My first month I did some basic promoting, mostly to friends and family. I sold about 150 copies (one short story) and only about ten of those sales were from the friends and family I marketed to.
My second month, I did a TON of promoting, and got about half the sales I did in the first month.
Third month, I did no promoting, and my sales came almost to a halt.
Fourth month, I did a little promoting, and sales rose a little, but not much.
Fifth month, did no promoting, sales stayed steady.
Sixth month, I did no promoting, sales have had a sudden boost. Looks like this might be my best month so far, but we'll see at the end.
I read a lot of blogs, books, and other resources from self-published authors who have had a lot of success. The general consensus among them seems to be that marketing is important for being accessible to readers in order to keep them coming back and purchasing new work, not necessarily to grow the following. Most also say that blogging/Tweeting/FaceBooking/etc is important because it indirectly increases your sales over time.
The most successful authors I know recommend spending half an hour of promoting for every hour you spend writing. I've also been told that the promoting you do [i]before[/i] the release of your book is more important than the promoting you do once it's actually up.
Look at all the biggest successes in self-publishing- they ALL did marketing and promoting and they ALL were dedicated to creating the best story possible. (Amanda Hocking spent six to eight hours a day promoting her work once it was published, and look at her now. She still does promoting!)
For me, it seems best to promote and market, but not in a "spammy" way. Interaction, building a personality with potential readers, and giving interesting input to conversations about your genre/topic is important.
That's the beauty of the internet- everything is there, always, for people to find.
For example, I wrote a post in my blog months ago. There's a movie that just came out with a similar title to my blog, so when people Google that movie they've been finding my blog. Maybe that's why I'm getting a burst now. I don't know for sure.
Above all, it's how good the story is. Word of mouth is a powerful thing; one person likes your work, they recommend it to others; others read it and recommend it to even more others, and so on. But how does that first reader know it's there? With millions of books on KDP and new ones being published every day, it's imperative to make your work known so people can find it.
Some people are lucky enough to get great sales without having to do a blink of marketing, but for most, you need to do at least a little.
Experiment with it. Do different levels each month and see what happens to sales. I think every author and every piece of work is unique, so the amount of marketing will be unique to that person. Some people need to do a ton, some need to do none.
This is quite enlightening, Stefanie, if a little depressing. Especially this bit - "[i]The most successful authors I know recommend spending [b]half an hour of promoting for every hour you spend writing[/b][/i]"
Yea, it's not easy. I think everyone just needs to find what works for them. Goals will be different based on what one intends for their work (is this a hobby, just something one does for some extra cash, or does one intend to make their livelihood on their work), so the amount of marketing they have to do will be different.
Thinking about it, I guess I probably do about 10-15 minutes of marketing for every hour I write. Honestly, I hate marketing, but I write in popular genres so I have to figure out how to get my work to stand out. My main goal and top priority is to write the best story I can and hope it sells itself, but I want to give it all the help it can get. I'm not cut out for "regular jobs," so I'm one of those who are trying to make a living on writing, hehe.
While I love writing, the thought of promoting my work makes me ill.
There is a fair amount of luck involved in the equation as well, I should think, which I hope will go massively in my favor. Otherwise, I do not see how I can rise above Amazon's version of the 99%.
That aside, I fully understand your comment about not being cut out for regular jobs. I felt the same way too in my younger, more handsome days. Thankfully, I've paid my dues, and I have now earned the freedom to pursue a few of my dreams.
With your adeptness and apparent discipline, I don't think you'd have much to worry about, Stefanie. I'm pretty sure you'd do well here - and there.
An acting teacher I had said "To succeed in the entertainment industry, you need talent, hard work, and luck. Or any two of the three."
I've had so many jobs, but I'm grateful for the experiences. The longest I was at a job was three and a half years. I've never been fired, thankfully, but I just can't stick with it. Apparently, it's pretty common among childhood cancer survivors, but I forget why.
I've actually noticed an odd dip in sales over the last day (well, rankings more specifically). I changed my name and the name on the cover of my book to the short version of my name. This is because there is already an author of a completely different genre who publishes under the full version of our name, and someone reviewed my book with 3 stars but had little more to say than I wasn't the humorist author they had been expecting.
I didn't want people returning my book or giving it bad reviews based solely on their not bothering to read the blurb before buying and then being disappointed when it wasn't this other guy that writes in a completely different field. So I changed it, and now my rankings have slipped by 30-40% in the past 15hrs or so.
Might it be some unintentional marketing of popping up under another search and people finding they enjoyed my book helped with sales? Hope not
I'm with Saxon, the best promotion tool is another book. When you're starting out you'll need to promote more because no-one knows your name, but gain a bit of momentum and you shouldn't have to promote as much. I've seen a number of authors report that they can basically stop promoting completely once that first book has taken off because that generates the sales itself for the other titles. Remember the Amazon model means sales beget sales (higher sales = more visibility = additional sales, and so on).
hmmmmm. Reading your post - I -do- have another book (softback) with excellent reviews. (Didn't do worth squat, but... got killer reviews.) Stupid newbie question: your 'bookshelf', is that only for mobi? Or can you add your paperback there?
I know there's an author page somewhere - I filled it out, and promptly lost the link Is that the only place you can list both e-books and paper/hard backs?
Your acting teacher speaks much sense, btw.
And Stefanie, I'm so sorry to hear about the cancer bit. I can't imagine what you must've gone through as a child. On the bright side, it's over now, though I suspect the trauma still lingers. It would've definitely changed your world view and personal belief. In my book, you get free passes for life for everything and from everyone. So the hell with crummy jobs - live your life the way you want, and have fun along the way.
My best friend ( who is also my baby god sister, and was the 'best man' for my wedding), also faced the prospect of death not so long ago. It changed her personality completely in a space of less than two years. But she has grown wiser and stronger as a result of the episode, and I love her all the more for it.
Anyway, if you ever need any help with your work (a little proofreading, blurbs, etc.), please feel free to get in touch with me. Mail me at my initials (two letters) @ inthesummerti.me
Right. Be well.
ps: I read this several years ago, and it brought tears to my eyes. It is the journal of one Lauren Ann Isaacson, who was diagnosed with stomach cancer at the tender age of 12. The last part of the book was written by her mother - Lauren passed away at the age of 25. I don't know if you should read it, truth be told...