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message 1: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 163 comments Mod
Here's a concern of mine: how do indie writers get larger distribution? Please offer ideas, strategies and experiences here.


message 2: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman Sarah wrote: "Here's a concern of mine: how do indie writers get larger distribution? Please offer ideas, strategies and experiences here."
When you publish through Createspace, you can opt for more distribution (libraries, other book stores.) However, it pays something like 34 cents a book and I think it's not really widespread. People mention Ingram- but I don't know too much about that. I have seen more people order our books when we advertise in some of professional sites or magazines like Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus, ForeWord Review, Author Buzz, Author's Shelf.


message 3: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 163 comments Mod
Carole wrote: "Sarah wrote: "Here's a concern of mine: how do indie writers get larger distribution? Please offer ideas, strategies and experiences here."
When you publish through Createspace, you can opt for mor..."


Yes, I use Createspace and find that it's tough to get my books on actual shelves in stores. Retailers don't want books they can't return to publisher and that's not an option with POD. I've heard good things about Ingram.

I think you're a genius when it comes to advertising. I hadn't thought about that for paperbacks. Is it difficult to get ad space in those magazines? And is it expensive? Thanks for input.


message 4: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman It's not hard at all- it all depends on how much you want to spend. You have to do the research to find the right places to advertise- where you will reach the most people to achieve your desired effect. Most have sales people who will negotiate if you do a couple of ads over the year. You have to ask when is the best time to run your ad- I did a huge and very expensive ad for both my son and I for the Book Show at the Javits Center in NY. I wanted brand recognition- He then suggested when would be the best time to place ads for exposure- like Christmas edition for kids books, Halloween for a horror book. MJ Rose at Author's Buzz runs specials several times a year that put you out there with hard to reach people. She has lots of packages so you can tailor it to your financial abilities.(Like getting books clubs, librarians, small stores) Check for bloggers that have big followings- some charge minimal fees like 10 or 20 dollars and you will see sales spike a bit. I don't know why authors don't join together to share expensive ad space. If you take a full page ad, with an expensive site- try to get a bunch of people with the same genre and split the ad. You could probably fit a ton of books on that page. I have monitored how many books we are selling when I run the ad, to gauge the value of the ad. If we aren't pumping numbers, I move to other sites. BUT, and this is a big but, you have to run an ad a few times to see results . When I did radio ads, I ran them for three weeks in a market. After the second week I saw results in our sales. Most people don't realize it's all about product recognition and ONE ad is not going to do it for you. I realized very early on that we had to brand ourselves as authors and we (my son and I) put out close to 35 books in 3 years. So, in other words, selling yourself as a brand is more important than one book.


message 5: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman Carole wrote: "It's not hard at all- it all depends on how much you want to spend. You have to do the research to find the right places to advertise- where you will reach the most people to achieve your desired e..."
PS Thanks for the compliment. I'm so busy trying to give you as much info as I can- I had to reread your answer. You're a doll! Love your energy!


message 6: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 163 comments Mod
Carole wrote: "It's not hard at all- it all depends on how much you want to spend. You have to do the research to find the right places to advertise- where you will reach the most people to achieve your desired e..."

Oh wow! This is a well of great information. That totally makes sense about branding and recognition. It takes a lot of investment, but it appears to pay off in the long run for you. These are excellent tips and strategies. I really hadn't considered doing radio and magazine, but I'm going to look into it now. I'm not sure it will work for the YA market, but it might. Thanks so much.

And you're welcome. I mean it. Writing/publishing is one things, but marketing is a whole different beast and where I feel like good authors fail. I love to learn from the best and you've obviously been honing your strategy for success. And I like that you're really thorough. Thanks for all the information and time. :)


message 7: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman Sarah wrote: "Carole wrote: "It's not hard at all- it all depends on how much you want to spend. You have to do the research to find the right places to advertise- where you will reach the most people to achieve..."

