November 12, 2019, 04:35:18 AM

Author Topic: Floundering in marketing - a rant  (Read 9534 times)

Offline asabo

Floundering in marketing - a rant
« on: October 07, 2014, 04:27:41 PM »
I really need to blow off some steam before I can roll my sleeves up and get back into it. I am not good at marketing and I have been trying sooo hard.

Yesterday I spent the whole day checking through websites that I might want to advertise on for an upcoming sale. I made a spreadsheet of how much advance notice required, price, what I get for my money. It was time consuming and overwhelming, but it needed to be done.

At the same time I was feeling guilty because I did no writing and I am falling behind my self-imposed deadlines.

And then I found another bad review. Ugh. This one said I used too many declarative sentences. Really? Okay, good to know.

Everyone says you have to get reviews, so I research reviewers and send out queries and hear nothing. Still sending out queries... I did a giveaway and got a couple bad reviews out of it. But I think it boiled down to them not being my target audience. (So why did they request it?) But the reviewers that appear to be my target audience are drowning in requests. So I end up reaching out to people I don't have that much information on and it's a disaster.

And the good reviews are all spread out 1 in B&N, 1 on Amazon, 1 on GoodReads which doesn't add up to enough to qualify for the better ads.

And it is so hard to fail at something you know you aren't good at (marketing) when you know you have a good product (the book). I read all the tips and try to follow them. I have a limited budget and I am trying to stretch it and...sheesh. It's just a hell of a lot of work.

I learned awhile ago that if I can say out loud "I hate this!" It's a lot easier to get back to work at it. So here's my whiny rant of how hard it all is...and I will go back to doing it all.

Please chime in with your own complaints. Get it off your chest!
Lethal Seasons - Apocalyptic Science Fiction (no zombies)
http://allthereisandtherestofit.blogspot.com/p/lethal-seasons.html

Offline Jon.M.Jones

Re: Floundering in marketing - a rant
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2014, 10:50:08 PM »
Hello there my friend, it's funny that you mention that because I was speaking to my cousin last night about self publishing, and he told me to read a book called "APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur- How to Publish a Book." by Guy Kawasaki.

I'm going to check it out as soon as I've finished mine, but I thought I'd share that bit of information with you. Hope this helps with your journey a little bit. Be safe my friend.

Offline asabo

Re: Floundering in marketing - a rant
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2014, 04:02:06 PM »
Thanks for the kind words. I am fine now, back on the journey.
Lethal Seasons - Apocalyptic Science Fiction (no zombies)
http://allthereisandtherestofit.blogspot.com/p/lethal-seasons.html

Offline MDIreman

Re: Floundering in marketing - a rant
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2014, 05:52:25 AM »
@ the "too many declarative sentences" - lol.  Gotta love it when someone has memorized a few "rules" about the dos and don'ts of writing and then tries to sound smart by using your work as a demonstration of their intimate understanding.

There are a lot of people in the same position as you... which probably won't be any comfort since that means you're going to be stuck there that much longer, hidden among them. It's easy to become disillusioned by how fruitless self-promotion feels, and really the only light at the end of the tunnel is the hope that, if your book deserves it (or even, in some cases, if it doesn't), the value of the work you did will increase exponentially as one person you reached tells two others, and they do, etc.

Hang in there, and keep writing.
M. D. Ireman
Author of the low fantasy series Bounds of Redemption
www.MDIreman.com

Offline CameronJohnston

Re: Floundering in marketing - a rant
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2014, 09:07:18 AM »
Sounds like a right slog asabo. I don't have too much advice on the marketing of self-published novels but what you might want to do is to take a side-ways look at things.

Reviews are useful, but do not equal author profile. Nobody knows you from any other self-published author, with or without reviews. You could always try and raise your author profile by getting short stories published, writing articles or book reviews etc that will get your name out there and make people aware of your work and more inclined to look at it.

The Traitor God & God of Broken Things

Offline AniOneHereAlive

Re: Floundering in marketing - a rant
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2014, 04:41:10 AM »
Oh Rants! Well at least you can get people to review your work. I've had quite a few people download my book, but no one seems to review it. I can't submit a copy to review to most blogs because they require a minimum of 4 reviews. I did however, get one good review on Goodreads, which isn't so bad, but they said nothing about the work.  I'm starting to think maybe I shouldn't bother with my second book, but my beta reader said it was pretty good as did the handful of other people who are friends (and I have BRUTALLY honest friends). Self-publishing is starting to seem like the wrong way to go for me.

Offline CameronJohnston

Re: Floundering in marketing - a rant
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2014, 02:28:48 PM »
Also, networking does not hurt if you are serious about it, and I don't just mean just with other self-published authors. Joining writer's groups and forums is always a good way to do this, especially if they are submitting stories to traditional publishing or magazines/seeking to self-publish their work rather than just being a for-the-fun hobbyist.

Go to the various writer's Science Fiction/Fantasy conventions (if you can afford to and are sociable enough) and talk to people - but please don't just relentlessly plug your novels, those people are tedious and get avoided. Most people will ask what you are working on anyway so you'll get a chance to talk about it. Many a review or deal has come about from going to cons and folk chatting in the bar about books to other writers, editors, agents, reviewers and bloggers.

...and put a link in your signature on forums like this.

The Traitor God & God of Broken Things

Offline asabo

Re: Floundering in marketing - a rant
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2014, 10:13:59 PM »
Thanks Cameron Johnston. I thought I had a link, but apparently I haven't done it right! I am such a hermit that I have to force myself to socialize. The last con I went to was DragonCon and wow, talk about overload. It's been awhile, but I do plan on getting back into them. Smaller ones, maybe. I'm also dabbling in Twitter now.

Short stories are hard for me. I did get a couple flashes published but didn't have any books at the time. I know people suggest that as a route, but since I rarely read short stories, I have my doubts. I have a writing schedule for the next few books which doesn't give me a lot of time for shorts.

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions.

AniOneHereAlive - hang in there. It takes a lot of work to get noticed. I've got 3 books out and am just starting to sell stuff. (first 2 are mysteries) I keep reading that the rule of thumb is 5 books on the market before things really start rolling. Got my fingers crossed. Book four comes out in January, another mystery. (I know hopping genres doesn't help either!)
Lethal Seasons - Apocalyptic Science Fiction (no zombies)
http://allthereisandtherestofit.blogspot.com/p/lethal-seasons.html

Offline jamesr

Re: Floundering in marketing - a rant
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2014, 03:18:51 PM »
I feel you. It's difficult to get things moving along, and seems impossible to get your product in the right hands. I had a great deal of success using BookBub, and I'm continuing to look for other companies that have a loyal membership base who pay attention to the emails they receive, and act on them. That really seems like the best way to proceed, in my opinion.

As far as reviews are concerned, you have to stop looking at them. It's an absolute must. People don't know half of what they claim to know, and they're more than happy to spend 6 sentences tearing apart your 50,000, 100,000, or whatever, project. Something you've spent your time and effort on; sunk your own budget on; characters you've created out of thin air; none of that matters to them. I feel like people think that because you've written something that is now for sale, they have to bring you back down to Earth. What they don't realize is that no one is out there handling your marketing. Very few are out there supporting you on a regular basis. They fail to realize that having a book for sale, and a book that is selling are two completely different things. The internet is a dangerous place to look for accolades, and Amazon reviewers can be down right mean.

Be strong and write for yourself. Get your story out of your head, and continue to create for those who care to listen. You may never make a career as a writer, none of us may, but if you're writing to bring entertainment to someone and you accomplish that, you've accomplished your goal.  :)
Please don't judge me on my punctuation! I have to pay people to show me my mistakes!

For anyone interested:
http://www.amazon.com/Rise-Dunamy-James-R-Landrum-ebook/dp/B00I7LGNH8

Offline Obadoro

Re: Floundering in marketing - a rant
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2014, 08:44:25 PM »
I've been at this game for seven years now and have had a little success. For marketing to be successful you have to do a combination of things and you have to do it every day. I use social networks, I attend local cons where I sell my books and participate on panels and I also participate in local events held by libraries. It's a lot of work, but it's no way around it unless you write the best book ever or have a friend willing to be your sales and marketing champion. And it also helps to publish more books. I wish I could say there was a magic bullet, there's not.

Offline asabo

Re: Floundering in marketing - a rant
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2015, 03:57:22 PM »
Congrats Jamesr on getting to where you can use Bookbub. Bit of a Catch-22 for me. Don't they require something like 25 reviews at a 4-star average? I'd be over the moon if I had that many reviews.

My struggle right now is somehow collecting those reviews. I contacted a bunch of bloggers but never heard back. Then I got busy writing another book and slacked off on the marketing. I am trying to put together a marketing daily routine that will make sense and be efficient with my time. But there is so much info to go thru and websites to check out and advertisers to evaluate. Sheesh. I feel like I am reinventing the wheel as the market and successful strategies change daily!
Lethal Seasons - Apocalyptic Science Fiction (no zombies)
http://allthereisandtherestofit.blogspot.com/p/lethal-seasons.html

Offline AndrewMelvin

Re: Floundering in marketing - a rant
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2015, 10:55:13 PM »
This has been a reassuring conversation for me, as I will never be the world's best marketer and it's interesting to read other people's approaches to what seems to be a very difficult process - I have found the job of attracting attention to my books much harder than actually writing them. I've concluded that all I can do is keep plugging away at different things, adding to my readership one person at a time.

Offline Wizard Police

Re: Floundering in marketing - a rant
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2015, 09:12:57 AM »
My two cents from the research I've been doing of self publishing for the past year, I know I'm making these numbers up, these are just arbitrary estimates according to my experience, but your book cover is 60% of your marketing, 20% is from keywords/search engine, and the rest is you going out to make a concerted effort to get your book out there.



This is one of the self publishing success stories I've been following since around it's release. I bought the book when it was just at like in the top 100 000 ranking of Kindle books sold. Right now it's around the 4000s, and I'v seen it as high in the thousands.

