So it's been a little over a year since I published my first book. In that time, I have also published my second book, expanded my Facebook network, started a Facebook fan page, got on Twitter and Goodreads, started this blog, and ran some free promo days for my first book. I'm currently working on making a website. All the things that are supposed to equal increased book sales. I have been scouring blogs and books looking for that magic bullet to success, but I am still swimming in an ocean of indie authors all with the same goal.
In a recent Time magazine article about a romance convention that was held in Chicago this year, the writer focused a lot on indie authors and the chances of making it big. Joe Konrath, Amazon success story and self publishing guru, was at the convention to do a Q & A about self publishing. I like to read his blog and one of the things he said that has stuck with me was to get off Twitter and write. He said the main thing you can do to be successful is publish quality books. The more books you have the better. He suggested not even bothering to promote if you have less than three books published. If people like your writing, they will come back for more. At the convention Q & A session, Konrath, along with another successful indie author, said that blog tours and a lot of the other things authors do are a waste of time and do not really effect book sales. I have to agree. I have tried blog tours, guests posts and other networking ideas, and all have had only had a minimal (and temporary) effect, if any, on book sales.
Konrath also said that working the Amazon algorithm system to get your books on the best selling lists or on recommendation lists is the best was to increase sales. After joining KDP Select, I did a few free days for my first book after I released my second book. I had a huge number of downloads, and it skyrocketed up the Amazon lists and reached as high as #2 in Occult Horror and #42 on the overall top 100 on Amazon's free list. I was surprised by the increase in book sales on my second book. The sales even continued on my first book after the promo period. As my book dropped in the rankings, so did my books sales. My sales are definitely better with two books than when I had one, so I have to ask myself, what if Konrath is right? What if I'm wasting my time doing so much promoting using venues that don't seem to be helpful - something I have observed first hand. What if I just need to write more?
I don't think completely blowing off social media is the right answer. I think for people who know how to work social media, it can be a powerful tool. I'm not one of those people. I'm going to continue to try to learn how to use social media to my advantage, but I think I need to reassess the amount of time I spend doing it. I have a very limited amount of free time, and the time I use for promoting now is the time I used to spend writing.
My goal for the next year is to cut my social networking time and write more. I think Konrath is right about that. If readers like my books and want to come back for more, I'd better have more for them to come back to. As for the Amazon algorithms, no one really has the answer on how to make that work. It has something to do with sales and reviews; but overall, it still remains a mystery since authors can't totally control reviews or book sales.
I've built a lot of friendships on social media over the last year, and I don't want to lose those. I think there is still something to building a good network and fan base. Unlike Konrath, I don't think it is a waste of time to promote with less than three books. I enjoy meeting and supporting other authors and talking with fans. I just have to find a better balance between promoting and writing. Who knows? I could be the next indie success story!