Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Does a book's success depend on promotions?

Promotions Part 1

Selling books is a retail business that requires different skills, and these days getting read by anyone (readers, agents, publishers) involves you figuring out how to find your audience and gain visibility - AKA marketing and promoting your books.

The statement above was part of a blog I read by Russell Blake. And it struck me as being totally realistic.

Most of us are so involved in the creation of the story that we don’t realize what the aftermath will be–selling it!

I see so many books sitting in the tullies at #500,000 and higher that must not be selling any copies at all. And I know one thing for absolutely, positively certain…those authors are not doing any promoting whatsoever.

Let’s face it. Every one of us knows that if only people will read the dog-gone book, it’ll be a big hit. Oprah will be knocking on the door, movie directors calling…. yeah sure!!

Well, it does happen to a few. Think of a lottery winning! The rest of us have to make things happen. We have to sell the darn thing. I mean once your mother, best friend, and family have bought it, you need to get it out into the world of the reader.

Which means, that these days, any author who wants to be successful needs to take on another mantle – that of a promoter. And not just any mediocre promoter. I’m talking about a savvy, budget-minded, far-reaching salesperson who has their eye on a long term goal and not just a short-term investment.

Now I don’t know about you, but when I first started writing my books, I had no idea, intention, notion that I might have to do all the promoting myself. After all, I had traditionally signed up with The Wild Rose Press and waited, breath abated, for the royalty checks to show up in my mailbox…ROFFL! Sorry about the bleep in the first F!

Just so you know, after 6 books, I think my largest royalty, after waiting for 4 months, was $85 or something ridiculous like that.  Not surprising that I had a decision to make – right?

Should I continue to write my lovely romances, no stress, put them out to the publisher who did all the work, little pressure, (swallow disappointment over covers I disliked) and then let my babies sink under the onslaught of the huge number of books on that site…..or???

Change my future.

I took a long, hard look at what I had accomplished.  I’d written six books for the Vicarage Bench Series, I was getting stronger as a writer, more knowledgeable in the business and very, VERY hungry.

I wanted a piece of that dream that was still available to those of us who were willing to work hard. I needed to know my books were being read. It was important for me to be acknowledged. And… I wanted to make money!! To me, earning a decent living with my product equalled being a success. And I needed that desperately. Or why go on…?

Now I know that isn’t everyone’s vision of why they chose to write books. And if you’re happy to hide away, that’s your prerogative.  But it isn’t mine. I grew up learning the hard way—that the money you earn reflects the work that you do. It might be mercenary.

Neh!  It is what it is!

So… how to start.

Social Media!

These days, if an author expects to get read, he/she has to not only become adept at marketing, and invest accordingly, he/she must learn a whole new career in social media as a promoter. There’s a sidebar to learning about this new venture. Not only do you have to accumulate some knowledge of what’s available to you in the world of advertising, you must learn to understand the outcome of your choice.

And…not only must one become adept at dealing with your computer’s idiosyncrasies; you have to learn to feel comfortable on many different promotional sites that will be demanding all kinds of information from you in order to advertise your book. These sites are also progressing, becoming a lot more expensive and wanting more in-depth information.

Okay – I don’t mean to sound discouraging. I just want you to start this adventure with your eyes open to a realistic future. I’ve read a lot about what’s coming ahead in our business and some of it’s depressing and some quite illuminating.

But one thing I do know…

More and more, the poorer quality material will disappear because no matter how well they're advertised, the reviews will kill their hopes. Truthfully, the authors who will thrive aren’t necessarily the ones who write the best books. Most likely, they’ll be those who know how to market them.

More hints about selling you as the author in the next blog!


  1. You're so right, Mimi. Writing a book is the easy part! I look forward to your forthcoming blogs on the topic.

    1. I have to admit Carole, that if I was starting today with my very first book, knowing what I know now, I'd really hesitate. Indie authors today are having it rough.

  2. Mimi, you are absolutely right. I had a background in marketing but it didn't prepare me at all for what we're facing as indie authors. The landscape is constantly changing and the only hope I can see is a constant exchange of info & ideas from author to author ~ as you're doing here. Look forward to the next post.
    Cheers from Marsha ~ AKA The Mutinous Boomer!

    1. Thanks for commenting, Marsha. You're so right about the changing landscape. And - to ad to the confusion, we also have to try and keep up with today's technologies. No wonder I've recently acquired a strange tick....LOL!!