Saturday, February 23, 2013


That's what I have done hundreds of times over the last week. I've refreshed the Amazon page for reviews and I have refreshed the sales reports more times than I can count. Needless to say, I am not a rich man or able to quit my day job yet. Despite not being able to buy my own jet or even my own toy drone, I have received a few sales. My current royalties might only pay for dinner from the McDonald's dollar menu, but I could not be more proud. The feeling of actually selling a book is greater than I could have ever imagined, however, after that first sale, I was at a complete loss as to how to sell more than three or four books.

I did extensive research and came up pretty short on how to get the book into the hands of readers who aren't already on my Facebook page. There is a startling lack of detail on how to really market a debut novel. Most of the sites and blog posts speak in such general terms like "make a marketing plan" and "promote before you write" that I nearly gave up. I finally ran across a blog post by Ryan Casey, who I reference before, simply telling me to put the book out there for free to get some downloads. Don't promote like crazy, just get the book to some readers and go from there. So, that's what I'm doing.

 The Hunter's Son is going to be free on Amazon for two days (February 24 & February 25).

I have only put word out to a few places. Facebook, twitter and Goodreads. I am hoping a few hundred downloads turn into twenty or thirty reviews. I then plan to do a blog tour once the book goes back to paid. I plan to update with my findings in subsequent blog posts and tweets (you can follow me on twitter @jewellbe). I will also update before and after the blog tour. Should be a fun ride to see if I can move a few more books in anticipation of the second book in the series.

And in other news....

50% of all Amazon ebook sales are planned sales.

According to a recent presentation at the TheMediaBriefing's Digital Media Strategies conference in London, half of all Amazon sales are planned sales. This means that half the folks purchasing books on Amazon are not discovering them by way of the Amazon rankings or through the ever popular "Also bought..." feature which apparently only counts for about 10% of purchases. The other 40% was a mix of promotion, best seller lists and miscellaneous ways to find books.

So what does this mean for the indie/self-published author? I, honestly, don't think it means a whole lot. I think that everyone always knew that the Amazon promotions only take a book so far. Buzz has to be generated in other arenas to get a book to really sell. If selling a lot of books was just as easy as putting the book on Amazon and having readers find it, then there would be a lot more people making a living off of writing than there are now.

Many across the web are saying that this means stores like Barnes and Noble are selling a lot of books. That people are willing to stand in a store, browse and, ultimately go home and purchase a book on Amazon. While I believe this happens for Stephen King and J.K. Rowling, it does not explain how self-published authors who have no presence in brick and mortar stores sell books. What I think it shows is that you have to have the "marketing plan" and "promote before you write" like it is a second job (at least once you figure out what the heck those two things are).

I think it goes without saying that promotion, both in person and on the web, are going to sell you more books than sitting back and waiting for people to find you. You can only do so much promotion on Amazon before you hit a wall. Reviews will only get you so far. The question is what promotion works best for you as a person and within your budget. I am going to try out a few approaches and, hopefully, help other self-published authors figure out just what a "marketing plan" for a debut ebook really is.

Personally, I am going to start out by trying the tips that Ryan Casey had in his blog along with promotion on Twitter, Goodreads and Facebook. I'm then planning to do a blog tour and re-evaluate from there. I don't have thousands of dollars to throw into this book, but am hoping to earn some money to do more for book number 2.

Do you have any marketing tips or tricks that have worked for you? Leave a comment if you want to share.

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