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Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

Hey! It’s Monday! I’m blogging again! Woot!

I thought a lot this weekend about how I prioritize things when it comes to writing and promoting. And I realized something.

I spend a whole lot of time checking the ranking of my books. Or for new reviews. And a lot less on actively promoting my books.

But, that’s a little backwards. I should be concentrating on future sales, after all. I can’t turn back time and force readers to buy my books. Or leave a review. So, why do I check two or three times a day?

One of the common complaints I’ve heard from authors is that we don’t have time to promote. It takes too long to do x, y, or z. But we’ll spend more time checking for reviews than it takes to post a single tweet. And I’m as guilty of this as the rest of you.

So, I’m challenging myself to NOT check ranking and reviews until October 1st, 2017. Instead, every time I’m tempted, I’m going to promote one or more of my books on FB or Twitter. I’ll learn how to create better graphics for teasers. I’ll post something to Authorsdb.

I’m going to spend that time promoting instead of wondering why the numbers aren’t improving.

Who’s with me?

BB

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Hey!

Not sure how many have missed me, but I’m still here and kicking!

For almost two years now, I’ve been in a rabbit hole of sorts. Losing my mom in 2015, followed by my dad in 2016. My youngest being assaulted at school, and the case still pending. Life in general put a lot of things on hold. Primarily, promotion and this blog. First, it was the funerals. Then it was helping my sister with the estate and simply sorting through over 70 years of accumulated stuff in their house. Some things came home with me, and other things got sold. This is what happens when your parents die. You have to make decisions that aren’t always easy to make. And, while I have great faith in our judicial system thanks to my dad, the pace at which things move has been a learning experience. I keep telling myself it’s research in a way. If I ever need an accurate timeline for an assault case like this for a book, I have first hand experience now.

Back in May, I started to climb out of the rabbit hole I found myself in. Surgery finally happened, and the estate was settled. I’m on a path that will see me at a healthy weight that I can maintain.

I’ve got a monthly gig at a Barnes & Noble in Federal Way, Washington now. I’m working hard on simply getting back on the promotional horse.

As authors, we can’t sit back and think that it’s up to our publisher to promote our book. We can’t blame them for bad sales, or that we didn’t get into a local book store. We can’t email them, demanding to find out what they plan to do for us without bringing something to the table.

Plain and simple, authors have to market their books. They have to promote them. They cannot sit by and expect magic to simply happen.

Being an author these days is all about what we will do to promote. It’s not up the the publisher. They’ve got hundreds if not thousands of titles to promote! How arrogant is it for me to assume that mine will be the top of the list?

Stop blaming your publisher for low sales and take a hard look in the mirror. My sales right now are a direct result of the work I let slide. To refuse to take responsibility and whine (yes, I said whine) that it’s all because of what someone else did or didn’t do is reprehensible.

My publisher didn’t write them. I wrote them.

My publisher doesn’t need to promote them. I need to promote them.

School is back in session. The house belongs to me and the cats during the day. There’s no more long phone calls between me and my sister about what to do with this or that family treasure. There’s no more doctor appointments to get ready for surgery. There may still be court hearings to attend, but not for a while because of what happened at the last one (nope, can’t go into details).

Yes, promoting is hard work. It takes time, and has little immediate results. It gets frustrating when you do things day in and day out and no one buys a book that month. But it’s part of being an author.

Suck it up, Buttercup. There’s only one person stopping you from the sales you think you should be getting. Go stand in front of the mirror, give yourself a reality check, and get to work.

BB

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Hey! It’s Saturday! Last week was hectic as anything, but I managed to survive. No one likes almost $700 in car repairs, but they were necessary. Now to try and sell some books and recoup at least part of that.

I had a couple of really good things happen last week. One just came to pass last night. My blog’s now a syndicated one on Authorsdb!

Authorsdb blog badge

The other one…well, it started coming about earlier in the week. But I’m still grinning about it.

I was checking my email late one night. There was a message from a gentleman who was part of a comicon at a community college. They were going to do a charity silent auction at the con, with the proceeds going to a local food bank. And he was hoping I could donate a book or two.

Oh, and the school was located in Scotland.

After I got past my momentary glee and sense of wonder for being asked, I did my due diligence. Made sure that the school was legitimate, that the con was listed on their website on the day he mentioned, and found social media information about the contact person and con itself.

Here’s where things got a little sticky. The con’s on April 25th. In order to get any books there, on time, it was going to cost a lot. I couldn’t find shipping options lower than $35 for a single book. I asked if they could help cover part of all the cost, as the abovementioned van repairs were still pending. Nope. Wasn’t going to be able to help.

So, I thought about it. And asked him what he thought of me doing a digital prize. He loved the idea!

I’ve sent him my covers, bio, headshot, and the Solstice Publishing logo. He’s going to come up with a display using those. The winning bid will be able to email a code to me and I’ll send them .df versions of all 18 titles I currently have out.

To sweeten the pot, I suggested he set a minimum amount (high enough to really benefit the food bank, but not so high that no one would ever bid on it) and, should the winning bid be at that point or higher, I’ll either name a character or dedicate my next book to them.

I don’t consider being an author as a money making scheme. I don’t necessarily want to hire bodyguards or an assistant who screens my emails. Because it’s not all about me. It’s about the stories, the readers, and the good that you can do by being a public person. I’m still relatively unknown. But if I can do something like this and help a food bank out, yeah. It’s worth it.

BB

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Hey everyone!

I’m snowed in today. LOL. Seattle got a rare blanket of white last night. Hubby made it to work, but getting from our neighborhood to a main road was interesting. If there’s no pressing need for me to go anywhere, I’m waiting for it to melt. Power is still on, meaning we have heat and internet. Yeah!