My pleasure Sarah. I love paying it forward. I have had a lot of patient people working with this old grandma. I didn't know twitter from Face Book when I started. People who write indie don't understand that the marketing is crucial. You can have the best product in the world, but if people don't hear about it, it won't sell. With three million books on Amazon, it's critical to get noticed and keep them noticing you. There is no reason a book can't continue to get readers and royalties for you, years after it's published- To Kill a Mockingbird, to name just one. Radio ads are tricky-you have to find an agent who buys radio spots, then auctions them and you get an allotment. I had a great person who really got me a big bang for my buck. She got me on some prime time radio in major markets. The problem was they were bought and upped the ante where my minimum amount to spend was doubled. I couldn't sell enough books to compensate for the amount. The other thing I tried was bus and train signs. I chose major routes in New York and for the investment- the signs were up for a whole month- but the same people saw them everyday. The most useful part was, again, that brand recognition and the area where we ran those busses three years ago is still my strongest market. Plus, it was an incredible high to see my son's book on the side of a train station. But, it was limited regional exposure, and a lot of money. Facebook is both cheaper and has a wider range. I don't do the radio or bus ads anymore. I find using the ones I mentioned before more cost efficient.


message 8: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 163 comments Mod
Carole wrote: "Sarah wrote: "Carole wrote: "It's not hard at all- it all depends on how much you want to spend. You have to do the research to find the right places to advertise- where you will reach the most peo..."

Well the education never stops. I didn't know that about agents to get ads. That's very complicated, but it does set the books out from the rest. I don't know many other indie authors that are putting that kind of effort into marketing. Usually that's something big publishers do. And the buses and trains idea is really smart. It sounds like it's paying off you still.

Facebook ads have been effective for me. I tried Amazon and not so happy with them. I find marketing the audiobook to be a little difficult. It's just been hard to target those to the right audience.

It sounds like you've come a long way. Congrats! Super impressed. And as I've said before, you're son is fortunate to have someone to invest the time in the marketing. It is exhausting. Sounds like you all form a great team. :)


message 9: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman Thanks Sarah- we have a lot of fun doing this together, both my sons and I. It's creative and I think keeps me young. Amazon only cares about Amazon. I don't understand why they don't have an indie category or page so people can discover new talent. I think they must be dependent on money from the big publishing houses for advertising. Have you had the book reviewed by Bianca Schultz at the Children's Book Review? She does a lot with Young Adult. I advertise with her. She's got a really nice little marketshare. Have you entered the books in any contests? Have you had Foreword or Kirkus review them? All three of those sites have done articles about both me and my son. Professional reviews run around five hundred dollars- but if you get a Five Star from the Foreword review, or a starred review from Kirkus, I think it gives added luster to your book. Stillwell won Honorable Mention for 2013 in the Foreword Review Book of the year. My first book, Captain No Beard was named to Kirkus's Best book of 2012. That opened a lot of doors for people to feature the books. You can submit your book to Publishers Weekly- They don't charge for reviews and if they do pick you, and you get a good review, it gets noticed by a lot of the right people. I also like Readers Views. Susan Violente offers a lot for indie authors by way of publicity.

The agents in the radio ads are not like book agents- more like real estate agents. They know all the players and make the arrangements for the best deals. I tried and couldn't get close to any radio stations to buy time directly from them.


message 10: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 163 comments Mod
Carole wrote: "Thanks Sarah- we have a lot of fun doing this together, both my sons and I. It's creative and I think keeps me young. Amazon only cares about Amazon. I don't understand why they don't have an indie..."

Okay, everything you just wrote is brand new to me. My newness is showing. But I've only been doing this for eight months so that's expected. I'm going to check out all of your recommendations. I think getting some really reputable reviews would be great, but I do have to be careful where I put advertising dollars. I've mostly been working with bloggers, small groups and building my own social media platform. There's so many things one can do and limited time. Like I want to get involved with libraries and high schools, but that hasn't happened yet. Anyway, these suggestions of yours are truly valuable and not things I think most would know about. I've put them on my to do list and I'll be contacting Bianca and Publisher Weekly next week for sure. I'll do the other ones as time and money allows. I have a new book launching in a week and I really want to give it the right attention.

That's good to know about radio ads. I've toyed with the idea of advertising on Spotify since that would be easy to target, but again it's hard to know the right way to go about it.

It's really cool that you've turned this into a family business.

