My Head Hurts

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*This got really long so I’ll do it in two parts.

Ok so finally a post on my self-promotion results. Sadly I only got feedback via email and on the blog from about 15 people, so I can’t say how accurate my results are but there’s plenty of food for thought.

My one caveat: I Don’t Know Everything (and God help me, I don’t want to come off sounding like a know-it-all). I can only tell you what I think and what I learned, then you have to do what you will with it.

First off, why epublish? For me, in part it was a way to learn self-promotion. I even warned Dennie and Mik when they decided to epublish that they’d be taking on yet a third or forth job (mom, writer, promoter and in Mik’s case 40 hour a week worker). The days of writing a book, throwing it on the shelves and going on your merry way are over. I think whether you chose e or print publishing some form of self-promo is required (unless you’re writing for har/sil who has a built in readership?) but how much effort you put into it is up to you.

I’m not sure I should mention names, so I’ll err on the side of caution.

>One popular erotic romance author has a newsletter with over 60,000 subscribers (the list is four years old). The only other author I know who has a list this big is Nora Roberts. The RWA has less than 10,000 MEMBERS. How’s that for perspective?

One thing Maili mentioned–or someone in her blog did–was that when epublishing your ENTIRE readership is online. And this is definitely something I touched on in my talk. Now if you think that doesn’t matter, or it isn’t that important, think again.

Does everyone know what Neilsen Bookscan is? It’s like Soundscan but for books and tracks sales from approximately 4500 retailers (sorta like the USA today list). Are you with me? These are real author #’s.

Author A published her first book 13 years ago. She’s made the USA Today bestseller list and put out approximately one book a year. Her bookscan # for the first week of sales for her last book (earlier this year) was 79.

Author B is epublished. She’s been published for about five years and has approximately 20 titles out. Her bookscan #’s for the first week of sales on her FIRST NY print pubbed book (earlier this year) was many many times higher than Author A.

Granted Author B is writing in a much hotter market right now, but it’s definitely food for thought.

So what can you do?
1. Have a great website, that’s neat, professional looking and easy to navigate. (I even took examples with me).
A) Cross promote your website. Don’t just list it on say Authorsblogs, find webrings for other things that interest you–Mik is a huge Dallas Stars fan.
B) If you’re blogging with WordPress make sure you’ve enabled smartlinks.
C) If you do a newsletter, offer your subscribers something special they can’t get anywhere else.

2. Get Organized–remember you’ve just taken on another job. Some epublishers will do better at getting your books out there for review than others. Find out who they send your books to. Make a couple spreadsheets in Excel-it’s not hard…if I can do it you can too!– and track who you a) request reviews from and b) Where you do promo, & how much you spend. Also set up a special folder in your email program for outgoing and incoming mail pertaining to promo stuff so you have a sort of paper trail. This is also a good way to track promo spending for tax time.

3. Spend Your Money Wisely. You can join The Romance Studio for free and upgrade for 2.50 a month and you get a lot for your money. If you list new releases, they even get included in their newsletter–and it goes out to approximately 6000 people. That’s good exposure.
Six months in Noveltalk’s gateway program will run you 85.00. But their newsletter goes out to 11,000 people–or it did when I asked a few months ago. And you get other cool stuff.
A Co-op ad in RT can run you anywhere from 100-150.00. This is the only way to get an ebook reviewed (sorry -corrected now)–and it’s no different than big NY publishers advertising in RT. The number of subscribers varies depending on who you ask–I’ve heard anywhere from 25k to 45k–plus what they sell in stores (reported to also be in the 45k range).

Let’s put it in perspective:
TRS: 15.00 for six months and you get lots of goodies including an author page (Newsletter 6k)
Novelktalk: 85/6 months and you get lots of goodies including a gateway page (newsletter 11k)
RT: 100-150.00 for 1 month. (Subscriptions 45k)
Banner ad on three author promo sites like TRS: They average about 10/mo. So 30 a month for 6 months= 180.00. And for most author promo sites there’s no way to track this sort of thing and see if it’s worth it but the authors I talked to gave it a sorta thumbs down.

Freebies To Think About:
• MOST PLACES WILL LISTS CONTEST FOR FREE—GOOD WAY TO BUILD YOUR NEWSLETTER LIST.
• MOST PLACES WILL DO AN INTERVIEW FOR FREE
• AUTHOR DAYS ON LOOPS ARE FREE
• SOME PLACES WILL EVEN DO LIVE CHATS FOR FREE
• MOST PLACES WILL LIST YOUR NEW RELEASE FOR FREE
• ROMANCE JUNKIES WILL EVEN LIST ONLINE OR LIVE AUTHOR APPEARANCES FOR FREE.
• ROMANCE JUNKIES TAKES AND APPRECIATES PROMO ITEMS.
• ROMANCE JUNKIES WILL ALSO GIVE AWAY YOUR BOOKS ON THEIR CHAT LIST WHICH HAS OVER 1000 PEOPLE.
• AND BLOGGING IS FREE!

I like Free 🙂 And judging from some of the author answers I got, spending money doesn’t necessarily equate with successful self-promotion.

8 thoughts on “My Head Hurts

  1. Cece, this is fabulous! I’m going to print both posts and save them in my ideas file. Thanks for sharing! :fly:

  2. Thanks for the post. You have some great ideas. And considering I’m one of those epubbed authors with not a lot of money to spend, you have given me a lot of food for thought. Way to go.:yippee:

  3. Wow Celia…you are now my new best friend.

    Thanks so much!!
    (And thanks, Sela, for the link!)

    Smooches,
    Dee

  4. :notworthy: :woot:

    Love the hints and help facts! I’m an organizational nut, but I never thought about it, this, in such a way. My CPA is going to looove me!!!

    I am also one of those e-pubbed, new to the game too, so the more you got, I’ll listen.

    Thanks for the links, Sela. You Rock!

  5. Michelle you’re welcome but I bet you could give me a few tips 😉

    Diane…I have to practice what I preach and stay more orgnanized this year!!

    Dee I”m a firm believer in sharing. It’s like honing your writing skills, you find different things that work for you from different sources!