Sewage Treatment Plant in England
I have been wrestling with this issue for years. Do I defile myself by immersing my soul (and body) into the odoriferous swamp of book peddling? Is bookselling the sleazy activity inappropriate for decent people that I think it is? Why is it so off-putting?
Look at my email inbox. As a good, modern Internet marketer, I belong to a multitude of Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter writers’, readers’, and marketing groups, as well as subscribing to individuals’ and groups’ blogs. And sites like Pixel of Ink. I get around three or four hundred emails a day. That’s after scrubbing my list of non-essentials. This is what the emails are like, except most aren’t intentionally funny:
I had to share the latest 5 star review from my new book entitled, POOPSIE SPANKS A POODLE: “Wow. This is a really good book. Great character development. You just feel for that poodle! You’re getting to be a better writer, Sandy. I’ll read everything you write!!” Mom
WOO-HOO! I JUST GOT MY 10,000,000th TWITTER FOLLOW! I broke their counter! Next, I’ll take over the world!
“Here’s a foolproof system to sell your book on Amazon. Only requires $99 up front and lifetime celibacy.” God
“God may promise you a good deal, but I deliver. Want all 5 star reviews? That can be arranged.” Satan
“Hi everyone! Please check out my Facebook author page and give me a Like. When you’re done with that, could you go to my Amazon author page and Like it, too? And on Google +, there’s a . . . And on Twitter . . . I’m also in a contest. Could you drop by GoodReads and vote? Pretty, pretty please? Plus, it’s my birthday. Could you send a cake?” Mona I’ve-Never-Heard-of-You-in-my-Life
“5 stars! Wow! Was this book hot! My Kindle ignited. Also the house.” My mom (using a pseudonym)
They go on like that, hundreds a day, many from the same person, “Buy my book! Buy my book!” “Me! Me! Me!” “My Book!” “Nothing else matters in the universe, so buy my book.” “Gimme! Gimme!” “He is HOT! She is HOT! Their dog is HOT!” Day after day. Vile communication pitched at . . . whom? Who would buy anything with this type of selling technique? It abosolutely grosses me out. Because of this spewing of egotism, I haven’t promoted my stuff for maybe six months. My sales show it, too. This stream of verbiage must do something, but at what personal cost?
Your better marketing articles say this behavior is marketing suicide. But the emails keep pouring in.
How to market a book? I dunno. I’ve been doing it for years and haven’t a clue. I’ve had friends say, “But your marketing is so good!” Meaning whatever I send out is beautiful and tasteful. But it doesn’t ignite my bottom line the way I want.
This is an example of the tasteful and elegant graphics that have my friends thinking I'm a great marketer. This actually happened: I couldn't get my sale to go away. Even Amazon couldn't help.
The good old days really were the good old days. My first book came out in 2006. Marketing was much easier in those early days. You didn’t have to do much more than have a great cover, a bunch of killer reviews, and a few national awards. Bingo! Selling success.
My first novel, Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money, rose to the number 1 position in three categories of Mysticism and cruised around the 1,500 level in the Kindle store for a year. I did no promoting and didn’t think there was anything unusual about the book’s performance. Hah! I wish I’d known how to take screenshots then so I’d have a record of those fabulous numbers.
Now, it’s not so easy. The problem is the number of books coming out. How does an excellent, well-edited book, with a killer cover and award-winning author get noticed? Seems like it should be automatic, but it isn’t.
I’ve read three books recently that offer a defense against the tsunami of eBooks flooding Amazon. I recommend them heartily. They are:
After reading these books, I felt hope that I could get this marketing thing down. I had a definite direction. In Let’s Get Visible, Gaughran talks about Amazon algorithms and how to use them to your benefit. Reading this was like finding the Holy Grail. Both of his books above are worth memorizing.
Joanna Penn handles the “marketing is sleazy and degrading” issue and shows you how to approach the activity in a civilized fashion. Joanna says she’s introverted. (I doubt she could be as introverted as me.) But she’s accomplished great things including writing careers in fiction and nonfiction, blogging, and international speaking.
