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Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Marketing your E-Book

Okay, you’ve published your e-book and it’s sitting up there on your virtual Kindle bookshelf, as well as floating out to other e-bookstores via Smashwords or your distributor of choice. What now? There are thousands of e-books out there, maybe millions for all I know. How do you get your book noticed by the e-book buying public when it’s sitting at 357,668 in Amazon’s listings, which is what Night Watcher is sitting at on the US Amazon website. As you can see I don’t do very well in the American market. Luckily both of my books are doing a bit better in the UK and they regularly slide on and off the best seller lists. Night Watcher was even number 22 for a time.
Now, don’t expect me to be an expert on marketing or promotion, I’ve only been an e-publisher for a little over two months so I’m still learning.
The first things that spring to mind are Facebook and Twitter. I already had a Facebook presence but I was reluctant to promote too much to my FB friends, although a judicious posting of specific events was in order. A little hunt around and I found the Amazon Kindle Facebook page, however a word of warning, promotion is not welcome on this page. I think they restrict it to once a week, and the unwary can get flamed if they try to promote too much on this page. A further two pages have recently been started. Readers and Writers United, and Kindle UK Reading Group. Promotion is allowed on these pages but I noticed that it was starting to be a problem, and if readers are anything like me they will tend to skip the promotional posts. So, although I’ll promote occasionally on these pages I try to take part in the other discussions and sometimes set a discussion thread going. It can be good fun with the spin off that your name starts to become known. Whether this will result in sales is a different thing, there is no way of telling.
Twitter is a new experience for me and I’m not sure I know what I’m doing with it. However, when thinking about promotion, I am told that Twitter is a good vehicle to get your name out there. So I tweet occasionally. Maybe I’ll get the hang of it sometime.
Forums are supposed to be a good way to get recognized, but again, like Facebook pages, caution is advised. One forum, however, where promotion is not frowned on is KindleBoards this is a fairly large forum with pages devoted to introductions, and all kinds of discussions and chat pages. It’s well worth a look. Most authors use their book covers as their signature, so every time a post is put up the books are advertised. In terms of promotion though, I’m not sure how effective it is, as I certainly haven’t managed to crack the American market.
Okay another bit of advice I listened to was to get a website, I already had one so that wasn’t a problem. Start writing a blog. You can see the result here. Visit other people’s blogs and leave comments. Well I visit them, the ones I like I tend to follow, similarly I comment only when I feel I have something to say, so I can’t actually comment on whether this tactic is successful.
Blog interviews are fun and supposed to help sales, maybe they do, maybe they don’t. Anyway I’ve had several. I’ve been interviewed on Melanie King’s, Celtic Connections (a Canadian blog), Michael Malone’s, interesting blog May Contain Nuts, and several others. My most recent interview is on LK Watts Confessions Blog I have a couple more interviews lined up, plus I’m currently being featured as one of the books on the Sinclair Books Blog Book of the Month competition. A different book is featured every day throughout the month and my slot is on 15 June, although voting is open all month. Night Watcher is currently sitting with 23 votes which comes about the middle of the votes cast, with some books higher and some lower. If you like my books and feel you want to support me, your vote would be very much appreciated.
Before I finish I just want to say that the best response I had to promotion was after a feature in my local press, a newspaper which is widely distributed throughout this and neighbouring areas. However, I do have a fan base in this part of the country, so if I’d been a complete unknown I’m unsure how effective this would have been.
And that’s about the sum of my knowledge as far as promotion goes. If anyone has any tips for me I’d love to hear them.


Melanie said...

Excellent post. Promoting and marketing e-books is difficult because the physical product isn't available for the prospective buyer to pick up, read the blurb, have the cover jump out crying "buy me! buy me!"

So far you seem to be doing everything right.

I'm happy to read, too, that I'm not alone when it comes to being new and not knowing what I'm doing on Twitter.

Bill Kirton said...

Add my name to the 'no idea what twitter's for' bunch. Good tips here, Chris - and it reminds me that you haven't yet done a guest blog for me. We must remedy that.

Pauline Barclay said...

Great post, enjoyed reading all you are doing. I too do all you have mentioned and like you, not sure if it works, but do know, if I didn't it would most certainly not work.

Wishing you great success with your books. You would also be welcome on my Blog as a guest!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

It's difficult, isn't it, Chris? But you seem to be doing all the right things. I definitely think blogging is a great way to become known - but only by leaving comments on other people's blogs and replying to those on your own.

It's all about building relationships, I reckon, even if they're the online kind. I'm trying to learn about twitter as quickly as possible. I like the short tweets!

Chris Longmuir said...

Thanks for all your lovely comments, and Bill I'd be honoured to do a guest blog for you. Pauline, I've looked at your blog and envy you living and working in sunny Lanzarote. The nearest I've been to that island was a couple of holidays in Tenerife, mamy moons ago.

Tim Greaton said...

Hi, Chris, Everyone. It seems to me that you've done a great job summing up how we all feel about the new twist in the publishing world. Focus House's in-house publicist says it's all about gathering eyes to your posts, stories and ultimately your books. I think any efforts that accomplish that can only be good. If any of you would like to trade web promotions, blog interviews, etc... I'd love to participate :-)

Cathie Devitt said...

Good on you Chris for venturing into cyber space!
Best of lUck with the marketing strategy.
Cathie D

Janice Horton said...

Yes, I'm with Rosemary, it's all about building relationships and making friends. You seem to be doing a really good job Chris and good luck with the current novel of the month poll - I voted for you and will 'Tweet' about your interview tomorrow (15th.

myraduffy said...

You seem to have covered all bases really well,Chris.It's a different world for writers and who knows what will be next!

Catherine Czerkawska said...

I'm about to try Kindle with The Curiosity Cabinet, Chris, so this was very useful and interesting! Thanks! x