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message 1: by April (new)

April Wilson (aprilwilson) Does anyone feel like getting academic and philosophical with me about marketing?

With my first novel on the market for about six weeks now, I've been spending A LOT of time thinking about marketing, since no one's going to market my book for me. It's my responsibility. I'm undoubtedly spending more time marketing my first book right now than I am writing my second book. And yes, those are competing priorities and pressures.

There are many dimensions to selling a product (in our case, books). There's marketing, promotion, and advertising. These are all very different things, although they are tightly interwoven. Of these three concepts, marketing is the most difficult to understand and master.

Marketing is all about creating an impression. It's about making friends. It's about turning strangers into readers, and turning readers into friends who like you and want to stick with you. Marketing is all about creating a sense of community and good will.

Marketing is not advertising, although they go hand-in-hand. Marketing is not promotion, although they go hand-in-hand as well. Marketing is about creating a brand for yourself, about making friends, inviting people (consumers) to like you, and if they like you they might just check out your product (book, service, etc...). Marketing is the sum total of EVERYTHING you do when you represent yourself in public, online and in real life, both as an individual and as an author.

Not everyone gets this. I've seen authors make statements that do significant harm to their brand (and in turn, to their marketing efforts). Because we're always marketing ourselves, whether we realize it or not. Everything we do and say in public influences how other see us and affects our brand.

Just my 2 cents worth... Anyone interested in discussing marketing and sharing our tips and experiences?

April


message 2: by Jay (new)

Jay Cole (jay_cole) April wrote: "Does anyone feel like getting academic and philosophical with me about marketing?

With my first novel on the market for about six weeks now, I've been spending A LOT of time thinking about marketi..."


I am also struggling with marketing. Platform vs. SEO, social media vs. statistics that show it works poorly, advice vs. advice vs. advice, etc. We all seem to be searching for the magic formula that will impact a very crowded market filled with consumers who are bombarded with cries for attention 24\7.

Writing a good book is certainly foundational, but beyond that, I fear that the quote from the late William Goldman on the movie industry is also applicable to this art form:

“Nobody knows anything...... Not one person in the entire motion picture field knows for a certainty what's going to work. Every time out it's a guess and, if you're lucky, an educated one.”

Perhaps, directing our marketing efforts in the direction of our best "educated guess" is the best that we can do.

Marginally philosophical???


message 3: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments April wrote: "Does anyone feel like getting academic and philosophical with me about marketing?

With my first novel on the market for about six weeks now, I've been spending A LOT of time thinking about marketi..."


You make many good points here. If I was going to wax metaphorical (though not necessarily philosophical) I would might observe that our marketing efforts are rather like tossing rocks into the the ocean (especially when we are new at this), and often are about as effective. What are to draw from this?

First: being negative in one's public behavior (and there are multiple way to do that) heaves a much bigger rock, that people are likely to notice and remember.

Second: We have a tendency as authors to feel small and overwhelmed when we face this ocean. Many of us feel as though we face it alone. It is the vast fickle thing over which we can assert (essentially) no control and our efforts result in splashes that generally seem pitifully small. And we may be forgiven in wondering why we bother.

I hold to a different view. Rather than focus on my ability affect the ocean, I'd rather study the ocean itself. It has currents and behaviors, forces analogous to the winds move it, that while all this is chaotic, if I get a sense of it, I can use the ocean and these forces to get where I want -- eventually, often indirectly, and never without incident.

That is what I personally try to do in lieu of "marketing" in the sense it tends to be traditionally understood. And I will note that it is not at odds with anything April says. But (getting metaphorical again), we all sail different seas. Doing so successfully depends on learning the habits of the one we are in.


message 4: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Lawston (andrewlawston) | 21 comments When I have a decent body of work out, I think I'm going to look into hiring a marketer. I can do it reasonably well, but my writing time is limited, and concentrating on marketing eats into it even further.


message 5: by Ken (new)

Ken (kendoyle) | 364 comments On a bit of a tangent here, but when I saw the title of this thread, what jumped out at me was "marketing to authors". Unfortunately, that's what many of the promotion sites do, especially those that are based on Facebook/Twitter.

Yes, authors are also readers, but for the most effective marketing, we need to reach the general reading population.


message 6: by Idav (new)

Idav Kelly (alixe_tiir) | 37 comments Owen wrote: "I hold to a different view. Rather than focus on my ability affect the ocean, I'd rather study the ocean itself. It has currents and behaviors, forces analogous to the winds move it, that while all this is chaotic, if I get a sense of it, I can use the ocean and these forces to get where I want -- eventually, often indirectly, and never without incident."

