Thursday, July 14, 2016

What works best for a writer to find new readers? #Hybrid #mgtab

Putting your books in a lot of different places could do the trick. That makes a lot of sense, right?


I tried that a few years ago when I scattered my books over all the various venues like Kobo and Apple and sat back thinking, okay – now I’ll have a bunch more sales, things will take off and I’ll be rich…maybe star on the Oprah show.


Yeah… Not so.


I didn’t take into consideration that it takes time.


Just like it did when I first joined Amazon and worked my butt off to get the readers to take a chance with me. I put in the effort and spent scads of money with numerous promoters and then got busy with self-advertising on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.


And you know what? It paid off. Things were going well. I could see my sales bloom and every month, I made more than the month before.


Then along came Amazon Unlimited and poof!! My bubble burst.


Within a month, my sales were cut in half. All that work and struggle was lost. Readers flocked to pay their $9.99 and get free books – as many as they could read.


I did stick it out for the next few months but I knew the change was there to stay  and so like many other authors, I decided to try a few of my books on Amazon Select and see what happened. In no time, I transferred them all to Select and watched the ‘pages-read’ start to climb.


Slowly, I built back the profit to where I had been over a year earlier.

But – I learned something from that bump in the road. I learned that I had no control over what Amazon or the other publishers might chose to do in the future. I was at their mercy.


Okay… what's the next step?


I had been involved in a lot of box collections; some did really well, while others barely paid back their initial investment. When we decided to try the collections in Select, the sales were much better. But again, nothing’s for certain. Some sets do really well yet others flop.


Join a group and work with a lot of other authors with the goal of building the group so in the end, it serves everyone. Yeah, well it’s a good concept, might be the perfect answer if everyone in the group worked as hard as the next guy. I began Authors’ Billboard over a year ago. Some of the ladies started off being very generous with their time and found that others weren’t so generous. It’s to be expected – many are in different circumstances and have that time to share while others are stretched with young families, full-time jobs and deadlines. But… eventually, the workers spent less time too.


So… what’s an author to do?


Getting a BookBub placement would be nice, especially if you could rely on doing so every few months. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to want to accept my work. Not sure why, but it’s been months since they accepted one of my books….yuk!! So, can’t rely on finding my new readers that way.


It's true, I could pay for other promotions and I do - often - but the benefits are short-lived. And those advertisements can add up where the ROI isn't always obvious.


People say you need your own newsletter. Done that! I have a lovely group of friends/readers who are very supportive. But how many times can you rely on the same people to come to your aid unless you have a new book to plug for every newsletter. I tend to only write newsletters for that reason so I’m already doing that.


I’m active on most social media platforms. Have stretched myself past where it’s comfortable and my working hours are ridiculous. Is it paying off?? I’m not sure I want to find out. It would break my heart to discover that all those hours were just a waste of time.


Then I got to thinking, maybe it’s a good idea to find an agent who likes my work, believes in me and will find me a contract with a publisher. Become a Hybrid author... hummm!! 


Who knows whether what I write will be accepted? I mean, face it, as an Indie author, I take a lot of liberties with the rules… make my own. Will that be a problem? Can I overcome it? Do I want to? I don’t know. What I do know is that there are a lot of readers out there who don’t know about me and I’m determined to get to them if it’s possible.


On the other hand, if you check these mind-blowing stats on Amazon, is it such a great idea? Look how well Indie authors have done so far…


Do you have any suggestions?

Have you found avenues that have worked for you and not for just as a short time gain?


Please share…



  1. Hi Mimi: What I see more and more these days is authors (especially non-fiction, but fiction also) who offer their services to others, be advice, conferences, course on how to produce a book, market it, review... Whatever. To make a living out of e-books one needs to sell huge amounts of them (because the prices are very low) so it's very difficult.
    I've tried a few of the things you mention (although due to personal matters and to having no talent for marketing, I must admit, not to the same extent) and as I write in Spanish and English and do translations I've tried other markets but so far I have spent more than I've earned with my books.
    I tried to get an agent a few years back with no success and it's a very time consuming process, but don't let that discourage you, as what I've noticed is that everybody thinks what happens to them is representative of the market, but I think the stories we read are all individual and circumstances and so many other things come into play that one never knows.
    Good luck!

    1. Thanks for commenting, Olga. I think you're right about authors turning to the teaching side of the business but if you feel you don't have skills to market, I feel the same about getting up in front of a roomful of people at a conference and presume I can teach them.
      I guess I'll just keep trying new avenues of promotion and keep writing better books :-)

  2. I have no idea if this works all the time, but finding a niche in your genre can often lead to continued word of mouth recommends. The ebook landscape is awash in competition- what makes your work stand out? Promote that first and foremost. For example, many heartwarming romances feature secret babies, adopted babies, hero/heroine made dual guardians of a baby after parents die... But one out of every four couples are infertile so they'll shy away from family oriented tropes. Few writers offer that as a plot possibility , where mine never include them so they are safe for childfree women to read. So find that underserved market and market your books accordingly it may help.

    1. Wow - Jenna. That's actually a great idea. I was thinking about a book where a woman is harassed at her work place - I bet that would resonate with lots of females and still be interesting to others who are luckier. In fact, the more ideas I come up with, the more I see where you're going with this and the marketing possibilities.
      Thanks, my friend. :-)