Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Guest Author Edie Ramer: Promotion.

Today we have a special guest, the wonderful and talented Edie Ramer. Edie is going to talk about promotion for all of us published authors and that include the Indie author taking advantage of the e-publishing boom. I hope you will stay here and take some notes from Edie. 

Nancy, thank you so much for inviting me to your place. You wanted me to talk about promo, and it’s an important subject for all authors, indie or legacy. I’ve been part of a popular group blog, Magical Musings, for several years. Last summer, we added other writers and changed the focus to readers instead of just writers. This was a month before I put out my first book, but I knew then that I wanted to reach readers, not just other writers, and my co-bloggers agreed.

Reaching readers is my number one goal. I have a lot of wonderful writer friends, and I did say yes to each one who offered to have me on their blog. But I don’t seek them out. Instead, right from the beginning, I searched for reviewers. Most of the big review sites like Fresh Fiction don’t review self-published books, but many wonderful book bloggers will review your book if they like the sound of it.

Here’s a Book Blogger Directory, but when I put out my first book last August, I didn’t know there were book bloggers. A friend, Lori Brighton, had recently self-published a paranormal romance, and so had her critique partner, H.P. Mallory (who quickly became a bestseller; Lori is doing very well, too). I looked at their reviews on Amazon, then I emailed the ones that were by reviewers, said I was a friend of Lori’s (or H.P’s, who I knew by then), and would they look at CATTITUDE.

I got a large percentage of acceptances because of 3 reasons: Many reviewers seem to like cats. My book has a great cover. My blurb, which I always include, is great. 

But though I was getting mostly all 5 star reviews and a few 4 star, I wasn’t catapulted into bestsellerdom. Far from it. Part of the reason was that one book wasn’t enough. H.P Mallory had two books up right away. People loved one, then bought the second one. She priced one at 99 cents, as did Amanda Hocking. When Amanda self-published, she had quite a few books she put up quickly. 

I had other books written, but I wanted to revise and make them better. My second book was DEAD PEOPLE, my American Title V final book, the first book in my Haunted Hearts series. It had been considered by two legacy publishers (one had gone around to all the editors), so it was in pretty good shape. But I know I made it much better in the revision, which I finally uploaded in November. 

That and Christmas sales helped. From December through April, my sales more than doubled every month. In February I put up my third book, DRAGON BLUES, the first book in my Dragon series. To help sell it, I lowered the price of DEAD PEOPLE to 99 cents. Shortly after that, DEAD PEOPLE was featured on DailyCheapReads, which catapulted it into the top 10 of Kindle’s Ghosts and the Gothic categories.
This blog by Phoenix Sullivan will tell you why the category you choose is important. I wish there were “dragon” and “cat” categories (and why aren’t there?), but I’m lucky there’s a Ghost category. In Amazon, I flirt off and on with top 100s of a few categories for CATTITUDE and DRAGON BLUES. But being in the top 10 is more effective.

About two months ago, I got the brilliant idea of adding excerpts from my other books at the end of each book. I also added links, so they can be easily bought. At the time, I was mostly selling DEAD PEOPLE, which was still 99 cents. After I added the excerpts and links, my sales went up on my two $2.99 books. I need to sell more than six 99-cent books to make as much money as one $2.99 book, so that made a big difference to my bottom line. 

Other writers are on the Kindleboards, but I don’t have time for them. I’m on Twitter and Facebook, but I’m not a frequent commenter. I don’t have time to do it all. Other successful indie writers might have a different strategy, but what’s most important to me is to write that next book.

So, here’s the summary of my promo:
·        Great covers, great blurbs, and hopefully great books
·        Contacting reviewers/book bloggers
·        Experiment with prices (I’m keeping DEAD PEOPLE at 99 cents for as long as it keeps me in the top 10 of the category)
·        DailyCheapReads
·        Category choices
·        More books = more money (write the next book!)

In November, between Amazon and Barnes & Noble, I sold 38 books. In April, I sold 2327 books. So if you’re not selling a lot of books right now, don’t give up!
Any questions? I’ll answer almost anything.

Thank you so much Edie. I know I am going to follow Edie's advice. 

Edie is giving away one of her books to a lucky commenter. Your choice, how cool is that? So have at it and leave a comment. She'll be stopping by today to answer any questions you may have.


N. R. Williams said...

Thank you Edie for stopping by today. I look forward to hearing all the different questions from everyone.

Here's my question:
Are your books stand-a-lone or do you have any series planned?


Laura Morrigan said...

Great post Edie!
I especially like the point you made about great covers ;-D
Really, I'm bookmarking this for when I jump into the indie world-- gotta work on the "the more books the better" idea.

Joanne said...

I love reading the success stories of self-published authors. It says a lot about your passion and determination for writing and books.

I do have a question ... If you had to break down your time percentage wise, what percentage would you say goes to actual writing, and what percentage to the "Business" of the books?

Thanks Nancy and Edie!

Marian Allen said...

