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message 1: by Robert (new)

Robert Jr. (robpeecher) | 10 comments I am curious which marketing strategies the self-published authors have found to be successful. It seems there is a wealth of opportunity out there to pay for the hope of increasing sales, but I wonder which (if any) are successful: Paid advertising on Good Reads? Paid virtual book tours? Paid reviews?

I read that the average self-published book gets about 150 sales on the high end. That seems devastatingly low. How do you beat that average?


message 2: by Hazel (new)

Hazel West | 816 comments Mod
Advertising is good, but it will only get you so far. I'm personally more inclined to read a book if I know something about the author so I really like to follow blog tours about books that might interest me. I'm on one right now with my newest novel On a Foreign Field: A Story of Loyalty and Brotherhood The thing that always seemed to get the most interest though were doing giveaways here on Goodreads or just your blog too. I've always gotten lots of interest for my books during a giveaway, and then you hope that the people who don't win will buy it later. I know I usually try to if it's a book I really want.

Also you could do what I'm doing right now for my next novel, is write short stories or backstories that go along with it and publish them as e-books either for free or mine are $0.99 that way people who are looking for just a short read will find it and once they fall in love with the characters, they'll be more inclined to purchase the novel when it comes out. This is one of mine if anyone wants to take a look : http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/...


message 3: by Robert (new)

Robert Jr. (robpeecher) | 10 comments I love this idea of writing backstories. I am writing a series of novels about a character in 19th Century America, and he moves in and out of the lives of actual people. In the second book, the character is with Allan Pinkerton (Pinkerton Detective Agency) and the two already have a past. My intention was to write a collection of short stories outlining the past between my character and Pinkerton, but if I did some or all of them as backstories that would work really, really well.

Thanks for your suggestions!


message 4: by Hazel (new)

Hazel West | 816 comments Mod
You're welcome! Let me know when you do. I love reading about Pinkerton and pretty much anything during that time period.


message 5: by C.P. (new)

C.P. Lesley (cplesley) | 339 comments The real question is: what increases sales? I don't know the answer to this—meaning I have no real data. I wish I did.

My impression, for what it's worth, is that Goodreads is the most useful of the social networks, so long as you use it to make connections with actual readers rather than fellow authors. The giveaways raise your profile, but whether they sell books I am less certain.

Facebook and Twitter are more problematic, in that lots of people post, but how many respond to the posts of others? Desperate writers who buy their five-star reviews have pretty much undermined that option for breaking away from the pack.

Paid advertising? Does anyone read it? I don't. The patient building of relationships, including through a well-crafted blog, seems most effective, but that is difficult advice to hear.

One person's view. Perhaps others have had different experiences.


message 6: by Hazel (new)

Hazel West | 816 comments Mod
I think CP, that in truth most of it comes down to word of mouth. I know when I like a book, I will tell people about it. I agree about advertising, I think adds are annoying personally. And I have gotten so much more interest from my blog and here than anywhere else. If you are lucky enough, you may even be able to get local gigs from independent bookstores and libraries. I haven't looked into that yet, but I know for me, I am usually willing to buy a book from an author I have met and gotten to talk to. I still don't love every book of course because my taste is specific but I am more willing to take a chance if I like the person I talkj too. Some of my friends write stuff that I would mnever pick off a chelf but I read it anyway ;)


message 7: by K.L. (new)

K.L. Coones | 24 comments Here are a couple of things you might read, could give you some insight:

Smashwords Book Marketing Guide
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view...

The Secrets of Ebook Publishing Success
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view...


message 8: by Robert (new)

Robert Jr. (robpeecher) | 10 comments Thanks K.L.! I appreciate the help.


message 9: by Bob (new)

Bob Larranaga | 11 comments This may be helpful for everyone: I'm posting on my blog regular marketing updates on the results I get from a free book Giveaway and an ad promoting the Giveaway. If successful, it could become a template for others to follow. If unsuccessful, well, it might save you some money.

The Giveaway went live today and the ad is pending approval and should be live within two days. On my blog I already give full details as to total budget, cost/click, target audience and the actual ad copy. As results become available, I'll share them in real-time. The posts will not be limited to what I learn on Goodreads as I am also going to promote on other sites.

