Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Publishing: It's About Marketing

What I'm reading: Dirty, by Debra Webb.

Also, I'm revisiting my post on romantic moments over at Ellis Vidler's blog, the Unpredictable Muse today.

Thanks to Paty for sharing her reasons for going indie with her older books. I'm in a similar situation, and understand exactly what she's talking about. In addition to publishing my back list titles, I've also taken the plunge into indie-publishing a new book. And in case you missed it, I'm offering a Buy 1, Get 1 Free sale. And, unlike the normal retailers, I'm not restricting the free book to the cheaper one. Nope. Buy the 99 cent book (When Danger Calls) and I'll give you the $2.99 book (Danger in Deer Ridge) free.

Why? Because if you're someone starting in e-publishing, people are more likely to take a chance if you've got an established name. I don't. One of the ways to get noticed is for your books to rise in the rankings at the e-stores, and the only way to get them up there is for people to buy them or review them. So, in the hope that if I gave away books, mine would move higher up the ladder, which in turn would generate more sales, I'm willing to eat the cost of giving away books. After all, any business must have an advertising budget.

So, if you've been considering reading my Blackthorne, Inc. e-books, this would be a great time to take that next step.

As for my hard cover (Where Danger Hides), the publisher targets the library market. So, if you have a library card, I hope you'll 1) request the book if your library doesn't carry it and/or 2) check it out, even if you don't want to read it. The libraries look at the circulation records of books, and if a book looks busy, they might buy another copy.

Another difference between traditional and indie publishing is being able to track sales. If you write for a traditional publisher, you were probably paid an advance. Until you've sold enough books to cover that advance, you won't see a penny in royalties. (At least you don't have to give the money back if you don't.) After that, you'll be paid – usually twice a year—so there's no real way to tell which, if any, promotional efforts actually bear fruit.

With e-publishers, there's a little more frequency of payment. Mine come either monthly or quarterly, depending on the publisher. but they're always behind. Thus, I my June check would cover my April sales, and for those paying quarterly, I'm seeing results from the previous quarter. Marketing efforts for those books are also hard to track, although it's a little easier than with my print publisher.

On the other hand, with most of the indie-sites, such as Amazon, Smashwords, or Barnes & Noble, even though payments are delayed, you can see virtually real-time sales. If someone buys one of my books from the Amazon store, I'll know within minutes. Same goes for Smashwords. Barnes & Noble's indie publishing stats take about a day to show up. Of course, this has its ups and downs. It's nice to get feedback that a promotional effort of some sort is driving sales. If something isn't working, at least you can adjust your plan of attack much sooner.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Tracking sales always puts me a little on edge! You're so right that it's all about the marketing.

I'll be sure to request the book at my library. Good luck with your releases!

Terry Odell said...

Thanks, Elizabeth. And that's yet one more thing to track. WorldCat is a site that lets you see which libraries have your book in stock. It's not 100% accurate because not all libraries subscribe, and if they don't, you won't see your book. But that makes it easier to tell yourself that your book is in a lot more places than you see on the site.

Ilona Fridl said...

What a great idea! I only have three books out, but that's a consept I could store for later.

Maryannwrites said...

Looking forward to seeing how this latest campaign works for you. Since I already bought When Danger Calls, I'm not sure I want to buy it again to get the freebie, but I do love your books. Reading What's In a Name now and loving it. Should not have started it when I am getting ready for a show at the Art Center. LOL

I'll get Danger in Deer Ridge later.

Terry Odell said...

Maryann, there's no 'rule' that says you have to buy When Danger Calls now. I'm happy to honor the second part of the offer, which was "point me to a review for the book" if you don't still have your receipt.

Terry Odell said...

Ilona - sorry I missed your comment before. If you're talking about indie books, you have to market no matter how many or few you have out there. But the stats seem to show that more is better.