Ever Changing Market Forces

As a geek and a indie-published author, I’ve been doing my research on marketing.  It’s very confusing.  However, I think I have it figured out.

My goal lately has been to set-up a monthly marketing budget.  My first book tour was good but not a whopping success.  Of course, I didn’t expect 200 copies of The Life & Dysfunction of Nadine Daniels to go flying off the ebook shelves.  I did get some reviews out of it, which were desperately needed and while most of them were 4-star, I don’t consider that to be a bad thing.  I know I have to really love a book before I will crown it with a 5-star rating.  Anyone who has taken a moment to look at my Goodreads shelf will notice that few books that I have read gotten a 5-star rating from me.  The few that do are books that I read over and over and over again (Good Omens by Neil Gaimen and Terry Pratchett should be allowed a 6-star rating because I’ve read it about a thousand times.  The same goes for Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy).

Sorry, wandered off topic for a moment, back to the point.  I realized that everyone has different advice.  Some recommend a plethora of book tours, others tell you to take advantage of the cheap, one day ads, still others tell you that there is very little you can do with marketing.

I have come to the conclusion that none of these are right for me.  And the “ME” really should be emphasized because what works for me will not work for everyone.  Shortly after the release of The Life & Dysfunction I did a “cheap ad”.  It cost me $5.  I sold 5 books at $2.05 each.  I certainly didn’t get rich off of it, but I made my money back and introduced a few people to my writing.  I did a book tour.  And again, I got my money’s worth and introduced a few more people to my writing.  However, I didn’t go all out on the big book tour package and I didn’t hold a give-away (I was told later this was a mistake, however, I think it was pretty much on target for me).

For me, it is going to require spreading it around.  Sometimes, I’m going to lose money.  Sometimes, I’m going to make money.  Either is really unimportant.  The important part of marketing is that it is being done.  And I realize that I made a mistake, but I can rectify it in the future.  That is one thing about it, just because you missed it this time, doesn’t mean you’ve missed it for good.

What I should have done in February was start making plans to do a book tour for Dark Cotillion to run in May.  May is the release of the third book in the series.  I should have coupled it with ads touting “free book” that cost me $5 or $10 to run on twitter and facebook and emails and blog spots and wherever else they post those ads.  So while the tour bloggers were talking about Dark Cotillion they would have been giving exposure to Dark Illumination and Dark Resurrections.  No initial investment needed by the readers because Dark Cotillion is free.

And I am learning another valuable lesson.  Slow and steady wins the race.  With each book I write and publish, I gain a little more exposure.  Interestingly, I have four sets of “fans” to go with it.  I have the “Hadena James fans” who like everything I write.  I have “Strachan Fans”, I have “Cain Fans” and I have “Daniels Fans”.  And these fans are helping to promote my books just like the marketing schemes.  They suggest their favorite books to their friends on Goodreads and loan them copies from Amazon or repost my Facebook updates or retweet me.

I have become the tortoise… moving slow and steady… and I’m beginning to reap the rewards from such activity.  I do a little here, a little there and each month my book sales grow and my fan base grows.

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