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Author Topic: Floundering in marketing - a rant  (Read 9177 times)

Offline Michael Sullivan

Re: Floundering in marketing - a rant
« Reply #15 on: February 03, 2015, 02:01:12 PM »
Reviews are important and it can be difficult.  I've written some posts on the subject that may help you.


Offline asabo

Re: Floundering in marketing - a rant
« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2015, 07:34:53 PM »
Thanks Michael, that was extremely helpful. I had been doing that in a less effective way. I am definitely a spreadsheet kind of girl. Don't know why I didn't set it up that way to begin with. Some of my research had to be repeated because I didn't keep proper notes. I will definitely be implementing some of your suggestions.

By the way - loved the first book! Haven't gotten to the others, but they are on my TBR list.
Lethal Seasons - Apocalyptic Science Fiction (no zombies)
http://allthereisandtherestofit.blogspot.com/p/lethal-seasons.html

Offline J. R. Hardesty

Re: Floundering in marketing - a rant
« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2015, 02:46:31 AM »
Getting reviews is indeed tough when you're a nobody with your first book. Of course, you can buy reviews, but that's a hefty chunk of change out of the bank account. I went with a less pricey alternative:  Indie Book Reviewers (http://indiebookreviewers.blogspot.com/). Service was excellent, reviews came pretty quickly and the price was right: $135.00 for 6 reviews (running a special). Reviews are usually $25/per with a minimum of 4. Much better than Kirkus!

Hope you find this of some aid to your endeavors ... and good luck to you!

Offline James A. Hunter

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Re: Floundering in marketing - a rant
« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2015, 01:14:56 PM »
Asabo,
So sorry to hear about your frustrating experiences, and those bad reviews ... every time I get a bad review I just want to curl up in the fetal position and set my computer on fire. Unfortunately, there's just no way around them. I released my first book Strange Magic, an Urban Fantasy novel, just over a month ago and I've had quite a lot of success, overall. Currently I'm books is sitting at 1,343 paid in store, though for a while I was in the top 1,000. I've sold/lent (I'm enrolled in KDP select) around 3,000 copies so far and also managed to get 49 reviews and Amazon, mostly positive (though the negative ones make me want to die) and maybe seventy or so on Goodreads.

I did spend a lot of time and work on it and had it edited professionally, but mostly it’s been marketing I think. I had a professional cover done, which made a huge difference (ebooklaunch), and I read quite a few books on self-publishing; I'd recommend: Write. Publish. Repeat. and Let's get Digital—these books have great strategies that have helped me sell and obtain reviews. Probably the thing that has helped me get reviews the most though, is one, having a call to action with a clickable link in the back of the book (asking people to review), and two, setting up a mailing list. There's a link to my website and a sign up form for my list; when folks sign up I have an automated email that thanks them and asks them to review my books. It’s work pretty well so far.
Again, sorry to hear about your frustrating experience so far. Best of luck, hang in there, and good writing.
Best Regards,
James
"Writing is when you make the words, editing is when you make them not sh***y." Chuck Wendig

Offline asabo

Re: Floundering in marketing - a rant
« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2015, 06:14:51 PM »
Congrats James! Sounds like you are doing everything right!

I've got a bunch of questions. Looks like you got some reviews from the Netgalley service. How was your experience with them? How many reviews did you get in total through them? Did you have to pay?

You said you had a professional cover done and it made a huge difference in the ebook launch - how so? Did your cover designer help with marketing?

Now here's the hard part - how much time did you expect for the pre-release marketing? I think that Netgalley has a long lead time. So how long was it from the time the book was done to the day it was released? That's the hardest part for me. Once the book is done I want it out there.

The call to action button is a great idea. Now if I just had some sales for people to use it! ;)
Lethal Seasons - Apocalyptic Science Fiction (no zombies)
http://allthereisandtherestofit.blogspot.com/p/lethal-seasons.html

Offline James A. Hunter

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Re: Floundering in marketing - a rant
« Reply #20 on: February 24, 2015, 12:45:09 AM »
Happy to answer questions—I feel very privileged to have had such great luck with my book, so I’m glad to help however I can. I did use Netgalley, and it did cost, right around $200; I used a writers co-op through patchwork press to reduce the cost (usually Netgalley is around 600 I think). With that said, Netgalley is the one marketing regret I have—the vast majority of my negative reviews came from Netgalley users. Admittedly, my book is not high literary fiction (it’s the book equivalent of an action movie), and Netgallery caters to a bit more highbrow crowd (IMO), so maybe I should have seen it coming, but overall, Netgalley did not make a positive return on investment.

As to lead time, I schedule about a month out to start marketing. I booked several ad sites for launch week, lowered the price to .99 cents on Amazon, and then pushed hard. I also submitted to book bloggers—the Book Reviewer Yellow Pages really helped me find likely people to review. Another thing you might try to get sales/reviews rolling a bit: host a LibraryThings giveaway. You can give out copies of your book (up to 100) to readers and ask for reviews in return; that was free and garnered both more reviews and overall better reviews and it cost me nothing.

