Back in the Saddle: Advertising, Brands, & Bookselling

Posted on 9 June, 2016

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Photo Credit: Dushan Hanuska - CreativeCommons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

Back in the Saddle

Wow, it’s kind of been a while since I really did the whole blogging thing, hasn’t it? It’s kind of been a stressful year. A lot of work stress is gone now, happily. I was on a major project that wrapped up a few weeks ago, giving me just enough time to finish Attempted Immortality before ConCarolinas rolled around.

I sold several books there. In fact, I sold out of Perishables for the second year in a row, sold a few copies of Attempted Immortality to folks who were already readers, and Amazon shows me selling about ten ebooks over the days since the convention. Since the purpose of this blog is to be open and honest about marketing my work, I’ll tell you it wasn’t profitable to go, but it never has been and I had a fantastic time. I certainly hope and plan to go again next year!

ConCarolinas Guest-ing

I won’t lie, I was a little miffed about something: originally I was turned down when I applied to be an author guest again this year. Having been an author guest three years in a row, I was a little surprised. I was further surprised – and very appreciative – when they asked if I would instead be a guest in the Gaming, Podcasting, and Fandom tracks. I said sure, as long as I can sell books. ConCarolinas was happy to sell me an author table, et voila, I was back in business as a guest of ConCarolinas. Lesson learned: if someone says no, ask if there’s any other way to make something happen. I didn’t ask – I was asked, which is extremely generous of them – but I don’t see why it would have been impertinent of me had the request been made in the other direction as long as I remained polite to everyone. That’s really the deal with things like this: be polite, be grateful, and do your damnedest to be good to have around, and people will want you there.

All that – finishing Attempted Immortality at the last possible second; getting the shipment of the first books with no proofs and on the day I was packing to leave; doing pretty well at the convention even if I wasn’t technically an “author guest”; and having picked up several new readers, one of whom told me hours later he was halfway through Perishables and loving it – was enough to put me back on track to start doing actual promotions.

Promotions

There are a few things I’ve tried before with middling success: going to conventions, and using KDP Select to promote books with free days. I can select five days out of every 90 to have the book listed free. In order to enroll a book in KDP Select, however, I have to remove it from all other online stores. For a very long time – years now – I’ve insisted on having books listed via Smashwords as well as Amazon in order to have a presence in other markets.

The time has finally come to give up on other markets.

I hate the idea of handing everything over to Amazon, but I haven’t sold a book for money via Smashwords in years. I can get free promotion via KDP Select if I give up on that small philosophical stance and, well, fine. I guess I have a price.

So, as of today, all my novels and my one stand-alone short story are enrolled in KDP Select. You shouldn’t be able to find them offered as ebooks in other markets anymore. (I can’t when I search for them, anyway.) They’re all on Amazon, and they’ve all got some free days scheduled.

The only one that doesn’t have free days is Tooth & Nail, for which I’m trying their “countdown deal.” The price will start out very low and slowly increase over the course of the next convention for which I’m a guest.

All of these promotions will be concluded by late July, so I will post some results then.

Advertising

The other thing I’m trying is buying advertising on Amazon. I’ll basically get maybe 30 clicks over the course of this weekend – Friday, Saturday, and Sunday – for $15. I left everything set to default, with the exception of throwing out some of the keywords they suggested as being inaccurate or meaninglessly too general. Let’s see how it goes! I can report back on that much sooner – like, late next week.

Fixing Stuff

I’m also trying to fix some annoying things that need fixing, and to keep this better updated. I’m going through and cleaning up the Books page, to reflect the new title and to remove the Smashwords links. I’m also asking CreateSpace and Amazon how I can get the paperback version of Perishables updated on Amazon so it reflects the correct cover. These are little things, but they’re things I find annoying. Their smallness discourages me from making them a priority (who buys their books by coming to this blog and following a link to my page? no one, I am certain) but their long life as annoyances make me hate them. Time to put on my big boy pants and do the things.

Congregate

Speaking of conventions, my next convention is Congregate in High Point, NC. I’ll be hopping over there from here in Durham each day to take part in the festivities. It should be a ton of fun – why not join me there?

 

Photo Credit: Dushan Hanuska, CreativeCommons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic