Saturday, May 05, 2012

Conversation with a Fellow Indie Writer

The phone rings on a Saturday afternoon. The caller is a writer who has published three indie novels and who has been referred to me by a mutual friend. She wants to talk to me about marketing her books:

HER: So I heard you've sold close to 50,000 books in the past six months. I'm so jealous! How did you do it?
ME: It takes a lot of marketing work. I'm not going to kid you, I spend a lot of time marketing.
HER: I've read your blog. You post a lot. Do you think that does any good?
ME: I've been blogging for almost seven years and I blog four or five times a week. I think it is important.
HER: I don't know. I don't think people read blogs anymore, do you? I never read them.
ME: I read the blogs that I find helpful all the time. I learn a lot that way. Plus you get to know other bloggers and you can swap blog posts.
HER: How do you know the people who read their blogs will buy your books?
ME: You don't but you increase your exposure.
HER: Yeah, but do you see your sales go up when you're on somebody else's blog? What if nobody reads it? You must be doing something else.
ME: Of course I'm doing other things. I participate in several web sites that let you interact with readers.
HER: Which ones? I'd like to post about my books there.
ME: Most reader sites don't approve of spamming but it's a good place to get to know readers and build a relationship.
HER: Well, I don't get it. How do you get them to buy your books?
ME: You don't directly. You just get to know the sorts of people who read the kinds of books you write and let them get to know you.
HER: Like where?
ME: There are lots of them – Goodreads, LibraryThing, Shelfari, Amazon Discussion Groups. I've made a lot of friends that way.
HER: I've looked at some of those but there thousands of groups. How do you know which one to join?
ME: It takes time. You have to look for people who like reading the same kinds of things you do.
HER: Sounds kind of tedious. How long does that take?
ME: Well, it depends. You have to enjoy what you are doing. I like talking about books so I spend as much time as I can.
HER: It takes a lot of time then. Do you advertise?
ME: Not often. I've never had good luck with paid ads but I do submit my book information to different book sites when I can.
HER: I think you need to advertise though. How can you sell books if you don't advertise?
ME: You can try it but it hasn't been cost effective for me.
HER: What about all this social media stuff? Twitter and Facebook and all that. Is that worthwhile?
ME: I think it is very worthwhile. I have a personal Facebook page plus one for my books and I'm also on Twitter. I'm always looking for new ways to connect with potential readers.
HER: I don't have time for all that. I need something that will get my book in front of a lot of people in a hurry.
ME: Well, I don't know what to tell you.
HER: Sounds like you just don't want to share your secrets.
ME: I'm happy to share what I do. I just told you.
HER: Where do you advertise?
ME: Like I said, I don't.
HER: I find that hard to believe. You must be doing something else to have as many sales as you do.
ME: Well, I've pretty much told you everything I know.
HER: Right. Well, sorry I bothered you.
ME: No problem.
HER: Bye.
ME: Good luck.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

As a fellow author, I find this very informative.
Thanks for sharing,
Charles L. Fields

Kathleen Valentine said...

Hi Charles! Good, I'm glad you found it helpful. I've had several conversations like this one and I keep trying to tell people IT TAKES TIME but they don't want to hear it! Good luck. I have your new book and it is in my TBR pile.

Ann Chambers said...

Lol. Truth isn't always exciting enough to meet preconceived expectations. But it's still truth. ;-)

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