Book Marketing Blunders

How a fellow blogger solved the mystery of my lagging Euro sales.

www.eileenslovak.com
http://www.eileenslovak.com

 

We all need a little help now and again especially at book marketing. I freely admit to being a novice. I literally learn everything the hard way because it just suits my personality. My novel SECRET AGENT OF GOD has only been ‘out on the street’ since the end of January, but since then, I have learned an enormous amount about book marketing ─ mostly the hard way. If you are like me, you know how difficult it is to know where to invest your energy and marketing efforts. There are so many avenues promising to promote your book. I find it yet another mountain I now need to climb.

On the upside, every road I take leads to another discovery, so as with the writing journey and the publishing journey, I remain optimistic about this one.

I go with my old standby of reading what all of you have to say and then finding the consistencies there. Then again, what works for me may not work for someone else. I am extremely fortunate that some successful writers, marketers, tweeters and bloggers have discovered me and for whatever reason, have not given up on me when I certainly would have. I am simply not that techno savvy.

  • What is working so far? I added an Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/eileenslovak
  • I joined AuthorsDen.com: http://www.authorsden.com/visit/author.asp?authorid=181819
  • I have put more effort into LinkedIn, http://www.linkedin.com/pub/eileen-slovak/70/7ab/abb/ but could still use some tips on navigating the site. I don’t find it as user-friendly as other sites. I did discover the “The Writers Network” there and found some great new contacts.
  • I have put more effort into content on my Facebook Author page https://www.facebook.com/authoreileenslovak and I try to learn from those who do the job way better than I do like https://www.facebook.com/MelissaFosterAuthor and https://www.facebook.com/blakely.bennett.
  • Recently, I was fortunate enough to stumble into the Facebook of Shah Fazli who interviews people on his site, http://shahsight.blogspot.de/2014/04/eileen-mcguire-slovak.html . We had a date set and I was promoting the event or so I thought. I failed to understand the ‘invite’ button is there for a reason. I get it NOW. It was still a great experience and if you are an author or an artist, I recommend you get on Shah’s calendar and look for other sites like his. Those of you who grew up with Facebook, and to whom social media is second nature, are laughing your butts off at people like me who only joined for the first time in 2009. I had to ask my niece “What’s a status?” Since then, I have come a long way.
  • I have also found some terrific groups within Facebook, like “Writers Group” and “Review Seekers” among others. Balancing all of it and narrowing it down time wise is the greatest challenge. You have to decide where to focus your efforts.
  • I registered for a few Book Fairs for this May and June: www.gaithersburgbookfestival.org and http://frederickbookfestival.com/ and http://t.co/3HWSen2nye
  • Despite my raging commitment issues, I have continued to blog, somewhat sporadically but with a measure of consistency. Blogging helps me feel as though I have some control over my destiny and some voice out there in the blog-o-sphere. Through blogging, I have discovered some amazing writers and supporters and it is where I feel the most present in my marketing efforts. It took some time to get to a point where I did not fear it. I still hide a bit. The quality blogs and the effort the writers put into them is so tremendous that I am always amazed when someone follows mine. One such superior blogger was the person who solved this Euro sales dilemma of mine, which I promise I am getting around to explaining.
  • I have become obsessed with twitter thanks to folks like @seumasgallacher, @DaniseCodekas, @ProofreadJulia, @SinnaptixEdits and so many more.
  • I have also tested out twitter and Facebook ads. Both seem to bring new followers but do they really add any book sales? It is hard to say. I do like the great reporting that each site offers once the ad has run. Maybe this is just because I am an ex-sales, marketing and inventory management geek. Charts, graphs and data thrill me to no end.
  • As I was perusing all of this wonderful charted information from twitter, I made a few discoveries. I have a great European following but sad Euro sales. I had a chat with an ad exec from twitter about it and he mentioned that it might be a good idea for me to focus my ads on English-speaking countries since my book is only available in English. I actually laughed aloud at what an idiot I was, marketing my book to whole world when it was only available in English. I still like to tweet the links to the e-book with the idea that kindle converts to other languages but one I must become more aware of my audience.

Now here is where it all comes together…I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a blogger who posts articles about authors. In truth, he found me. I printed out the article requirements over a month ago, and have had it in my “to do” pile on my desk since then. As much as I wanted to do it, I had too many other things to do. That and I get self-conscious talking about myself as the article required. The page finally made it to the top of the pile and I followed all the directions for how to create the post, pictures links, etc. I sent it off certain I had done everything correctly.

The blog is by a UK blogger. I forgot to send the UK link to my book. Go ahead and say it, “Duh!” I really loathe that expression but it is fitting sometimes.

This was when the light bulb finally flicked on. I have completely neglected promoting that UK book link or any of the other links. Sales 101.

So I would like to thank http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/ first for following me, second for not giving up on me while I stumbled around with social media, third, for helping me discover the answer to my UK sales problem and finally, for the post that will run tomorrow on his blog.

Thanks everyone for reading and Cheers!

