As we sit here writing this, we are trepidatious. By no means do we know everything about marketing. There are experts out there. We also know that, at the start of your marketing journey, it is important to take small steps.
This is about the steps our authors have taken and what they have learnt, to date.
K J Matthews write Sci fi space adventure. To date, she has four novellas out and the fifth due out in a few weeks. She has attempted a few marketing techniques.
Amazon Ads – For her short back list, beginning author pricing, and the price per click of the ads, the finding is NOT WORTH IT YET.
Pre-orders – not worth it unless you have an established market (this could be friends and family, or a large social media following).
Virtual Book Fairs – Run twice, royalties from sales insufficient to cover costs. author requirements is to advertise on social media and in newsletters. Current book fair – organizer is unable to provide any data as to the number of people clicking on links. Because of this, K J will search for other book fairs that provide data.
Tiktok – Not for K J. She has sold a couple of books through TikTok but most of her followers are other authors (no matter what she tried). TikTok will be something that K J continues to use but as ancillary, not dedicated. The time spent did not bring the return required.
Other social media – Not showing returns as yet. Building followers is slower than TikTok. K J was booted off Instagram and she could only assume that it was because she used a TikTok stamped reel instead of the original – but Instagram only sent a generic email and provided no way to find out what the issue was.
YouTube – had some success. The biggest problem is creating content constantly, although you can get away with posting less frequently than the other social media sites.
In Person Selling – Book fairs, craft markets etc. K J participated in a local craft pop up fair recently. Whilst she didn’t make a profit, this was due to a lack of customers, rather than any other reason and was the same for all vendors. She did have success selling to people when she was able to speak to them. This is a strategy that has a moderate level of success, so far. She’ll keep us posted.
The Back List – This strategy is about building a catalogue of works (preferably in a series). The theory is that when a reader likes one of your books, they will binge the rest of your books. Most of K J’s sales come from read throughs.
We know this appears more doom than success, but part of every new venture is learning how to be successful. Very few authors make it on their “debut” novels. It is a marathon, not a sprint, and to be successful in a mararthon, you need to train.
Thus when K J read up on marketing, everything she read said for an unknown author in a popular genre, price low (but not free), generate a backlist, start a newsletter and don’t worry about too much else until you do. This is exactly what the above experience has taught K J. (With the exception of the newsletter which K J hasn’t started yet.)
We will keep you posted about in person book selling/signing events that K J will be focused on. She’s always happy to talk about her experiences.