Friday, November 4, 2011

Adventures in Self Publishing - Promotion and Sales

When I planned out this series in self publishing, I wanted to start at the beginning and proceed in an orderly fashion. However, since my brain doesn’t work in an organized way that’s not going to happen. I want to talk about what has been on my mind lately – promotion and sales.

Honestly, when I was writing my book, I didn’t think about publishing. Mostly because I was afraid I wouldn’t finish it like every other book I had started, so why think that far ahead? My sister, Melanie, and BFF, Shelbi, were so excited about the project, it kept me motivated. With their gentle encouragement (a.k.a. hounding), I was able to finish my first book, Where Will You Run? At the time, I was so proud of my accomplishment and the fact that Mel and Shelbi loved the finished product that I didn’t care if another soul ever read it. Then I thought about it. All that  work was just gathering dust on my hard drive. Was I really going to just let it sit there?

Why not self publish? I sent a copy of my book to a friend of mine, Thomas Amo who was a self published author. He liked the book and said I should definitely do it. Tom and his beautiful wife came by to help me upload my book to Amazon, she said with a knowing chuckle “Now you’ll be checking your sales all the time like he does.” I assured her that wouldn’t be me since I didn’t really care about sales. Boy did that change overnight. Having people buy my book was both exciting and scary at the same time. I did find myself checking my sales reports regularly and grinning at my Amazon page.

Reality soon set in though. After the initial boost from friends and family, the sales numbers quickly dropped off. Now I was left with the daunting task of promotion – something I have never been good at. (Here is why I wanted to go in order because I wanted to write about promoting on Facebook and Twitter first. Oh well…carrying on.)

The biggest problem for me is that I wrote a vampire/paranormal romance. While that doesn’t sound like a problem since that genre is hot especially with the juggernaut that is Twilight and also with the popularity of television shows like True Blood, it would make sense to strike while the iron is hot. The problem is the market is saturated with paranormal books. I can’t believe all the paranormal romance indie authors I have met on Twitter alone. In a genre that is filled with heavy hitters like Jeaniene Frost, Charlaine Harris, J. R. Ward, Kresley Cole, Kim Harrison, Keri Arthur, etc. (and that doesn’t even scratch the surface), why would paranormal readers want to take a chance on an indie book (or a bajillion indie books for that matter) when they have such an amazing collection of traditionally published authors to choose from. I don’t have an answer. In a genre dominated by well established, traditionally published authors, how do you get noticed in an ocean of indie books?

Again, I’m trying to be patient. I know it takes time. I am reading a lot of blogs on the subject of self publishing, and I am going to try some of their suggestions. I will start trying some of these and blog about the results. The first one is a recommendation to start local. Today I went to our Barnes and Noble since my book is also available on Nook. I met Lee and asked him if they had a program to help promote local authors to increase Nook sales. Lee just stared at me. I said “Did I stump you?” He said “Yes.” There were no managers available so he took down my information and promised to get back to me. If I don’t hear from Lee by Monday, I will be brave and go back. I have to start somewhere. I will keep you all updated. Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Great question to the B&N guy. One that they need to cash in on too. Local authors are always a big check mark on my list of to-buy. Excellent idea. :D
    Maybe contact their corporate offices?

  2. I will try talking to manager. If that doesn't work, I will definitely go up the chain. They really do need to cash in on that & take a chance to push Nook.

    Also talked to our local library. They're going to have a meet the author day with me and have my book in their summer reading series with a book discussion led by me. Sounds impressive, yes? (giggle giggle) Summer is so far away!