Bob Larranaga, Author of The Reckoning: saga of a Civil War blockade runner.


message 10: by C.P. (new)

C.P. Lesley (cplesley) | 339 comments Interesting, Bob. That sounds really helpful. Could you post the link to your blog so that we can follow your posts?
Thanks!


message 11: by Bob (new)

Bob Larranaga | 11 comments Hi C.P.
Thanks for the feedback. I'll be posting today's results tomorrow along with some analysis of my findings. The link to the blog is:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/...


message 12: by Bob (new)

Bob Larranaga | 11 comments Follow my blog, Back Story, where I post the results of my marketing efforts for "The Reckoning" as they evolve: the good and the bad. Today, I posted what I've learned thus far about Goodreads Giveaways; e.g., how the number of free copies offered affects response rates. (The results surprised me.) The blog is at http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/...


message 13: by Bob (new)

Bob Larranaga | 11 comments Robert wrote: "I am curious which marketing strategies the self-published authors have found to be successful. It seems there is a wealth of opportunity out there to pay for the hope of increasing sales, but I wo..."


message 14: by Bob (new)

Bob Larranaga | 11 comments My latest post in my blog, Back Story, deals with the critical role of timing in a Giveaway promotion that is supported by advertising. I reveal results to-date from my advertising for my novel, "The Reckoning." I also show why the timing of a Giveaway promotion is more important than the number of books given away. And I explain how to pick the optimal time for your book Giveaway. Check out the bog at: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/...Bob Larranaga


message 15: by C.P. (new)

C.P. Lesley (cplesley) | 339 comments Bob, this is very helpful. Thank you! And please keep posting.

Fascinated to see how this marketing campaign turns out.


message 16: by Bob (new)

Bob Larranaga | 11 comments Thanks, C.P. I'll keep you posted. Please let your friends know about Back Story. The more knowledge we share about book marketing the better off we'll all be.


message 17: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Ottalini (dottalini) | 23 comments I used Wix to create a website, and then I got some nice 'free' money to use on Facebook and on Google. I haven't used the Facebook money yet, but I do think the google ads have helped me somewhat. I tripled how many books I was selling in a month! But over the longer term, I still have to figure out whether I should continue or not.


message 18: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Ottalini (dottalini) | 23 comments By the way, as we've all seen, paid book reviews are a doubled edged sword. I figure its better to give your book away to get reviews, rather than pay a company to do it. You might not get as many reviews, but you should definitely be able to get at least 2-3. I gave away less than 10 copies of my book and got 3-4 reviews on amazon and on Barnes and noble within a month.


message 19: by Hazel (new)

Hazel West | 816 comments Mod
Daniel, do you have to pay for Wix? I really want to make a website, but I haven't gotten around to it, and also because I'm not very good doing technical stuff on the computer. google adds is something to think about though, I'll have to look into it. Thanks for the tip!

And I agree with you about free vs. paid book reviews. I got some great reviews on my novel during my virtual book tour from non-obligated readers :P


message 20: by Bob (new)

Bob Larranaga | 11 comments Robert wrote: "I am curious which marketing strategies the self-published authors have found to be successful. It seems there is a wealth of opportunity out there to pay for the hope of increasing sales, but I wo..."

Robert, You might find it helpful to track my blog, Back Story, where I am reveal what I learn day by day through trial and error about marketing my book, "The Reckoning." I'd appreciate it if you would share what you learn, too.

So far I've discussed in Back Story such things as my advertising results on Goodreads, using Giveaways, etc. In four days, my ad has generated 1,229 impression; I have 100 people registered for the Giveaway and 46 have shelved my novel for future reading (The book doesn't come out til Nov.1) I also share what I learn about advertising on other sites. The URL for Back Story is: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/.... Hope this helps.


message 21: by C.P. (last edited Oct 05, 2012 03:08PM) (new)

C.P. Lesley (cplesley) | 339 comments Hazel wrote: "Daniel, do you have to pay for Wix? I really want to make a website, but I haven't gotten around to it, and also because I'm not very good doing technical stuff on the computer. google adds is some..."

Hazel, I don't know Wix, but Wordpress and Blogspot are free. My friend uses Wordpress and is happy with it; it's a blog site that looks like a website, with tabs for you and your books and whatever you want to add. You can see her blog at http://courtneyjhall.com.

I access Blogspot through Blogger, an add-on to Google Apps (free, but you pay $10/year for the domain name; the signup is automatic, but God help you if you want to change the settings).

Blogger itself is very easy to use, and setting up the parent site on Google Apps is pretty straightforward, although the documentation on both leaves much to be desired. If you'd like to learn more, check out some of my more tech-oriented posts at http://blog.cplesley.com or right here on Goodreads.


message 22: by Hazel (new)

Hazel West | 816 comments Mod
Well, I have a blog through blogspot, but Wordpress does look more like an "official" website. I might think about it eventually. I've got sooo many things to think about right now!!

I'll look at some of your backposts when I get the chance. I'm sure they'll be helpful =)


message 23: by C.P. (new)

C.P. Lesley (cplesley) | 339 comments Hazel wrote: "Well, I have a blog through blogspot, but Wordpress does look more like an "official" website. I might think about it eventually. I've got sooo many things to think about right now!!

