February 5, 2014

Mystified by Marketing: #IWSG & ROW80

The Insecure Writer's Support Group (or IWSG) is a wonderful group put together by the amazing Alex J. Cavanaugh (which now has an equally cool Facebook group). 

The first Wednesday of each month is the perfect opportunity to share my insecurities on the #IWSG therapy couch, get encouragement and support about such insecurities, and to read how other writers are faring. 

Today, it's more about my marketing insecurities.

With each book, I grow as a writer. But, I can't say I know all that much more about marketing. Or at least effective marketing. 

I watch my peers, read marketing blogs, and dissect marketing books. I follow the advice, but so far I'm not seeing much in the way of results. Or to be more blunt... dollars. How else can I measure marketing success?

I recently ran a free promotion--a concept that still confounds me--and did quite well. I reached number #1 in two categories and #36 overall in the Kindle Free Store. After, I saw a slight increase in sales and four reviews (all 4 or 5). What?

This book, Chasing Memories, is the first in a planned series (plus a novella). Did I gain some readers that will buy my upcoming release, Chasing Shadows? I hope so.

I've done giveaways, cross-promotions, and spent countless hours on Facebook, Twitter, and blogging to build an author platform. 

What am I missing?


Wednesdays are also my A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) update days. I am almost done with the Chasing Shadows edits. I'm on the second read-through and should be done by Thursday. I was hoping to be done yesterday, but I've had a very sick dog (spent way too many hours in a Vet's office) and late input from a hubby reader (can't just call him a beta).

Hope all my ROW80 and IWSG buddies are having a great week!


Unknown said...

Can't wait for Chasing Shadows =) I've found with the free days that the sequels in a series do quite well sales wise post-promotion, even more so than the book that was free. But marketing is hard and I haven't found a definite formula that works for all my books across the board.

Unknown said...

I think the biggest factor in marketing is that it's hard to keep up with the newest trends. When I released my last book everyone said do a free day and it'll help you climb the ranks and get noticed, and then you'll make some money as you come down. What I didn't know is that Amazon had changed things around since that method began. Now as soon as your book goes from free back to paid, there isn't a graceful fall as there once was--you drop like a rock.
It all makes my brain hurt just thinking about it.

Anonymous said...

Sounds to me like you did really, really well on the promotion. Did you not have much in the way of follow-up sales? These days, free runs seem to only be effective if you have other books in the series that people then buy, and that can take quite a while before they read the first book and buy the next book. But Amazon has so drastically reduced the effect of a free run that you can't expect the bounce on the same book after it's over any more.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sometimes, you can't figure it out. I'll be curious to see how my publisher's promotions with my second book discounted do. (At the moment, quite well!)
It really is hard to figure out. When my first book shot into the top one hundred, it was almost a year old. Even my publisher wasn't sure what happened. I was real active blogging and just started the IWSG, plus they'd been marketing to science fiction conventions, so we figured it was a combination of things. I guess it's all about trying a lot of things at once.
Your book did really well during the promotion! Hope that drew a lot of interest.

Beth Camp said...

Thanks for sharing those reactions to different marketing strategies. Not only does marketing seem intimidating (despite whatever we try), but the game keeps changing! I'm wondering if you're doing any face-to-face marketing (book clubs, book signings, book launch celebration) that would build local readers -- and how successful those strategies have been. Not sure what 'slight increase in sales' means. How many free downloads led to those 4-5 reviews? Maybe with Amazon's changes, the giveaways don't work? Love to read more of your thoughts on marketing!

Unknown said...

Looking forward to Chasing Memories too. You left us on such a cliff hanger!
Not at a stage to start marketing yet but am petrified of it. My favorite advice so far has been that the best way to sell you first book is to write another one. I'm clinging to that.

Tia Bach said...

I feel better knowing that it's somewhat of a magical process, with factors that are constantly changing and some pure head-scratchers. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. It sure does make me feel less alone in my writing journey.

Much appreciation to each of you: Deborah, Beth, Alex, Heather, Ruth, & Skye.

Anonymous said...

I don't know much about the marketing side of things. I have a background in public relations, but it's quite different from marketing a book and I still have a lot to learn.

It sounds like you are on the right track. I've heard once you have multiple books out, it gets easier but I can't speak from personal experience. Posting your book for free probably created sales that will boost the word-of-mouth about your book, and that's crucial. Good luck!

Unknown said...

Well, first of all, YAY for reaching that stage in your writing life. I can tell you from a consumer's point of view that free or really cheap offers are very tempting and highly useful to get to know new authors you don't want to spend too much money on if you're not quite sure...