How Should I Market My Book?

It appears yet another week has pretty well blown by. The aftermath of one holiday behind us and another upon us. I have been entertained by comments here lately left on blog posts. Some of them are more entertaining than my posts, some a little cryptic and others worth deleting. I do think of the blog as a conversation so I encourage discussion.

With the relaunch of Firetok imminent, I have been asking for help from my friends with the "what next?" steps. I have seen so many different outfits promising book promotion, I don't even know where to start. One of these suggestions is a blog tour. Which led me to my second question.

What is a blog tour? I think as an author I take my book to company X and sign up for their "tour". In one of many variations let's say they have a list of 100 hot book blogs signed up in their network. They put my book out to all of them and a certain amount of them are interested in the book. For this hypothetical I paid for a package which included 10 stops over 5 days. My book gets featured on 10 blogs over the course of 5 days and I just paid some amount of money for the opportunity. It is all more than a little fuzzy so don't read this as me putting myself out as an expert, it is actually quite the opposite. I may be totally wrong but the dozens I have already looked at have about these many similarities. First hand knowledge tells me the traffic each site has is way more important than anything else. This could be a gold mine of publicity... or then it could not...depending on the traffic the blog generates. I have a test blog which has zero traffic, I use it for "testing" stuff. I can list your book there for 10 bucks. There obviously are many other blogs which could be a major score. I would like to know what I am I really getting here for my money? I am not being cynical, seriously. Some of the outfits promise a specific number of blogs for your money. One I looked at was going to charge 99 dollars with only the vague suggestion of "we have no idea how many blogs might be interested in your book, but you sure as hell aren't getting your money back one way or another." Instead of this particular service I took a handful of dollar bills and made it rain out the car window on the way to work. It generated 0 blog spots and I am guaranteed I will never see one of the bills again. For the most part it seemed like marketing money well spent.

As I watched the bills flutter around in the rearview mirror I thought about putting the word out and asking for suggestions. Plenty of people read this blog, and I thank you wholeheartedly for that. I am putting out a call for suggestions. Not just on blog tours but what worked for you. What got the word out about your book to the right audience especially. Here is where I think I need to add my typical caveat. We need to be under the horror umbrella. One thing I think I have learned is the importance of putting your book in front of people who are at least inclined to your type of story. In this case it is Fiction + Supernatural = Horror.

Let's get back to how to market your book. I briefly discussed my ignorance of a blog tour; social media marketing is definitely a deep pit' I have even been suggested to use a PR firm. One of my favorite suggestions was to "blog like a tugboat on fire and hope for the lovely virus." I just haven't quite figured out how to implement it yet. Another critical aspect are reviews, in my case Amazon reviews. If you have found a method which works to get people to write those all important nuggets of Amazonian gold, please do tell.

Please let me know what has worked and not worked for you. It doesn't need to be a blog tour or anything I have already mentioned, just what worked for you. I don't mind if it is a really convincing article you read or a dream you had, let's talk about it. I realize I am opening the door to advertising here but if it is legit I want to hear about it.

Please leave a comment with your email address, or send me a tweet, lets talk. GAWilson@firetok.com or @gordona_wilson.

37 comments :

RAYAKIN said...

we have the same problem, gordon. i'm a new writer and i wrote 3 short gay eroticas which i think is harder to market because of its niche. i paid 5 dollars in fiverr for tweets but it garnered zero purchase of my stories. i'm wary now of those promising tweets. i just keep on tweeting about my books. hopefully in a year or two, i will have a bigger following who will buy my present and future books. just like you, i dunno how effectively to promote my books so i can be just like those authors whose books are in the top 1000 ranking. if you've found out the formula of effectively promoting one's books, please blog about it. i always read your blog :) thanks for the tips :)

Sarah Zama said...

I don't know whether this can be helpful, because I haven't publish anything yet. But I am planning to self-publish my fist book this year, and so I'm looking into promotion, as you do.

I am planning a blog tour. It's a general consesus (I see) that blog tours don't normally generate sells, but they do generate buzz around your book. They improve optimization for search engings, and they do prodoce reviews.

