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Picking Up the Ghost
This topic is about Picking Up the Ghost
II. Publishing & Marketing Tips > Six months after publication or pimpin' a book ain't easy.

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message 1: by Tone (new) - added it

Tone (tone_milazzo) | 5 comments I think we've all heard plenty of stories of "How I got published" but not many stories of "what happened after I got published." Here's mine:

Being with a small press a lot of the weight of marketing is on my shoulders. And as I am previously unpublished I have no fan base as such, more like a friend base. So to get my book, Picking up the Ghost out there here’s what I’ve done:

1. Two local book signings, 37 attendees total (36 friends and 1 person who happened to be in the store at the time)

2. Promotional site with the first four chapters

3. Two podcast interviews, Monster Island Resort and Adventures in SciFi Publishing

4. Produced an audio commercial which has run on three podcasts.

5. Hundreds of fliers, I sent packages of twenty to independent bookstores all over the country.

6. Submitted to the San Diego Library’s Local Authors Showcase

7. I ran a Google Adwords campaign with $100 budget.

The end result, sales in the tens. I think. The only numbers I have from from BookScan who are the same people who do the ratings on TV so who knows for sure. But I am pretty sure that I haven't found my audience. So the marketing continues. Because even if I wrote a bad book, I should be able to sell a thousand, right?

Here’s what I still plan on doing:

1. Submit to the local book awards

2. Promotional copies to celebrities who aren’t writers in hopes of a plug. (I've had little luck with established writers, they all seem to be drowning in books.)

3. Give away the ebook as a limited time offer, like a week.

4. Try to convince the publisher to cut the ebook price to $2.99

5. Release a short story as a free ebook.

And probably the best thing I can do to promote my first book:

1. Write another book.

I think it's important to remember that when you get published for the first time, nobody cares. At least not right away.

message 2: by Diane (new)

Diane Castle (dianecastle) | 67 comments I feel you. I'm in the process of trying to figure out what works as well. I did a Facebook advertising campaign. Here's how that went:

I have a Kindle shorts campaign going out March 2, and I'll be blogging about the results at when that happens.

I also bought a Kindle Daily Deal ad in May (first available date). It will be interesting to see how that goes.

Keep us updated.

message 3: by Tone (new) - added it

Tone (tone_milazzo) | 5 comments Sounds like me a Google Adwords. I'm coming to the opinion that advertising is dead and word of mouth is king. But you can't just buy word of mouth.

message 4: by Diane (new)

Diane Castle (dianecastle) | 67 comments What keywords did you advertise under, just out of curiosity?

message 5: by Tone (new) - added it

Tone (tone_milazzo) | 5 comments fantasy, novel, voodoo, new author, dark fantasy, ghost, ghosts, ghost story, urban fantasy stuff like that.

Call me judgmental but I don't think the kind of people who regularly click on ads are the kind of people who read books.

message 6: by Diane (new)

Diane Castle (dianecastle) | 67 comments Could be. I am trying to advertise under the key words "legal thriller" and "oil spill." But my ads have been stuck in review for two weeks, which is making me crazy. There is only one other ad running on the keyword "legal thriller," which makes me think nobody else has had good results, either. But I have a free coupon for $100 bucks from Adwords, so I'm gonna use it.

message 7: by Tracey (new)

Tracey Smith | 107 comments Diane wrote: "I feel you. I'm in the process of trying to figure out what works as well. I did a Facebook advertising campaign. Here's how that went:"

I have also tried FB ads, I commented on your blog post about that one. I'm curious to know how the Kindle Daily Deal works out for you. How much did that ad cost you? How exactly does it work?

message 8: by Diane (new)

Diane Castle (dianecastle) | 67 comments Thanks for your comment on my blog! Yes, I'll definitely be posting about Kindle Nation Daily results.

Here are their advertising options, with prices:

I'm doing the Free Kindle Nation Shorts Excerpt - Email Blast next week. Couldn't get a Daily Deal until May. I'll be posting about both on the blog for sure!

message 9: by Sherri (new)

Sherri Hayes | 155 comments Word of mouth has definately been the best avenue for me as far as sales go. A lot of that word of mouth, however, has been generated through bloggers. After a little over a year of being published with 3 novels under my belt, I now have bloggers asking for my books. This is a big deal as it means they are more likely to love your new stuff if they've loved what you've done before. The best part is that in most cases, it's free. It does take time to go through blogs and find good matches for your story, but in my opinion, it's worth it.

message 10: by Diane (new)

Diane Castle (dianecastle) | 67 comments Good tip, Sherri! I hear it's true that more books sell books. When you started out, how did you go about getting bloggers interested in your books?

message 11: by Sherri (new)

Sherri Hayes | 155 comments Diane wrote: "Good tip, Sherri! I hear it's true that more books sell books. When you started out, how did you go about getting bloggers interested in your books?"