Careful with that, though. Turbulence still is one of the greatest unsolved problems of classical physics.


message 7: by Steven (new)

Steven Malone | 39 comments Ken wrote: "On a bit of a tangent here, but when I saw the title of this thread, what jumped out at me was "marketing to authors". Unfortunately, that's what many of the promotion sites do, especially those th..."

So, the real secret is finding readers. Now, that's a good question. Where are the ever dwindling population of readers?

Have any suggestions to steer us that way. I even find that the sites that supposedly reach out to readers are made up of authors spamming their books for the most part.


message 8: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4278 comments Mod
Ken wrote: "Yes, authors are also readers, but for the most effective marketing, we need to reach the general reading population. "

You have a point, Ken, but part of the strategy of some of us here is to buy and read one another's books. Yes, I am an Indie author, but I also buy works by Indie authors almost exclusively, most of it from the folks that are in this group. If I like the work, I will give it a good rating and review to help that author find more readers.


message 9: by Steven (new)

Steven Malone | 39 comments Dwayne wrote: "Ken wrote: "Yes, authors are also readers, but for the most effective marketing, we need to reach the general reading population. "

You have a point, Ken, but part of the strategy of some of us he..."


Most excellent, Dwayne. Keep up the good work.


message 10: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments Idav wrote: "Careful with that, though. Turbulence still is one of the greatest unsolved problems of classical physics."

Precisely. That's why sailing is more an art than a science. The same might said for marketing.


message 11: by April (new)

April Wilson (aprilwilson) Steven wrote: "So, the real secret is finding readers. Now, that's a good question. Where are the ever dwindling population of readers?"

Steven, why do you feel the reader population is dwindling? I get the feeling - anecdotally - that the reader population is growing, especially with the explosion of e-books, tablets, smart phones, and indie publishing. I know I read now far more than ever, and I've always been a voracious reader. This is the case for everyone I know. I don't have any quantitative data to point to, but the qualitative data tells me the market is growing. I hope that's the case.

The trick to finding readers is to find them where they live. You're right - book sites that supposedly reach out to readers don't always do that, in effect. They are often filled with authors trying to spread the word. Some marketers I've read say the readers can be found elsewhere, such as on blogs not related to reading or writing, but rather related to subject matter that you readers would gravitate toward. As an easy example, if you wrote travel books, you could start a blog on travel (demonstrate you're an expert) and slowly build a loyal following. Then, advertise your travel book on your blog. That's very likely to lead to some sales. It's a simplistic example, and it's not always that clear-cut and easy, but it's something to think about. It's a lot of work to do right, but it could pay off well. It's something I want to do when I get more of my ducklings in a row.

April


message 12: by April (new)

April Wilson (aprilwilson) Andrew wrote: "When I have a decent body of work out, I think I'm going to look into hiring a marketer. I can do it reasonably well, but my writing time is limited, and concentrating on marketing eats into it eve..."

Andrew, marketing is incredible time consuming. It does take away from writing, which is a bad thing, as you said. I have a full-time job already, plus I spend about 40 hours a week on top of that working on my writing career. Marketing and publishing research really eats into the 40 hours.

My dream is to be able to hire someone who's good at marketing to do it for me, but that's a billion light-years away right now for me.

April


message 13: by Steven (new)

Steven Malone | 39 comments April wrote: "Steven wrote: "So, the real secret is finding readers. Now, that's a good question. Where are the ever dwindling population of readers?"

Steven, why do you feel the reader population is dwindling?..."


Thanks April.

I too am a voracious reader. To the point of its being a vice really.

Mostly I get "news" on dwindling of readers from stats given on the media and on TV. So it must be true, right? (Haha)

I especially refer to readers of book length things not on iphones and places such as twitter, despite my own presence there, FB, GR, and Google. Despite also the people that come to my blog.

From what I hear, ever fewer people are reading. I think even amazon admits to that. (I will not take the time to research a link right now and maybe things are better now than the few months ago when I noted the article.) Though I will own that many we label as nonreaders now catch news on things like MSN.

I still feel that us habitual readers are doing the reading and the host of those labeled "nonreaders" grow.

Thanks for pointing me toward where readers can be found. Maybe they're there. Of course, maybe these too are filled with authors as well.

I doubt that I can ever become an expert on reading or even one on my many interests. My blog, so far, remains extremely eclectic to have me a expert at any narrow subject. You know; jack of all trades, master of none. But things may change in that. We'll see.

Again, I appreciate your thoughts and your direction. Best of luck.


message 14: by April (new)

April Wilson (aprilwilson) Steven wrote: "April wrote: "Steven wrote: "So, the real secret is finding readers. Now, that's a good question. Where are the ever dwindling population of readers?"

Steven, why do you feel the reader population..."


All good points, Steven.