I know there are many services that offer organization of blog tours. I once partecipate to one as a host, and although I had a lot of fun (the author was truly fantastic) I wasn't really impressed with the result of that particular tour in general. I've checked out many of the blogs that normally partecipate in those blog tours and most of them don't get many comments. Now, of course, it may be that they don't get many comments but they do have a wide readership, I don't know.
A friend advised me to organise my own blog tours, which is what I'm going to to. It's a lot more work, but apparently it's also more effective.

Will it work? I hope so ;-)

D E Osborne said...

I am stymied by marketing. None of the ways I find out about books i want to read are readily available to independently published authors, which includes classic series/authors, bookstores and NPR.

I want to focus my advertising. I've spent a couple of hundred dollars on click bait ads and had dozens of hits on my link but no sales. ROI was -150. Nada. What I don't know is whether the ad paradigm is flawed or if the material I am using to represent my book is flawed. And I don't know how to find out.

Frigging frustrating.

D E Osborne
http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0131X1U2E


Adam Dreece said...

Having released 4 books since April 2014, I've found blog tours to be highly ineffective. The mini-PR companies that specialize in books, that offer blog tours and a facebook event and so on, all seem to be working from the same basic premise which is exposure will equal sales. The problem is that when you go and look at a number of blogs your book gets posted on, it's one of a dozen for the day, and so it's buried. More problematically, is that no one wants to give you any data. How many views, how many clicks does the blog get on any given week, and then how did mine do?

I found the copy (text) that one of the mini-PR companies sent out regarding my 3rd book was just a cut and paste from Amazon for all three of my books, it was mammoth. No one would read that whole thing. It was a waste.

Newsletters are in a similar boat in that most of them provide no data. They will tell you they have 12k, 50k, 100k subscribers, but the number matters a lot less than how many do they regularly have opening their news letter. What's the average click rate. For example, if you have 20k subscribers and you have a healthy newsletter (say 30% average open, and yes that's a healthy one), then that's really 6000 people who open it. Paying for 20k or paying for 6k, has a different feel to it. Now, let's say you have a good click rate, 10% (sad, isn't it?), that would mean about 2000 people might click A link in the newsletter. See where this is going?

I've spent money on ads several times, and found them to be completely worthless, like playing the lottery. I've found some newsletters, like BargainBooksy and BookSend to give me some sales, but not enough to break even for the investment I make HOWEVER, that's when I'm selling book 1 in my series, and hopefully people will end up buying books 2-4 and later this year, #5. Then I would end up well ahead.

Sadly as soon as something works, the ground beneath our feet seems to shift. We have to keep trying and moving, and what works for one person might not work for us.

Sally Ann Melia said...

If you do a blog tour look for one that offers posts on Amazon.com amazon.co.uk and more. Stacking up reviews on Amazon helps with credibility when you promote the book there.

Sally
http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Ann-Melia/e/B00B9KYCTA/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1451851901&sr=8-2-ent

Sally Ann Melia said...

If you do a blog tour look for one that offers posts on Amazon.com amazon.co.uk and more. Stacking up reviews on Amazon helps with credibility when you promote the book there.

Sally
http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Ann-Melia/e/B00B9KYCTA/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1451851901&sr=8-2-ent

clayfoot2 said...

I haven't participated in a blog tour, so not much opinion on it other than a bit of doubt as to their effectiveness. I've actually picked up a lot more views/hits on my books (as well as my blog) since joining Twitter. Sales aren't anything to brag about, but they've been increasing slowly.

I've had additional results due to a well-followed reviewer that specializes in the genre I write. It took some time--mine was among several in the reviewer's queue--but was worth the wait.
Something I'm exploring is getting my work in front of a large, genre organization--admittedly tough for anyone self-/indie-published. In your case, though, Horror Writers of America might be worth looking into, if nothing else for the contacts available through them.

I'm in an area where interest in the genre is low unless you're a really big name author (of any kind!), so book-signings for me wind up little more than 2-3 hours of sipping coffee and trying not to fall asleep.

