I recently read Carolyn Howard Johnson's The Frugal Book Promotor. I loved the book, but I came away slightly dizzy thinking about all the things I could do to promote my books. Like most of us, I have a limited time for marketing, if I want to eat, sleep, clean house, and most importantly – write, so I can't do them all. Helpfully, Carolyn pointed out that I don't have to try them all, she's already done that for me. That's great, but how do I decide how to focus my energy. The answer, difficult as it is, is that I have to set goals.
Goal setting is constricted by several factors which make it both harder and easier to set goals for yourself.
- Where you live – I happen to live in a very rural area. Book signings are great, but we only have one bookstore. With only a few thousand people in my immediate area, I'm not got to get many sales unless I branch out. Therefore, I have to rely primarily on the Internet.
- How much money you plan to make – The sad fact is that unless you have a blockbuster novel, tantalizing non-fiction, or are a celebrity, you're not going to get rich. On another group, someone quoted the statistic that a really successful writer without a publisher, or with an indie publisher, can expect to make $300.00 a month at the high end. Probably more realistically it's less than a $100.00. Those kind of numbers mean I can't send a lot to advertise my book unless I want to use income from another source to subsidize it. So I need lots of free advertising.
- What sort of a book have you written – Most of us are, I suspect, writing genre novels: romance, mystery and scifi. Therefore, we have to get to where the readers are. Other writers are one source of sales, but probably not as great as fans of the genre. Therefore, we need to be involved in groups devoted to the type of fiction we want to sell. We may not be able to do crass marketing there, but we can get out names in front of readers. On-line retailers are another source. Amazon does a good job identifying the types of books their customers are buying and making suggestions. Plus there are Amazon lists and other tools for getting your work noticed.
As a result of this analysis, I decided to concentrate on on-line activities: book reviews, yahoo groups, and on-line marketing. Or course, I have a website and blogs, but these are areas I have branched out into.
What are your thoughts about your goals for marketing? I'd love to hear your plans.
Latest book: Winner's Circle available on Amazon.com