Good Morning. As most of you know I self-published several short stories and two novels to Kindle/Amazon with a third on the way. It's been a truly life changing experience in more ways than one. Yes, I am exceedingly proud of all I've achieved with my writing. I've also learned how to upload, download, fix html codes, and all kinds of other "fun" stuff I never in a zillion years thought I'd ever do. (With the help of some very dear friends, I might add.)
When I first uploaded A WIFE FOR WINSBARREN to Kindle back in October, I had no idea what "ranking" was or "best-seller lists" or any of that. However, as I uploaded more books, I found my ranking was getting higher. Now, one of my dear friends said that being at #63 was an amazing achievement.
I even wrote about it here on my blog.
As of this writing, I'm on three different best-seller lists, with that one book, at #5, #16, and #52 respectively. People are actually buying my books and reading them. (And these rankings change HOURLY so what may have me sitting in astonishment one moment, has me plummeting to the dregs of the earth in another.)
Now there're all kinds of ways to get to the top in a short amount of time. Here are three I've heard about. Put it free, get tons of reviews, do a blog splash. I never did any of those. As a matter of fact, WINSBARREN sat with the same 3 reviews it had, written by dear friends, for the first 4 months it was out. It now has 4. (Two stars I might add.) So reviews don't have anything to do with ranking as far as I can tell.
As of this writing, THE LADY'S FATE has 5 reviews. My other two short stories and novel have none. And quite honestly, I don't care. They're all selling. Quite well I might add. So as far as I'm concerned, word of mouth is selling my books. Either that OR the fact I have so much reading material out there
I did do "free" on one of my other books (A HUSBAND FOR MISS TRENT), but I did that the wrong way, using Smashwords for the "free" instead of Amazon/Kindle, hence, a lesson learned.
As for a blog splash (or marketing blitz) nope, didn't do that either. Not that I couldn't, but quite frankly, I just didn't want to. With so many people complaining (myself included) about people shoving their books in your face on every social media site known to man, I just couldn't do it. As a matter of fact, I hardly did anything -- I believe 2 interviews and a guest post and that was it. Some very nice people wrote some very nice things about my books and posted them on Goodreads, but I didn't ask them to do it. I Tweeted once and only once for each book release. That's it. I posted once for each book release on both of my blogs. That's it.
(The one thing that I haven't done, that I really want to do, is get bookmarks and/or postcards made. I'm waiting on my third novel to go out before I do that.)
As for my actual stats on how many I've sold, well, that's kind of personal, like asking what religion you belong to, or if you ever inhaled. I want to tell you, really I do, but I'm not going to. You know why, because my sales will be different than yours. There are all kinds of reasons why -- different genre, different publication dates, different marketing strategies, hey, even different covers. And we can't compare. ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY CANNOT COMPARE. It wouldn't be fair to you or I, or any of the other writers out there.
Yes, some people have sold 50k in the last year. Some only 100 books. You have to find what works for you to be able to sell. You have to find your own marketing groove and go with it. J.A. Konrath suggests playing with pricing. David Gaughran suggests putting books out for free. K. K. Rusch suggests putting excerpts up on your blog. And all of these are really great ideas. And yes, I've done them. Some worked, and some didn't. But only you can make the decision of what works best for you. Sometimes it's just the difference of changing the cover.
What I do know, however, is that putting out great content, with a pretty decent cover, keeping the typo's and mistakes to a minimum, and keeping that momentum going, will see your sales grow over time. This isn't a race. There's a long tail on this roller-coaster. What sells today, might not sell next year, or even next week. Who knows. Then again, even if you don't sell this year, in five years, you might be the next gazillionaire.
I guess what I'm saying is, you don't have to beat people over the head to buy your books. I didn't and I'm making a nice living now. I keep my nose to the grindstone and write. I guess you could say I "Market Quietly", and just do what I think is best and let the chips fall where they may. But then again, I'm not you and you're not me. We each have our own way of looking at things.
Tell me -- What are the most effective ways you've seen writers market? What are some of the most detrimental? What are some of your marketing techniques?