But aside from Twitter and the reviewer, the one thing that's caused a spike in sales has been getting additional work published in competitive, traditional publications. (For a couple of examples: a short story, then an essay in subsequent issues of one journal; a short story in an anthology by another press)Other short works are scheduled for publication this year.)

Like many, I'm still exploring the marketing end, especially the shoestring budget and too-little-time options. Quite a challenge!

Gordon A. Wilson said...

Sorry It has taken me a bit to get to these comments. This is the kind of info I am really looking for- let me know when you are ready to do a guest post. These are things that it is really hard to find people willing to share. I have been scratching at how to unlock the Amazon review thing and how to get people to leave them. Unsuccessfully I must say. I see more confirmation from these comments my suspicion of the blog tour and I kind of would like to know up front what I am getting, not a vague suggestion.

Can we keep this discussion rolling I am seeing a bit of research and opinion to put into a next post.

Thanks so much!

Michele Barrow-Belisle said...

Gordon, I would suggest "reverse-engineering" things. Look for best selling books in the same genre as yours and google where they might have been on tour, or which blogs those books were featured on. You don't have to use a pre-assembled blog tour. You could piece together your own with only the blogs with substantial viewers/readers, approach them and ask if they'd like to take part. And those connections will prove to be mutually beneficial for a very long time.

If no one is reading the blog post, then you're not going to get the visibility and exposure a good tour can bing. My experience has been the repeat exposure is what brings about sales. Plus gifting tour hosts plus a reader with a copy of your book helps word of mouth spread, and that is invaluable. It trumps every other method of PR & promo because people will buy what their friend recommend to them.

I'm not an expert either, and I've done some really amazing tours, and some lesser viewed tours, but usually every participating blog will cross-post across various social media platforms, so even if they don't have a ton of readers on their blog, it doesn't mean your book won't be seen by thier subscribers through other avenues. That's just my two cents on the whole blog tour scene, for whatever its worth, lol. :)

clayfoot2 said...

I came across an indie press that required authors to prepare a list of 25-50 specific ways & places to market/promote their submitted work. A good exercise!

I divided my list between ways/places online and those offline. Among the offline ways/places, I included donation to local hospitals, such as the veterans hospital that has cart-libraries. Donation to small town libraries is another promotion not to dismiss; those libraries usually have limited budgets--and a signing event in a small town can prove better attended than in a city.

One of the journals publishing a short work this year does author interviews. I'll be curious to see whether/how much that also promotes my writing as a whole.
If you want an idea of how it looks, the link is http://www.portyonderpress.com/glynda-francis.html

eeisherwood said...

I'm in the same boat. Here are some quick hits on what I've read from other sites.

1. Write more. Your best marketing is your other books. They feed on each other within your marketplace, such as the author page on Amazon, and your books will come up more frequently in "other customers also purchased..." sections.

2. Gather a minimum of 5 reviews and then see if you can submit your book to free review sites. I have no idea if paid sites work well, but it can't hurt to try the free ones. I think you also have to be doing a KDP free days for these sort of things.

3. Be useful on social media, but don't be everywhere and dilute yourself. I've focused on Twitter, and less so on Facebook. I'm nowhere else. It took me a couple weeks but I've gotten about 1000 REAL followers. It's difficult to say whether my effort truly matters as I don't see a lot of sales coming in from Twitter, BUT it allows me to operate in the same space as other authors of my genre and practice, if you will, how the more popular authors operate. One mention by one of those influencers can really give you some exposure.

4. Spend money on your covers. This is a huge piece of marketing.

5. Try to find a community within your niche. This might be a group of authors and fans of a genre on Facebook for instance. Be active. Be helpful. I think there is a lot of value in just being a decent human being. When it comes time to promote your book it will be looked upon more favorably.

