2013 – Retrospective

I learned a lot in 2013.  I’d like to share a few of those nuggets of wisdom with you.

1.  Like Independent Authors, Independent Editors seem to be hit and miss.  There are some great ones out there, but there are also some really terrible ones.  Make sure you know what you’re getting when you shell out the money.

2.  Finding a cover artist that shares your vision and is willing to work with you on your cover is incredibly important.  I worked with six cover artists in 2013.  About half worked with me, using my input and valuing my opinion.  The others disagreed with my vision for whatever reason and their drafts didn’t wow me as a result.  And yes, there are cover artists that will bend over backwards to make you happy… my cover artist, Kelly Nichols, does this for me every time we work on a new Dreams & Reality cover and for that I am terribly grateful.

3.  Book tours are great, but they don’t replace advertisements.  A $10 or $15 advert can do wonders for sales.  Book tours gain you followers and exposure.  Adverts gain you sales.  Also, just because the advert is “cheap” doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it.  Some of my best results came from adverts costing me less than $20.  My $100 advert didn’t net me near the amount that my ENT advert did (which cost me $13).

4.  Book tours are still necessary.  You probably won’t see your sales skyrocket, but you will see an engagement with potential fans.  Save that $100 for an advert and do a book tour instead.  If you coordinate it well enough, you’ll be running a book tour and adverts.  I have one of these “co-events” in the works.

5.  Spread it around.  Don’t use just 2 or 3 advert sites.  In November, I used a site I had never used before and found on a Google search.  It went well.  Sure there are tried and true places (ENT is a great place to start), but don’t count out “little guys.”  Take advice, but don’t rely on it solely for these places.  I was told I had to run a BookGorilla ad.  So I did.  I sold 15 copies of a $0.99 book.  It cost me $50.  I was told not to use another site, but decided for $15, I’d pony up the money… I sold 100 copies of the same $0.99 book.  

6.  The best thing you can do is keep writing and writing and writing and when you’ve written until your fingers hurt, write some more.  Then publish the damn things.  Every book I release increases my monthly sales without any advertising.  The adverts just help expand the audience.

7.  Don’t be afraid to explore… both as a writer (explore different genres and novel lengths and novellas and short stories, etc) and as a marketer.  Do the book tours.  Run the adverts.  Run a few adverts a month.  Do a few book tours a year.  Explore mediums (ACX will help you create audiobooks), CreateSpace does paperbacks, and I believe there are a few that do hardbacks, insert easter eggs into your ebooks, link the “Other Works By” section so that when a reader finishes your book and loved it, they can immediately go purchase the next…

Now, on to 2014!

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