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Read My Book - Pretty Please

For the last two weeks, I have talked about the challenges of self-publishing. I shared that writing the book was actually the easy part. The business side of things opens up a whole new world of challenges. Today, I would like to share my experiences with advertising.

Since I am a frugal person and had no idea if I would sell one copy, I looked at available resources at little to no cost. I have three tips to offer as well as some thoughts about what I will do differently with the sequel, Through the Mist: Reunion.

First, pick the right category for the book. In the description on Amazon, I used certain keywords that were relevant to the genre. It is a Scottish historical romance with a time travel twist. Some people love those sorts of books; I do! I looked at bestsellers in the genre. What keywords did they use? How were the descriptions phrased? I then crafted my book’s description so that it would garner attention from other lovers of the genre.

Second, develop a social media profile in advance of the release. I created a website, but I did not have a Facebook profile. That was a mistake. Many readers are accustomed to finding and engaging with their favorite author via social media. While the website was nice, Facebook is better. And, it is free! I post to Facebook when I want to discuss the book, scones, or any random thing. If someone leaves a comment, I respond. I have already learned a great deal about scones from an Australian reader. I never expected that!

Third, set up an author’s dashboard on Goodreads. It is free! I took a webinar about social media resources prior to my book’s release. Goodreads was mentioned in the course. It is a website for book lovers. Readers can start discussions about various books or themes as well as leave reviews of books. They can create their own profiles and list their favorite books. It was simple to add my book to the mix and create a profile. I have had a few questions from readers about my book, which was cool.

What are my plans for the next book? I feel a little more confident about the experience, so I plan to launch the next book on a broader scale. In the coming months, I will research the cost for ads at Amazon, Goodreads, and other relevant places. I want to explore what is necessary for certain sites to review my book as well how to set up giveaways of the new release. Are there other resources that would “get the book out there?” Hopefully, I will learn more about that soon.

In the end, I learned a valuable lesson with everything – formatting, design, and advertising. Writing the book is a difficult task. Once it is done, I need to put away the writer’s brain and think like a business person. I should “farm out” what I can afford and direct my attentions to projects where I can make the most impact. With a little luck, the sequel will reach more readers. For those of you who are on the same journey, good luck – and keep writing!

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Budgeting: Your Money

Unless you are wildly wealthy, you probably have some experience with budgeting. Not all of us can be “Oprah rich.” In the world of self publishing, it is easy to spend a fortune. Before you publish your book, I encourage you to create a budget. If you wait until the book is published, you run the risk of getting caught up in the excitement of the moment and spending more money than you should. I am no expert on this subject, mainly because each book has a different audience. However, I would like to share my own experience.

First, I opted to have an eBook as well as paperback version of my book. While I fully expect that most people will buy the cheaper, more convenient eBook, I wanted a traditional option. And, quite frankly, I wanted to buy something I could hold in my hands and say, “I made this.” CreateSpace, the vendor I used, allows authors to buy their paperbacks at a reduced price. I really appreciated this discount. Still, I set a budget for how many books I initially wanted to buy. I knew it would be easy to get carried away and buy loads of copies that would collect dust on a bookshelf somewhere.

Second, you need some type of online presence. Social media sites like FaceBook are free, but you must do all the work with setup. You can create your own website in lieu of or in addition to a social media site; a custom website might have fees, though. Do your homework. Compare all the potential costs. Will you have a custom domain name (i.e. creneefreeman.com)? How much will registration cost? How many pages are included on your website? (A page is each section. For example, on my website, the “Where to Buy” section is one page, “The Blog” is one page, et cetera.) Do you have to design every piece of the website, or do they provide design templates? Once you know what you get for your money, you can determine which vendor works best for you. Then, you have your “online presence” budget.

Third, what about advertising? Everyone wants you to place an ad on a website. They entice you by saying the ads are only $5/month or some fee that sounds nominal. The costs can accumulate quickly.

I confess that I am on the fence about advertising. At this stage, I would like to see what happens by simply having an online presence and selling on Amazon. I am sure I will do some form of advertisement in the coming months, once the newness of my book wears off, and sales are slow. I will write a post when I make that decision.

Over the last few posts, you have learned by now that the marketing side of things can be a struggle. You have a lot of decisions and work ahead of you after you write your book. Apply the same careful planning to this process as you do with other aspects of your life. Take a deep breath. Create a budget. And, try to have fun! The sooner you can get through the marketing phase, the sooner you can start writing the next book!

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