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.
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.
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)
· 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.