Friday, June 22, 2012
I'm Team "Write More Books"
It was also a chance for me to change my mind about publishing my contemporary legal romances through Harmony Road Press (which we could do pretty quickly) or try again to get an agent/editor/publishing deal. But I quickly discovered what others have seen for themselves: if your writing isn't what the traditional publishers are looking for, you can have Golden Heart® tattooed on your forehead and it won't make a difference. So we're sticking with the original plan and will start publishing Magdalen Braden romances in the fall.
Which means gearing up for marketing Magdalen Braden romances. Only, do I need to?
I've been watching with interest the various discussions about independent (aka self-)publishing. One debate is on how valuable marketing and promotion is. Taking out ads, creating a trailer, soliciting reviews, doing blog tours, participating in social media, etc.: do these efforts generate sales?
Confession time: I'm not very good at online marketing. So that colors my perceptions dramatically. I would imagine someone who's good at marketing has a very different opinion of the process.
And maybe it's that simple: if you're good at it, it works, and if you're not good at it, it doesn't.
Here's another possibility: that the best marketing is to write more books. (I'm defining "book" in the digital-age sense: any specific and separate story that gets its own cover, its own blurb, its own page on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Apple, and that you can announce as a separate release.)
Write one, and maybe it will take off, but maybe it won't. Write two and the odds are better that one will take off and its readers will find the other one, which will sell better than it did on its own. Write three...
You get the idea.
So the story of an author who was selling a couple copies a day when she started with a single book, but who'd made $25,000 by the end of her first year, makes sense when I tell you that she'd published nine books in that period. Most of the money was made from the first two, but even that makes sense because they'd been on sale the longest.
Who knows--maybe if she'd published only seven books but spent the extra time promoting the first five, she'd have sold even more. No way to know.
But looking at it logically, I'm guessing she did fine on the "Write More Books" team. First of all, who's actually tapping in to our social media streams? Our friends, our colleagues, our existing fans. And they're going to buy our books anyway (or not) pretty much regardless of our tweets and posts. All social media does is remind them that we have another book out.
What about the ads, reviews, trailers, blog tours? Sure, that can get your name out to a lot more people, but so can Amazon's heuristics, which tell readers all the time about new-to-them authors. Nine books means nine more chances to get the author's name out to thousands of new readers.
I can't prove it, but I'm willing to believe that Team "Write More Books" does just as well.