Theoretically speaking, I have an idea what marketing is about. On one of my various forays into the working world, I ended up spending a year in an advertising agency. (By the way, can anyone tell me why it is advertising and not advertizing? No? Never mind.) Thus, I know what a target group is. I’ve heard the sentence ‘It’s the brand, stupid!’ I can even find something like beauty in a carefully crafted advertising campaign.
It still bores the hell out of me.
As a self-published author, though, you’ll find that there’s no way around it. They say a good book will sell itself. That’s not precisely true. You need to inform people first that it even exists.
Here’s where it starts to become difficult. Because, given that you are not a huge publishing company, your budget is limited to the point of nonexistence. Still, there’s a few things you can do.
I was strongly advised not to give my book away for free. It will avail you nothing, I was told. People will download it because it’s free, will never read it, nor leave a review, and if they do, they’re likely to leave a bad one ’cause they didn’t give a damn about your book, simply got it because it was free, and it wasn’t their genre, either. 10k downloads on a free day will result in one review, was the prevailing opinion.
I tried it anyway. Thrice.
The first two times I failed. Utterly. Something like 200 downloads at the most.
Upon publication of the sequel, and with a new, oh-so-much-more eye-catching cover, and a few more ideas where to announce the free days, I gave it another go. Three free days in a row. I spent hours filling in my book details on more websites than I’d care to remember. I ferreted out facebook pages where I could post a promo ad for free. I tweeted hourly, desperately copying catchy phrases from past reviews.
All the effort for around 3.5k downloads. The 10k figure reverberating in my brain, I despaired. At the end of the third day, I was deader than the Monty Python parrot, and whisked myself away for a chill-out weekend.
When I came back, I logged into my Amazon account, expecting nothing at all.
And found that people had left reviews. Had started buying the sequel. Had even bought copies of the no-longer free first part of the series, and of my novella, too.
Conclusion? Marketing, as dull and mind-numbing as it is, can have gratifying effects. Who would have thought? I probably should do some more.