Summer of the Lab Rat
The Real World is not a laboratory.
If it were, we could control for single variables.
Trying various things in marketing ebooks is a case to point.
My best sales period (tripled my monthly average) was immediately after:
(1) Last year’s Labor Day Sale, organized within this group, which had very few books on it, so potential readers weren’t overwhelmed by the sheer number of books, plus it was widely shared.
(2) I released four titles in quick sequence, all in September. Then one in October, and one in November.
(3) Amazon started the KULL.
Hard to duplicate that last. 😉
So, how about this year?
(1) No big promos. Minimally hyped—facebook, my LJ page, and a mailing list.
(2) New titles published in February and March.
(3) A “Summer Reading Blitz” of four books released from the middle of June to early this month. Roughly three weeks separation between books, squeezed tighter when sales spiked and died.
It picked up my badly sagging sales and got them back to what I consider my average. And then they kept selling.
But since you can’t duplicate an economy, have the same distractions (Politics! Outrage! All! Day! Long!), get Amazon to do something that might have people taking a chance on an unknown author . . . nor repeat the biggest variable: Different books . . . it’s a tough comparison.
So my conclusions are . . . dubious. Yes. Dubious is a good term.
(1) Forget summer, for multiple or big releases, if you want a large spike to get you some visibility.
(2) But the sales will trickle in, as dedicated fans get back from vacation.
(3) Multiple releases work best at weekly spacing.
(4) I should work at expanding my very small mailing list.
(5) I should go back and read the marketing advice here, and follow it.
Now one take away from this marketing experiment is that releasing several new things in a short time works. But however I peer at it, my main conclusion is that I have still not broken out of my usual circle of readers.
To do that I’m going to have to force myself out of my comfort zone, both socially and professionally.
Attend school board meetings. Pay attention to local and state politics and contact them when I have something to contribute. Get back to writing letters to the editor. Attend some of those museum things I keep getting invites to. And look around for other venues where I can be helpful and spread name recognition.
Write in other genres. Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance and MilSF are selling well, and each would be a small first step out side my usual habitats.
When, all things considered, I’d rather crawl back into my introvert’s retreat of a house and write as the Muse dictates.
But, if I’m going to write as a business, I’ve gotta do it anyway.
That will be my next experiment.
And speaking of marketing . . . this totally awesome cover was designed by Cedar Sanderson for the the tail end of the Summer Reading Blitz. And the start of a spin off series, for those who haven’t read my exhaustively long main series: