Learning e-Book Marketing by Doing it Wrong
Okay, this is a real blog post. I know it is April 1st. If you want to see my spoof/joke blog post, jump over to the Guild of Dreams. There, happy now?
As I mentioned last week in my first post on marketing, after a year of being an Indie Author, I’m finally really broaching the idea of marketing. I won’t say that I didn’t try ANY marketing before this recent attempt. I did. And I made all the typical newbie mistakes, which is what THIS post is about.
First up, when I decided to publish on Amazon, I enrolled in the KDP program to get those five free days. I figured, rightly in this bit at least, that what I needed was fans not cash. I have a job that pays the bills (even if it makes me want to run away . . . far away), I wrote the novel for love, and I wanted to share it. Five free days would get the word out.
The first time around, I simply told Amazon to make Born of Water free for five days . . . in a row. The first two were actually pretty exciting (for me). With no advertising beyond whatever Amazon did for me, I had 723 downloads and a handful of follow up sales afterwards. I even got a review out of it. It had a handful of praise and told me I’d made the MOST common of newbie mistakes: I’d published without having an editor proofread first. That was a lesson quickly corrected!
As the newness wore off and I started doing some research, I also realized I’d made two other mistakes. One: I hadn’t actually told anyone about my giveaway. Two: Five days back to back was such a waste. Most downloads stop by the end of day two. Thank goodness that when you re-enlist is KDP, you get a fresh set of five promo days!
A little smarter the next time (with the edited version on-line now of course), I sent out notices to on-line sites that list Amazon giveaways (you can find that list here). The result? Well this time I had over 2400 downloads in only two days! That is a little more impressive!
I also tried some paid promotion, giving Project Wonderful a try with a pay per click add. A friend had noticed Project Wonderful links on some of the pages they visited. Since she also liked my book, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try (seemed like good logic, right?). As I could keep the budget reasonable and check the stats, I gave it a go. The result? Some click throughs, maybe a sale, but I don’t think it was worth the cost really.
I also had a blog. Not this one, just No Map Nomads then. I would talk about my writing occasionally on it but felt . . . suppressed. My husband isn’t a big fan of major promotion, so that kept the lid on the idea of shouting “BUY MY BOOK!” The travel theme also didn’t inspire me to talk about my writing, and, honestly, few people read anything I posted about my writing. It wasn’t exactly encouraging.
Really, nothing about the marketing I was doing was encouraging. Plus, I was under that black cloud I’d mentioned where marketing was a necessary time sink that sucked. I also agree(d) with my husband. So much of the marketing was just shouting and it sounded a lot like “I’M AWESOME! BUY MY BOOK!” And it was shouted over and over and over . . . . To me, that is a huge turnoff. I ignore that type of marketing. Why would I do it myself? So my efforts sort of petered out until less than a month ago.
I still can’t point to what changed. Being a member of the Guild of Dreams and watching successful authors market while having fun certainly helped. I learned about Twitter hashtags and Facebook pages without having to do more than watch. See, I HAD been promoting all along – just not my writing. I was promoting the Guild and the posts there.
I also read a great article (and some blog posts – all in the same month. I still think it was a conspiracy) about consistency. If you want to see results from something, you can’t just stop and start. You need to do it on a set schedule, so pick one that will be achievable and DO IT. I grudgingly admit that makes sense.
So early this year as I finished the second book in my series, I had a list of things I had done wrong or didn’t like about marketing:
- 1. Poorly advertised giveaways
- 2. Inconsistent marketing while jumping between venues
- 3. No personal blog where I could be me
- 4. Not wanting to be a part of repetitious slogan shouting
- 5. Unresearched paid ads
- 6. All of my “eggs” in one market (Amazon)
- 7. Not having any fun with my marketing and so dooming myself to dreading it (and subsequent failure)
Knowing what you DON’T want to do is just as good as knowing what to do. It certainly gave me a place to start! Which I’ll talk about next week. I promise!