At the last count I had something in the region of sixty titles up on Amazon. My first book was published in 2013, so that equates to about twelve titles a year by my reckoning. They’re not all full-length novels, of course, though most are. A cursory trawl through my royalty statements suggest that in any given month only a fraction of these titles actually sell any copies, which is disappointing since as I advance into my twilight years I sort of hoped that my back catalogue might serve as something of a pension fund. If that is to happen, a serious re-think is required.
It’s not enough just to write a decent page-turner. An author needs to be at least as good at selling their books as they are at writing them, or know a man who is. In my early writing career I was touchingly delighted to find a publisher ready to accept my work, and I sort of assumed that they would know how to sell it. Perhaps they do, though over the years since I have seen little evidence to support that belief. Some publishers are better than others, to be sure, but I now appreciate that all writers need to rely primarily on their own efforts to shift books.
A couple of months ago I made the decision to request back the rights to my earlier work which broadly speaking sells particularly badly. I just know I can do better by self-publishing and marketing it myself. These books include twelve which make up the Black Combe trilogies, my first foray into writing about BDSM. My plan is to reunite the trilogies into four substantial novels, and sell them separately and as a box set. Once I have control of my own pricing I can offer sensible incentives. I plan to write some additional content, correct some issues which, in the light of experience, I might handle differently these days, and market the living daylights out of them.
So, I’ve been reading all I can find about selling on Amazon and on Facebook. There are a lot of free courses out there – and some rather pricey ones, too. I’m not averse to investing in my own development, but I’ll exhaust the freebies first. My favourite, so far, has been the Kindlepreneur course on AMS (Amazon Marketing Services) but Reedly is a close second.
Given the obsessive distaste with which the great gods of Facebook look down upon we grimy peddlars of porn in the erotic romance genre I have limited confidence of success there. And Facebook advertising is not for the faint of heart nor for those of mediocre technical abilities such as me. I shall dabble, but I doubt if success lies in that direction.
Amazon though, now that’s a different matter. I’ve enrolled on pretty much every free course out there and read copious amounts on the subject. Technically it all seems straightforward enough, a doddle compared to the intricacies of Facebook. Much hangs, I gather, on selecting the right key words – and loads of them! I’ve read about the most ingenious and painstaking tricks for assembling finely honed lists of words and phrases, artfully engineered to place my books in front of those who might buy them, at the very moment they are perusing their reading options on Amazon, their clicking fingers at the ready. Oh, the power of one-clickery.
Wish me luck. My comfortable old age depends upon it.
Free courses are the way to go. I've never taken a paid course, but I've found that free options give you all the basic grounding you need, then refining your marketing is a matter of trial and error. (I've found the Dirty Discourse forum to be an excellent source of peer information -- way more helpful than anything I've found.)ReplyDelete
And I've learned over the last year that nearly all publishers make big bucks on very few titles, and the rest don't sell well. It's disheartening, but that seems to be how it goes. There are a few big(ger) publishers I would trust, a few small publishers I'd trust, and self-publishing is always a good option for those who are determined to make it work.
Ah, the vain hope of the rich backlist...!ReplyDelete
I don't have the energy, time or money to do concerted marketing. I have to be satisfied with the sales I get. However, I look forward to hearing how your serious marketing efforts work out.
One thing, though--if anyone claims they can help you boost your sales, he or she has told the same thing to thousands of other authors. So it's not just enough to know what to do, you also need to do it well.