6. Try to track results. I've noticed a spike in my sales of late on Kindle and I HAVE NO IDEA WHY. I think this is where Amazon really drops the ball. How can I improve my marketing and sales if I have no idea where the leads are coming from? To counter this I've started using Goo.gl to shorten URLs and then track how many times they get clicks. For instance -- and this is a shameless plug for my zombie book -- if I drop in this URL here http://goo.gl/be4qn6 it puts a link on your site. Then, using Goo.gl, I can see how many clicks it generated from this point into forever. It still doesn't tell me if they are converting to sales, but it does give me very important intel on whether my time spent in a particular channel are resulting in clicks. I do this for Twitter links for example. Everything else being equal, more clicks means more sales.

Having said all that, I'm just a new author trying out these things. I'm tight with my money, and currently unemployed, so I have the time for trial and error.

Thank you for letting me post.

@eeisherwood

Gordon A. Wilson said...

Thanks for all your comments. I am trying to put together a post with some different experiences. There is a lot of interest in this mysterious subject.

Java Davis said...

Like everyone else here, I'm searching for the magic bullet. I've also tried most everything that's been mentioned here, and where none of it has worked for me, it makes me depressed to see that that one in a million person has had huge success with something or other, especially when their output is extremely mediocre. But I'm back at it every morning, trying to have a new and different marketing idea. I'm not willing to give up on myself or my books.

Sarah Doebereiner said...

I find I am often drawn to photos more than text. The twitter and facebook 'pitches' that get my attention visually make me want to read and engage with the author. For the release of my F/F romance novella I created some promotional material with quotes from the books or myself along with a thought provoking (and royalty free) image. They always get more views and engagements than the plain text advertisements I've done.

I did a thunderclap (headtalker) and although it did lead to some new followers, I'm not sure how effective it was at actually selling since it wasn't focused specifically on my niche.

Guest blogging and interviews seem effective since they let the reader get to know your style. Joining groups or associations for your genre often help build connections. I am much more likely to read something that is recommended to me by a friend, but a few solid reviews never hurt.

Cate Caruth said...

I'm starting to learn that book marketing (all marketing, in fact) is a black art. What works for one, won't work for another and the most unexpected things generate buzz. In the UK, a meerkat selling car insurance has been huge - go figure!
I'm only at the start of my marketing journey and am deeply suspicious of anything which requires me to pay for things I could and should be able to generate organiacally for myself (things like Twitter followers, book reviews, etc).
Personally I can spot fake followers and robotic tweets of book reviews and if I can, so can everyone else, in which case, shoving money out of the car window will probably be a better way to generate interest - at least it's real!
That doesn't mean that I won't pay for genuine promotion - if I could afford some posters at the local bus station, I would - but there are an awful lot of clever people out there making a fotune off the back of hopeful writers.

Jakkie Simpson said...

So true Cate! I was wondering this morning if I had to sacrifice a chicken or something for people to post reviews.

So far, it seems that it depends on the genre that's hot at the moment. That no matter how well you market if your genre isn't "the one" no one will even look. I could be wrong, but it really feels like it.

Gordon A. Wilson said...

We have gotten some great feedback from authors who are selling, but I think a little black magic could give it a boost as well.

SAM said...

Hi Gordon. I am the CEO of a new writing community. We have a decent growth and traffic in the 4 months since we launched. We do book reviews in exchange for a copy of the book and post the review not only on our website, but also promote the post via our social media outlets, as well as adding the reviews to Amazon and anywhere else you want us to.

We are also working on building a book blog tour, and we offer opportunities for exposure through author interviews, guest posts, and more. We also have several team members working daily on learning the ins and outs of marketing so we can offer authors much needed promotion help and creating author platforms that equate success. We do most of this because we want to give back to the writing community, as it has been very kind to us these past six years.

You have a great sense of humor and an engaging writing style. I do hope you'll stop in and check us out. We are here: http://ourwriteside.com and I look forward to enjoying more of your tweets.

SAM said...

Also for any interested, check us out here on how you can get involved in the community (includes the form to sign your books up for review, join our review and blog tour teams, and more).

http://ourwriteside.com/get-involved/

Unknown said...

Everything is exposure.. List your book wherever possible.

Check out http://bookpraiser.com for free listing too :)

Hope i helped you

Tania Yager said...