The book cover didn’t directly help me sell in terms of marketing, but I think it helped me sell by getting people to take a chance and open the book. I have had a lots of folks sign my for my mailing list, and many have complimented me on the eye catching cover design. Many have said something along the lines that the cover caused them to stop and take a look, the back blurb enticed them in, and the free sample sold them. So it’s not a quantifiable number thing exactly, but I think the cover plays a huge roll in selling the book (though, as a side note, I just bought your book and I think the cover looks very professional). I’d recommend buying The Indie Author Power Pack (its only .99 and you get three books, all of which are great). I basically did a mixed of the strategies listed there and they cover it all in far better detail. Hope this helps.
James
"Writing is when you make the words, editing is when you make them not sh***y." Chuck Wendig

Offline asabo

Re: Floundering in marketing - a rant
« Reply #21 on: February 24, 2015, 06:43:11 PM »
Thanks so much for sharing! I just bought your book, too. I am a big Dresden fan, so it is right up my alley. But at a glance he sounds like he might be more like Harry Connolly's Twenty Palaces guy - Ray Lilly. Another series I enjoyed. I think you are writing in a very popular genre right now.

I have done a lot of what you did, but it didn't pan out. So I guess I need to reassess my methods. I contacted 18 blogger/reviewers and only got 1 response. I thought I had sifted through them carefully enough to find ones for my genre. But I guess I need to work on that. I did a giveaway on Goodreads - 8 free copies and I got one review. Maybe I should give away more. I did a little advertising, and got some newsletter signups which was great, but sales are still minimal (maybe 1-3 a month?).

I'm working on another book. I'll try some new things with that one when it comes out in the fall. And I will get the Power Pack, although I read the blogs of most of the authors and have probably seen a lot of the material. More research! More writing!
Lethal Seasons - Apocalyptic Science Fiction (no zombies)
http://allthereisandtherestofit.blogspot.com/p/lethal-seasons.html

M.S OLNEY

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Re: Floundering in marketing - a rant
« Reply #22 on: April 14, 2015, 09:04:41 PM »
My first Fantasy novel Heir to the Sundered Crown broke into the top ten best seller list for Kindle in the USA and UK last year and so far I've sold close to 3,000 copies. The best advice I can give is to make contacts and use sites like Wattpad or Webook to build up a readership. If you've already got readers from those sites then you have a great starting position for when you put book on sale. I write the first draft on the site, build up interest and ge readers involved in the process and then when it comes to sell leave the first few chapters up as a big advert.

Offline Michael Sullivan

Re: Floundering in marketing - a rant
« Reply #23 on: April 25, 2015, 12:32:10 PM »
Of course, you can buy reviews, but that's a hefty chunk of change out of the bank account. I went with a less pricey alternative:  Indie Book Reviewers (http://indiebookreviewers.blogspot.com/). Service was excellent, reviews came pretty quickly and the price was right: $135.00 for 6 reviews (running a special). Reviews are usually $25/per with a minimum of 4. Much better than Kirkus!

Just one person's opinion, of course, but I think "buying reviews" is a really bad idea.  It (a) screams "desperation" (b) will always be seen as "less than honest" and (c) just isn't the "accepted" route.

Better to find people on goodreads that like books that are similar to yours, offer them a complimentary copy with "the hopes" of a review - but with no strings attached.  That's what I did when starting out and it worked well.

Offline asabo

Re: Floundering in marketing - a rant
« Reply #24 on: April 30, 2015, 06:42:34 PM »
That's a great idea Michael. I may do that with book one of my apocalyptic this summer as book two will be out in the fall.

I've put marketing on the back burner for now because it just wears me out. I will worry more about it when I have finished book 3 in this trilogy. Maybe once it's all done, people will be more interested.

My apocalyptic book was my 4th novel and I expected a little more attention to it, but it was the first in its genre. The first 3 are mysteries. So maybe that doesn't count...
Lethal Seasons - Apocalyptic Science Fiction (no zombies)
http://allthereisandtherestofit.blogspot.com/p/lethal-seasons.html

Offline J. R. Hardesty

Re: Floundering in marketing - a rant
« Reply #25 on: December 04, 2015, 12:32:33 AM »
Of course, you can buy reviews, but that's a hefty chunk of change out of the bank account. I went with a less pricey alternative:  Indie Book Reviewers (http://indiebookreviewers.blogspot.com/). Service was excellent, reviews came pretty quickly and the price was right: $135.00 for 6 reviews (running a special). Reviews are usually $25/per with a minimum of 4. Much better than Kirkus!

Just one person's opinion, of course, but I think "buying reviews" is a really bad idea.  It (a) screams "desperation" (b) will always be seen as "less than honest" and (c) just isn't the "accepted" route.

Better to find people on goodreads that like books that are similar to yours, offer them a complimentary copy with "the hopes" of a review - but with no strings attached.  That's what I did when starting out and it worked well.

There is a difference between a guranteed/paid review and a vanity review. With a guaranteed reveiw, you pay your money to whomever you choose (Kirkus, SF Book Review, Manhattan Book Review, etc.) and you get a review. No guarantee its going to be a good review, but you get a review. I don't see the problem here. You post these reviews to Amazon via authorcentral and they go under "editorial reviews." Or you can ship your book off to these places and hope against hope they decide to review your book. How that is "less than honest" is beyond me, nor does it scream desperation. I consider it just another marketing choice. Free copies guarantee nothing, by the way, but I'm glad that worked for you. And that, too, is another marketing tool.

Cheers to all.