Great post, Edie! Thanks, Nancy, for hosting her. :)

I was feeling overwhelmed and disheartened before I read this article, but now I feel encouraged. Thanks for a great start to my day.

Marian Allen
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

N. R. Williams said...

I agree, covers are so important Laurie.

Wonderful question Joanne.

I'm with you Marian. I felt discouraged too.

Edie has an electrical storm going over her city right now, but she will be back online as soon as it's over.

Thanks everyone for stopping by.

Edie Ramer said...

Nancy, thank you for inviting me! And thanks for the questions. Though Dead People and Dragon Blues are first books in their series, they're still stand alone.

Cattitude was never meant to be a series. I got requests for stories about the hero's siblings, and always replied that I wouldn't write one. The story was about Belle the cat, and her story's been told. But I'm contributing a story to an anthology with a Halloween theme, which gave me an idea about a witch and a cat. It came to me that Max's sister would be the perfect heroine. I wrote the story, and it has the same sense of fun as Cattitude. Now I just need an idea for Max's brother...

Edie Ramer said...

LOL, Laura. I LOVE my covers and my cover artist!

To anyone reading this, Laura Morrigan is my beautiful and talented cover artist. She's fast, fabulous and reasonable. I wholeheartedly recommend her.

Edie Ramer said...

Joanne, you're making me cringe. I'd hate to break down my time. Some days I'm lucky to have an hour or two actually writing. It's terrible.

I have cut down on the blogs I visit and volunteering. I'm unsubscribing to emails. I'm slowly getting some of my time back.

There's a balance somewhere. I haven't found it yet, but I'm getting closer.

Edie Ramer said...

Marianne, I'm glad anything I said helped you!

Nancy, I am going offline now. lol

Edie Ramer said...

Oops, Marian, sorry for misspelling your name.

Anonymous said...

Hi Edie, its very nice to meet you. Those are certainly encouraging numbers! Thanks, I needed to hear that. Best wishes for your continued success!

N. R. Williams said...

Thank you Edie for stopping by amid the storms and answering our questions.

Hi Stephen, I think we all need to hear this.

Thanks for coming by.

Liz Lipperman said...

Wow, what an information-filled post. Thanks so much for sharing this Edie. I am patiently waiting for my venture into this business.

I wanna be you when I grow up!!!

Edie Ramer said...

Stephen, nice to meet you here, too.

Edie Ramer said...

Nancy, it's my pleasure to be here.

Edie Ramer said...

Liz, you're going to be a star! I love the sound of your book and can't wait to read it.

Lyn Horner said...

Edie, so much great advice! Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I plan to print out this page and keep it.

Nancy, thank you for hosting Edie. You did a good thing here!

Edie Ramer said...

Lyn, I'm happy to share. I should add that this is what works for me. Another indie author might get more out of Kindle boards and Tweeting than I do. I think you have to pick your strengths and go with them.

N. R. Williams said...

Thank you for stopping by Liz. It's my pleasure to host Edie.

Good idea Lyn, there is so much valuable information here.

Edie, thanks so much to continue stopping in and reading the comments.

I am thrilled you all came by.

Meagan Spooner said...

This is great advice, whether you're self publishing or doing the traditional publishing thing. Particularly WRITE THE NEXT BOOK! So many writers I've talked to are pinning all their hopes on one book, and I can't help but think that if that book fails they'll be heartbroken, but even if it succeeds, what then? Readers will look for another one, fail to find one, and then (sadly) forget all about it because some new shiny book will come along.

Great tips. :D

Edie Ramer said...

Edie, thanks so much to continue stopping in and reading the comments.

Nancy, I always appreciate it when my guests reply to comments, too. I once commented on a post of Jayne Ann Krentz's on a review site in order to get a chance at a free book of hers (which I didn't win). There were a ton of other people thinking the same thing - there must have been over a hundred by the time I got on it - and she replied to every comment.

Edie Ramer said...

Meagan, it sounds like you and I know the same writers and think the same thing.

Bob Sanchez said...

Hi Edie, and thanks for your post. I've just published e-versions of my three novels and included excerpts at the back, as you suggested. We'll see how it works! Do you include hyperlinks at the front, so readers know the excerpts are there?

Edie Ramer said...

Bob, good for you! I hope you make many sales.

No, I don't include hyperlinks in the front, but my excerpts start three lines after The End of the book, and I have a "buy" link right after the excerpt so the reader can find it with one click. After that, I have the excerpt and link of my other book. If the reader enjoyed your book, that's when he/she will buy the next one.

But if you want the hyperlink in the beginning, go for it. There are no rules and I don't see where it could hurt.

N. R. Williams said...

Great advice Meagan.

That is amazing Edie that the author replied to all the comments.

Good idea Bob.

Thank you all for your comments.

Patricia said...

Thank you, Edie, for your wealth of information. I just signed a contract with an e-book publisher for my first book and I would never have thought of putting excerpts from my second and third books at the back of my first. Thank you so much for the suggestions and sharing what you know.

