Wednesday, May 11, 2011

How to Market Your Work, or I Have No Idea What I'm Doing

Let me tell you the best, most effective marketing technique for getting your work noticed and building sales. But first, a question...

Can someone please tell me the best, most effective marketing technique for getting your work noticed and building sales??

So far in promoting The Door to Canellin, I've met with mixed success.  This is nowhere more evident than my sales ranking on Amazon... I spend days moving steadily downward, all the way to the 150,000 range, and then unexpectedly bump up to the 12,000 to 18,000 range without any kind of explanation behind it.  Yes, there are things that I have done that have gotten me significant sales bumps and exposure... giveaways, Facebook posting, hawking my work to people I know.  But sometimes, I get a significant bump for no apparent reason.  And sometimes, when I'm expecting a bump, I start dropping in the rankings.  Sales are still happening... not briskly, but I still make a sale or two a day almost every day. Actually, I'm averaging 2-ish sales a day for May so far.  I'm definitely being patient; the book has not quite gotten to the 1 month mark since release, so I think I'm actually doing pretty well.  I've cracked the top 100 twice in the category Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Magic & Wizards.

Tracking down what has been effective and hasn't is a challenge.  Was lowering my price for a week effective? Honestly, I sold about 1.25 times as many books per day as I was selling at 2.99, and yet my income per book dropped from $2 to 35 cents.  It doesn't really seem like an effective trade-off.  Has giving away a total of 28 free ebooks and two free paperbacks been effective?  Each time I had a giveaway, I also picked up a sales bump.  But the best bumps, and most effective, have all come from getting reviews.  Every time a good review is posted, I get a bump and sell 4 or 5 books in an hour or two.

Another effective promotion came when I had my feature on  Not a huge bump, but noticeable.  I'm being featured there again later this month, we'll see if the same applies.

I think that what I've learned so far in this month of release is that if you have a good cover, good blurb, and good reviews, then you really just need exposure.  According to Amazon, 23% of people who view my Kindle book purchase it.  To me, that's a pretty solid number! I know from past experience that in some fields of advertising and marketing, other than books, a 1% buy rate is the norm.  I don't know how it is for books, but 23% seems good!  What's needed now is exposure, exposure, exposure!  If 23% buy the book, then I just need to get a thousand people to go look at it!  (Yes, I'm aware that's not really how it works... it would be nice, though!)

The question then becomes, how do I drive traffic to my sales page?  I've about played out Facebook, unless I start getting more fans.  This blog?  I'm still less than 200 unique hits a day, many days less than 100.  Facebook and the blog won't really be all that effective until I have built up a following.

I'm researching and trying to arrange a blog book tour, getting some popular blogs to interview me, have a paperback giveaway, maybe get some reviews.  But arranging a tour like this can be time-consuming, and difficult.

I've got one book signing scheduled, and hopefully will have another on the calendar soon.

And finally, I think I am starting to get some of the best marketing around.  People who have read The Door to Canellin are passing the word around and telling their friends.

So there you have it... my post on marketing.  All my expertise, summed up right there in a single blog post.  They say the wise man is the man who knows that he knows nothing.  I must have wisdom coming out the wazoo!

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