Are your books and your son's enrolled in KDP? That's the only thing that I think Amazon has that really favors the indie author. I've had luck with it anyway. Thanks again for the fantastic suggestions. They are much appreciated and will be used. :)


message 11: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 163 comments Mod
Carole wrote: "Thanks Sarah- we have a lot of fun doing this together, both my sons and I. It's creative and I think keeps me young. Amazon only cares about Amazon. I don't understand why they don't have an indie..."

Also, Carole, since this thread is about distribution. Have you had any of your books or your son's translated? I set up a thread about translation, but I'm curious if you've done this yet. When talking about distribution, this is a whole different beast.


message 12: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman He has a self-help line under a different name. He had one of those books translated into Spanish. We don't sell many of them at all. We get offers to have all the books translated, but we haven't done it yet. I don't think we will. We do the audio books- I know we've talked about that before. Those make some nice money.


message 13: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 163 comments Mod
Carole wrote: "He has a self-help line under a different name. He had one of those books translated into Spanish. We don't sell many of them at all. We get offers to have all the books translated, but we haven't ..."

Yes, I've been pleasantly surprised by the royalties on audiobooks. Yay!

That's good to know. I'm mixed on translation. I had my first book translated into Spanish. Then I learned it was a hugely underfed market. Facebook ads went crazy. The young adults tell me they really have little to read as far as fantasy goes. However, it's such a tough book to manage since I don't speak the language. I can't have the same type of interactions with those readers and that's frustrating. So I've been pondering if I do it anyway to have the distribution, even with the challenges. Thanks for input on experience.


message 14: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman Sarah wrote: "Carole wrote: "He has a self-help line under a different name. He had one of those books translated into Spanish. We don't sell many of them at all. We get offers to have all the books translated, ..."
I think there are services that will do it for you, translate and get it out there on Facebook in another language- but I am wary of these types of things. I like having control of our products.


message 15: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 163 comments Mod
Carole wrote: "Sarah wrote: "Carole wrote: "He has a self-help line under a different name. He had one of those books translated into Spanish. We don't sell many of them at all. We get offers to have all the book..."

Yeah, I use BabelCube. It pairs me with translator and does distribution, but we take care of marketing. That's where I feel in over my head. We shall see how it goes.


message 16: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman Sarah wrote: "Carole wrote: "Sarah wrote: "Carole wrote: "He has a self-help line under a different name. He had one of those books translated into Spanish. We don't sell many of them at all. We get offers to ha..."
If I get any interesting emails, I'll send you the info.


message 17: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 163 comments Mod
Carole wrote: "Sarah wrote: "Carole wrote: "Sarah wrote: "Carole wrote: "He has a self-help line under a different name. He had one of those books translated into Spanish. We don't sell many of them at all. We ge..."

Thanks! :)


message 18: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 163 comments Mod
Came across this on Powell's website and thought I'd pass along.

http://www.powells.com/publisherinfo....


message 19: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman Thanks!


message 20: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 163 comments Mod
Carole wrote: "Thanks!"

I'm curious, Carole, do you use any of the distributors that they list on the website?


message 21: by Carole (last edited Aug 20, 2015 06:30PM) (new)

Carole P. Roman Sarah wrote: "Carole wrote: "Thanks!"

I'm curious, Carole, do you use any of the distributors that they list on the website?"


Not sure. Createspace does the distribution. I know we are selling to distributors- because it tell us in the royalty reports. I don't know who they are. I noticed when I advertised in Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus or Foreword review- distribution sales are greater, so those magazines must appeal to that market. I don't know much about it. I am having a meeting with someone next Monday (if he doesn't cancel) and I am hoping he will shed light on distribution for me. I think this is the hardest part of getting the indie books out there. I know people complain they can't find our books in local stores or libraries. One fan said she asked her library to purchase my son's books and they did.


message 22: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 163 comments Mod
Carole wrote: "Sarah wrote: "Carole wrote: "Thanks!"

I'm curious, Carole, do you use any of the distributors that they list on the website?"

Not sure. Createspace does the distribution. I know we are selling to..."


I think you're right and it is the hardest part of being an indie. Barnes and Noble won't stock POD on shelves because they aren't returnable. I use Createspace too and it's really about demand. Having someone request at library is a good start. Some of those companies listed on Powell's website do distribution and sales, getting the books out there. Let me know how the meeting goes.


message 23: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman Will do!


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