Want to sell more books?
I often write about marketing and how difficult it is… And then I read JA Konrath’s blog, Your Book Marketing Plan Won’t Work.
How did he know?
It was an eye opener. For the complete blog:
He says social media won’t sell your books. How often do you buy books due to social media? However, he does go on to say you should have a social media presence. He suggests commenting on Facebook and writing a newsletter which mentions upcoming books, ways to pre-orders, and general information on your writing. He also endorses commenting on Twitter, but cautions that your time would be better spent on writing than desperately and endlessly engaging in every sort of social media.
Advertising also should be judiciously employed. He admits to throwing tons of money at advertising of all kinds and barely getting a return on his investment. Still, it does get the word out to those readers who might not know about you. But budget time and effort wisely.
How to Market books get a sneer. He has a good point. If an author knows how to write a best seller, why are they writing a marketing book, and not another best seller? He suggests you investigate the ranking of the author’s other books. If they aren’t in the top one thousand, the advice isn’t worth your time and money.
Forget publicity. The right kind is difficult to get… But if you can, then the pop in sales is normally fleeting.
I have found that he’s pretty close to the mark and refreshingly honest about this business of writing.
So, what works?
Luck. Right time, right place. And write books.
Oh, great. We have to depend on the whimsy of Lady Luck?
He admits that when Amazon came out with the Kindle, he had ten shelf books, rejected by publishers, ready to self publish. At the cheaper price for e-books, they were popular and sold well. So, he got more of his backlist from his publishers and was soon making over eight hundred thousand a year.
Then, Kindle Unlimited came along and cut that income in half.
Still, he had traction with Amazon and that, along with writing more books, kept sales going.
Write more books. Do a once a month newsletter. Chat in an informative manner on Twitter and Facebook and not in an annoying buy-my-book tone. Be consistent. Write in one genre with one name, and write five 75,000 word novels a year. That’s a more efficient use of your time and effort. Make sure they’re interesting, well-edited, and have attractive covers. Do some advertising and…
Your luck might improve.
So, good luck everyone.
For this blog, I’m going to suggest a book and author who has followed these guidelines with amazing success. She has written over seventy books in the science fiction genre, winning three Hugos and numerous other awards—one being the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award.
I’m talking about one of my favorite authors C.J. Cherryh. I have mentioned other books of hers in previous blogs, so check them out. She lives in the Northwest in Washington State, not too far from me. Alliance Rising takes place in the Alliance-Union Universe and is a prequel to many of the Alliance Universe stories. It’s been a long time since a book in that series has come out, and I eagerly awaited it.
Cherryh co-authors with Jane S. Fancher for this story. The partnership follows the same intense introverted style, retaining Cherryh’s familiar cadence of writing.
At first, I liked it, but eventually, I got impatient with all the nuanced, dense, introspection concerning an approaching Pell ship that has come to investigate an Earth Company ship, Rights of Man, docked at Alpha station and shrouded in ominous mystery.
We get an early peek at James Robert Neihart, captain of Finity’s End as his younger self and the developments that lead to the Alliance-Union-Earth war of the later novels. In fact, Captain Neihart is instrumental in putting together the alliance of merchanter ships that try to band to gather to protect their interests against the dominating Earth companies. Hence the title: Alliance Rising.
A story, not as good as some of the others, but well worth a read if you’re a fan.
4 responses to “Throw Away Your Marketing Plan”
… and then write another one 😀 … I loved that article. Every writer who even thinks they are ready to publish ought to have it magically pop up in front of their faces, and not stop smacking them until they’ve read it thoroughly! 😀
Widdershins: Exactly. But then would it be too much? Every new writer thinks they’re the next JK Rowling’s, which propels them into high activity and great expectations. Konrath writes a great blog that tempers those expectations with reality. It’s both uplifting and depressing at the same time. (I didn’t do that bad…I thought it would be easier)
That’s all nice, but as I’m writing my first novel, I need to know first if it’s any good, before I spend so much effor to try and market it. And that presents a challenge, as I need to get some readers and feedback, which is difficult to say the least. In case you want to look at it – you can google “roman lando progress report” and the second link should be it. It’s a work in progress. I’ll have to think carefully about what to do with it once it’s done…
Of course the most important thing is to write a great book. That’s job one. But be aware that no two people will react the same to your work. If you rely too much on other people’s opinions to write it, then you’ll be swinging in the breeze of others’ comments with no anchor. Select a few trusted Beta readers, evaluate their comments, use some professional editors, and cross your fingers. Write your story.