Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Learning to Market

Sana Sayeeda! That's Happy New Year in Arabic. Even though the Muslim new year was a couple of months ago, I heard this said a lot in Tangier this week. We were on on our fourth annual "let's avoid Christmas" trip to Morocco. Now I'm back and ready for a new year of challenges!

My biggest challenge this year will be learning how to market my work. I've built up an inventory of 13 fiction titles so now that I have something to sell, I need to figure out how to sell it. Marketing is most definitely NOT my strong suit so any advice would be most welcome.

Right now my plans are pretty basic. I'm starting a newsletter with free fiction and travel articles, and of course info on any new releases. The first issue will be out in a couple of weeks. You can sign up here. I'll also be more active on my Twitter and Facebook accounts and of course keeping up this blog. The big project will be some promotions coming up next month, which I'll be sending out to various newsletters and websites that list ebook promos.

There will be plenty of writing this year too, because nothing promotes your work like coming out with more books! There will be new books in both the Toxic World and Trench Raiders series, as well as a couple of novellas, the Tangier novel I've been talking about, and a few more goodies.

Beyond doing those things, I'm pretty much out of marketing ideas. Anyone have any techniques that have worked?


Lexa Cain said...

All of us end up frustrated with the selling part of being writers. But it sounds to me like you have exactly the right approach, and basically the same thing I'm trying to do (though I'm way behind you). I hope the promos work for you and you get lots of sales!

(Thanks for commenting on my blog. To answer your question, my new as-yet-unstarted novella set in Alaska will be a thriller/horror based on Whittier, Alaska, and how they live with all 200 residents in one apt building. I have frightening things planned for the apt-dwelling residents of my novel! LOL!)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That sounds like a good plan to me. Especially what you plan to put in the newsletter.

Sean McLachlan said...

Lexa: The entire population lives in one building? There's your horror right there! Right now we're watching Fortitude, which is about an isolated Arctic community facing unspeakable horror. Might be worth checking out if you have a strong stomach for gore.

Alex: Here's hoping people actually sign up!

Lidy said...

Sounds like you had an amazing Christmas. Unfortunately my marketing techniques are more of a newborn babe but I like visiting this site that has a lot of good information about marketing on social media. Here’s the link: Happy New Year!

Sean McLachlan said...

Lidy: I'll check this out, thanks!

Jack Badelaire said...

I'd say working towards getting reviews on your most potentially popular works will make them viable for paid promotional services. Most will want to see at least 10 positive reviews before taking a chance, although you could always try with fewer (The Fussy Librarian will allow 10 reviews divided between US and UK Amazon, for example).

Knowing what seems to sell and what doesn't, I would say to focus your efforts on your Toxic World series. Post-Apocalyptic fiction is extremely popular right now, and those covers are very professional-looking, and quite evocative. I could easily see RADIO HOPE advertised through TFL, BookGorilla, eBookSoda, and a few others.

The single biggest bottleneck for sales is exposure, and the easiest way to get exposure is through paid promotional email lists.

Sean McLachlan said...

Jack: Thanks for the tip. Radio Hope only has 9 reviews on Amazon US at the moment. Hopefully more will come soon.

Jack Badelaire said...

I just checked - you've got two 5-star reviews on Amazon UK. I'd recommend taking a look at The Fussy Librarian and their guidelines for running a deal. I'd then consider either a Kindle Countdown Deal or a Five-Day free deal on Book One, since you have two other books in the series, plus a short story. Make sure that not only does the front and/or back matter of Radio Hope make this clear, but that Amazon puts this at the forefront of their product page for RH. You may want to contact Amazon and make sure they link/list the three book series together somehow, for greater visibility.

TFL will run a Science-Fiction advert for $16, and it's one of the highest subscriptions they have (over a hundred thousand subscribers). They don't have a specific "post-apocalyptic" genre listing, so I think Sci-Fi is your best bet, and will reach the largest number of people anyway. $16 to put your book in front of over a hundred thousand targeted potential readers is a very nice deal, and if your book is listed at $.99 via a KCD, you earn $.70 for every sale, so you'll make that $16 back in about two dozen sales - BUT more importantly, it gets you readers who may go on to buy the other books in the series - which utilizes the strength of having a series in the first place.

Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog, where he focuses on Civil War and Wild West history.

You can also find him on his Twitter feed and Facebook page.