Getting to know your ABC’s: Author Websites, Blogging and Contests

Thought for the week:  If you do everything you’re told, will you win a prize in the end? 

Reading the writers magazines and listening to industry guru’s the word is you need to build a platform to succeed as a writer in today’s marketplace.  This is a terrifying prospect to those of us who are technologically challenged.  And what if you prefer a little anonymity and are not driven by ego or insecurity and refuse to measure your worth by your number of Facebook friends?  Is self-publishing the only alternative?

I was dragged kicking and screaming into the age of technology, having written my college papers on one of those giant word processors using word-perfect.  If you are under the age of 30, now you are wrinkling up your nose and thinking, huh?

The papers disappeared into that blasted machine, often lost by my incompetence and haste in writing assignments the night before their due date, still, I cursed the computer for eating my work.

It took me years to get an ATM card, trusting my a passbook savings, something I had control over.  Again-huh?  Was anyone else convinced the machine would give their money to the next customer or that the funds would disappear altogether?

Am I alone in a preference to receive letters and cards in the mail, you know, tangible paper objects that you hold in your hand?  Does anyone still get butterflies finding odd-shaped envelopes among the bills and solicitations in the mailbox, the kind that give paper cuts, as a remembrance or enjoy examining handwriting and noting what it reveals about the writer?

The modern wonder E-mail, doubled my workload;  I hand wrote messages before typing them on the computer screen, then, deleted and re-wrote them, repeatedly, just because it was possible to do so.

A few years ago, an acquaintance publicly mocked me for not having a Facebook account, as if I were some Dinosaur who slipped out of the muck and landed accidentally in the modern age.

Joining Facebook happened out of sheer laziness; living in Europe, it was too difficult to keep up with everyone back in the States via e-mail and nearly impossible to share pictures of places visited.  It took awhile to get the concept of whole thing.  Why would anyone care what I am doing?  Once, I deleted half of my “friends” because they were not writing to me regularly.  Until I realized, I wasn’t writing to them either.

So hearing that success means you need to build a platform, I know I wrinkled my nose and went, huh?  To what end?  To jump off? 

Surely, some of us could get around this somehow.  What of those of us longing for the old style of publishing, sifting through the one thousand-page, onion-skin, “Writers Market” handbook in search of publishing houses,  Sending full manuscripts in the mail along with a SASE.  Go ahead, say it-huh?

Born too late, I could have been a Pilgrim or at least a Settler’s wife, writing about my hardship with a quill pen.  Using a wooden churn to make butter.  Incidentally, I made butter with my class once in elementary school following a field trip to Plymouth Rock.  Please do not say huh?

Author Websites:

Launching an Author Website, I literally held my breath while pushing the publish button.  It felt just like diving off a large cliff into the open mouth of the sea.  The choice of background photo clearly was not accidental.  Funny how the unconscious mind is so much smarter than the conscious one.

Can you call yourself an Author if you have yet to publish any Novels?  Will anyone know you exist if you don’t?

Amazingly, friends rallied around and it feels safe having an intimate audience of 39 fans.  I have to marvel at people with over one million.  How do they keep up with everyone?  Does having that many fans make them feel comforted or naked and exposed?

Blogging:

Writing a blog is supposedly part of platform building.  Again, I wondered why anyone should care.  What do you say?  How do you come up with something interesting to write about week after week or unimaginably, day after day?

Posting once a week, about the behind the scenes struggle of writing and the effort involved in mounting the hurdles of the changing Publishing world seemed a good way to start.  It might help make someone else’s journey a little easier somehow.  It is also a sort of social experiment, to see if following all of this sage advice will work out or not.

It’s easy writing to an intimate group of nine blogger followers and silent readers, without risking too much.  I’m blessed garnering any interest at all.  It’s interesting reading followers blogs to see what they have to say.  There are some great writers in cyberspace, blogging, because they like writing and will do it gratis, even for a small audience.  It makes sense now, this alternate form of social network for support and sharing of ideas.

Contests:

Of contests, let me preface this by stating my intent in this blog is to help not hinder and I have mixed feelings on this subject.  Coming to terms with who wins and why frustrates me.  Not hearing feedback annoys me.  Am I spending too much time trying to win and need to step back and ask myself why?  To what end?  Is it just a competitive thing?

People have launched writing careers by doing these things, but doesn’t that mean its time for the next great thing? 

Does winning a contest validate a writer?  Or does it mean selling out as a writer to appease the masses or a panel of judges?  Is this winning or losing?  Is it possible contests only benefit the magazines or sites that run them?  After all, if they cared about good writing they could drop entry fees. Struggling writers are poor; do they consider this?  Or am I just “Bitter Pants, party of one,” as my friend L would say, because I have yet to win?

Well, if you read this entire, long-winded post, then I am already winning!  

Thanks for reading and keep writing!    

Yet to come:  The Benefits of Insomnia; My First Writers Conference; Query Letter Hell; Are You an Artist or a Craftsman?; Where’s The Reality Show For Writers?; Thinking on a Different Plane; What Compels Me To Write? & Why Trying Too Hard Fails