I first caught wind of it when it was being advertised in a blog's site for best new books.

The first thing that popped out to me about it was its cover.

In today's fast paced economic world people spare little time evaluating on purchases they're looking to buy before they move onto the next thing. They need a reason to keep looking into your book, and the gateway towards that is the cover. People's attention spans are as short as ever. If you don't have their attention with your cover, then they're probably scrolling down looking for another book to capture their attention.

Having a really good cover is ABSOLUTELY IMPORTANT. I get sad when I see hard working authors doing everything in their means to get their book out there, but no one really gives the time of day to give it a chance because the cover doesn't stick out to them.

The second part is keywords.

http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2013/02/28/keywords-metadata-discoverability/

That article really opened up my eyes to self publishing success. There's nothing I can add that isn't already said in that article, I highly recommend that everyone reads it.

I've signed up for Merchant Words that do word searches for you on what people type in amazon so that you have better search results. The $30 a month fee is pretty hefty, so I don't suggest getting it until you got the ball rolling. All of my books saw better sales when I signed up for it though.

I did an experiment self publishing a short story (although it's 120 pages long so it's not even short) that I wrote when I was 15 under a pseudo name with no prior book releases to it (of course it went under heavy revisions and editing). I was looking over stock photos that fit my story on a book designer website and found one for $30 that looked professional, something that Barnes and Nobles would put up on their shelves. I wanted to see how powerful holiday sales can be without me having to advertise the book to sort of test out my theory above, because I heard from another author she got the most sales on Christmas because that's when people are on break for the holidays and are looking for something to sit down and read. And also because people get their brand new kindles and are eager to make their first purchase.

However my mishap was I mistook "the holidays" for just Christmas, and I released my book way too close to Christmas. Christmas is the most competitive time of the year, and my book didn't stand out from books that were released earlier in December that gained traction throughout the month leading to Christmas. I've noticed that a lot of books get released early to mid December, that would have been a much better date for me to publish it.

Nonetheless since I published that short story I sold 20 books and it's been borrowed/read on KU 30 times. And that's without me not lifting a finger as far as spreading the word about it goes. If I had released it earlier in December like everyone else I imagined I'd see far more success.

Hope that helped everyone.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2015, 09:15:19 AM by Wizard Police »

Offline asabo

Re: Floundering in marketing - a rant
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2015, 09:17:34 PM »
Wizard Police - thanks for sharing your experience. And congrats on your sales. Did you publish the short story as an experiment in marketing? Since it's in KU, I guess it's in KDP Select. Are all your books there, or just the short story?

I have book 2 of a mystery series coming out in a couple weeks. I am debating whether I should try the KDP Select with it again or not. My first 2 times didn't produce many sales, but this will be my 4th book, so that might have some effect on it. And that was way before KU.
Lethal Seasons - Apocalyptic Science Fiction (no zombies)
http://allthereisandtherestofit.blogspot.com/p/lethal-seasons.html

Offline Wizard Police

Re: Floundering in marketing - a rant
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2015, 12:39:33 PM »
Wizard Police - thanks for sharing your experience. And congrats on your sales. Did you publish the short story as an experiment in marketing? Since it's in KU, I guess it's in KDP Select. Are all your books there, or just the short story?

I have book 2 of a mystery series coming out in a couple weeks. I am debating whether I should try the KDP Select with it again or not. My first 2 times didn't produce many sales, but this will be my 4th book, so that might have some effect on it. And that was way before KU.

All my stories used to be on KU, but I've taken them off ever since after the holidays. Long books will not survive in KDP and I would not at all recommend taking this route if your book is traditionally long.

Ever since the introduction of Kindle Unlimited I've been reading a lot of articles and following what other authors have done to conform to this drastic change in the Indie Publishing market. It's naturally received a lot of initial backlash, but what authors are doing to adapt to this is splicing up their books in volumes rather than making it a long traditional book. I don't want to say that my goal for the short story was exclusively a science experiment, because I really felt it was a good product in itself as well, but my main goal was to test some things out.

As mentioned before the heart of my experiment was to see how well holiday sales yield for me, but my secondary objective was testing out the Kindle Unlimited aspect of it.

With Kindle Unlimited you only get rewarded with the buy if 10% of the book is read. Books that are long, like 300 pages, are much less likely to get that sale. I've come to realize that more than half the time readers don't actually finish your book, much less get to 10% of it. Even though 10% of a 300 page book is only 30 pages, which really isn't that much, I still saw my sales plummet hard. I thought that since my book can be downloaded and read by anyone that's subscribed to KU that I'd see more borrows and less buys, but what happened was that both went down.

Over the holidays I got around 5 to 10 buys on my books, and no borrows. Maybe I got one, but that's still a pretty massive discrepancy from my short story that got 30 borrows. My short story is shorter, so when people read them it hits the 10% threshold much faster. If they only read to 20 pages, I still get the sale. Can't say the same for my other books.

So as mentioned before authors are now making their full length books into a "series" of short stories. This is really the only time I recommend doing KDP Select.