Just one note: you'd be surprised how many people read full-length novels on smartphones. That's a growing trend (although it seems very uncomfortable to me). I won't read on anything smaller than my Kindle. My daughter, my sister, and my friends all read full-length novels on their smartphones. They read on tablets, too, but they readily read on their phones when they're on the go.

Great conversation!

April


message 15: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments Steven wrote: "Mostly I get "news" on dwindling of readers from stats given on the media and on TV. So it must be true, right? (Haha)"

Last I heard (beginning of this year), total revenue from book sales had been increasing steadily for the past few years. The 2014 numbers I recall were something like $10 billion for print and $3 billion for ebooks. Considering the average cost of eBooks compared to print, that is a lot of eBooks. (I think total books sales around 2008-2009 -- before the eBook revolution -- totaled ~$10 billion.)

I haven't heard anything from Amazon regarding fewer people reading, but as a potential interesting proxy, when KU started a year ago, the monthly payout was a bit over $3 million (my recollection). In July, it was $11.5 million.

This suggests either readership is growing or the readership is buying a lot more books. There are, of course, naysayers out there cooking their stats for their own purposes but there's no question that the overall book market is much bigger (as in probably close to twice the size) it was just a few years ago.


message 16: by Riley, Viking Extraordinaire (new)

Riley Amos Westbrook (sonshinegreene) | 1510 comments Mod
April wrote: "Steven wrote: "April wrote: "Steven wrote: "So, the real secret is finding readers. Now, that's a good question. Where are the ever dwindling population of readers?"

Steven, why do you feel the re..."


Those things are frickin' miraculous. I read on my phone. Without one, I wouldn't have written Everyone Dies at the End (Because my computer blew up in the middle of writing it >.>)


message 17: by Steven (new)

Steven Malone | 39 comments April wrote: "Steven wrote: "April wrote: "Steven wrote: "So, the real secret is finding readers. Now, that's a good question. Where are the ever dwindling population of readers?"

Steven, why do you feel the re..."


Agee on trying to read on smart phones. Couldn't do it.
I am reading more on my Kindle though still prefer paper. Great on vacations and while waiting for doctor's appointments.


message 18: by Steven (new)

Steven Malone | 39 comments Owen wrote: "Steven wrote: "Mostly I get "news" on dwindling of readers from stats given on the media and on TV. So it must be true, right? (Haha)"

Last I heard (beginning of this year), total revenue from boo..."


Thanks, Owen. Hopeful information contradicting what I'd seen.


message 19: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) See, what's funny to me is that my smart phone and kindle are the same size (6" screens) and both are roughly the same size as a mass market paperback, but I can adjust the font size if needed. Some of my older books, especially the pulp books from the fifties and sixties that tried to squeeze words into every inch of space had fonts that were eight point at best.

Something to keep in mind and Owen touched in this: most stats you see on the dwindling of readers is severely skewed in that what it's really tracking is the disappearance of the traditional brick and mortar book store. Not only do they neglect online sales and ebooks, but I'd wager they aren't taking library memberships into consideration either.

Readers are out there, but leading them to your book is not an exact science. I'm just going to echo the 'just keep writing' sentiment.


message 20: by Steven (new)

Steven Malone | 39 comments Christina wrote: "See, what's funny to me is that my smart phone and kindle are the same size (6" screens) and both are roughly the same size as a mass market paperback, but I can adjust the font size if needed. Som..."

Good advice.


message 21: by Ken (new)

Ken (kendoyle) | 364 comments Steven wrote: "So, the real secret is finding readers. Now, that's a good question. Where are the ever dwindling population of readers?..."

Right here on Goodreads--probably the best place to reach readers. The next is Amazon itself, at least for me. I've tried PPC advertising on both sites with mixed results. Goodreads ads didn't have a significant effect on sales, but that was over a year ago, so I may have to re-evaluate.

Amazon advertising is finally starting to pay off, after trial and error. It's comparatively more expensive, if you look strictly at ROI, but there are other benefits that can't be measured easily.


message 22: by Jay (new)

Jay Cole (jay_cole) Christina wrote: "...most stats you see on the dwindling of readers is severely skewed..."

I agree on the flaws in statistics. What was Mark Twain's quote, "...lies, damned lies and statistics!"

People may not be carrying as many books around, but the number of reading screens is ever increasing, and, as you mentioned, the libraries still attract a good deal of traffic.


message 23: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments Christina wrote: "Something to keep in mind and Owen touched in this: most stats you see on the dwindling of readers is severely skewed in that what it's really tracking is the disappearance of the traditional brick and mortar book store"

To amplify a bit, one data point I heard early this year is that some (many?) industry stats are based on ISBNs, as a metric for tracking both published books and sales. Since the use of ISBNs is (possibly) declining (or not growing), books sales, earnings, etc are either. This obviously diminishes the appearance of the indie eBook publishing, and the associated readership.


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