In the 5 1/2 years since I became an indie writer, what I have learned about marketing books....
la te dah de dah
What was the subject again?
In short, I still don't know much. I know what marketing needs to do-- get your books seen by those who might enjoy reading them. And that is where what I know ends. How do you do that?
Well, there businesses who only promote books. Their prices vary but they are not free. Some of them send out lots of Tweets with the idea that will get the book readers... except how many people buy books based on tweets? I have only a thousand or so followers on Twitter (and follow about the same number-- none of which are political by the way), but have never seen a sale directly coming from my tweets about my books, nor when someone else generously (and it is generous) shared my Tweet. Would bots do better? It would take dollars to find out. I personally go to Twitter only long enough to post a photo or write a few words. In the time it has taken me to do that, twenty Tweets will have gone past. I've read you can create a Twitter Deck that means you will see more of the posts by others in the Deck... but would I be in anybody's Deck? If I had a Deck for others, would I remember to look at it? The obvious answer is maybe once a month... maybe. All I know is I don't read much of anything there and have never purchased a book based on a Tweet.
Then there are contests you can enter where if your book does well, it gets publicized. I only hear about them after somebody else has won and lets their friend list know. Do I remember the contests in time to enter for the next year? You probably already know the answer to that.
One of those contests costs almost $400 to enter. If someone has a lot of sales, that makes sense. When you don't sell that much, the money has to come from someplace. Where would that be on Social Security? The savings accounts? Not a good idea with no guarantee there'd be a return. Yet, you know what they say-- no risk, no gain... but no loss either lol. I have heard of those who've spent over a thousand dollars to get their book out and are moaning that it hasn't sold. Hitting the zeitgeist of what readers want is a combination of skill, luck, and fate maybe. I was never going to put that kind of money out-- although I do put out some as I don't think you can avoid that.
I have paid some money for promotions at Facebook and have gotten a lot of readers to my Facebook [Rain Trueax Author] page, at least temporarily. Translating that to sales-- not so much. I also don't keep that page as active as I should. I am working on that.
One of the best places I've had for sales of my books is a site at Facebook called [Pioneer Hearts]. I am relatively sure I'd have never sold much of anything without it as it lets readers connect with books. It has had a bookstore put together by one of the supporters of the site. Evidently, Amazon is not going to continue to support it, which is definitely too bad for writers not on A lists.
At Facebook, I've joined quite a few groups that involve different genres of books and for authors. I don't think any of them have led to a single sale. This is most of a problem for my paranormals, which since they aren't historical, can't go into Pioneer Hearts...
In the end, what I jokingly said above is true-- I still know almost nothing about how to promote my books to the readers who will potentially enjoy them. When a book does well, I am always surprised and wonder now from where did that come. When they don't, I wonder the same thing.
Part of my problem may be that my books are romances but kind of hybrids with a lot of a novel in them. There is no ready-made fan base waiting for them, as I hear from other authors who write more what their base wants. I think writing formula books has a real plus for marketing-- except what if that's not what comes to you as a writer?
Anybody reading this far have any marketing ideas that either lead you to find the books you enjoy or that has led to steady sales for your own?