I'll look at ..."

Duh. Of course, you do! I actually follow it. And enjoy it, too. Long week—that's my only excuse.

You could combine them with Wordpress. But maybe there is a way to combine them at Blogspot? That would be better, in the sense that you would not have to redirect people.

I know as little as is humanly possible about Blogspot. If you decide to follow up, you might consider joining http://www.wanatribe.com and signing up for their Bloggers United group. I am sure you would find someone there more knowledgeable than I. It's a good site to know about anyway: all writers.

I know. So many tasks, so few hours. Sigh.


message 24: by C.P. (new)

C.P. Lesley (cplesley) | 339 comments P.S. Another option is just to set up a Website via Google Apps and link the blog page to your existing blog.


message 25: by Hazel (new)

Hazel West | 816 comments Mod
Definitely some good options. I just wish I had someone to take care of all this for me while I write lol :P Maybe when my brothers get a little older ;)

My next thing is starting a twitter account though, which I plan to do this weekend.


message 26: by Robert (new)

Robert Jr. (robpeecher) | 10 comments Hazel - I absolutely know what you mean about wishing you had someone to take care of all this while you write. It seems there is time to update my blog, get on Goodreads, post on Facebook and set up a book signing OR ... I can work on the next novel.


message 27: by Hazel (new)

Hazel West | 816 comments Mod
I'm not very good with computers either so that's always a problem ;P It's not that I can't learn it's that nothing ever works like it's supposed to. But that's what it is to be a self-published author.


message 28: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Ottalini (dottalini) | 23 comments Hazel wrote: "Daniel, do you have to pay for Wix? I really want to make a website, but I haven't gotten around to it, and also because I'm not very good doing technical stuff on the computer. google adds is some..."

Actually yes, you do. Especially to save your domain name and protect it. But it's a set price for three years or something like that, which makes it a pretty good deal to me.


message 29: by Hazel (new)

Hazel West | 816 comments Mod
Okay, that's what I was wondering, because I had looked into a website before and realized you had to pay for a domain name and all, but that sounds like a good deal and I'll have to look into it.


message 30: by Brijit (new)

Brijit Reed | 26 comments I don't understand how the giveaway thing works, Bob. I assume you're giving away free copies of your book through Amazon (Kindle version, print, or both?) and promoting it here on Goodreads. Is that correct? And if you are doing it through Amazon, how do you set something like that up? I'd like to try it. And by the way-- thank you for posting your results!


message 31: by Hazel (new)

Hazel West | 816 comments Mod
Brijit, when I do giveaways, I have copies of my book (I think you're only allowed to use hard copies for giveaways here on Goodreads, but I'm not sure) and then once the giveaway is up, goodreads picks the winners at random, sends you the addresses and it's your responsibility to ship them out to the winners.

Of course you could also just set up a giveaway on your blog or whatever for e-book copies. I'm not sure how you'd give free ones away with Kindle, but I know on Smashwords, you can make coupon codes.


message 32: by Brijit (new)

Brijit Reed | 26 comments Oh-- that's good to know! Hopefully, the next proof I receive of my print book will be perfect and it can go live in the next week or two. The text on the cover of my first one was blurry and you couldn't even read the summary on the back.

As for Smashwords and other distribution sites, I'll have to wait until my deal with Kindle Select is over. Either way, I really appreciate your reply! :)


message 33: by Hazel (new)

Hazel West | 816 comments Mod
Glad to help. Yeah, I haven't tried Kindle Select yet, but I might over the holidays.


message 34: by Sandra (new)

Sandra Saidak (sandywriter) | 137 comments Brijit--good luck! It's exciting, yet so frustrating, waiting for the next proof, hoping this will be the one! But when it's finally just right, it feels so great to hold it in your hands and say "I made this!"


message 35: by Hazel (new)

Hazel West | 816 comments Mod
My favorite part is always getting my proof for the first time. It makes it official somehow. :)


message 36: by Jason (new)

Jason | 4 comments I recently contributed to DISTRICT COMICS: AN UNCONVENTIONAL HISTORY OF WASHINGTON DC which is a collection of stories about Washington DC, obviously. I learned several things from the experience, which I'll be applying and building on with my own three-anthology deal with Fulcrum...

1) Hit the region hard. Whereas we did some marketing outside of Washington DC - we (and mainly our editor, Matt Dembicki) made sure every single Washington DC newspaper, community group, convention, etc knew about this book. As a result, we were featured in most of the papers down here, did a bunch of signings already, and even got listed as one of the Top 20 books of 2012 by the Washington Post.

