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FROM WHAT METHOD HAVE YOU SOLD THE MOST BOOKS?

April 10, 2019

This is another question that came up just today, as I write this (a week ago, now), that sparked my interest.

At the time I found the question on the forum, then thought about it, I went back to Facebook and couldn’t find it again. That was after breakfast, getting all fired up and inspired. After writing this and letting it sit for a week, now that I think about it, it’s popped up several times again, but I’d already moved on, forgot about the article until just now, during the editing, and guess what? I went back to Facebook again and couldn’t find it to see how it had progressed. Oh well…I still had enough thoughts to have plenty to say. I guess it wasn’t popular enough on that particular forum to keep getting enough hits to stay on my feed.

The question brought up by this person is a good one, especially for new or relatively unknown writers. Our marketing options are quite limited. I’m leaving the adverb in there “quite” because unless you’re either a marketing demon or have a lot of money, there’s only so much you can do, especially if you still have a real job and limited time.

What was my answer?

FACE-TO-FACE

Yup, that’s right. Seeing as how I’m with a small publisher, and we don’t have a massive marketing machine at our disposal, it’s extremely hard to get the word out. I’ve been to over a decade of writer’s conferences and have attended many sessions on marketing. Outside of one guy offering to take up my cause for the paltry sum of $35,000 for a year…yes, that’s NOT a typo, I’ve heard social media was the hot thing.

We’ll get to that in a minute.

In answer to that forum question, my answer was that I sold the most books face-to-face at book signings.

Period.

Case closed.

I did the math and that’s the end result.

While there have been many book signings and events where I came up dry, I’ve had several where I sold one, two and up to eleven books.

Keep that number in mind.

E-BOOK MARKETING SITES

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the way to really push your book is through these miracle marketing sites of which there are twenty, thirty to maybe a hundred? I lost count. A big one is Book Bub and another is Book Barbarian.

The Big Kahuna is Book Bub.

You pay an exorbitant fee and they push your book for a day. You rake in the huge profits.

The catch? You already have to have so many reviews before they’ll even consider letting you pay the exorbitant fee to push your book.

Now, not to be a Negative Nelly on this, but I’ve done a bit of research on this.

While it’s touted by some, I’ve talked to others.

It’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

Here’s a typical example.

Author submits his or her work.

Book Bub barely accepts it, based on the number reviews, but it’s not quite enough for the US market (reviews in the teens in this case). So, they release it to the European market. Okay, fine. What happens? Since the author couldn’t afford much more than the minimal amount and had to discount the book to $.99 to make the cut (fee $704), the day passed. He or she did not quite make their money back.

He or she cut a loss.

Did he or she get any reviews out of it?

Not a single one that I heard of.

Was it worth it?

When the next book comes out, we’ll see on that one.

Several other people I talked to came out at a total loss. They not only lost money, they ALSO got zero reviews out of it.

The numbers touted by Book Bub are more fantasy than the genre submitted (okay, mostly fantasy novels, though not always).

I, personally, minimally qualified with Treasure Of The Umbrunna for Book Bub but never submitted. I picked a cheaper site, Book Barbarian, and went through the whole deal. On my big sell date, I think I sold three books. E-books, mind you, at $.99. No, I didn’t make my fee back, but it was a lot cheaper…a LOT cheaper and I sold three books! Did I get a review out of it?

Nope.

I’ve done better face-to-face.

I haven’t tried any others because the math didn’t add up. I may try again though, just to see if I might strike gold, unless their fee has gone up way too much.

NOTE TO READER: I’m doing it again and Treasure goes on sale May 26th. Fee? $35.

These sites are out to make money.

On the other hand, while I publicized it through social media, it did not result in any sales either, but social media can be totally free, depending.

Speaking of which…

SOCIAL MEDIA

Have you EVER sold anything using social media?

Some do, some don’t.

Though I’ve spent time and money at this pursuit, for the most part, I use it to keep fans informed, but also with the hope that I can draw in new interest.

I’ve learned long ago never to expect a thing in sales from social media.

While I maintain a huge social media presence, so far, it’s resulted in only a few sales.

I must also say that paid advertising on Facebook has always drawn a huge fat zero in sales. Every single time I’ve tried it. So far.

Facebook advertising is a great way to make Facebook rich. It’s not a great way to sell your book. If you already have a fan base, Facebook is a great way to keep them informed.

For now, let’s leave it at that. I haven’t given up completely, but currently I’m not forking out cash, either.

OTHER METHODS

I’ve only skimmed the surface of book marketing methods. I’ve heard many, but most of them cost either money or time most of us don’t have. If you know of any others, I’d sure like to know.

If you have a better way to sell books besides face-to-face, we’d ALL like to know!

Happy writing!

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