Publishing my first novel was one of the most important moments in my life. It signified the fulfilment of a life-long dream. I had climbed the mountain and reached the top. Like many newly published writers, I was floating in a cloud of euphoria – convinced that everyone would love my story. I’m sure you can understand my frustration when the hallowed halls that is Amazon barely registered an echo of my arrival. At first, I visited my KDP dashboard daily – monitoring my sales. In all honesty, there wasn’t many and most of those were probably from people in my local area – family, friends, etc. When my dream of overnight success didn’t come true, I finally grasped the reality of my situation. It didn’t matter how wonderful I thought my story was – I lacked name recognition. My author platform was probably more akin to a board and a couple of nails.
Marketing Madness: Yes. I became infected. I scoured various blogs looking for marketing advice. I was the snake oil salesman’s dream. If you offered me the cure for my lagging sales, I was buying! I tried this. I tried that. I tried the other thing, too. For all that effort, I did learn something: As a newly published writer, I was picking my way through uncharted territory. After trying various marketing tips, I realized that there is no “one size fits all” plan.
There were things I did that helped. I went on tour (blog tours) as well as listing my book on some promotional sites. Some worked better than others. My e-book sales increased. However, 70% of $2.99 isn’t all that much. Multiply that by a few sales and my net profit still wasn’t anything to write home about.
While e-books are great, having a physical book to sell has its own benefits. One of those being the ability to remove the middle man thereby increasing the profit margin. Local festivals are a great venue for selling books. I try to choose events that I feel are “book friendly.” I consider the cost of the table – as in how many books I need to sell to break even. I also consider the average number of people who will attend the festival. Even if I don’t make a sale, being seen and getting my name out has its own value. It’s like purchasing advertising. Let’s say that an event draws 5,000 people and a space at that event goes for $100.00 – that breaks down to an advertising cost of 2¢ per person.
Not everyone is going to want a paperback. Some people are dedicated to their reading device – that’s why I have business cards with a picture of my book, the ISBN, and a listing of where the e-book can be purchased. Business cards are inexpensive to hand out – and while not everyone is going to follow through and purchase the e-book, it has been my experience that some will.
The holidays are approaching. If you haven’t tried selling at an area festival, think about it. I’ll admit to feeling a bit out of my comfort zone. Ideally, I’d love to write and have someone else do the selling. However, that isn’t my reality. For now, I’m a one woman publishing team!