Saturday, January 11, 2014

Marketing Indie Books

Marketing:  K.I.S.S. it!  

Since 2010 I've been in the Indie trenches and I have come light years from where I was.

My previous work background prior to working as an Indie was secretarial/office.  The only sales position I ever held was at a company that hired me for phone sales. I worked there part time for 7 years, but half of that wasn't on the phones, it was training others how to do it.

When I began to think about how to sell my books, all the information about marketing on the internet was too overwhelming.  I had to find a way to Keep It Simple Silly!

What worked for me

Instead of trying to put my book out every place I could find that offers eBooks, I chose Amazon for eBook and Lulu for hard copy.  I also signed up on Goodreads.  I tried other eBook places (Nook, Smashwords) but, honestly, they just aren't as well known and I found their requirements for uploading an exercise in frustration if not downright traumatizing.  For me, Amazon has a MUCH simpler process and they are known internationally.  At this time, Nook is going the way of the dinosaur and Smashwords is still not my cup of tea.

Marketing program of choice

Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing)  I offer FREE books for 5 days per book during a three month period.  Since most traffic is on the weekends, that is where I target my free days. The rest of the time, my books range in price from .99 - $3.99.  When you are an Indie, you have to be willing to give out free copies so you will become known.

In conjunction with KDP I have worked with eBook Booster.  For a fee, they will send your information to their subscribers and advertise for you.  I will work with them again - but not every month.  Perhaps twice a year is all.

Keywords have been a big help.  So, instead of listing my book as simply:  Chest of Souls Book One, I now have added in parentheses Chest of Souls Epic Fantasy Book 1.  This allows readers to find me more easily.

The more diversified and the more books an author has, the freer to rotate those offered  for free.  However, I suggest you never offer more than the first book in any series for free.   I have 17 self-published books in five genres with another in the editing process.  I will publish an average of 4 books per year.  Three of the four I release this year (2014) will be part of an Epic  Fantasy series. The fourth will be the first of a new series, Urban Fantasy, targeted for children.

Pass along cards

Business cards are a great asset when you start speaking to people about books.  If they are readers, they will respond - hoping to hear that you know of a good book.  Readers are always looking for a good book. Get some professional cards made up for yourself and pass them along.

Asking for help

At the end of my books, I have a little thank you note, plus an invitation to leave a positive review on Amazon or Goodreads.  In this way, many more people have jumped on the bandwagon and the numbers of 4 and 5 star reviews has steadily climbed.

Value of 99 cent books

Lately, I've chosen to reduce the price of all my "stand alone" novels to 99 cents.  The intent is to make volume sales. People like that number; it constitutes low risk for a 'unknown'.  You get a lower return (30% instead of 70%), but you can make up in volume if your story is good enough.  If people like it, they will look at what else you  have done and in that way you get additional sales.

Wrap Up

So, there you have it - what worked for me.   I am now averaging a hundred sales a week.  My best month so far was close to $1,000.  I know that as I increase the number of books and become better known, that figure will continue to increase.