Edie Ramer said...

Patti, congratulations on your sales! I hope you're a huge success. said...

This is very helpful info. Thanks, Nancy and Edie.

Michael Di Gesu said...

It's so nice to meet you Edie.... Thank you for sharing your strategy with all of us.

That's a great way to get readers to READ your books and having multiple choices gives the reader to enjoy more than just one book. Congratulations on your success.

I might be self publishing my first novel and your suggestions really makes sense.

Thank you Nancy for a great interview and hosting Edie.

Edie Ramer said...

Robyn, it's my pleasure.

Edie Ramer said...

Michael, I'm only sorry I didn't think of the excerpts and links earlier. If you read J.A. Konrath's blog today, you'll see great ideas he has for excerpts.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Since I'm with a publisher, I don' deal with a lot of those items, but I did contact a few science fiction book bloggers and forwarded their information to my publisher.

Siv Maria said...

Late to the party as usual, some great plans of strategy that I have saved for the day I might be lucky enough to use them, Like michael I am also considering options for my first novel. Your ideas are very helpful, so thank you. Nancy, your book is stealing away my writing time, I am loving it! Thanks for this interview :)

Edie Ramer said...

Alex, congrats on your publishing career! Self-publishing could still be an option. A lot of my friends are doing both.

Kelly Moran said...

just popping by to show some love to Edie! great post. xo

Edie Ramer said...

Siv, it's never too late. As for options, a friend of mine has an e-book for sale, and her agent is shopping it around. You can have it both ways.

Edie Ramer said...

Kelly, thanks for stopping by.

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Patti, I agree, I wouldn't have thought of doing that either.

You're welcome Robyn.

Good point Michael.

How thoughtful Alex.

Hi Siv, thanks for the compliment.

Nice to meet you Kelly.

Once again, thank you for coming by and being so active with this post Edie. I really appreciate it.

Thanks everyone.

Nas Dean said...

Hi Edie, Hello Nancy,

Thanks for sharing a great post, Edie!

Anonymous said...

PressThis linked on our blog! Thanks so much.

Edie Ramer said...

Nas, thanks for stopping by!

Marilyn Brant said...

Nancy, thanks for hosting Edie on your site today!

Edie, very helpful and down-to-earth advice, as always. Your hard work (and indie publishing is a LOT of work!) and the success you've had as a result have been very inspirational to me!!

Laurie said...

Hey Edie and Nancy. Nancy thanks so much for hosting Edie's post. I found it very enlightening and I feel many excellent points were made.

My question for you Edie is What are your thoughts about promoting using Book Tours? I'm curious because I just signed up as a Tour Host for a couple of them. I LOVE the idea of coordinating with other bloggers and really trying to help spread the word. Of Course, some authors have been successful rounding up groups and basically creating their own. I just wonder what your thoughts are? {sorry to be so long-winded}
Laurie's Thoughts & Reviews

Edie Ramer said...

Marilyn, right back at you about being an inspiration. I finished your indie book, On Any Given Sundae, yesterday. I LOVED it! It's going to be a huge hit.

Edie Ramer said...

Laurie, I haven't been on a book tour, but now that I know you're hosting them, I might contact you when my next book is out. It would be wonderful if someone else was a tour host.

Interviews and blogs are a lot of work, and with Dragon Blues, I did less than with the other books. I guess it depends on my plans. I'll definitely check out your tours!

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Nas, good to see you.

You're welcome, the lisas.

I agree with you Marilyn, Edie is an inspiration.

Laurie, I did do a blog book tour. What I can say is to make sure you don't give the exact same information on each post. I talked shop as well as did an interview. Good luck.

Again, Edie, your amazing coming by so much. I hope the weather has calmed down.

A.J. Walker said...

Great post. Thanks for including some hard sales figures. That's rare for a writer to do.
I tweeted this post at my feed @ajwalkerauthor
You don't have to tweet to get on twitter, you just have to write something worth tweeting! Content is king!

Edie Ramer said...

Nancy, the weather got bad last night again. My poor English setter was shivering for a few hours. The beagle snored through it. lol

Edie Ramer said...

A.J., thanks for the RT. I am on Twitter and will follow you.

I plan on writing a blog one of these days that names dollar amounts. I just haven't gotten around to it.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Promotions are different for every writer, because as you said, no one can do it all.

Edie Ramer said...

L. Diane, it sounds like you have something different that works for you. I always like to hear what works for other authors.

N. R. Williams said...

Nice to meet you A. J. Thanks for the shout out.

Hi L. Diane. For the new published author promotion is such a mystery.

No problem Edie. I appreciate all you attentive work on my blog yesterday.

Clarissa Draper said...

Wow, great tips and links. That's what I wanted to know: where can I find the readers (because like you, I know where the great writers are)! Thanks for the post.

Edie Ramer said...

Clarissa, I'm glad I could help.

N. R. Williams said...

Me too, Clarissa.