Four Options For Book Marketing That Might Fit Your Budget.



Four Options For Book Marketing That Might Fit Your Budget.

The excuse of, “I’m a writer, not a sales person,” is not valid in our current book market. With literally millions of books being published each year, you have to learn to sell yourself and your books, or drown in the rushing tide. And of course while you’re busy trying to figure out how to market yourself and your books, you still need to write more. There are no one-hit-wonders in self-publishing. Readers who love your first book will demand more. And, if you don’t deliver, you will be forgotten.

I know what you’re thinking. How am I supposed to keep writing books if I have to take that precious time to sell the ones I’ve just published?

I say the same thing every time I hit publish. With two series under my belt I still struggle with the idea of selling books and trying to keep up with reader demand for more.  That’s when you might want to look into other methods of promotion that take the weight off of your own shoulders.

Aside from the daily social media spam, there are a few options you can take to help you with this.

Street Teams –Word of mouth has been long touted as the best way to sell books and that is what a street team is all about. Fans of your work sign up to be part of a group marketing effort. The cost? Swag, free books, facetime with their favorite author, chances to become a character. You can really get creative here, as long as you keep your fans happy they will keep pimping your books.

Blog tours – Relatively cheap. Tours vary based on length of time you want your book promoted, and if you want reviews or not included. This is by no means a long term marketing effort, but is a good and inexpensive idea for book releases.

Hire a P.A. – If you can afford it, this option can really help take some of the pressure off. A P.A. will help with whatever you need. You set the workload. Prices for their services will have to be negotiated ahead of time.

Hire a Publicist – This will be by far your most expensive option, but it can pay back in spades.  They essentially hold your hand through the process and help you develop not only a brand, but an excellent shot at getting your book into the spotlight. You have to be willing to make the gamble though as it will be initially a HUGE investment.


I’ve recently been introduced to a wonderful site with freelancers who offer up services that fall into many of these general categories. Have a peek around AuthorsAtlas and see if you might find something here to assist you in your marketing needs.  http://www.authorsatlas.com/

Social Media. What tools are in your arsenal?

Photo chosen because this illustrates exactly how I feel trying to keep up with social media. 

In my last post I talked of the ineffective side of social media for the purposes of spamming, but that is not to say that social media is not an important part of an author’s platform.  You cannot expect to ignore the audience and still sell books. You have to get the word out somehow (without spam of course), so how do you do it? What sites are you linked to, and how do you utilize them properly?


Have I missed any? Let me know in the comments if I did.

Now that we have a list of places to belong to, how do you utilize them without letting them rule your life (you do have to have time to write, right?)? Well, there just happen to be a few productivity helpers out there to assist you with keeping up with post while you’re not away. The beauty of this is that you can schedule tweets, post, blogs, etc… for times you know you will be away from the computer, but don’t let that stop you from actually interacting with your audience. The biggest problem, as I stated in the last post, is that the spam all becomes white noise.

HootSuite - Features like Personalized Tabs, Personalized Columns, Multiple Twitter Accounts, Team Work Flow, Embedded Columns, Track Statistics, Create Groups, Feed Your RSS etc.
SocialOomph – A free and a professional service for posting to social media.
TwitterFeed – Auto tweeting to Twitter and Facebook from your RSS feed.

Of course, if I missed any, let me know in the comments below.



Does Social Media Sell Books?




Between authors spamming online groups daily, twitter hashtags that are increasingly flooded with tweets, and Facebook pages that despite having a large “like” base being hidden from view, is Social media a place to sell books?

I’m guilty of all of the above. I belong to countless facebook groups for authors, readers, reviewers, etc… I regularly schedule auto-tweets, and use hashtags. I practically live on facebook. But, I do not see the efforts helping to push any of my books into the spotlight.

I’d venture a guess to say that other authors have noticed the same trend.

This won’t be a post filled with answers. If I had them, I would certainly share them. What I’d like to talk about is the why rather than the what do we do aspect of this.

When the market was smaller and being an author was more a dream than a reality, advertising was easier. But, with the ease of self-publishing, more people are realizing the dream. A bit of a double-edged sword. The down side of that is that everyone is publishing, and I do mean EVERYONE. 

Anyone who has ever had the desire to penn their first novel, is. The market is quite literally flooded with books of all shapes and sizes. Anything you can think of has and is being published. And, social media is the place where EVERYONE is taking their books.

I open up facebook and look at my notifications. Over 99 in just a few hours. The majority of them… You guessed it, post about new books and sale books. I can hardly find post by friends anymore because of the absolute wall of book advertisements. And, like I said, I am guilty of posting as well, though I limit myself to no more than 8 a day. Still, even with my low post count, it is only adding to the white noise.

The same applies to twitter. A quick scroll through recent posts in the last five minutes turns up the same results.

If I go to blogger and look up blogs I’ve signed on to read and 90% of them are blog tours advertising new books.

