Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Reaching Readers Through Telepathy by Betsy Ashton

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The
important thing is to not stop questioning. ~ Albert Einstein

On January 22, Leah St. Thomas had a great post in this blog about overcoming the fear of public speaking. After she completed and published her book, she was faced with the Now What moment. Now what do I do to tell people what the book is about? Do I have to do it in public? Or will osmosis sell my book.

Source: Wikipedia
I'm here to tell you neither osmosis nor telepathy will sell your books. Unless you are a David Baldacci or a James Patterson, your book is going to "get found" only when you get down and dirty with marketing and promotions. In today's book environment, most publishers are not going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising, television interviews and book tours. The return on their investments for most newbie or relative newbie writers is non-existent. Not that most of us wouldn't want our lives to be managed for the first six months after our book launches. But, it so doesn't happen.

For us to have hope for tomorrow, we have to set up a plan to get our messages out without spamming our readership. That line between sensible marketing and spamming is so fine that a mistaken step will send a writer sliding down the razor blade of life. (OMG, that's a cliche! I'm damned proud of it.)

My first book launch taught me many lessons, some of which I plan to apply to my next launch, which is coming up in June or slightly before.

Lesson one: Don't listen to people who say you have to be active on every social media site. You don't. If your readers don't use Pinterest, you don't have to have a presence there. If they are active on Facebook and post reviews on Goodreads, you'll want to be more active there. Twitter? It never hurts, although 1800 followers must find some reason for following me, even though I still don't know what I'm doing. I also find LinkedIn groups very helpful. I spend about an hour a week there commenting on the forums where I have the best likelihood of finding readers. Total amount of time a week setting up my multiple feeds: 2 hours. Most of that is on Sunday afternoon when life is quiet.

Lesson two: After Mad Max 1 launched, more of my readers bought my e-book than my trade paper book. Like ten to one. So, when my publisher asked how I felt about launching Mad Max 2 as an e-book first, it made sense. And it made life a lot easier because I could set up my marketing campaign in advance. I now need to execute it.

Lesson three: There is NOTHING like meeting readers face to face. Book clubs have been very kind to me. Seriously, with 25 around the lake where I live, I've reached hundreds of readers. Local libraries have helped. Book clubs out of my region often have Skype options, so I don't have to spend a day traveling to a group of 20 women. I will tell you from experience, libraries out of my immediate region have been a waste of time. I'm not going to pound on them again.

Lesson four: I look at Mad Max 2 as a whole new beginning. I am so enthusiastic about it. I can't wait for people to read it. I hope they will be as excited as I am. I won't know until I track online sales promotions.

In looking back at the Einstein quote, I want to amend it. The important thing is not about questioning. It's about the quest itself. May those of us who write because we are inspired by words and driven to reach readers accept the quest and go for the Holy Grail, whatever it might be. Onward.


Betsy Ashton is the author of Mad Max Unintended Consequences available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The second book in the series, Uncharted Territory comes out in e-book in June 2015. 


Jannine Gallant said...

Good advice, Betsy. Sounds like you've narrowed down what works for you. I wish I could pin-point what works for me. Instead I see random sales for a book when I do no publicity, and no sales when I promo all over. Does that make sense? No. I'll try to narrow it down better with the next release.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Good advice. I guess the overall message is to keep plugging away and, hopefully, come up with some type of promo that really, really works. You're right though. There is nothing to replace the face to face. Even by Skype. I used that gimmick in my last book. My heroine talking to her soon to be married daughter while trying to keep the hero out of view. Love that 'sliding down the razor blade of life' moment. Eeeewwww!

Leah St. James said...

Book clubs are a fantastic way to reach readers, Betsy. I did a whole story about local book clubs for one of my columns at the paper where I work. Thanks for your advice on the other methods, too. I'm going to bookmark this! :-)