click (see Cynthia's link entitled Advertising Information).

But, hey, don't get discouraged. Writing is a noble undertaking. We need to remember that and not focus too much on success (a little would be nice though). Or as Betsy Lerner said in her excellent book, The Forest for the Trees,

"What’s important, finally, is that you create, and that those creations define for you what matters most, that which cannot be extinguished even in the face of silence, solitude, and rejection."

And in my case rejection and rejection and ...


message 23: by Terence (new)

Terence Park Simone wrote: Of the 3 winners, only 1 posted a review....

Not sure whether that's a bad or good stat however on a normal sale basis, I'm under the impression that you can expect 1 review for every 80 sold.


message 24: by R.T. (new)

R.T. Lowe Hi Cynthia,

Is the "Author Recommended Mailer" available to Indies as a marketing option?

I can think of several authors I'd like to align my books with.

Thanks!


message 25: by Ann (new)

Ann Girdharry hi everyone, hi Cynthia and thanks for your excellent responses,

Whilst we're talking about Giveaways, I'd also like to suggest that once a Giveaway is running, if the author wishes to change the Giveaway that we're given an option to continue running it in it's current form until the changes are approved OR suspend the Giveaway whilst the changes are approved.
At the moment, the Giveaway is automatically suspended and the approval process can take days - this is cumbersome and not helpful.
Thanks!


message 26: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon Thanks for all these great comments, everyone! The big takeaway I was hoping to convey with this case study is that it takes a lot of time and a lot of different things to make a debut novel become a bestseller. There's sometimes that myth of the overnight success, and in my decade of working in publishing, I have never seen that to ever actually happen.

Simone - if you're asking about other people's reviews, only they can post their reviews on your book page. If you're asking about your reviews of other books, then it's just a matter of finding that book and adding your review when you've marked it as 'read.'

Rod - We're absolutely working on finding more examples of successful self-published authors, stay tuned!

RT - The Author Recommend Mailer is available as a standalone option; inquiring via https://www.goodreads.com/advertisers can help you decide if it fits within your marketing budget.

Ann - Great feedback, and we're working on re-approving giveaways as fast as we can (we manually review each giveaway to ensure it falls within our guidelines). If you're editing your giveaway to add a few more copies though, don't bother; just wait for the giveaway to end and then run a new one!

Remember, every book and author is different so you have to find what works for you. Giveaways are great, but they are just one component of a larger strategy. Hopefully this blog gives you tips, ideas, and inspirations for everything that's out there.


message 27: by Rod (new)

Rod Raglin Cynthia wrote: "Thanks for all these great comments, everyone! The big takeaway I was hoping to convey with this case study is that it takes a lot of time and a lot of different things to make a debut novel become..."

Thanks, Cynthia, for your interest in self-published authors. I will definitely be watching for your examples of successful ones and how they achieved it. Please include two things: how they measure their success (sales and profit might be a good benchmark) and how much it cost them.


message 28: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon Rod wrote: "I will definitely be watching for your examples of successful ones and how they achieved it. Please include two things: how they measure their success (sales and profit might be a good benchmark) and how much it cost them. "

Thanks, Rod! I will see what I can do :)


message 29: by Elspeth (new)

Elspeth Rushbrook I'd actually like to be a salmon here. For first time independent authors, months of lead time are often not possible. Shops don't need months notice - I've been a buyer myself. Some of us will also be selling without shops.

You're also perpetuating the notion so common with film that there's a short window around release time to make your mark - or you've lost. But audiences take time to get used to something and round to things and for word to spread.

This also pushes for free products, which are only becoming prevalent through pressure. Again, small publishers can't afford to giveaway. It might be a week, month or more's income they've let go for free, and to people who might have been willing to buy the book. I've seen reviews on here from giveaways where readers took up the offer of a freebie, not really because the book appealed. And then they give it poor reviews and ratings because it didn't really suit them, and that's actually damaging to the book. Some reviews aren't well written and also give away too much plot.

I also questioned your "interacting with readers on their terms". Interacting yes, but all interaction should be a partnership where no party has more rights and say than the other. By all means, know your readers, but you shouldn't be creating what they want - you should crate from our own heart and passions, and an audience will follow. It might take time, but it will come.


message 30: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon Elspeth wrote: "I'd actually like to be a salmon here. "

Love that! :) Thanks for your perspective. As a former buyer, perhaps you can shed some light on consignment sales? I believe some booksellers offer that to self-published authors, but I'm not super familiar with that process myself.

Totally understand that budgets can limit the number of freebies you can offer, but keep in mind giving away an entire book is just one thing. You can also publish excerpts, additional info, or Ask the Author answers to give readers a sense of your writing style. Keep in mind that poor reviews can actually help a book--sometimes the very thing that made someone not like the book is something another reader might like!

