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Marketing a Novel

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John Sliz
Reader
Location: Toronto
Contact:

Marketing a Novel

Postby John Sliz » Mon June 27th, 2016, 7:17 pm

So what works and what doesn't work?

User avatar
Lisa
Bibliophile
Favorite HF book: Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman
Preferred HF: Any time period/location. Timeslip, usually prefer female POV. Also love Gothic melodrama.
Location: Northeast Scotland

Re: Marketing a Novel

Postby Lisa » Tue June 28th, 2016, 1:58 pm

My opinion as a reader:

Good
    Offering a "Look Inside" preview, wherever you're selling. I'm more likely to buy if I can confirm first that I enjoy your writing.

    I've picked up a few novels by new/unknown writers after seeing them listed under a certain time period on http://www.historicalnovels.info/ (site maintained by Margaret who is a member here).

Bad
    Fake reviews (or anything dishonest).

    Terrible cover artwork can be overlooked, but won't help matters. Although if it's truly bad it might get more attention :twisted:

    Blurb/synopsis that goes something like "PG romance, happy ending, mild cursing. 150,000 words. See my other books at ___.com!" this just really turns me off for some reason.

    Oh and I don't watch book trailer videos. I guess some people do otherwise authors wouldn't go to the expense of making them, but I don't really understand why they exist.

John Sliz
Reader
Location: Toronto
Contact:

Re: Marketing a Novel

Postby John Sliz » Mon July 11th, 2016, 3:42 pm

I don't get book trailers either. I guess that it can help like any other form of advertising, but is the time and expense worth it?

User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favorite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Re: Marketing a Novel

Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Mon July 11th, 2016, 5:13 pm

I'm of the boomer generation, so this comment applies mostly to my demographic.
If you want to sell books, you have to use the media that a reader frequents. Youtube and video is more suited to selling music and movies. If you can do a trailer cheaply, go ahead, it won't hurt. But you aren't going to sell many that way, so if it costs a lot, the ROI (return on Investment) makes it a bad business decision.

This is my very limited (but probably shrewd) marketing experience.
I self-pubbed in 2008, before the big ebook revolution. I learned, and then took my novels out of circulation while I got better. Since then, a steady stream of approval has trickled in from the few copies out there. Meanwhile, I am getting the set ready to launch in all formats, while the book business changes profoundly.

The rules I have made for myself:
#1. Get anything lousy out of view. You have ONE SHOT to gain and keep a reader. There are more books out there than anyone can consume, and all the classics are available free. That's what you are up against. You're a starving fisherman in a pond with a gazillion enticing nibbles If you manage to lure a fish to your bait, be sure they don't spit it out before they are hooked!

#2. Make the first bite free. Why should they pay for yours before they know it is something they want? This is not Jane Austin's world, where books were few and precious. Give them a story, or a short novel, or even the whole thing if it is first in a series. Let them sample, and if it isn't their thing, they won't resent it and give you a bad review if they didn't have to pay.

#3. If they like the taste, have something more available to satisfy their appetite. NOW. Because if you don't, you'll lose them. So don't put out freebie #1 until you have #2 ready to sell them.

#4. Make sure the non-story elements advertise that the rest is excellent. A professional cover, standard formatting, and good copy-editing. Mistakes jerk the reader out of the story, and that's the last thing you want to do.

#5. Don't bother with bricks-and-mortar stores. Much work, few sales, and most of those because you sent them--and if you can send them to a store, you can sell them from your site. Book signings and talks are a lot of work and expense for a minuscule return. Have one available POD, by all means, but the best ROI leans heavily toward the ebook sale.

#6. Have it available in as many formats as you can afford. Ebooks, if you only do Amazon, you have 85% of that market, but the others do have some readership. Trade paperback POD (print-on-demand)-but don't bother with large print or hardback, not enough for ROI. And audiobooks are growing constantly. Go to your local college theater department and offer a few bucks to an aspiring voice-actor. It's experience for their resume, the expensive part is the studio editing. You can learn to do that yourself, I did.

#s7--20: BUILD YOUR CORE READERSHIP. That means, find the readers who like you style, and make them happy. Interact with them online. Give them tools to spread the word. Freebies for their friends with like tastes. If they have suggestions that are useful, take them and thank them. Acknowledge them in you book, even. Every person who helps you, and whose name you acknowledge, is a person who will hand-sell your books to their circle.

I have a core readership of about 200-300 people. They like my stuff. They beta-read for me. They are anxiously awaiting my re-launch. And I got them by pleasing them immensely in round #1. Some of them got free books or audiobooks. But here's the joke--it took many of them up to 3 years JUST TO GET AROUND TO READING/LISTENING to those freebies! THEN they liked--and responded. So it is not going to be a rocket-trajectory launch, even if you have a brilliant book, at the right price, going to the right readers. It's a matter of growing things slowly.

And don't be afraid to take the book down and improve it. I'm an oral storyteller at heart, and I ALWAYS improve and modify my tales. A good orally-told story needs at least 20 iterations before it is honed to a real audience-pleaser. Indie-publishing frees writers from the stocks of the publishing paradigm--where you have to sit trapped while people jeer and throw rotten commentary for every little mis-step.
There, that's my input. It could be completely wrong. ;)

John Sliz
Reader
Location: Toronto
Contact:

Re: Marketing a Novel

Postby John Sliz » Tue July 12th, 2016, 3:32 am

Well, that works for you so you are not wrong. Let me ponder your points before I comment on the rest.

Thanks.

Slimshady
Newbie
Currently reading: Necessary Illusions
Interest in HF: War and piece
Favorite HF book: War and piece
Location: North Miami

Re: Marketing a Novel

Postby Slimshady » Tue February 20th, 2018, 12:38 pm

It would be an interesting endeavour to promote novel on Instagram. It seems that it has a great potential not only for visual content but for artistically organized textual content as well. With traditional tools such as https://zen-promo.com/free_instagram_followers it can perform true miracles. It can spread all your content among those who are special hashtags like #literature, for example, or any other thematically related to your novel hashtag

John Sliz
Reader
Location: Toronto
Contact:

Re: Marketing a Novel

Postby John Sliz » Wed February 21st, 2018, 2:17 pm

It would be interesting, but I have never been on Instagram so I would have to take your word for it. Q: are the people on Instagram the type that actually buy books or do they just want everything online? I think the latter. However, I think that almost any type of advertising is good. Tell as many people as possible and hopefully sales increase.


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