Thursday, April 11, 2013

The New Dirty Word

That got your attention didn't it? But I'm not talking the traditional four letter words, I'm talking about  a dirty word to artists, writers, etc. That word is promotion.
I know some writers who think because they have a NY publisher, they don't have to do any promotion, but the times they are a changin'. If you want to be successful in this business you're gonna need a plan to get your name out there. Publishing a book isn't enough anymore.
Authors need to be discovered, not by agents but by readers.
And there's many venues to do it, too many for one blog to list.
And they don't work for everyone.
But I think, really believe, that there are threads in people's success that cross genres, abilities and writing levels.

1--write and write often.
Explanation: You need books out there for people to buy. I've heard it time and time again, many readers aren't going to buy your book if you only have one available. If they like your stuff, they're gonna want more and want it now. And, I should add, series are gold. If someone likes your characters, they're not going to want them to leave. EVER!

2--to keep your numbers up, it helps to write in one genre.
Explanation--This seems like a no brainer, but the truth is I am multipubbed in multiple genres and I always will be. As much as I'd like to be a writer dedicated to the business, I'm a storyteller who writes. Which means, I'm switching from my money makers to the book I want to write. I'm ignoring the business side of publishing for the artistic and creative side. It will cost me money, but it feeds my soul.

3--schedules are important, keep with them.
Explanation--consistently put new material out there for your readers and let them know when to expect it. Even if you can only write a book a year, let them know when it's out or will be released.

4--Freebies sell books
Explanation--I know lots of folks disagree with this, but it's true.  I have several short stories on permafree at all outlets and that drives folks to buy my books. It gives them a taste of my style, which isn't for everyone. I also post free chapters of my book, depending on my contract and let me say on my blog, I consistently get hits, it builds momentum and makes people eager for my book to be released.

5--Pricing matters
Explanation--ebooks don't cost much to produce and a savvy buyer knows this, unless you're a big name author with a huge following, not everyone is going to buy your 8 dollar ebook. Even though I have 20 books/stories published, I am still being discovered. My self-pubbed prices are low and the first book in a series is always 99cents (US). Why? Because I write in a series and if someone like the first book, they'll like the second. Also, there are a ton of folks who only buy 99cent books and I have the reviews to prove it stands out at that price point, so much so that these buyers will give up a chance to buy 3 books to purchase one of mine at 2.99. That my friends is what  this business is about, earning reader loyalty.

6--Websites are on the way out.
Explanation--this is probably the biggest shocker and I'd say that 90% of you are shaking your head. Yes, readers will visit  your website once if they've liked your book. And I can tell you I receive over 7,500 hits on my website a month, but my fans stalk my blog not my website, or they'll follow my facebook author page, goodreads or twitter. And it is their favorite social media, not all of them. I have different fans on different places, and only that place. Since I can't be everywhere, I have everything linked so one thing shows up on another social sites .

7--It's not a business, it's personal
Explanation--This is more than just personally responding to legitimate fans and acknowledging that their feedback means something (Let me clarify, these are not reviews, but contacts by someone through social media). This is a strange fact is that readers want to know you, the author. I break every rule when it comes to this business. Within reason I post stuff on my blog, personal stuff, like my hobbies, playlists, DIY projects and weird things that happen in my life. And people respond, even offer helpful advice. Those connections keep readers coming back. I know the advice is to make a theme relevant to your books, but the onlyconnection my posts have with my books is that they both contain the same sense of humor.


Anna Markland said...

Enjoyed your post, and I agree wholeheartedly with most of it. I have never quite understood the term "permafree". How do you achieve that?

Linda Andrews said...

I set the price free at smashwords then allow them to distribute to BN, Kobo and ibooks so amazon price matches.

Sandy said...

Thanks for sharing. I love reading what other authors do to promote. I tried an experiment with one of my books going free on Smashwords first, then iTunes picked it up. In the month it was free, my sales took off there, especially for the book I'd featured at the back of the book. I plan to have it stay perma-free when I write the next two in the series.

Thanks for the information. Good luck with your sales.

Lynda Bailey said...

Wow! Great info. Thanks so much for sharing!

I'm shocked that websites are on the way out. I've got a blog, but it's just a page on my website. Should I consider just doing a blog? Would love your opinion.

Linda Andrews said...

Hi Lynda,

I still do both, and use an RSS feed from my blog to my website to keep the content changing and my google rank high.
But to compensate for this change and get extra bang for my buck, I added pages to my wordpress blog to include my books and sales links. I want to catch folks while they're there and get them when they come back. More exposure will hopefully translate into sales.

aditebanerjie said...

Hi. Thanks for the tips. I have been toying with the idea of setting up a website but decided against it as I blog pretty regularly. What are your thoughts about a Facebook author page? T

Tina Swayzee McCright said...

Wow! I need more hours in the day to keep up.

Lexi Post said...

Oh wow Linda. I really need to figure out how to connect facebook, twitter and goodreads so I can do one post. That would save so much time!

Linda Andrews said...

Hi Adite,

I am still fumbling with my facebook author page, but I have a group of fans who only contact me through FB. Thankfully, my blog feed into it so I know they're getting the same info as everyone else.

Anna Questerly said...

Helpful advice, Linda. Thanks!

PJ Sharon said...

Excellent advice, Linda. Thanks for sharing!

Gerri Brousseau said...

Great article. I couldn't agree more with all of it, but especially about it being personal. It's about developing relationships, whether in person or on social media. Thanks so much for sharing.

Marian Lanouette said...

Wonderful advice. Thanks.

Lara said...

Great post--thanks for sharing this advice! :)

Linda McLaughlin said...

Great post, Linda. Lots to think about. And yes, I know I need to write more! ;)