And yes, give yourself time. This case study sheds light on all the work that went into the marketing before publication, which many authors don't realize happens. But that doesn't mean your window closes on pub day.


message 31: by Andy (new)

Andy Free Elspeth wrote: "I'd actually like to be a salmon here. For first time independent authors, months of lead time are often not possible. Shops don't need months notice - I've been a buyer myself. Some of us will als..."

Re: "you should crate from our own heart and passions:" Yes, absolutely, hallelujah, amen! (this counts as a form of humorous but quite passionate agreement! :-)


message 32: by Andy (new)

Andy Free Terence wrote: "Simone wrote: Of the 3 winners, only 1 posted a review....

Not sure whether that's a bad or good stat however on a normal sale basis, I'm under the impression that you can expect 1 review for ever..."

Thanks for the stat on 1:80, I'm too new on Goodreads to really have a meaningful sample, but good to know. Thanks for sharing!


message 33: by Andy (new)

Andy Free Rod wrote: "Cynthia wrote: "Rod wrote: "What's the point of highlighting the marketing program for authors who have the good fortune to be picked up by the world's biggest publishing house? How realistic is th..."

Simone wrote: "Rod wrote: "Cynthia wrote: "Rod wrote: "What's the point of highlighting the marketing program for authors who have the good fortune to be picked up by the world's biggest publishing house? How rea..."

Rod, some hard-headed and realistic advice here, which is appreciated. I'm actually a little schizoid on this issue because I ruthlessly track stats and sales, but on the other hand it is easy for something very good, that YOU KNOW IS VERY GOOD, to be lost in the noise, distraction, and vastness of the Internet. So the other side of it is an internal compass that you have that says, "I know where true north is and I am getting there, whether people agree or not, whether people buy or not, whether people review or not." :-)


message 34: by Edita (new)

Edita Petrick I've read all the comments and there is something odd here that caught my attention - yes, Random House marketing saw the book's greatest potential was going to be in e-book sales and vigorously promoted that way...through a giveaway on Goodreads as well...really? How? Goodreads does NOT have ebook giveaways. Only print book giveaways.

As someone who in the course of the last 3 years has spent several hundreds of dollars running print book giveaways I would not endorse them or recommend them to anyone. They yield little or no reviews. They establish nothing and they empty the author's slim promo budget faster than the revenue people at tax time. Postal rates in North America are astronomical. And if you want to widen your reading audience and include a few other countries...don't even bother. I consider the exercise of finding out that it cost $78 to ship a $15 book to Australia, $68 to India, Indonesia and thereabouts a worthwhile pursuit - a ONE TIME exercise not to be repeated.

So - when is Goodreads going to set up a giveaway for ebooks? And once again, how did the Random House engage Goodreads in the ebook giveaway for that author of Lilac Girls? I would really like to learn that.

It is possible that I missed something when I went over the giveaway rules and regulations - just recently - but no matter where I went to read, nothing else but PRINT would come up. Anyone who knows how Goodreads gives away ebooks, please let me know. I've been waiting for this miracle for a long time.


message 35: by Andy (new)

Andy Free Excellent information, thanks for posting! Finding out how to promote a book is like solving a murder mystery where the author's wallet is the unfortunate victim! "Who Killed Wally Wallet?" :-)


message 36: by Phillipa (new)

Phillipa Clark I'm a first time indie publisher with my novel being released on Valentine's Day. Almost fifteen years ago I started writing this story and in spite of gathering dust for a long time, it finally got my attention again. Once properly edited, I decided to go indie. It had waited too long already :-) I had a stunning cover designed by a graphic designer and through her generosity was able to connect with people to help me print bookmarks, perfect my blurb and more.

I put the eBook on preorder about 6 weeks ago and started talking about it. There are a few sales on Amazon waiting for the release date. Who knows about Kobo and the rest as I won't have access to that info for a while.

My next step was talking to the local bookshop, who are now taking paperback copies on consignment in two stores. The local newspaper interviewed me and that paper comes out on Valentine's Day as part of their feature. I've learned how to create Advance Information Sheets and will be dropping them in to bookshops in my region, using the "local author" card to gain interest.

Now I've also found Goodreads and am most happy to share what I am doing with other indie publishers. I have a small but growing website that I can sell through. It is all very hard work and a huge learning curve. I had just wanted to be a writer, but it turns out I am also publisher, marketing and financier lol.

Who knows how The Stationmaster's Cottage will be received. I have done my job as a writer, so now have to embrace the other elements and be there for those who do choose to read it.
All the best from Australia - Phillipa :-)


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