Skip to content

Posts from the ‘MARKETING’ Category

Marketing, Promotion, and Other Bad Words

I saw a book recently I’d like to buy, possibly. But there’s a problem. I just bought two books, haven’t had time to read them yet, and I’ve maxed out my book budget for the month. Drat. Oh, well, I have more books in my to be read list than I can possibly read in the scant free time I have… driving on.

Then I sat back and thought it through. As a reader, this was a ‘oh, that looks neat, can’t do it, no worries,’ kind of moment. If I were that author, though. If I were that author, I’d just have lost a sale and I’d have no idea why. Now, here’s the thing: it’s absolutely not the author’s fault. There’s nothing wrong with the cover. It fits the genre and attracted me as it is signaling genre I enjoy reading. The blurb is intriguing without being too revealing. The lead-up post that got me to link through to the book was funny if wordy, but suitable to audience. What went wrong with this potential sale was all on my end. The timing was off. Read more

Anyone Awake Yet?

So, those of us in the US are starting to awaken from the postprandial slumber induced by the gastronomic delights and excesses of Thanksgiving. Maybe.

It is time to think about holiday and post-holiday marketing and what will happen after this fiscal quarter wraps up.

A few predictions: 1) The management of Barnes and Noble will do their best to make the holiday sales look excellent and to make the fourth quarter’s numbers look beautiful. And if they are not, they will blame the ‘Zon.    2) Amazon will have a decent fourth quarter and will [one hopes] get the kinks worked out of the Amazon Print system that has replaced CreateSpace.  3) The Big Five will not be pleased about e-book sales, but will happily announce that people are returning to print books and all will be well, no need to panic, nothing to see here, move along. And just ignore the little voice behind the curtain reminding people that children’s books tend to be print, so the kids can have something to hold and unwrap (and chew on).

In other words, the sun will rise, birds will sing unless they are shivering too hard and their beaks are chattering, and people will buy stuff in November and December.

Do you, those who are planning to sell or have a special holiday sale, have everything ready to go?  You should at least have dates and titles sketched out, how much you are lowering prices and why. Is it to hook readers on your series? Is it to kick sales of your latest release(s) into higher gear to get word-of-mouth and reviews before the post-Christmas buying surge? Is it to gain visibility for a series that you are picking up again with fresher covers and new releases? What are your goals, what sales do you want to see, how are you going to discount and in which markets?

For new releases, what dates do you have to meet? Apple sent out their deadlines two weeks ago. I have not seen hard deadlines from the ‘Zon yet, and I’d plan on having everything ready by no later than December 5 for Kobo, in case they have another short-notice software and hardware update between December 18-January 7 as happened in 2013-14. I was not the only writer dismayed to find myself locked out of getting books approved that year.

Now that you are thinking that a turkey coma relapse might be good, let’s do something really scary…

Readers, when do you buy books for gifts and how often? My family is big on books as gifts, both for adults and kids. We used to do the combo packs of book and stuffed animal, but dust allergies and a new puppy precluded that. I’m 100% in favor of giving kids and older children print books, as well as gift cards for e-books. Luddite that I am, the less screen and the more page, the better I think it is for the under 13 cohort.

Do you give fiction or non fiction? Or do you give gift certificates and cards so people can pick for themselves?

My big point is that as readers and as writers, we look at the fourth quarter and books differently. We writers need to put on our reader hats and think about how we sell during this time, or if we would do better to avoid the December Crush and focus on the entire year. We don’t depend on Black Friday and Cyber Monday as much as others, thanks be, but it is a good time to get Eyes On Books for the future.

Me? I’m going to release the third Shikari book in December, and have plans to launch the fourth one in January or February. I also have two Merchant books to polish and get ready, and the last Colplatschki title. As for marketing and sales, well, you’ll just have to wait and see. 🙂

Edited to add: https://seekingalpha.com/article/4224316-barnes-and-noble-needs-turnaround-expert

Because fake-fur-lined reading socks are not going to be enough to save the books. No, I am not kidding. They are the first display when you walk into the regional B&N.

Something Spooky This Way Comes…

Nightmare fuel: invisible cat in the dark!

Ah, ghost-story and spook season! And the time for telling creepy and terrifying stories to make everyone nervous and edgy. There are a number of them going around, tales that will make writers twitch, glance over shoulders, and mumble about looking for silver bullets and crucifixes. Read more

Seasonal Releases

When is the best time to release and promote your books? Usually, indie authors look at me and say “Uh, when they’re finished?” or they start thinking about staggered serial releases. But in our wonderful world of not planning releases a year out, there’s an interesting question: when do you release Holiday-themed or seasonal books? We all know the outcry when Christmas decorations appear in the store before Halloween, but is it better to release a Christmas romance before in early November, or early December? Read more

Something Wicked this Way…

What evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows… 

I didn’t grow up reading comic books. There were reasons: I’ve been reading, and a fast reader, since I was probably 4, and comic books were not a good return on my tiny book allowance. Also, I didn’t grow up in an urban setting. Books were hard to come by, and I clung to them. Clung to them bitterly when the time came to move and I had to thin them down to the necessaries over and over through life. Also, I grew up in a very religious household, and there were books I just wasn’t allowed to read (although I will say that comics were never on the verbally forbidden list – that dubious honor went to two authors when I was allowed free range at the library. I was not supposed to read Robert Heinlein or Danielle Steele. I never bothered with the latter. The former… well, how do you think I wound up here?). So to recap: I was a bitter clinger to my books, my Bible, and my guns (ok, my parent’s guns, which yes, I was taught to shoot). Stay with me, here, I’m going somewhere.  Read more

Step Back

Okay, coffee. Hello, Darkness, etc. Littles are still out, but I expect that to reverse itself in the not terribly distant future. The days crawl, yet tempus still fuggits in a manner with which I am not entirely comfortable. *sips*

And I see that this morning’s post has engendered some spirited discussion about the role of gatekeepers, and how they roll. Groovy. Game on.

Amazon is not coming for your intellectual property. Amazon doesn’t hate conservatives, though some employees at the ‘Zon no doubt do. They also don’t hate progressives, though I know for a fact they’ll hire people who aren’t impressed with neo-Marxist failed ideologies or their adherents. Dread Bezos is a businessman, and one who has created an empire. Pragmatism is practically his schtick. That and kickin’ customer service.
Read more

Dangling the bait and fishing for readers

[Full disclosure: this is mostly an excuse to yak about the fact that the 4th Applied Topology book is live now. But who knows, maybe the topic will be of a little interest beyond that.]

Earlier this year, Pam pointed out that chapter headings may catch a browser’s eye on the “Look Inside” feature at Amazon, or in a downloaded sample, and I’ve taken that advice to heart in my last few indie books. I try to come up with a pithy line for each chapter, hopefully something that’ll make a reader want to know what the chapter’s about. Anything that lures them into the story is good, right?

Read more