It’s enough to make you want to scream at times. Nothing but sale, sale, sale, and New Author, and 
Debut author. Yes, authors need to be able to reach the market to sell books, but this is just not the way.

So, I put the question to you. Are you guilty of this? Do you feel it really helps? And, if not, what do you do to help sell your books?


Advertising in a Flooded Ebook Market


In my last post I mentioned that authors are almost required these days to buy ad space to get their books in front of readers who already have TBR piles flooded with one-click freebies and $0.99 sale books. But, where do you go and how do you spend your advertising dollars? There are literally hundreds of places to spend your money with almost no guarantee it will be worth it.
Here’s a (by no means complete) list of the sites I have frequented in the recent past with mixed results. Price, potential advertising reach, and genre are all things that need to be taken into consideration. Also, if you have some places to add to this list, please do so in the comments below!

General
ENT        http://ereadernewstoday.com/
Ebook Deal of the Day   http://ebookdealofday.com/
Author Ad Network        http://authoradnetwork.com/
Booksends          http://www.booksends.com/
Digital Book Today           http://digitalbooktoday.com/
Bargain Ebook hunter    http://bargainebookhunter.com/
Pixel Scroll           http://pixelscroll.com/
The Fussy Libarian           http://www.thefussylibrarian.com/
Pixel of Ink          http://www.pixelofink.com/sskb/
Kinde Book World            http://www.justkindlebooks.com/ebook-submission-service/
Awesome Gang                http://awesomegang.com/crimson-dreams-vampire-anthology/
People Reads    http://www.peoplereads.com/
Read Cheaply    http://readcheaply.com/submit/

Romance/Erotica
My Romance Reads        http://www.myromancereads.com/
Romance ebook deals   http://romanceebookdeals.com/
Excitesteam       www.excitesteam.com
The Naughty List              http://www.naughtylistbooks.com/

Vampires



Price Wars


Are Self-Publishers pricing themselves properly? Or are we as a collective setting the bar so low we are pricing ourselves out of the market?

I've been around for quite some time, though my name is not among the best sellers.  I’ve quietly rumbled along the self-publishing path through the years selling my books, giving away some, and often seeing a few end up on pirating sites. I’ll get into pirating at a later time.

Through those years though, I have seen the average price of an ebook drop so dramatically, I’ve often felt writing has lost it’s worth. Not that I want to give up, but that the hours spent honing your craft are lost when the book you've just toiled over has to be priced at $0.99 or even free to gain the attention of readers.  At $0.99, earning only 35% royalty minus any delivery fees, an author might make $0.30 per copy on each book sold. When you factor in the cost of time spent writing, editing, cover art, formatting, and any marketing cost you plan to tack on to the book, you’re left with quite the hole to dig yourself out of if you hope to make any money from that book.

So, how did we get ourselves into this mess?

Back when I started self-publishing, the average price for a standard-length ebook was between $3.99-$4.99. Earning the author a comfortable 70% royalty on each book sold.

Soon after that, the $1.99 sale groups started popping up. For a short time, authors would put their books on sale while still earning a small percent back at 35%. While not very profitable, those short term sales helped get authors attention from readers and possibly develop a fan base.

$1.99 soon became $0.99 for sale prices. Not much of a difference, but when this happened, the average price of a full length novel dropped as well. Authors wanting to cash in on the 75% royalty price while undercutting the average $3.99 priced books were a hit! So the overall average dropped and with that so did the sale price.

As the market grew, so did the need to get a book into the spotlight. Again the average price of a book dropped and the sale price with it. We saw first in a series books being sold at $0.99, and then Free became catch-you-eye sale price. One-clickers snagged up books left and right, padding their TBR piles with more books than they could possibly read. But, what that did was hit the sweet spot on the Amazon algorithms. An author might have 20k downloads on their free book and it would snowball down to their other books. Click through sales were through the roof on second and third books in a series. This was truly the sweet spot.

Until the market became flooded with free and $0.99 books.

So, what was the next pricing strategy? Anthologies and Boxed sets.

Now you can get 10 or more first-in-a-series books for only. $0.99. Each author in the series goes into it expecting to not make money, but hopes that the readers will look at their first book an buy the others in their series. It’s a gamble, for sure. I’ve been in quite a few and have seen mixed results.

So, what does that leave us with?

The average price for a new author to list their book and make a sale or two is $0.99. If an author has a series, they are almost required to make the first book free if they hope to get reader attention with any subsequent books priced at $2.99-$3.99.

And with the flood of books on the market, it is almost essential that you buy some ad space to get the ball rolling on any of your books.

What do you think? Have we in the self-publishing marketplace priced ourselves out? Or, do you feel there is still hope?  


West Coast Writing Conferences



2015 Writer conferences

I've been out of the loop for the last couple of years, having small children has made travel near impossible, but this year I wanted to try and dip my toes back in the water and see what conferences were available within reasonable driving distance on the West Coast side of the USA.

Here’s the list I have so far. I would love to add to it, so if you know of some good ones, please post it in the comments below and I can add to the list.

Going by month.

February
PubWest PubWest is a trade association of small and medium-sized book publishers, printers, graphic designers, binderies, and editorial and marketing companies.

March
The Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition The conference is three days of ePublishing information, news and education.  Authors can learn about a variety of topics including doctoring manuscripts, branding in the digital marketplace, social media, taxes, blog tours and can network with publishers, editors, and other authors.

Left Coast Crime This event is an annual mystery convention sponsored by mystery fans, for mystery fans.


April
Las Vegas Writer's Conference Apr 23 - 25, 2015 in Las Vegas NV
Las Vegas Writer's Conference has sessions and workshops for all levels of writers from beginners to ready to publish whether traditional or self publishing.

May
Buildin' the Dream May 28 - Friday, May 29, 2015  In Paradise Valley/Scottsdale, Arizona
Buildin' the Dream offers authors the tools to build and live their dream!

Arizona Dreamin May 29 - 31, 2015 Paradise Valley/Scottsdale


June

Book Passage The Conference covers all aspects of writing and illustrating for children—from developing ideas to honing skills to finding a publisher.

Five-day, all inclusive conference features classes, a costume ball, a book fair and more. 

July

Book Passage Editors, agents, and publishers share with participants what they need to know to get published, and authors offer classes on setting, dialogue, suspense and point of view.

August


September
RomCon – Where Romances Rules RomCon is a conference for romance authors and readers and features over 80 events including opportunities for authors and readers to interact face-to-face.

October
Hot Mojave Knights is a romance reader event where readers of all kinds of romance can interact with favorite authors and meet new ones.

Greater Seattle Romance Writers Emerald City is the largest regional romance writing conference in the West.  There are editor and agent guests, workshops and master classes.


Vampires never looked so good! You be the judge! #Immortalis

New covers inside, and a bit of freshening up on the inside. If you haven't started the Immortalis series yet, now is the best time to start!


Becoming a vampire is easy. Living with the condition...that's the hard part.

Newbie vampire Alyssa never asked for this life, but now it's all she has. Rescued from death by Lysander, the aloof and sexy leader of the Peregrinus vampire clan, she's barely cut her teeth before she becomes a target.

Kallisto, an ancient and vindictive vampire queen – and Lysander's old mate - wants nothing less than final death for her former lover and his new toy. She's not above letting the Acta Sanctorum, and its greatest vampire hunter, Santino, know exactly where the clan can be found.

With no time to mourn her old life, Alyssa's survival depends on her new family. She will have to stand alongside Lysander and fight against two enemies who will stop at nothing to destroy them.
http://www.amazon.com/Carpe-Noctem.../dp/B003AYF3NW


The exciting sequel to Immortalis Carpe Noctem. 

Rule number one: humans and vampires don't co-exist. One is the hunter and one is the prey. Simple, right? Not for newly-turned vampire Alyssa. 

A surprise confrontation with Santino Vitale, the Acta Sanctorum's most fearsome hunter, sends her fleeing back to the world she once knew, and Fallon, the human friend she's missed more than anything. Now she has some explaining to do. However, that will have to wait. With the Acta Sanctorum hot on their heels, staying alive is more important than educating a human on the finer points of bloodlust. 




http://www.amazon.com/Hunters-Prey-Immortalis-Vampire-Series-ebook/dp/B004DNWEGS


After a few months as a vampire, Alyssa thought she'd learned all she needed to know about the supernatural world. But her confidence is shattered by the delivery of a mysterious package - a Pandora's Box.

When the box is opened, the sinister creature within is released, and only supernatural blood will satiate its thirst. The clan soon learns how it feels when the hunter becomes the hunted.

Powerless against the ancient evil, the clan flees Las Vegas for Boston, with only a slim hope for salvation. Could Lysander's old journals hold the key? And what if they don't?

And how welcome will they be in a city run by a whole different kind of supernatural being?
Werewolves...
http://www.amazon.com/Pandoras-Immortalis-Book-Vampire-Series-ebook/dp/B00546H0VM

It’s a desperate time for rookie vampire Alyssa, and her sanity is hanging by a slender thread. Her clan is still reeling from the monumental battle with Aniketos; a battle that claimed the body of Lysander, her sire and lover, and trapped his spirit in a mysterious crystal. A Soulstone.

Unfortunately, no amount of magic has been able to release Lysander’s spirit, and the stone is starting to fade. Weeks of effort have proved futile. Alyssa begs the help of the local witch coven, and unwittingly exposes the supernaturals of Boston to unwanted attention from the Acta Sanctorum.

The Saints converge on the city and begin their cleansing crusade to rid the world of all things “Unnatural.” In the middle of an all-out war, but no closer to a solution to the dying stone, Alyssa is left with an unenviable choice: save her mate, or save her clan.

http://www.amazon.com/Soulstone-Immortalis-Vampire-Series-Book-ebook/dp/B007OZDJCU