My initial reaction to the three books was relief and joy at having found concrete advice and a path to follow. By the time I got to the end of each, I was more like, “Whoa. This is a lot. This means serious work . . .” When I knew what success required, I felt awed and depressed.
But the feelings didn’t last. I have a pressing need to know and practice the stuff in those books. I’m reintroducing my Earth’s End science fiction series with new covers that actually show what the books are about. They look like a design professional did them, rather than displaying my third grade art. A good stiff jolt of compulsive work is just what I need.
Aaron Shepard's POD for Profit
second-from-last thing I’m going to share with you in this post is something from Aaron Shepard’s Blog. Aaron has written valuable books for self publishers. POD for Profit is a seminal book about using CreateSpace and Lightning Source. Aaron has written more books for self-pubbers, as well as children’s books. Here’s Aaron Shepard’s Author Page on Amazon. His Blog is also a find. That’s where I found the following. In response to the current print book market, Aaron writes:
“In terms of print publishing, though, the first rule is: When your book is ready, get it out. You don’t need the exactly right strategy to start. Do what looks good, and if you then find a better way, change later. There will always be new potential readers who might look for a book like yours. But if you wait to publish, you’ll lose the readers who are looking right now.”
The key factor being: When your book is ready, get it out. I’d been dawdling waiting for the perfect launch time for my sci-fi print books. This knocked me out of that.
Scott Kalechstein Grace - Your Shelf Life's Troubadour and Ambassador of Mirth
With that, I’ll introduce Your Shelf Life’s troubadour. (Don’t you think all blogs should have one?) Scott Kalechstein Grace has been someone I’ve admired since a friend came back from one of his workshops and gave me on of his CDs. This guy is FUNNY. Seriously funny. I started laughing just holding the CD. He sings about dealing with addictions. (Are you a book success addict, dear reader? I am.) Scott’s mission is helping you find and live the life of your dreams. Or, if you can’t mange that, at least having a life you can stand. Click below and take a listen. Thanks to YouTube, I’ve got a singing blog!
Just a Codependent Love Song is my all time favorite. Click and he’ll sing it to you. Here’s the warning on his web site! That’s funny. Look at Scott’s client list: He’s sung or given talks at workshops of: Deepak Chopra, Ram Dass, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Barbara DeAngelis, and . . . Wally “Famous” Amos. Go Famous Amos cookies! Plus even more luminaries. Scott has credentials as impressive as David Gaughran and Joanna Penn. And he can sing.
Scott's written a book, too.
Here’s Scott’s liberating poem “Oh, Dear, the End Times Are Here! The End of Fear!”
And finally, I’m leaving you book marketers with something priceless: Scott Kalecstein Grace will give you a free half-hour Life Coaching Session. All you have to do is ask. Click for more info.
Since I’ve been in this book business, I’ve thought I should have my head examined many times. I’m going to take Scott up on his offer as a spiritual kick butt to get going with my sci-fi launch. You can take advantage of Scott’s offer, too. And listen, how many blogs offer free counseling? Who’s your mama?
Earth’s End Trilogy – Perhaps More Action, Excitement, Romance, Thrills, and Adventure Than You Can Stand
The Earth’s End Trilogy delivers on its promise––this is a series you’ll remember long after you turn the last page
- In The Angel & the Brown-Eyed Boy, join an exquisite dancer who’s from another world, and Jeremy, the sixteen year old tech geek with the skills to save the planet––if he can save himself.
- Lady Grace & the War for a New World is just that, how the survivors of nuclear Armageddon fight hideously mutated monsters and learn to survive in their New World. Nuclear war has blasted them back to the stone age.
- The Headman & the Assassin is a love story for the ages, taking place in a bomb shelter 300′ beneath the surface of the earth. Radiation seals the people of the village in the shelter forever. A love for the ages blossoms improbably in the worst place of all.
Earth’s End consists of three print and eBooks and a “boxed set” containing all the eBooks.