Easy reading is damn hard writing. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne
I’m choking on the amount of material out there about our industry, all the different ways to market our work, and the changing face of the market itself. After spending many hours trolling the internet, I hope to give you bite size portions to think about and for you to not get overwhelmed by the avalanche of, sometimes very conflicting, information.
The number one item repeated time and again was that it doesn’t matter what route you take to being a published author, you must become savvy to marketing techniques to boost sales. The days of a publishing house taking over and making you a best seller are gone. The houses expect you to have an online presence and that you are willing to put much effort into promoting yourself. Brick and mortar publishing models will have you in stores for a finite amount of time and then you are done. E publishers will promote you on their website, offer you a chance to blog to the readers who frequent their site, but after a certain amount of time, you are done. If you want to continue to have your books sell, then you MUST have some kind of strategy. Right, wrong, or indifferent this is today’s reality and every author needs to get on board for long term survival.
A good friend of mine, author Suzan Harden, directed me to http://victorinewrites.blogspot.com/2011/03/sales-growth-over-time in order for me to see several indie authors post their numbers of sales over a period of time. I strongly suggest you hop over there to study the numbers yourselves, but here are my general impressions of the data.
– Most authors start off with small numbers, but with time grew. This makes sense because growing is due to word of mouth which is now done in an IT sort of way.
-Sales generally increased around the holidays which led to continued higher sales for many of the authors.
– Based on their anecdotal information, sales spiked consistently with each new release. Some chose to publish short stories, some novellas, some full length novels. It didn’t seem to matter- new material equaled new sales.
-Authors also had spikes when they changed their covers or tweaked the descriptions of their books. I found this very telling because it confirms my belief that unless you are a cover artist/marketing guru, you should spend some money and hire a professional designer for your cover. We are a society of instant gratification and if the picture on the front doesn’t grab us within the first 5 to 10 seconds, you’ve lost a potential buyer.
– As a whole, those authors that had more than one item for sale had better sales. (Although there were exceptions to this.)
Every author should consider establishing a Facebook personal page, a Facebook fan page, a Twitter account, a You Tube account and a blog. Even as I write this, I need to warn you not to take on all of these things at one time and not every single one will be right for every person. The next couple of weeks, I will give you a breakdown of each of these, mistakes that many authors make, and more data from published authors that I’m collecting. This is such a huge topic with many layers, but I believe we must explore and commit to being an active part in the business side of creativity.