How Much Yelling Equals One Book Sale?
Ever been on Twitter? I have. I bring from it a piece of somewhat depressing news:
Every single human being on Earth is trying to sell a book.
Yes. All of them.
And they want you to know about it. Yes, all of them. They tell you all the time: buy my book! Buy my book! I wrote a book, do you want to buy it? Observe this banner – it has my picture and is asking you to buy my book! Will you buy it? Have you bought it yet?
What about now? Have you bought it now? It’s been five minutes since the last time I asked you – plenty of time to buy the book. Did I mention it’s on Amazon? B&N? iTunes? Kobo? No? It is. All of them. Other places, too. I’ve been sticking them on seats at my local McDonalds. Want my business card? It *also* tells you to buy my book.
HEY! Look at the sidebar of this here blog! See those book covers? You can CLICK ON THEM! They will take you a place where you can buy my book, which is something everybody should do. Preferably now.
Hey, Habershaw – Lay Off! How Else Can You Do It?
See, that’s just it – I have no idea. I, also, have books to sell. I’m trying to sell them. However, joining the shout-out party over on Twitter doesn’t seem to get me much of anywhere. Or maybe it does. It’s hard to tell, honestly. I’m just one more voice in the roaring crowd of authors, all pushing the same product to, it seems, an audience made up of largely other authors pushing their own books. Facebook? That’s just a giant collection of friends of mine – marketing there doesn’t get me much further than my home town, family, and old coworkers.
It’s a daunting prospect, really. How can you tell the difference between a good book and a bad one, anyway? Who even has time to read even a tenth of the books that people are writing? Nobody, that’s who. I have trouble keeping up with the books my friends are writing, let alone everybody else’s.
So, I plug along. I’ve got this little blog here, which shoots out to about a thousand people (apparently), which ain’t bad. I try to be interesting, rather than just a bullhorn of “BUY MY BOOK”-isms over and over again. Does it work? Hell if I know. I’m selling books, yes, but not exactly at a blistering pace. I think maybe I need to shake-up my strategy. Maybe I ought to be more aggressive and in-your-face about buying my books. Maybe I should plug them like crazy and see if that helps.
I will tell you this, though: if you do read my book (any of my books), REVIEW THEM. I will never, ever get noticed if that doesn’t happen. Reviews = visibility on Amazon (and everywhere else), and Amazon visibility = sales. If an author you like wrote a book you enjoy, review it, dammit. It doesn’t need to be much, but it needs to be something. Five words. One sentence and a couple stars – that’s it. It helps a LOT (seriously).
In the vein of this article, I’ve got a few announcements:
1) Iron and Blood, the sequel to THE IRON RING, is currently available wherever fine e-books are sold. It just received its first review and it was five stars. FIVE STARS, PEOPLE. Get reading, dammit.
2) This week represents a final push to make Writers of the Future Volume 31 a bestseller. We’re really close, actually – we just need to sell a few thousand more copies this week. Do your part to make history! Buy it now! My story and all the other stories contained in this anthology are GREAT! I promise. Buy you a cookie if I’m wrong, pinky-swear.
3) Tomorrow (Thursday), I will be on the Citywide Blackout radio program on WEMF. I will be interviewed from 8:00pm to 8:30pm EST and, as this radio station streams online, you can listen in from anywhere in the world. I recommend that you do, as I am a fascinating person with a silky smooth voice. Well, probably. I hope. Anyway, I’ll be talking about Writers of the Future, my own fantasy novel series (The Saga of the Redeemed), and probably writing in general. It should be tons of fun!
Posted on June 10, 2015, in Critiques, Theories, and Random Thoughts, Events, Publicity, The Saga of the Redeemed and tagged Citywide Blackout, Iron and Blood, publicity, The Iron Ring, twitter, WEMF Radio, Writers of the Future. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.
The next advertising thing to do to reach people is the webseries or Twitch livestream. Before you start your D&D campaign we need to get some cameras together and tape you and the guys playing the game while streaming it. That was you can build an audience of gamers who become fans of your gamemastering and then hopefully then buy your books too.
That actually isn’t a bad idea. I’m not sure how well RPGs session film, exactly, but it is an idea.
Social media is effin’ hard. It’s a slog, and it always starts off slow. And by “starts off” I mean “this could take years to feel like it’s working”. It’s basically the same with selling indie games–EVERYONE has one and would love you to buy it. EVERYONE.
Being a few years ahead of where you are on the social media front, so to speak, than you are, it DOES make a difference. People don’t just love books and games anymore, they love that they can be in touch with the people behind those things, the ones who created them and work hard to do so. And not just for bitching at them, though that happens. But personal connection is as important as ever when doing business, but now that means not just “business to business” networking, it means connecting to your audience personally as well.
Yeah, that’s the sense I get. This is why I try not to act like a spambot. I want to give people an actual reason to visit this blog and interact with me on Facebook and so on.
Good plan! And I’d say you’re doing pretty well. Just one of those “gotta hang in there” kind of things.
Fisher’s ideas aren’t bad, either, though they do take more work. Like, say, vlogs about GMing, or your favorite characters. But it requires filming, editing, and getting good with those things as you go. And I don’t know if that’s time you have or want to spend doing such.
If you want to do something more like the filmed RPG sessions, I’d say check out some YouTubers or Twitch streamers who’ve done that already. Actually, starting today on Geek & Sundry they’re putting out episodes of Wil Wheaton’s RPG “Titansgrave” (though again he has access to a production team and lots of experience with filming this sort of thing).
Yeah, the most well-known RPG streams are the Acquisitions Incorporated live games done at PAX, the Wizards of the Coast D&D livestreams they do every Friday with employees of the company… and now Geek & Sundry has a D&D livestream made up of voice-over actors in L.A. called ‘Critical Role’.
Obviously the PAX A.I. games don’t really count because they are in front of live audiences and are performed by the Penny Arcade folks (so there’s an element of watching “celebrities” play D&D to those ones. The WotC livestreams are a pretty good representation of how uninteresting it can be to watch people roleplay (since the employees are not performers and thus there’s just a lot of “DM talking and describing things”.) The Critical Role streams I’ve actually found to be more interesting because the DM Matthew Mercer is really good at “performing” as a DM and the other actors know how to roleplay right back. But even that has the downside of when combat starts there’s a lot of talking over each other and dice rolling and such. But for an RPG livestream, I’ve found them to be one of the better ones.
Katie is right though, that it does require a bit of equipment and work– at least three cameras (one on the DM, the other two on the players), editing equipment and software to get the footage up on Twitch, lights, and other production stuff. It wouldn’t be something you could just throw together quickly, but if you did know of someone who had the equipment or know-how… plus the fact you have a lot improvisor performers to actually making the roleplaying itself engaging… you could produce content that might engage a potential audience.