OI! Buy My Book!

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Ha ha! I’ve been thinking about marketing quite a bit now. I decided not to actively market until I had more than one book out (a la Hugh Howey), and just see how things in the self-publishing world worked first. So now the time has come. As soon as my revamped current scribbles, and the new African Me go live next month, it will be that time. Over the last year, I’ve been mainly watching, and reading as much as I can about how to sell books as an independent author.

Even though my career was in sales, I still find the thought of flogging my own writing quite daunting. It’s not quite the same as selling a product, where what you see is what you get. Somebody’s not likely to buy a product or service without knowing exactly what they’re going to get. With a book though, you’re selling something ethereal. A possibility. A promise. Your buyer isn’t sure that they’re going to like what they pay for even if they’ve liked other books written by you before.

I figured that that definitely is the first step for me though. No selling till there’s more than one to sell, and that there would be at least a couple of people who had read what I write and might like some more. I’m not expecting to have fans lurking at the bottom of the garden, hoping to get pics of me doing something outrageous to sell to the Enquirer, and I don’t anticipate lots of sales to happen immediately, or even in the first months of trying to ply my wares. Selling doesn’t work like that for any product unless you have Lady Luck not only rooting for you, but camping out at your house. A successful product needs advertising as well as word of mouth to make people want to buy it. Would you buy the baked beans you know and love for $1, or beans in a jar for 10c from a lady on a corner, even if she tells you they’re better than Heinz? Nope. We want what we can be pretty sure we’ll like.

Indies can’t generally afford major advertising campaigns in the places already famous authors have their books publicised, such as magazines, billboards, television. So they use what they have – virtual launches, parties, giveaways, and social networking sites to get the word out. Intrepid bunch we are. Finding a way into one of those big boy forms of media isn’t likely for the arb scribbler such as myself, unless I streak across the court at Wimbledon yelling, “Oi!! Buy my book!!” That would do it I reckon, now that I think about it. Could be a really good marketing strategy doing something outrageous, or out of the box.

From a purely sales point of view, with limited funds, I think one or two other things might be worth a try. Traditional mail for one. Send out real paper flyers. Have some posters made up. Hire a graffiti artist to splash your name around a bit in the dark of the night – ok that’s not legal – but still… Put out piles of bookmarks with the cover of your book and contact details on it, for people to help themselves to. Buy those chocolates that you can have your own image printed on the outer package. Balloons. Mugs. Whack your cover and info on these too, and hand them out anywhere you can. People love free things, and for those writers not so keen on handing out free copies of their actual books, promotions along these lines might help a bit.

Not many people get to make money selling anything at all without either spending money, a lot of hard graft, or a tangibly superb product. Probably a little of each would be best. Anyway… I’m only about to start the marketing trip, so I’ll just carry on stalking the successful guys, and listen to what they suggest. Pinch nose, close eyeballs, and jump into the fray I go…

Till next time friends.

Van Gogh pd book

13 thoughts on “OI! Buy My Book!

    LucyPireel said:
    July 15, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    Out off the box Jo Dearie. Get out off the box! Do not run in the same race all other indies run too. I try to do it my way by paying it forward and hoping that this is the way to get my name recognised and eventually people i.e. readers will buy my work too and not just the ones I promote.
    Shouting “Buy my book!” At the same people who are shouting the same (basically what is going on on FB) Doesn’t seem to work, at least I’m not doing it, G+ seems to be reader filled and Goodreads. I like your idea for flyers, but that works when you live in a big city and the pond is huge to cast your net in. My small village in the UK? I don’t bother the ten people who actually read a book already bought mine. 🙂
    Anyway, when you find the ‘golden solution’ let me know and when I think of something that just might work. I will let you know (as you know 🙂 )
    So Jo my dearest dearie. Keep up the good work and let us do a promotion when African Me comes out.
    By the by, have you signed up for the book blast I’m hosting?
    xoxo

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      jorobinson176 responded:
      July 18, 2013 at 12:43 pm

      Signed up for the book blast lovely one! 😀 All these selling tools! I think I’d probably just end up eating all the chocolates anyway. 😀 Unless another horrible thing happens – life wise – African Me will definitely come out early August. I got snowed under with those sick days & still have a good couple of hundred emails to go through, but I’m sure I’ll be on time now. 😀 xxxx

      Like

    Marian Allen said:
    July 15, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    You’re going to come visit my blog, aren’t you, Jo? DO say yes! And the birds can tie Katya up and post on #Caturday!

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      jorobinson176 responded:
      July 18, 2013 at 12:38 pm

      COOL! Tell Katya to get the tea ans cake ready – we’ll see her on #Caturday! 😀

      Like

    kizzylee said:
    July 15, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    hiya ^_^
    you are way braver than me i don’t have do the whole advertising thing i am rubbish at it and sooooo i have little to no sales ^_^ ahh well i figure the sheer volume of books i will write should be an advert in themselves -i have written seven so far six self published through amazon and the latest in proofreading- but then i remember asimov who wrote over two hundred books so guess i got something to aim for in that ^_^ seriously though lovely i really hope you have great success when you go for launch date let me know i will do a write up for you on my blog anything to help a friend hope you have a lovely monday and here’s hoping your future is full of success, loves xx

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      jorobinson176 responded:
      July 18, 2013 at 12:36 pm

      Thanks Kizzy! I love doing author spotlights, so I’ll do one for you and your books too. Brilliant! Seven is COOL! It’s true though – all the successful guys say that the way to sell books is to write a lot of them, so you’re doing the right thing. And we all love you anyway, so you don’t need to market too hard. 😀 xxxxxxxxxxxxx

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    cicampbell2013 said:
    July 16, 2013 at 12:41 am

    Whatever works for you, Jo. Do it all and let me know what happens. I’m trying to muster my energy to do something similar for my next one, Flying Free. It exhausts me just thinking about it!
    Looking forward to African Me. X

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      jorobinson176 responded:
      July 18, 2013 at 12:26 pm

      I haven’t got a clue what will work Christine. 😀 I think selling a self-published book must be the hardest thing to do – probably easier selling timeshare – ha haaaa! You’ll succeed for sure – your writing is brilliant. I suppose we just have to be patient. xxx

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    roseshadows said:
    July 17, 2013 at 11:21 pm

    Hi Jo. Good post, I feel your frustration! I have been, and am still there.

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      jorobinson176 responded:
      July 18, 2013 at 12:09 pm

      We need free publicists Rose. 😀 I do love the tenacity of writers on the web though – they’ll try anything. 😀

      Like

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