Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Word Witch Wednesday - the ever evolving land of book marketing


One of the things that cause me the most stress is marketing. I just want to write! But it's part of an author's job to market their work too. So I do a lot of research. When I think I have a handle on things and make a plan, the world of book marketing changes. And it keeps changing.

1. Newsletters. At the beginning of the year, this was the new big thing. Build your email list! Now people are pulling back from them. There are just too many, and several of them are just vehicles for authors to promote other authors' books. I've unsubscribed from dozens of them, because as a reader, I'm interested in the writer I subscribed to, not ads for other people's books.

Is it still good to have a newsletter? Yes. Remember though, you are sending it out to readers. They want to know about you and your work. I've changed the way I set up my newsletter and send it out only once a month. They're shorter and more personal, like an email to a friend. I've gotten far less unsubscribes this way.

2. Blogs. You can find articles proclaiming blogging is going out of style or has been out for a long time. Yes, some people have left blogging and turned to other social media. Time is precious, and people don't want to spend it reading long articles.

Should you give up blogging? No. If you have the time to invest in it, it can be worthwhile. I use my blog to connect with writers and readers. I love the community of author bloggers I follow. The support and encouragement of fellow writers is invaluable. I've cut back to once a week, but I can't see myself ever closing down my blog.

3. Social Media. We've heard this before: it's like shouting into the void. No one's going to hear you. It doesn't sell books. Many articles counsel stepping back from spending time on social media and just writing instead. Which is good advice. We shouldn't be spending too much time on social media. Writing more stories is the number one priority for an author.

So no more social media? It can help as long as you remember that social media is for being social. It's for interaction, and if that's something you really enjoy, go find where your audience is. Mingle and make connections.

4. Paid Ads. So many seem to fail. Writers aren't rich folks. Spending money on an ad that won't even make you the money back you spent on it is useless. The once popular paid ad sites are no longer attracting readers. Only BookBub gets sales, and very few of us can afford them.

From my research, one thing almost everyone agrees on is that paid ads do work... IF you know where your audience is. It does take a lot of research to find out where best to promote your books. If you're doing a 99 cent sale or offering up a book for free for a limited time, this is when paying for an ad can help.

What have you noticed that has changed in the book marketing world recently?

17 comments:

  1. Hi Christine - I can quite see where you're coming from ... less is more; while personal makes things interesting ... I'm surprised by paid ads - but guess if you know where to go - then fine. Cheers Hilary

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  2. Marketing stresses me out a lot, too, especially lately. I've even been tempted to quit blogging, as a result, since it doesn't seem to help my career anymore. Hanging on for now, though, since it's one of the few marketing platforms I know how to use, even if I am terrible at it, LOL. And I'm glad you don't plan to ever shut down your own blog--I enjoy reading your posts too much!

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  3. Good to know I'm no longer doomed because I don't have a newsletter.
    Thunderclap seems to have come and went quickly.
    I still wonder about Twitter. It's all retweets. I'm guilty of not being social on there, but then again, I can't find anyone to be social with.

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  4. I just subscribed to your newsletter :-) I'm glad you have a shorter and more personal approach. I've unsubscribed from quite a few newsletters lately because they're either really long, happen too frequently or just seem like a list of books for you to buy.

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  5. I do think newsletters are important, but we must remember we are sending to our readers, not spamming them or giving them information they don't want. I still think the best type of marketing is writing the next book and knowing your audience. Everything else comes and goes so quickly.

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  6. If I remember correctly, I think it was in the James Scott Bell marketing book we read for the IWSG book club where he mentions making the newsletter more of a friendly letter - sounds good to me. :)

    And I'm with you on blogging. I still enjoy it and still think it's worth the energy.

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  7. I'm almost to where I want to dive into a friendly "touching base and here are the hijinks I've been into lately" newsletter. Almost. My blog has always been a way to connect with other writers who also want to connect with other writers, and this has honestly saved my sanity. I'm still trying to figure out social media. It's not awkward person friendly. LOL! I'm also still poking around paid ads. I took a mental break from the research because my brain can only take so much, but I'll pick the podcasts back up in December sometime. :)

    I love your thoughts on all this! It's really helpful. ^_^

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  8. I still enjoy blogging, and I also love this blogging community, but I definitely don't post nearly as often as I used to.

    I have no newsletter, but I figure I should wait until I start having some news to share before starting one. :)

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  9. Just reading this makes me even more terrified to market. At least when I started blogging, it was for the joy of it rather than obligation or attempts to sell stuff.

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  10. Sometimes, I have to step back and think like the reader, which I am a reader. I prefer to be treated like a person. I hate to only be contacted when an author has a book to sell. I also hate to be emailed constantly with promos. I think you're right. It's needs to be more of a friendly check in.

    I also agree about the blog. I abandoned mine for months and not only did my book numbers suffer, but I felt more and more disconnected from the writing world and was considering walking away from writing all together.

    Social media is good, but man, I have to set a timer. I can really get into clicking on cat videos and losing all track of time.

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  11. Marketing audio books has become more difficult. There aren't many audio review or promo sites and with a ton of new audio books coming out, it's getting harder to gain notice or reviews for a book.

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  12. I agree with newsletters info. I want to know about the author, insight that I don't get on their blog. And I don't want it every week. ;)

    I still love blogging but it took needs to have unique stuff.

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  13. I've noticed with Twitter it's become less useful for talking to people outside of chats. The majority of us are just shouting into the void. Every so often, I try to change that and be more active and talk to people, but then the conversation instantly sizzles after my tweet and it's like why bother?

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  14. I am with you. Stuff keeps changing. I don't bother with the marketing hype anymore. I try to blog and be genuine. I used to be all over all the social media sites, because others said it was the right way to do it, but these days I don't try out any new advice unless it feels right to me, and if I can follow through long term. I enjoyed your post. I like that you were honest about having to always learn new marketing ideas and figuring things out. It makes me feel less alone. Hope you have a good weekend, Christine.

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  15. Thanks to everyone for popping by. It helps me to know I'm not alone in this struggle too. Have a terrific rest of the weekend!

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  16. Oh marketing. I definitely half ass it when I'm working, but as a rule I always stick to blogging and social media. It's a good way to build a base as time rolls on.

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  17. Oh, marketing. And then when you do something that has results, Amazon rips away your rankings and undo everything you've done. And like you say, what works today might not work for the next book.

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