I think marketing is one of the most difficult things to get right for any one person.

I've read the various comments on here. I would go with you need to be in a hot genre. Don't reinvent the wheel so to speak because people are creatures of habit. Paying through the nose for advertising has just ended up draining people's bank accounts.

I'm finding there are two types of writers out there. Those who write to please their readers and those who write to please themselves.

Many of those who aim to please their readers are not necessarily talented writers but commercially minded and in most cases use the tricks of the trade to advance their mediocre offerings.

Those who write to please themselves are hoping they will be picked up for their creative writing which to my mind requires a dedicated system of marketing but invariably to an unknown target audience. They are in it for the long haul and organic follows. However the latter type of writer, true to their soul, are working on the principle of luck.

Being a self-publishing author is not as easy as everyone thinks. Production of the book is the easiest part. Writing the book more difficult and identifying the market place and marketing a terrifying proposition.

Most writers would prefer not to do the marketing including myself. But if you want to get out there you have to market!

At the moment I changed my genre from kids books to adult colouring books and produced a series which got me sales within two days of publishing. I've never published anything before. It is what happens after that which becomes the struggle. Without a doubt creating a series and putting them out all at the same time builds traction and sales and Amazon's algorithms kick in.

AFter spending countless hours and over three years learning about marketing I'm none the wiser it is a game which changes constantly with no right answers.

Gordon A. Wilson said...

I never imagined such a vibrant conversation. Who couldn't learn something from all of these comments?

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J.R. Geoghan said...

I would second the comments about genre, and Tania's very wise observation about the two types of writers. I've discovered that my novel is disgustingly cross-genre... or more correctly a genre-bender. This is caused more second-guessing and course corrections than I care to admit (OK, I'll admit it - a lot).

What I have learned, though, is to pay close attention to WHO enjoys my book the most, by watching the comments on FB and listening to them in person. I gave away a number of copies over the fall and only asked for feedback and a review on Amazon (still haven't gotten the reviews but the feedback was helpful).

I had no idea when I wrote it, but my book favors the female demographic... it's a Christianity-based action fantasy, and turns out the fantasy part draws the strongest reactions. From women readers.

Now I need to learn more about how to leverage that knowledge and turn it into sales.

As far as $, I have put some into targeted FB ads which feature cool images with my book title and perhaps a good quote in the text. They've been fun and not broken the bank.

What I want to do this year is try some book fairs/author events in my area of Pennsylvania.

Cheers Gordon!

Gordon A. Wilson said...

I would imagine book fairs and the like should be good, getting out with real people might not be bad. Let me know how it unfolds.

Grace Allison said...

I have written one non-fiction book and currently writing a novel. My first book,
"A Dream is a Wish the Heart Makes, or if at first you don't succeed change the rules"
has a narrow niche so marketing has been a challenge. With the help of friends and
writers of the genre who asked me to exchange reviews my reviews are up.
My second book, "Einstein's Compass:a Novel of What if?" is in production.
As I write a chapter I post it on Wattpad, my blog on Google, Linked-in, Twitter
and Facebook. My strategy is to create a buzz before the book is launched which
which I plan will happen in 2017. I have a website www.ensteinscompassbook.com that
has a link to Wattpad. I have over 300 hits per month on my book website according
to the analytics in Go Daddy. Since November 2015, more than 380 people have read
my blog on Google. Linkedin and Wattpad are fewer for hits. I have more than
70 people who are following me on Twitter. Anyway cross your fingers that my novel
makes a big splash in 2017.

Tracy Shew said...

Everyone is super-super excited about the fact I am a writer. Friends, co-workers, Facebook, Twitter, Blogs. This does not translate into people being super excited about reading anything. Sometimes I feel like I do interpretive dance or make sculpture out of beetles. People certainly think it is interesting but they may not be enthused about sitting through a performance.