2) Hit the niches hard. The nice thing about the book is that the collection of stories is so diverse. Mine is about the 1867 Washington Nationals but there're stories about spies, punk rockers, artists, and Presidents. So each contributor is trying to sell the niche that they're writing about. I've been working in the local baseball community circles, other folks are working in art history, etc circles. The result has been sub-licensing, increased sales, etc.

3) Get the experts involved. A review on some general book blog is nice, a review by someone who doesn't normally review books but has an interest in the region or the niche and is KNOWN in that region or niche is tremendous.

There's a lot more but I figured I'd start there...


message 37: by Brijit (new)

Brijit Reed | 26 comments Can anyone explain how to set up an author page here for independent writers?


message 38: by [deleted user] (new)

Cost u ten bucks


message 39: by Brijit (new)

Brijit Reed | 26 comments And Sandra and Hazel-- yes, it feels good to be able to hold your book in your hands. I finally just got a proof that's ready to be sold. Now up on Amazon. :)


message 40: by Hazel (new)

Hazel West | 816 comments Mod
Brijit wrote: "Can anyone explain how to set up an author page here for independent writers?"

The way I did it was I went to the page with my book and clicked on the author's name. Down at the end of the page, you should see a thing that says "are you the author?" click on that and it should prompt you on how to do the rest. They'll want proof that you are the author, but pretty much you just have to put you website/blog or whatever in there. I think that's all it takes, if not, I'm sure you can contact the Goodreads people for more help =)


message 41: by Bryn (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) | 276 comments @Brijit I can say it was easy. I've forgotten the rigmarole, except there wasn't much rigmarole and no hassles. If I can you can.

Is your book already here? I had to add my own books.


message 42: by Pauline (new)

Pauline Montagna (pauline_montagna) For what it's worth, I've set up a web-site/blog for the self-publisher which goes through the whole process including: Promoting your book online http://writerpublisher.blogspot.com.a...

and Selling your book online http://writerpublisher.blogspot.com.a...


message 43: by Hazel (new)

Hazel West | 816 comments Mod
Bryn wrote: "@Brijit I can say it was easy. I've forgotten the rigmarole, except there wasn't much rigmarole and no hassles. If I can you can.

Is your book already here? I had to add my own books."


I had to add my own books too, so you might have to do that before you can start an author's page. That's not a lot of trouble either, you just have to put in the general info for your title.


message 44: by Brijit (new)

Brijit Reed | 26 comments Thank you for your responses, everyone. No, my book isn't on here yet, so I'll have to figure out how to add it. And Pauline-- thank you! I'll check out your links. :)


message 45: by Hazel (new)

Hazel West | 816 comments Mod
What I did to add my books was I looked up the title and there should be a prompt that says "add a title" if you don't find what you're looking for. Once you click on that, you can just fill out the info and everything.


message 46: by Sandra (new)

Sandra Saidak (sandywriter) | 137 comments I can't remember what I did, and I ended up with some mistakes (my cover art was missing from my second boo; then I added it again and got two editions of the same book!) But congratulations, Brigit, for being Amazon-ready!


message 47: by C.P. (new)

C.P. Lesley (cplesley) | 339 comments I had to add mine too. I remember some kind of guff about having to be a Goodreads librarian before I could add books. I don't remember exactly how I resolved the problem, because I had a bunch of trouble when I first joined. But I do remember e-mailing support. It took a couple of days, but once the woman responded, she could not have been more helpful.

Big thing is that author profiles on Goodreads aren't separate from your regular profile, as they are on Amazon. Once Goodreads agrees that you are an author, the author profile becomes part of your Goodreads identity.


message 48: by Steven (new)

Steven Malone | 225 comments Thanks for that information. So far Goodreads has been fairly prompt with my concerns (not book adding though)but you reminded me that patience is virtue in a place dealing with millions of folks.

I also like the way they do profiles. I'm with both and Goodreads is superior by far.


message 49: by Hazel (new)

Hazel West | 816 comments Mod
From what I remember about the library status I think it's just that you have to at least have rated 50 books or something. It's really easy to do it anyway once you know how it's done. The weird thing is is that I know I added all my books and that I am a 'librarian' but at then it seemed there was something I couldn't do later that required a librarian status. Not sure about that, but whatever.


message 50: by Bryn (last edited Dec 10, 2012 05:46PM) (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) | 276 comments Is it that you have a librarian status for your own books, Hazel? I think that's the situation I'm in. I can do everything with my own books, but not with others. Which is fine and useful.

From dim memory (dear me) I had to hit a request button, in order to become a Goodreads Author, and then, with the 'Welcome to the Author Program', they gave me librarian rights over my books. Once I had that I didn't need further help to add them and make changes to them.

PS. the little 'help' button down the bottom of the page is handy. Instruction sheets by topic.


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