This self publishing gig isn’t as easy as it’s cracked up to be.
“Tell me something I don’t know,” you mutter.
There is a world out there willing to give advice, but how good is that advice for your situation?
I can only tell you what works for me…and what doesn’t.
With some success last month, I once again threw myself into the marketing fray. Since I had extra funds in the marketing budget, I decided to advertise two places during my KDP Select free book week.
Robin Reads has been getting buzz lately as an upcoming site still reasonably priced. For $20, I got the number one spot. That was sweet. My criticism of Robin Reads as a reader is that I haven’t figured out how to select out the genres I prefer, so every day I get a list of all types of books which is a pain to page through. I’m not into steamy romances or zombie thrillers…but many readers are.
However, as an author and advertiser, I received fourteen hundred downloads in one day (9/19) for my anchor book, Caught in Time. Not great, but better than I expected for the price. Now usually, a program like that is immediately followed by retail sales of other books in the series.
Added to Robin Reads, I spent $70 at Freebooksy for one day (9/21) where I have had great success, so I was rubbing my hands together in excited anticipation. I got almost a thousand downloads that day. So, over two thousand plus free downloads.
Retail sales? Crickets.
April Aasheim author of The Witches of Dark Root, reports good luck advertising on Facebook. I’ve been reluctant to try. Anyone having good luck with that?
Meanwhile, The Fussy Librarian sent this out in their newsletter. I thought it interesting. It talks about an article that claims paperback sales are picking up and Ebook sales diminishing.
Seriously? I find that hard to believe. My sales are mostly in EBooks, although paperbacks are readily available.
This week I’m suggesting a favorite author. John Scalzi is deeply entrenched in traditional publishing in many forms: hardback, paperback, iBook, audio, short story serials etc. He recently came to Powell’s again to promote his new book The End of All Things.
Now there’s a catchy title. It’s available in hardback for $24.99…thank you, big publisher (TOR)…or free at the local library, no taint involved in the free price.
This science fiction soap opera takes place in The Old Man’s Universe, meaning in the universe of his John Campbell Award winning book, Old Man’s War.
True to form, Scalzi does something different. Humans have expanded into space, only to find it populated with thousands of alien species. The Colonial Union formed to protect humans but kept Earth ignorant of aliens so as to provide colonists and soldiers by using consciousness of old people in repurposed bodies.
Many of the alien species threatened by these superhumans formed their own alliances called the Conclave.
Then Earth found out it was being used and got angry. It stopped providing experienced conscious minds and bodies. Without Earth to provide bodies for fighting, the Colonial Union found itself in trouble.
Unbeknownst to the Colonial Union, bitter infighting and politics now threatens to tear the Conclave apart.
The first story of the book is told by the sole survivor of an ambush on the ship the Chandler. A mysterious splinter group known as the Equilibrium has been secretly pitting the Conclave and the Colonial Union against each other. This secret third faction is made up of individuals from the different groups who plan to overthrow all other contenders. While all on The Chandler and any escape pods are ruthlessly killed, Rafe Daquin, recently hired as third pilot on the Chandler, is allowed a consciousness in order to pilot the ship, but he is separated from his body and reduced to operating as a brain in a box.
So your narrator for the first section is a brain in a box who tells the events of the attack and how he thwarts his enemies working without a body.
The second part of the book tells events from the point of view of Hafte Sorvalh, the second most powerful individual in the Conclave, or the advisor to Tarsem Gau, the Conclave leader. This story is political theater at its best and Scalzi is a master of clever dialogue. Subtle nuances of behavior by politicians during a Conclave Congress reveal that this powerful body of aliens has its own problems, and act more like humans than most imagine.
The third section brings in favorite character Harry Wilson from the other books in the series who thwarts an Equilibrium attack and interrogates one of their leaders in an attempt to unravel their plans. This section reads more as a spy thriller.
Scalzi admits to frantically trying to finish writing on time and missing deadlines as he travels around for signings and marketing. It makes the book choppy. You can imagine him writing a section, dusting off his hands and sending it in.
I enjoy Scalzi’s interesting science and clever dialogue. He makes reading science fiction both fun and enlightening…
And that’s the way it should be.