Other times, I feel there are a lot of "takers" and very few "givers" in the Indie industry. There are a lot of folks willing to give advice, some for a price. I have found Twitter to be useful connecting with other writers and with potential readers. But the net result of this so far is that I'm reading ten times as many books, all of them Indie. I think it will take additional time for me to get noticed. It is strange that people like @RayneHall admonish us to limit our promotions (which I have), but 80% of the feed on Twitter consists of promotion. Obviously, Indie writers are struggling to compete.

I think the bottom line is over-saturation of the market. If we have five million Indie authors all self-publishing, it should be extremely difficult to find any market share. I see people welcoming the fact that there are no gatekeepers, but all we've really done is substitute readers for publishers in that role. I think everyone now has the experience of the brutality of the market first hand.

I would be ecstatic to get even five additional reviews for my books. But the reality is the chances of getting noticed in the current market are only slightly greater than the chances of getting picked up by Trad publishers - my 2 cents.

Gordon A. Wilson said...

Grace thanks for pitching in, let me know how the plan comes together. Tracy I believe you are hitting more than one nail on the head. I have said it before but I have read more than one independant author who claims over saturation with "buy my books" tweets incresases their sales. Ugly truth. Your stats might be accurate as well. Sounds grim but believable.

Tania Yager said...

Tracy Shew the market is saturated in everything unfortunately! But the thing is to find a great niche, check out the competition and create a better book.

Getting reviews is such a fiasco. Waiting for organic reviews is a lengthy process.

If you are creating POD books getting reviews is so much harder than with a Kindle version. Getting out free Kindle books in the KDP select means that a percentage may leave a review. But there are no guarantees.

Something that is becoming more popular are Twitterchats. This may be a better way, and definitely more proactive, of building an audience as well as indirect marketing.

The one thing that is definitely in our favour is the minimal costs an Indie author incurs. Sadly our time can be taken up with all the things related to promoting our books. If you've got a few pennies spare maybe outsourcing some of the time sucking things we hate to do can be done by professionals at a reasonable price.

At the end of the day it is trial and error for everyone.

Victoria Griffin said...

I hope this is appropriate (not trying to spam). I am searching for advertisers for my site/blog. It's the perfect demographic because my blog is geared toward readers and writers, and I write horror fiction myself, so a lot of the folks who visit my site are fans of the genre.

More information here: http://www.victoriagriffinfiction.com/sponsorship.html#sthash.vmamh37h.dpbs

Gordon A. Wilson said...

Trial and error to be certain. But what HAS or has NOT worked for you? Yes reviews are a necessity but so is clean water. I gave away pounds of ebooks and not sure I got a single rating or review. In my experience they don't correlate nor did I expect they would. Too many people have said otherwise.

D E Osborne said...

Well so far nothing works but direct hand selling. And that isn't sufficient.

Laurence O'Bryan said...

A lot depends on the genre of your book and how it is presented on Amazon and the price.

You might be interested in this post: I Am Sorry Book Marketing Is So Hard http://buff.ly/1qFq9WH

Yancy Caruthers said...

I'm going to try to avoid subjective words, and must disclose that I have only one full-length title out right now, in the genre of military memoir. Unlike most authors, I'm not ashamed of my numbers, nor to I like to use words like "good" when describing sales.

I've found two things that work (I will define "work" in each instance), and possibly a third.

Personal appearances, where I can speak to a group, then sign books in the back, have been successful, making an average of a dozen sales to audiences between 30-50. Signings are less so, averaging 3-5 sales, with one outlier in my hometown (I sold 64 copies in 2 hours). Even so, there is a cap to what I can sell in person.

I have run an Amazon ad (pay per click) since September. I have varied the bid between 4c-12c/click. In April, my ad was seen over 500,000 times. I'm averaging about 100 sales/month via this ad, and reviews still trickle in 1-2/month. My ROI is about 150% of the ad cost. EVERYTHING else that I do (blogging, Facebook, radio) sells about 10 copies/month.

The third thing, the one that might work, is Twitter. Everyone says Twitter doesn't sell books, and I would agree, but I do believe that users of Kindle Unlimited use it to search books that would be free to them. Since I started a Tweet campaign last week, my KU pages read is up from an average of 400/day to about 750. It's still too early to tell without a few more weeks of data and comparison against sales rates.