It isn't much different than what I do now. I go to a blog, look to see if they review my genre, and if they do, I submit an e-mail with the information they've requested on that particular site. It really is a mass marketing game the same as anything else in sales. When you're first starting out, or if you are hitting up new bloggers who may never have hear of you, you'll probably only hear back from about 1 out of ever 10 bloggers you send something to. That should improve a little over time. I have about 40-50% response rate now.

message 12: by Diane (new)

Diane Castle (dianecastle) | 67 comments Excellent. Thanks for the tip! Appreciate you!

message 13: by Tracey (new)

Tracey Smith | 107 comments I have recently started a blogger email campaign myself :) I have 2 interviews coming up and am hoping to get some reviews soon

message 14: by Diane (new)

Diane Castle (dianecastle) | 67 comments Awesome! Do post links! I am blogging on my book marketing experiences at, in case you or anyone else is interested.

message 15: by Tracey (last edited Feb 24, 2012 09:34AM) (new)

Tracey Smith | 107 comments You can find me today at

Also I've come across a blogger who is interested in hosting some guest blogger/authors on her site and I told her I'd pass her name around. You can find her at I will be doing a guest blog on her site Wednesday March 7th!

message 16: by Deborah (new)

Deborah Parker | 10 comments Great sharing of ideas everyone. Thanks! We all need to get "out of the marketing box" to make this book publishing thing work!

message 17: by Kat (new)

Kat (katzombie) Do try book bloggers - if you find the right 'match' (oh that sounds like a cheap dating agency!), they can do amazing things for you.

Start with the small ones - big ones are either not accepting review books at all, or only accept books from publishers. Try non-US bloggers too - they are more open to ebooks (no offence meant - US book bloggers just have far more options for hard-copies than us internationals!).

I can't promise a book review unless you are 1) incredibly patient (my review timeframe is currently +3 months) 2) your book is in my preferred genres, but if you want to guest post or have my interview you, I'm certainly available.

message 18: by Robert (new)

Robert Polevoi It's essential to recognize that the big publishers are also facing the enormous revolution that is destroying their classic marketing methodologies and advantages.

1. Professional book reviews in newspapers are going the way of newspaper readership generally, and of professional movie and restaurant reviews. People generally (and younger people in particular) simply don't pay any attention to official arbiters of taste anymore, with the exception of sheer personalities (like Oprah).

2. Physical placement and sales recommendation methods of bricks and mortar bookstores are dying as effective tools just as the stores themselves disappear. This is the single biggest reason, I believe, for the powerful resistance of publishers to ebooks. Without physical print books, they simply can't make use of their marketing leverage in bookstores -- like a giant stack of copies near the entrance.

3. Public libraries and their librarians were already dying for fiscal reasons, when the internet and the digital publishing revolution further undermined their relevance. Librarian selections have always been a cost-effective way or launch new authors and titles. That's mostly history today.

With these tried and true methods of book marketing now sinking beneath the waves of storm, the big publishers are being forced to turn to the only approaches that can possibly make sense. Peer ("word-of-mouth") marketing has always been more important with books and movies than with other products, but now it's the only game in town. And its significance has been enormously magnified by social media and other digital communication tools that further interpersonal communcation and create networks. The subject can no longer can be addressed casually or anecdotally, but professionally and rigorously. The key (not just in my opinion, but in the opinion of all serious observers) is in identifying and cultivating "leadership" readers. These are individuals who strongly self-identify as book readers, and who actively communicate with others about books because they enjoy this kind of coversation (as others enjoy talking sports or politics). These leadership readers are the epicenters of communication waves enfolding around them --and they typically don't know their own influence.

The days of "purchase and wait" marketing decisions are over, and for indie authors willing to put in the effort and time, there is no longer a financial advantage for the big publishers. The very opposite in fact, because readers are flattered by the direct attentions of authors, and very often will want to help futher creative work and creative people that they admire and who hav engaged them personally. And when these readers begin to grow conscious of their own power, they become more powerful and active. They have a chance to shape the culture, and this gives them compelling psychic rewards.

This is long, tough work, but at least you build on bedrock and not on sand (as with the standard PR bullshit). Find the people who love books and love to talk about them - one by one - and let the seed mature. No guarantees, but you may just end up with a healthy, spreading oak with branches everywhere. This is the contemporary "organic" model of marketing, and authors are ideal for it because it's all about communication.

If you believe in your work and in yourself -- (no easy assumption!) -- then this is the right direction. And in this new reality, Goodreads is a veritable Mother Load or rich ore, filled with leadership readers. So stop yakking and whining to other authors and start engaging (and creating) your public! Building a careers as a writer is hard. What else is new? So is making the lineup on a pro baseball team. It's a major-league achievement.

message 19: by A.C. (new)

A.C. Warneke (forsakened) | 91 comments Getting the second book published is probably the best thing to do. :) So when you do the free give away of book 2, the first book is available and often times a reader will say, "What the heck" and pick it up. And the more books that are available, the greater the chance of success.

Trying to market with just one is really difficult - as if marketing by itself isn't already difficult. Personally, I have done the free ebook giveaways (increased the sales with my other books), facebook ad (I think I have received a total of 35 clicks in 3 weeks, not sure how many purchases) giveaways of hard copies (exposure, but again, not sure how many purchases), participate in various forums to get my name out there.... (hey! I'm a writer!!) I have a blog, I have printed up business cards and book marks, i try not to bore people with the fact that I am a writer but it has been known to happen. I haven't done any author interview because I don't think I am interesting enough to make it worth the interviewer's worthwhile and in truth, I'm more of an introvert in real life.

But mostly I spend time on getting another book ready for publication so I can do another giveaway contest and give the ebook away to gain name recognition. It's all part of the marketing and at this point I am just trying to get my name out there. Even famous authors give stuff away because in this day and age when there is so much available you do what you have to (within your comfort levels) to get where you want to go. :)

message 20: by Delilah (new)

Delilah (Delilah_Devlin) | 4 comments What A.C. said. The best way to "pimp" one book is writer another.

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