A little over a year ago I said I was going to try paying small amounts of money for promoted posts and positioning on Facebook and Amazon, and see what happened. The theory behind them is that your content or your books will show up in front of people who otherwise wouldn’t see it but who might be interested in it, thus growing your audience.
I put a few bucks into it, pressed the magic promotion button, and waited.
You know what happened? Nothing.
Absolutely nothing happened.
I was out maybe $15, so maybe I didn’t make enough of an investment. Maybe I should have tried harder. The immediate results of those promotions were absolutely unnoticeable, though, and in the long term didn’t even amount to a blip on the radar. As far as I can tell, I handed Facebook and Amazon $15 and they thanked me and that was that and, perhaps, that no one saw my posts who otherwise would not.
Now, to be clear, I am the smallest of the small-fry. I’m probably never going to get rich doing this. I write because I love it, and because I have some fans who provide me with a lot of really positive feedback and validation, and I love the little community of people who read my books and appreciate them for being there for me. That doesn’t justify investing a ton of money in promotion, though. If I were a big publisher – or even a small press with one full-time single-proprietor – I could figure out how to make the most of those dollars and apply them in whatever quantity (within budget) would result in the greatest outcome. I’m not, though. I’m just some guy with a blog and too many people in his head.
So what do I do now? I think I pick back up with the blogging. I think I try (again) to develop a mailing list. I think I re-think Twitter and how to use it. (Real talk: I use Twitter for other projects and have a ton of fun but I have never figured out how to use it as a writer.) I just got a publisher – a new post will be coming on that one in the next week or two – and he really likes mailing lists. I’ve never had more than three subscribers to mine – literally, three, as in the number of fingers between the average pinky and thumb – but he swears by them and his mailing list is in the thousands. If I ever get mine to break 100 I’ll consider it a wild success, but we’ll see.
In the meantime, I’m going to be at DragonCon this year. I’ll be on six (6) panels in the amazingly fun and friendly American Sci-Fi Classics Track AND I have a reading slot as an author guest. The schedule is still tentative but DANG am I going to be on some great panels. Will I see you there?