Statistics show romance, all forms--historical, suspense, paranormal, contemporary and erotic--command roughly 58% of all books sold. Yet, ask a woman is she reads romance and her expression changes to one whose just sucked a lemon dry. "I never read that drivel." Oooo-kay, so who is making up that 58%?
You've heard us complain in one blog post or another how hard it is to target our audience and promote to those groups. For example, the percentage of adults who read eBooks last year was 28%. Those who read print only was 69%. While those who read on their iPhones has risen to 14%. That adds up to 111%. Okay, my skin is starting to crawl. I like my figures to drawl a reasonable conclusion--like a hundred percent. I feel the need to rationalize it all. Perhaps, some people simply read a few paper books and also eBooks. That makes sense, right?
Then I got my monthly paper from Penguin Random House with an article on audio books (Reaches for back scratcher and tube of anti-itch cream). "Sales in the audiobook category totaled more than $1.47 billion in 2014, up 13.5 percent from 2013." So, where do I add those sales in?
In like manner, we've got the same crazy mix-up with promotional efforts. Blogging, many claim is going out of style. Yet my publisher sets me up on a blog tour for each release. The down side is few respond like they used to. I miss that back and forth chit-chat.
We're told our Amazon author pages are our best marketing tool. Really? Some "experts" tell us to keep our websites up to date and our Facebook author page, which I forget about. We're supposed to place our book covers in the large area of our author page heading and make it appealing for possible readers. My problem is I use my personal page out of habit.
Now...now these "experts" who have never had a deadline to meet, tell us Newsletters are the way to go. Well, yes, that sounds nice, but who do I send it to? We all get enough SPAM.
On the opposite side of the promotional spectrum, I've started watching how the big names promote. Laura Kaye, for example, tweets and tells everyone good morning on facebook. Every once in awhile she may post something about a book. At RWA, I went to a workshop given by a longtime favorite cowboy author of mine, Joan Johnston. At the end of her talk about showing stages of intimacy, she said it was time to talk about what we were all curious about--advances and how they were shrinking. She said she'd once gotten a six point two million advance. I nearly toppled out of my chair. I think I recall her saying her next advance was three million. I was still hyper-ventilating over the first figure she'd tossed out. She is still getting six-figure advances for her books. Another speaker told how she was making millions going Indie.
I turned to the lady next to me and bragged, "I once earned enough to fill my car with gas." She slid her chair away from me. Who knows...maybe I made her itch, too.