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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Marketing Update - Some New Observations

The title of this blog states that I will be sharing lessons I learn along my road to successful self-publication. I thought I'd give you an update on some ideas that have worked for me, or that seem to have promise now that I am five months post-publication one one book and two months post-publication on the other -- in other words, it's VERY early in the marketing process.

Here you go:

-- Twitter now drives 38% of all visits to my author website and 37% of all new visitors. Try to be active on Twitter in ways that show your personality. RT worthy posts by other authors.

-- Google Analytics tells me that my website has a zero percent "bounce rate." If you are unfamiliar with the term, it means that no one leaves my site from the same page on which they enter. In other words, they look around. So I'm happy with my website design.

-- Kindle now accounts for about 30% of my book sales by number of books, and about the same percentage of my gross profits from book sales. These percentages are growing. I like Kindle -- especially because it costs nothing but time to have your book available there.

-- Having your paper books available through multiple online channels will encourage Amazon to discount your book. This is great, since all of the discount comes out of Amazon's share. Make eBooks available through Smashwords. BN will pick them up.

-- Local book clubs are beginning to ask for group discounts on purchases of my books. I can easily accommodate, since retailers take 40% of gross selling price. NOTE: Circumventing your local retailers may cause challenges, though. So you have to make a call. Also see New Prevailing Wisdom -- Begin at Home.

-- I'm excited to be exhibiting at a regional book fair in October. Fellow authors tell me it is great exposure for my books -- especially if I engage the patrons in a positive and friendly manner. I'm good at that and looking forward to the opportunity to pitch my books. See Exhibiting at a Book Fair.

-- I have been invited to speak to a medium-sized discussion group in my area in February. It's not a group that's just about books. They want to hear about my publishing journey. I am confident that presentation will generate book sales on the premises, as well as increase my local author profile.

-- Two regional newspaper reviewers have confirmed to me that they presently have my latest book in their to-be-read piles. If you don't know a lot about newspaper reviewers, they get bushels of books every day. Making it out of the slush pile and into the to-be-read pile is HUGE. Now, if they like the book, I should get some significant new exposure -- total circulation of 1,000,000 plus. (Of course, if they don't like my book, they probably won't review it. Most reviewers don't waste their time and ink telling readers which self-pubs NOT to buy.)

-- I have a standing offer at my local radio station to do a ten minute interview whenever I have something to announce. I'm saving that option for something special.

-- I have acquired my very first endorsement from a well-read author. I emailed to see if I could send her my book, received her permission, and sent it. Don't know yet how much this will help immediately. The quote is on my webpage. But I need to update the book's print files to include it on the book cover or in the front matter.

-- I've joined the Association of Independent Authors (AiA). I believe the cost was $50. There aren't many organizations I will pay to join. But the information, contacts and exposure at AiA are well worth the fee. AiA has lots of current news items and suggestions, not to mention tons of valuable discussion forums.

-- When I published the second novel in my suspense/thriller series, sales of the first novel increased substantially. I am convinced that there is a synergy in having more than one novel published. So keeping working on book two (or three or four).

-- A number of people have commented to me that they like the way my book interiors look. "It's easy to read the words." I used an 11 point Georgia font style and 1.2 line spacing to make for easy reading. It costs a little more to have the extra pages. But I think readability is crucial.

Well . . . hope you are able to make use of the above tips that seem to be working for me.

All the best!



  1. Quick question... how long have you been going at this? I'm still so new at direct marketing that I'm not certain what timeline I should use to stop and say "Am I doing it right?"

  2. Hi Belinda,

    I'm pretty new to book marketing. My 1st book was published in March, 2010 and my 2nd at the end of June. I have a one year plan for initial marketing.

    Most traditional publishers do at least a year of pre-release publicity. So I figured it's only fair to expect my marketing efforts to take at least that long.

    I continue to learn along the way, as you may tell from my posts.

    I think it's always prudent to ask yourself whether you're doing it right. I've taken the shotgun approach and am trying everything I can think of, then abandoning those efforts that seem fruitless. (e.g. I've tried lowering my price on Kindle to $2.99 -- sales dropped off dramatically. Now back up to $6.99.)

    Best wishes!


  3. Great post John.

    I need to check out AiA.

    Surprises me how many authors don't have their books out in Kindle/E-book. My e versions out sell print 5 to 1 or more.

    thanks for the informative post


  4. Hi William,

    I agree about the eBooks outselling the paper. And they don't cost ANYTHING to publish. I don't understand why every author wouldn't want his/her book available in this format.

    Thanks for checking in.

    All the best! John

  5. Great info John I never know about the Rain Taxi event. Hope to have paperbacks next year.
    Not sure if you know Bloomington has a Writers' Festival and Book Fair, usually in Feb. and you can rent a table, read excerpts. etc. It's a another place to network.

  6. Wildlypoetic,

    I'll post about the Rain Taxi Festival afterward and let you know my thoughts.

    And thanks for the tip about the Bloomington Fair. I'll check it out.