Good morning all!
I'm sorry to say that I haven't got much writing done these last few days because I have been following IndieReCon 2014, a 3 day free (yes, free) Indie-Publishing online conference. There's been web-chats with authors and marketers, people from Goodreads and Kobo, and a lot of advice about how to make a living as an Indie author. The page is still live, so head over there to read transcripts of the chats and all of the important gems of information that are available!
Here are some of the great things that I have learned over the last three days.
Social media and blogging aren't that great for selling books. If you think about it, how many of your twitter followers are eager fans waiting for an update on your new release? How many are fellow authors or follow you because you followed them (and vice versa)? How many of the spam 'Buy My Book' twitter posts have you ever clicked on and bought a book?
See the point?
Social media is great for connecting with people, learning from each other, making friends etc, but it probably won't sell many books. True, some of the people you connect with may go on to buy your book, but compare that to the time invested in making that sale. This post really summed it up for me
Authors and marketing people over there offered a lot of far more useful marketing techniques to try that may boost sales.
Very few of them recommended paying for promotion, and the ones that did suggested certain sites that have good results (eg before a kindle countdown deal, which anecdotally they suggested was now better than free days). They mentioned
I don't have the funds to try these yet, but it's worth going through the chat transcripts to get more info about what they said.
One author suggested reading chapters of your work and short stories, or author interviews, and posting them as podcasts. Add them to your blog. They are another medium for people to find out about you and your work, and there is something about hearing a human voice that aids that connection. I am going to give it a try, to I will keep you updated!
They suggested a program called Audacity to edit the audio files, and Blubrry to upload them. Haven't tried them yet, and I'm sure there are many others.
When you do tweet, write blog posts, post on Facebook, use images where possible. How often do you look at text compared to a cute picture when you scroll through the 2000 twitter people you follow? It will make you stand out.
One person suggested tweeting and posting quotes from your writing. You can turn these into eye-catching images with a program called notegraphy, so I'm going to try that too!
This was a little conflicting, as some people said the opposite. On one day, someone suggested not pricing your books at 99p/99c as it may suggest low quality with the low price. I don't know about that, but the first book in my Benjamin Knight series has been priced at 99p/99c for almost a year and sales have been very poor, so I have changed it to reflect the price of book 2 and soon book 3.
However, others suggested making the first book in a series free permanently. You do this by making it free to somewhere else like Kobo or Ibooks, and then letting Amazon know and they price-match. This makes people take a gamble on your book, hopefully like it and buy the rest in the series
I don't know. I am going to leave Knightfall at £2.99 for now and see if sales change, then I may make if free when New Light is released in the next couple of months.
6. Mailing Lists
Use a mailing list. Build one using something like Mailchimp. Don't just try to sell books to your email list, but offer promotions and early access etc that will keep them coming back. Then, when your next book is out, let them know!
7. HTML in your Amazon descriptions
This is a little alien to me, not something I have ever done but I am prepared to give it a go. Someone suggested using HTML code to highlight parts of your Amazon description to make them stand out. Here are a couple of useful links someone else suggested
Use Goodreads and Library Thing to host giveaways. Rumour is, Goodreads will soon be able to offer ebook giveaways to save the author the high price of postage!
This was big, a huge component of many of the talks and posts by various people over that three days. They suggested putting keywords into the title, subtitle, description and the seven keyword phrases. Experiment with keywords that relate to your book and make it stand out. There were lots of posts with tutorials of how to do this, so have a look. It will take time apparently, but will pay off in the end. Here's one I still have in one of the tabs on my browser
That's it for now, so I hope you find this useful. The whole thing got me really excited about the marketing and promotion side of my writing, and I hope it will you too.
Come back next week for the results of my Literary Experiment that I have been conducting through February!