January 28, 2012

More reason to write, not market

I've been spending more time writing instead of marketing this week, and I feel better for doing it. It's mostly because I'm working on something I can control (when I will finish my book) instead of something that I don't know how to influence (how many books I will sell).

I also came across this blog post that reinforces the same ideas. According to the post, if you view your writing as a career than spans many years instead of as a vehicle for instant gratification, then what you should do is focus on writing. As a new writer with just a couple of published books, the best way to sell my books isn't to promote them now. If a reader happens to find one of my books, reads it, and likes it, then what? I don't have anything else for that reader. What I should be doing, especially at this early point in my career, is to focus on writing more books. Then, when a reader reads one of my books and likes it, there will be more books for them. Not only does it satisfy my customer's wants, but the additional purchases are also good for my pocketbook.

It all makes pretty good sense to me. As much as I'd like to sell more copies of George and the Galactic Games and Numbers Plus Four right now, the right thing to do is to keep working on my next novel. Speaking of that work in progress, I'll talk about how it's going in my next post. Stay tuned!

January 21, 2012

On Marketing

In my Dec 17 post, I mentioned that I started doing other "author-y" stuff, mainly related to marketing my books. I've continued to do that ever since, sometimes to the detriment of my writing (because there are only so many hours in a day and any time spent marketing is less time spent writing). What has all the marketing netted so far? A nice feature on Books 2 Heart, some Twitter followers, maybe a little name recognition, but NO NEW SALES! And in the end, isn't the goal of marketing supposed to be increased sales? I don't know about other authors, but I'd rather sell a million copies in anonymity than to be a household name without any sales.

Just when I started to doubt my efforts, along comes Joe Konrath with a blog post about publicity. Basically, Joe said that, despite selling hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of books each month, he found that publicity hasn't resulted in more sales. He attributes his success to writing good books and experimenting with the Amazon platform. Reading the post made a light bulb go off in my head. I need to stop spending so much time on marketing and more time writing! Or as a Joe said, "Less tweeting, more writing."

Time to go back to writing now!

January 20, 2012

Featured on Books 2 Heart

I'm happy to announce that I'm one of the featured authors at the Books 2 Heart website today! I think this is the first time I've been featured on a website not edited by me. :-)
Woo hoo! I feel a little like Steve Martin when the phone book arrived. I'm somebody!

January 14, 2012

KDP Select free promotion results

From Jan. 9 to Jan 11, Numbers Plus Four was free on Amazon as part of the KDP Select program. Before going free, the book averaged just one sale per month and was ranked around #500,000 in the Kindle Store. On the first day that it was free, about 100 people downloaded it. The book reached #1,800 on the "Free in Kindle Store" list and as high as #47 within the Short Stories category! (See screen shot below)

Interest faded quickly on the second and third days of the promotion. By the second day, the book dropped to about #2,400 on the "Free in Kindle Store" list and #90 within Short Stories. On the last day, Number Plus Four's ranking on the Free list dropped to #4,000 and it dropped off the top 100 list within the Short Stories category. During the three days, 127 people downloaded the book.

The ride up the rankings was fun on the first day, but it was disappointing to see that the momentum didn't maintain itself after that. More disappointing was that the downloads of Numbers Plus Four didn't boost sales of George and the Galactic Games at all. However, I did get another sale of Numbers Plus Four since the promotion ended, so maybe it'll sell more than one copy this month.

I have two more free promotion days to use between now and April. Based on my results this time, I think I will run two separate 1-day promotions. I want to try another day of the week and compare it to my Monday results. Then, depending on how well it does, decide when to run my last free promotion day.

January 8, 2012

Trying KDP Select - Numbers Plus Four will be FREE!

I enrolled my collection of short stories, Numbers Plus Four, in the Amazon KDP Select program. What that means is that the book is available to borrow for free under the Kindle Owners' Lending Library. Also, there will be five days when the book is free to buy for everyone! And guess what, the first free period starts tomorrow! If you visit the book's Amazon page between tomorrow, Jan. 9, and Wednesday, Jan. 11, you can download it without charge!

I've heard some amazing results from other authors who tried the KDP Select program, so I thought I'd try it too. The drawbacks that I can determine are that the author makes no money during the free period, and the author has to make the book exclusive on Amazon, i.e., the digital copy can't be sold anywhere else. These seemed like reasonable trade-offs to me. Depending on how it goes, I may also enroll George and the Galactic Games in the program.

January 7, 2012

Blog hopping

Maybe it's because I'm an old fuddy duddy, but I had never heard of blog hops before last month. Then someone asked if I wanted to give away a copy of George and the Galactic Games as part of a blog hop giveaway. I agreed to do it, and I've gotten some exposure and made some online (mainly Twitter) connections as a result. Then one of the people I started following on Twitter clued me in to a Young Adult Faeries & Fantasy Giveaway Hop. Since I read YA Fantasy books, I visited several of the participating blogs to enter, this time as a reader instead of a contributor. I hope I win something! Whoever invented blog hop giveaways, thank you! What a great idea! I'm going to keep an eye out for more.

January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

Happy New Year, everyone!

Last year, my New Year's resolution was to write my first novel, which, to my surprise, I did.

For 2012, I have two resolutions:
  1. Finish writing my second novel (the one I started in November but haven't worked on for the past two weeks)
  2. Read at least ten books by indie authors
What are your New Year's resolutions?