There’s a cold hard fact to being an author that most people don’t realize. Even most writers don’t have a clue until they put a book up for sale or sign with a publisher. And that there’s absolutely NO direct path to success and sales.

You’re going to be bombarded with ads claiming to know the ‘secret’ to getting good sales. Treat it like you would any other spam and get rid of it. Plain and simple, they want to make you spend big bucks to see little or no lasting success. Unless you count them growing richer as they suck you into the process.

Being an author is tough. It’s work. 99% of us are NOT ‘special snowflakes’ that get their every whim catered to because they make money left and right. You have to be willing to face that fact. Want a lasting career? Don’t be a jerk, stop pretending you know everything, and do the work. Roll up your sleeves, dig a trench, and keep trying.

At one point, I was looking at a career in performing arts. My degree’s actually in technical theater, specifically props and stage management. We’ve all grown up with the stories about how hard it is to become a star in Hollywood. Thing is, it’s JUST as hard to get to the level of Stephen King as an author. I know that. And I’m willing to do the work to get myself there. I believe in my writing. I stay positive. I work with people instead of demanding I be given special treatment.

Get over yourself. Stop imagining that you should be shielded from the reality of the job you claim you want, and get to work. Put in the time to make a solid foundation to your work. Try new things to promote that are free before investing thousands of dollars in a promotion that has no guarantees of getting you enough sales to recoup the investment.

Don’t just sit back and expect money to come pouring in because you wrote a book. Because that’s simply just not how it works.

BB

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I know…I know…but there’s been so much that’s happened in the last few days that I can’t keep quiet!

Cover came back for the new book on Sunday! Check it out!

Image

Not only is the cover done…THE PRESALE HAS STARTED!!!!!!!!!!!!!

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/420044

Right now, it’s scheduled to release on April 15. If it releases earlier, you’ll know! Because I’ll be screaming with joy!

There’s something about this book that gives me hope. I’m still looking for my readers, you see. I’m working hard to get my name out there, and I’m hopeful each and every month. 

I don’t think I write bad books. And I know that I’ve only been published for two years, and it takes an average of five to be ‘found’. I’m not on the brink of despair, ready to bemoan to all of you the tragically poor level of sales each month. Because I truly appreciate EACH AND EVERY PURCHASE of my books. 

Would I like to see higher numbers? Yep. Every author does. It’s approval, a pat on the back, a reminder that someone in the world thinks it’s worth reading. 

But I also see that in the months where I only get one or two books sold. This is not a sprint. Two years ago, no one knew who KateMarie Collins was. I’m a very long way from being a household name, but a few have let me into your lives by purchasing my books. For that, I am forever grateful.

BB

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Morning, everyone!

It’s a slow start in my house, but that’s fine. If anything, it helps my concentration. When all you have in the background is the sound of your fingers on the keyboard, the washing machine doing its’ thing, and the cats playing while you sip your coffee and figure out the day, it’s nice.

Then I get working on a story, or work, and the stereo comes on. Gotta have a soundtrack to my life. LOL.

So, something’s been on my mind for a few weeks now. I want to talk about responsibility today. I’m talking about what your job as an author really is. It goes far beyond writing one or more books. Here’s what the list contains, as I see it.

Writing

Editing

Public image

Marketing

As an author,I’m responsible for all of this. It’s being able to see what suggestions are valid during the editing process over throwing a fit if one word is changed. It’s being in control of my image as a author, and what information about my life I share with readers. Do you want to be seen as approachable? Likeable? Positive? Then that’s what you have to project everywhere. Online, in person, in emails. 

Reputation is everything to a writer. One bad post on FB where you lament how horrid sales were is going to bite you in the backside. Because your image takes a huge hit, and the public remembers. That reader who was following you and thinking about buying your new novel? Yeah, they’re going to remember your snarky moment and pass.

I’ve been fortunate in that a handful of new authors have come to me for advice. That’s a weird feeling, since I’ve only been published for two years! But they do that, because they see me as a success story. Why? Because I’m positive. Always looking forward, not back. Sales were bad last month? Sure, it’s possible. But why dwell on it? Why browbeat the very people who support you (your readers) for not buying more copies? 

The last on that list is marketing. Every author, from the unpublished hopeful to J.K. Rowling, has a responsibility to market their books. It is not solely the responsibility of their publisher. That’s like expecting the grocery store cashier to follow you home and unload the bags for you. 

Publishers have hundreds if not thousands of titles and authors they have to deal with. It’s not just about you and your book. Sure, your book might be the best one in their House. But until you have the draw – and sales – to rival Stephen King, don’t expect to have things handed to you on a silver platter. You’ve got 500 other writers with the same expectations, hopes, dreams, and faith in their titles around you. Throwing a hissy fit because you think it’s their job to get you reviews instead of doing it yourself is just wrong.

Letting everyone in on a not so secret part of the industry here. On average, it takes five years for an unknown/new author to go from publication/release of their first book to being ‘found’ by their readers.

5 Years.

And, in that time, the two most important things a writer can do to improve those odds is to develop that positive public face, and market the Hades out of their titles. Write, keep writing, write every day. Release more books. Spend ten minutes on FB, twenty on Twitter, write a blog, email newspapers/media outlets, check with local stores and find out if they’ll carry your book.

You simply will not get huge sales out the gate if no one knows your name or that you’re an author. Each and every sale you get for the first five years will be hard fought, and feel like a small victory. But slowly, over time, you’ll start to see the increase each month in sales. Maybe you’ll go from averaging only one or two sales a month to four or five. It’ll be there, though. 

Don’t give up. Never surrender. But stay positive and keep marketing. Because that, my friends, will earn you a solid readership base that will make for a lasting career.

BB

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