Writing a book seems like the easy part. I have seen many books that are on the Kindle shelf but are not selling, some in a series, as authors continue to write. The hard facts are that unless a book attracts a reader, it will not sell. I quit my job, but how do I start attracting attention and where do I start? Does anyone have any suggestions? Pearl Lover
The unfortunate truth is that barring amazingly good luck, there's not a fast path or even a sure path to big sales.
As others have noted, blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc. may all help. The trick to working the social media is that for the most part, your posts must be interesting and amusing. If most of them are simply commercials for your books, readers are going to turn off fast.
Make sure your Amazon Author Central page is fully set up.
Whether fiction or non-, does your work tap into a certain interest, be it the Civil War, fine cuisine, soccer, astronomy, or whatever? If so, you may be able to move beyond what you think of as the normal "book" community and market to enthusiasts of the particular thing your work relates to.
The fans of certain types of book have conventions. I write horror and fantasy, and the people who read my kind of stuff have lots of them. Depending on what you write, one way to promote your work is to attend such events as a program participant.
The catch is that you have to balance the cost against the likely reward. If you buy a plane ticket, stay in a hotel, eat in restaurants, etc. and sell two books as a result, you obviously haven't turned a profit.
Or at least not in the short term. Again, depending on the particular events you choose to attend and the nature of your work, conventions can build name recognition and provide the chance to network with editors and agents. If you're interested in exploring the opportunities that traditional publishing provides as well as those that derive from indie publishing, then you may want to meet those folks. In other words, convention attendance can help move your career forward in the long term even though you may not see any tangible benefits for a while..
Thanks for your suggestions.
Speaking about your career, as an author with many published books, I am sure that you have tried these options. I am forming a simple marketing strategy from what I have learned here. I do not know whether it will work or not but I will try it.
Thank you for the information. I will check the links that you sent. I have been absorbing a lot of information lately, without doing very much with it because it takes a while to integrate everything. Your suggestions are the next batch that I will review. Yes, Hocking has done well, until the publisher took over. Her sales have dropped tremendously because the books are 3 times the price. Thanks. Kea
Sit down and formulate a plan. The best book in the world will sit unread if nobody knows it's there. The key is always going to be creating visibility for your book. If you create a good foundation to start you can give your book a jump start. I hate trying to answer questions like this because it's hard without appearing like I'm spamming, but after helping several authors over the past six months I was asked to put my suggestions into a book form. So, without saying more...if you find that you need something more structured that gives you some step-by-step tasks to help you through the process. Feel free to contact me for information. I've been told the little book is like having a marketing plan without having to come up with it yourself. Oh, and you can do all the steps if you are diligent in one 8 Hour day.
If you don't plan you will continue to shotgun your efforts and have scattered results. My debut novel is one month away from having been on three bestseller category lists on Amazon for a year so I've actually done everything that I share with good results. I wish you great success.
As a struggling author, money is a scarce commodity at present. You did very well with your book. Thanks for the details. Other authors may read it. Kea
The truth is that yes luck so many people said that it's all about luck and in my opinion it's all in your mind. I recommend a book 'The power of your subconscious mind' , I learnt that if I want sth it I just need to believe in it :)
Immanuel Kant developed a philosophy based on this ideal (from Plato). The majority of Germans applied it fanatically in the 20th Century. The idea can be described as: reality is dependant upon my subconscious.
A couple of things attract readers.... But first of all you need to know exactly what you are facing. As of just a minute ago, a general search of the term ebook at Amazon demonstrated 48,200 new titles in the last 30 days.... out of 1,476,533 total e-books in the store. Put in perspective, your book is thrown willy-nilly into a pile of one and a half million others, in which it quickly fades from sight, as the initial publicity given as a 'new release' by amazon wears off.
Numerous questions then come into play:
1. How do people find books in amazon?
People find books at amazon by one of two general means. Direct browsing of genre, or by using search. If the customer is direct browsing genre, unless you are writing in a very limited field, hang it up. They will generally speaking not even find your book. There are thousands of high rated books with better ratings than any recent release. If they are using search, several things come into play. Feedback rating, accurate search tags, and content. Amazon is set up like a huge search engine, and just like google, meta data plays a huge part in location of anything in the store. You HAVE to get ratings to be found at all, by anyone. The better the ratings, the higher placed is your ranking, and the more your book will show up in a search. From what I have seen, most books seem to be found by search.
