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How to Market Your Self Published Book - Discussion


Fiery Keeper of the Hat
For those of you who may not keep up with the Mythic Scribes blog, we went live yesterday with an article, How to Market Your Self-Published Book.

Since it's an always-relevant topic about which much can be said, I thought I'd open a discussion about the article here in case people have questions, comments, or items they'd like to add to it.

So what did you think of the article, and how do you plan to go about marketing your ebook?
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There is something missing from the list there on the article: e-mail list building.

It is a key plank for all marketers to have an e-mail list. They have expressed interest in your product, so they will jump at the chance to buy again when you have something new on the market. Getting it is hard at times, sometimes you might have to buy a list from someone else and take a chance.

When you have a list, you must make sure you are updating them. Keep it constant and engaging, which means you might have to sacrifice an hour or so of your time for the week to write up an engaging e-mail.

When you see authors have a huge spike in their sales mere hours after they release their book, it is due to the e-mail list.

Yes, everything else helps too, but the backbone is always your list.


Myth Weaver
So what did you think of the article, and how do you plan to go about marketing your ebook?

I don't disagree with anything on the list.

I think that everyone is looking for that one thing that will propel their work onto the best seller list. I'm not sure that, besides just a stroke of really good luck, that something exists.

I read about a person recently who signed a movie deal for their unreleased book, their debut novel. I was like, huh? How do I get a deal like that. Apparently that person was able to build up tremedous buzz on some relevant forums, parlayed that into a book deal, and the book deal into a movie deal.

Fantastic for them!

For every article telling me the most effective use of my marketing time, I can find a contrary one telling me that that method is not worth it (which is probably why posts like the one by the OP seem to fall flat). Personally, I would love to see some hard numbers. I placed a $x ad on y website. My sales went from a/wk to b/wk for a total profit increase of c.

I plan to relate that kind of thing on my blog, but I'm at least 7 months away from having a product to market. If anyone has found that kind of data out there, I'd love to know about it.
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What we need is for someone to release three books on the same day, under different names (where no books have been previously published under any of the names), and for one, market a lot in advance of release to create a buzz, generate an audience through a website or email list etc; for the second, market only after release through adverts and social media; and for the last, market minimally eg a link in a signature, a single tweet etc. Then measure the differences. It needs to be books written by the same author because then you know the quality is comparable, but under different names so sale of one book doesn't accidentally result in sales for the others, thus skewing results. Then in order to have a decent sample size you need to have about thirty authors all doing this and recording exactly what marketing they do for each book in detail - every forum post, everything they do for build up, etc. Then the results of that can be analysed and the ultimate marketing strategy developed.

Of course finding thirty authors who each have three novels unpublished but of decent and roughly equal quality (within the author) which are each set in a different world or at least not linked (like sequels and trilogies), willing to take part in an experiment of this scale and additionally split out their potential followings by using three different pseudonyms.

Or perhaps publishing one book three times under three name and three titles, with three different covers, but actually the exact same book. But then there might possibly be some people who buy two or more versions and get annoyed. That might be a better way of measuring the marketing side of the sales because the quality, and thus the potential to spread via word of mouth, is identical.

Or perhaps each time any of us publish a book we should give a detailed account of what we did, and subsequently a week by week breakdown of sales for a certain period afterward, and analyse that instead.

For my part, I'm planning on building up an audience through my website, where I will be posting reviews, articles and anything else I find interesting (possibly including short stories and poems) and go from there. I figure if I have a captive audience interested in what I write by the time I publish something properly (ie, asking money for it), that's a few sales straight off. I understand that in webcomics, approximately 1% to 5% of readers make a purchase of merchandise such as wallpapers, physical books of the comics, t-shirts, plushies and so on. I figure with books that will be a little higher, probably 3% to 7%, since webcomic merchandise is ancillary to the main product which is provided for free, whereas a novel is its own thing.


Myth Weaver
Or perhaps each time any of us publish a book we should give a detailed account of what we did, and subsequently a week by week breakdown of sales for a certain period afterward, and analyse that instead.

I think that this combined with information on what you did to market is all the information we really need.

I plan on doing this. If, with my marketing plan, my book reaches significantly higher than most of the other authors on this site, we'll know that the marketing was worth it. If not, it wasn't.


Actually that is not a bad idea.

I don't do a huge amount of marketing, I do use facebook and Goodreads, oh and Googleplus sometimes. I spent half the evening spamming facebook last night and I made at least 1 sale from that directly. I think to an extent you can over-market. I am going to limit myself to once or twice a week on FB and just hang out or not at all (I should be writing after all.)

I also bought a book I saw on fb and downloaded a couple of freebies. I have neither money, time nor a great deal of inclination to spend my whole time marketing. One thing I did was email all my work colleagues and mentioned it- even if they don't want to read the book themselves they were kind enough to post on whatever social networking sites they use.

I had a compliment yesterday, someone who bought my book and I know via facebook as a result of the book asked me when the second book was coming out and she was really looking forward to it. That made my day.
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