I hope this helps someone, and if someone else has anything that "works," please let us know. I define that as something that costs $1 and earns me $1.01 without eating up all my free time.

Good luck to all, and check out my guest post on Gordon's Blog that posted a few days ago. There is a lot more info there on advertising and the value of exposure.

Anonymous said...

Gordon, I'm impressed with the many comments that your posts generate. I always learn something and/or I get inspired to try something new. Some very insightful thoughts by the respondents. I believe that good or great content is not enough but is an essential starting point - that was proven with Melville's Moby Dick more than a century ago as it generated mediocre sales during his lifetime. But perhaps he would have done better in the Twitter/Facebook age? Perhaps not. The capitalistic marketplace (no I'm not a socialist) is a brutal environment for artists of all stripes. Indies are forced to play the game, figure out strategies and spend much of their time not creating their art but in often-vain endeavors to prevent their creations from sinking into oblivion. I agree with one poster that there is no magic bullet. It's probably about a lot of different marketing tactics but also in avoiding over-exposure. Getting your book on every blog that offers free exposure or tweeting about your book ten times per day with your Twitter account tethered to your Facebook pages may be a death knell for your prized creations. What works? It is the number one existential question for indie authors - many of whom have no clue just how much marketing they will need to do before, during and after publication. I agree with another poster that there are essentially two kinds of writers: the ones who tailor their craft to meet the popular desires of the reading public and those who refuse to compromise and - like Melville - 'let the chips fall where they may' while being true to their art. Of course there have been writers whose favorite genre happened to coincide with the popular taste at the moment and just kept slamming away, pounding out stories week after week that became tremendously popular - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the Sherlock Holmes series comes to mind. A combination of talent and timing. Doyle had his finger, no doubt, on the popular pulse. Sorry but I have no ironclad advice to lend. I simply continue to base my marketing philosophy on something someone said to me years ago when I began a retail store in Portsmouth, New Hampshire: "You've got to keep shooting."

Gary Dorion said...

Sorry I'm posting this twice but did not want it to be 'anonymous' as the first try was, inadvertently.

Gordon, I'm impressed with the many comments that your posts generate. I always learn something and/or I get inspired to try something new. Some very insightful thoughts by the respondents. I believe that good or great content is not enough but is an essential starting point - that was proven with Melville's Moby Dick more than a century ago as it generated mediocre sales during his lifetime. But perhaps he would have done better in the Twitter/Facebook age? Perhaps not. The capitalistic marketplace (no I'm not a socialist) is a brutal environment for artists of all stripes. Indies are forced to play the game, figure out strategies and spend much of their time not creating their art but in often-vain endeavors to prevent their creations from sinking into oblivion. I agree with one poster that there is no magic bullet. It's probably about a lot of different marketing tactics but also in avoiding over-exposure. Getting your book on every blog that offers free exposure or tweeting about your book ten times per day with your Twitter account tethered to your Facebook pages may be a death knell for your prized creations. What works? It is the number one existential question for indie authors - many of whom have no clue just how much marketing they will need to do before, during and after publication. I agree with another poster that there are essentially two kinds of writers: the ones who tailor their craft to meet the popular desires of the reading public and those who refuse to compromise and - like Melville - 'let the chips fall where they may' while being true to their art. Of course there have been writers whose favorite genre happened to coincide with the popular taste at the moment and just kept slamming away, pounding out stories week after week that became tremendously popular - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the Sherlock Holmes series comes to mind. A combination of talent and timing. Doyle had his finger, no doubt, on the popular pulse. Sorry but I have no ironclad advice to lend. I simply continue to base my marketing philosophy on something someone said to me years ago when I began a retail store in Portsmouth, New Hampshire: "You've got to keep shooting."

Gordon A. Wilson said...

Getting people talking. Im all about trying to learn more and am fortunate to have others willing to share as well. Ironic point you make about artists having to spend time on non artistic endeavors! This is an older post but pertinent, http://goo.gl/aNloEQ

Thanks for contributing!