Tags become extremely important not only for search indexing, but also to the "You might like this also" bar below what a reader has previously searched for at amazon. Searching a genre which includes your tags might bring your book from obscurity into visibility for particular searches. If you don't manually tag you book no-one else will, and your book sinks like a rock, as it is never found with a million and a half other titles blocking it from view.
2. How can you HELP someone find your book at amazon?
Join shelfari, and several other book reading web places like goodreads, and announce you have a book to read. TAG YOUR BOOK on amazon! I cannot emphasize that enough. Use accurate and creative tagging techniques. If your book is about gardening flowers, then gardening, flowers, flower gardening, flower beds, how to garden flowers, etc., should all be in your tags. However, every tag should be accurate and relevant, or amazon has the right to remove your book from the shelf.
Don't think book. Don't think store. Think 'Search Engine' bookstore. This is true for all of the outlets online.
3. What draws their attention to any particular title in a genre?
The cover and over-all book rating.
I am not joking. If the cover is not professional looking, interesting, and eye-catching? The best description or blurb in the world does absolutely no good if nobody clicks through. Your cover does this part, as it interests the reader to the point where they want to know more. A non-professional cover shouts non-professional work inside, whether that is actually true or not. They have to click through to even view your blurb.
4. What finishes the sale?
A combination of ratings and your blurb. Most readers could care less about you unless you are already famous. They want to be entertained, and your blurb or book description tells them whether they are interested enough to buy your book. After this becomes a possible, they check what others have to say about it. This is the point where feedback makes you or breaks you. Until you get good feedback, even one bad feedback ruins your whole decade. It doesn't matter who it is from, or whether or not they even read your book. A new book with bad feedback better have an awesome cover, or it is dead in the water.
This is problematic, as there are readers who actually search for what they call 'indies' to attack. They think you and I are 'vanity publishing', since we are self published, not even knowing the meaning of the term. Vanity publishing by definition refers to those who pay to have their books published, generally so that they can give away copies to friends, acquaintances, and family in order to brag about being an author. Unfortunately, these are often referred to by other independent authors as 'Grammar NAZI's', as that is their usual basis for attack.
Few realistic average readers will even use the terms 'grammar', 'character development', or numerous other writing specific terms. Most do not even know what the terms mean. English has never been a popular class in any school. Only those interested either by choice or necessity generally use the terms for any reason. Therefore the odds are high when encountering attacks based upon writing terms, you are dealing with one of several types.
The self-proclaimed purist. (doing his/her bit to get rid of the indies)
The sabotaging unscrupulous author. (doing his/her bit to protect their own book rankings.)
The lousy and unprofessional blogger. (doing his/her bit to 'weed out the garbage', without even discussing problems with the author first)
Real reviews tend to be straight forward and open. Bad reviews come from:
Someone whom genuinely hates you. (Good reason for a pen name.)
Someone whom genuinely hates your work. (If possible and practical, fix the mistakes which led the reader to leave bad feedback.)
I hope that helps.
Obviously, you have been studying this area for some time. Thank you for all this valuable
information. You have mentioned several important areas that are often overlooked and neglected. Your reply is logical, easy to understand, and has some simple but effective ideas. You've suggested many incremental improvements that I can make. Thank you very much for the beautiful exposition. Kea
Study and careful topical research are two things which are often synonymous with business success.
You stated in your original post, if my recollection serves properly, that you were in business previously for yourself. Too many authors forget this is a business, and that the independent publishing approach is a difficult road to travel. Without initial funding, we are necessarily authors, editors, proofreaders, publishers, promoters, software experts, e-book format experts, and graphic design artists.
If any excellence is to be demonstrated in the finished product, it must be by our own effort, force of will, desire and diligence.
Authoring is the easy part.
I thank you as well, for your kind reply.
Yes, you are right about me, as I did have a business. Thank you for this added piece. I find that although I cannot always integrate the information immediately, the ideas come back at the right time. I think it is called the spiral method of knowledge. Cheers. Kea