Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: book promotion

Does Book Promotion Actually Help Sell Books?


As far as my experience goes (and, the experience of the trusted souls I seek advice from…), there is no simple or definitive answer to the question, “Does Book Promotion Actually Help Sell Books?”

I am going to be sharing excerpts from an article on Jane Friedman’s blog by a guest writer, which is about seeking “Influencers” to help with book promotion; but, I must give you fair warning by quoting myself from a post back in 2013, What About All The Authors Whose Books Don’t Sell Very Many Copies?

“An extremely small percentage of writers sell more than 500 copies of a book…

“One source I checked said this:

“’…in 2004, 950,000 titles out of the 1.2 million tracked by Nielsen Bookscan sold fewer than 99 copies. Another 200,000 sold fewer than 1,000 copies. Only 25,000 sold more than 5,000 copies.’

“’The average book in America sells about 500 copies’ (Publishers Weekly, July 17, 2006). And average sales have since fallen much more. According to BookScan, which tracks most bookstore, online, and other retail sales of books, only 299 million books were sold in 2008 in the U.S. in all adult nonfiction categories combined. The average U.S. book is now [2011] selling less than 250 copies per year and less than 3,000 copies over its lifetime.”

Now to move on to the article by Angela Ackerman on Jane Friedman’s blog, How to Find and Reach Influencers to Help Promote Your Book.

First excerpt:

“As a writing coach and avid user of social media, one of the most heartbreaking things I see is when an author puts a ton of effort into writing, editing, polishing, and finally publishing a book—only to see it fail to gain traction in the marketplace. Often this comes down to a marketing misstep that’s all too common: failing to understand (and therefore reach) one’s ideal book audience.”

I must insert some personal info…

I’ve been using the readers of this blog as my “ideal book audience” for the last 5 years…

Since November of last year, I’ve added my followers on Wattpad

Since last week, I’ve been focusing on adding a new potential audience—mostly college students that hang-out at a groovy coffeehouse…

That’s what I’m doing, right now…

Plus, I’ve been giving my books away—check the left side-bar & check the following post—Free = Sales ~ Give It Away & Sell More…—for “justification”…

And, even though Angela is very “upbeat” in her article about finding Influencers to help you sell books, I want to help you insulate yourself against disappointment if none of your efforts help you sell books (don’t forget the first link in this post…)…

So, back to excerpts from Angela—first, her list of Influencers:

popular authors who write very similar books

bloggers who are passionate about a topic or theme that ties into the author’s book

well-regarded book reviewers

bookstore owners

librarians

organizers of literacy or book programs and events

teachers and instructors

groups and organizations that cover the same specific interest featured in the author’s book

celebrities (hey, it can’t hurt, right?)

businesses that cater to the same audience as the author’s in some way

forums and websites dedicated to the same topic/event/theme explored in the author’s book

well-connected individuals (who endorse the book or author to other influential people)

people who are passionate about a particular topic/theme (that ties into the author’s book)

fans of the author and her work (if the author is established)

Very good list

She also has a section titled, How to Reach Out to an Influencer.

And, a short section titled, Remember Anyone Can Be an Influencer.

Plus, How Do You Find Your Influencers?

And, with the strong recommendation that you (if you’re a writer…) go read the full article, I leave you one last excerpt from Angela:

“Bottom line, wouldn’t you just love it if one day someone came to you and offered to put your name forward because they liked and admired you? So, adopt the mindset of a giver. Ask yourself what value you can add, what you can do for others. If you can help, do, because you never know when it will come back to you tenfold. (This is coming from someone who knows this firsthand!)”

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#BookPromotion on #Wattpad


Last November, I was finally convinced to try WattpadWattpad

Then, later in the same month, I wrote about Wattpad being a special “social media” platform for writers.

That was early in the game

I had a relatively small number of folks I followed and there were some following me

I have four books there; and, will soon have a fifthone of my booksmy novel, was getting reads and comments and all was productive and fun

Then, last month, my novel jumped from 1,ooo to 2,000 reads and my followers jumped from about 300 to over 1,200.

Today, I have 3,200 reads on the novel and nearly 2,000 followers

What happened was Wattpad decided to Feature my book.

Suddenly, being on Wattpad is “work” yet very welcome and productive work.

Back in November, my novel was being read in around 10 countries.

This map shows the situation now (countries with reads shaded blue, with darker blue being more reads):

Notes from An Alien at 7 months + one Week Featured on Wattpad

Do I recommend Wattpad for writers who don’t yet know how to promote their book; or, are either tired of or frustrated about their promotion efforts to date?

Perhaps

It depends on the writer.

One way to find out if you’re the kind of person who can do promotion on Wattpad is to sign-up for free; then, read How To Get Reads, Votes, and Comments – A Guide by Katherine A. Ganzel.

Here’s my profile on Wattpad.

And, here’s the novel that’s still being Featured :-)

Plus, you can read the interviews I have here with other Wattpad authors
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Is #SocialMedia Really Good for #BookPromotion?


I’ve certainly gone out of my way over the last 5 years to figure out what might be called “Rational-Book-Promotion”

If I’d done every technique that’s been touted to give me millions of paying customers, I’d be dead from overwork—and I may not have any more sales than I do now

Plus, I’m a firm believer in giving my book away (as well as offering it for sale)—many are the folk who can get on-line but not buy stuff

One of the most rational posts I’ve done about advice for writers is Bad Advice for Writers = Most Advice for Writers.

And, one of the most honest posts I’ve done about book promotion is Authentic Book Promotion ~ Does It Sell?

Here’s an excerpt from that post:

“There are many things an author can do to increase the likelihood that their book will sell.

“None of those actions will guarantee sales…

“Some writers think landing a traditional publishing deal will assure book sales.

“Not so…

“Perhaps, if you’re an extremely famous person, your book will sell—perhaps…”

And, one of the most penetrating posts I’ve done about authors and social media is Selling Your Soul With Social Media.

I quote a writer named Leo Babauta:

“Converting visitors into buyers is a soul-less use of your creative energy. Reject it, out of hand.”

“I find more value in creating something of value. I find influence a better metric than sales or traffic or reader numbers.”

“When everyone yells ‘Look at me!’, become quiet.”

“When others try to pull visitors to their sites, let people find you themselves.”

“When others brag of their success, let others laud you instead.”

Advice like that may take longer to “work” but the results will be solid and sound, you will still be yourself, and your conscience will be clear

Plus, concerning social media, it may not have the impact so many “experts” claim it does.

I direct you to an article entitled Majority of Links on Social Media are being Shared Without Users Actually Reading Them.

It deals with a study by Columbia University and the French National Institute.

The study is about sharing links to news stories; but, personally, I feel, if a user shares news links without reading what’s linked to; and, the practice is widespread; we might be able to get a hint about what folks who share writer’s links are doing, too

So, one finding from the study is that:

“…only two out of five people will click through and read the story from links on social media.

“The other three will share the story to their friends and followers without having ever read the story.”

One of the study’s co-authors said:

“This is typical of modern information consumption. People form an opinion based on a summary, or summary of summaries, without making the effort to go deeper.”

So, if this study was well-conducted with a significant base of data; and, if we can assume the activities portrayed actually do apply to social media links from writers, what kind of method is there for writers to generate a following (that doesn’t cost more than an internet connection and some time) that can be done rationally, sanely, and productively?

If you’re really serious about “getting the word out”, go read all my posts about Wattpad; then, give it an honest try—I’d say, about 5 months should show you what I’m talking about………

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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
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For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Writers Who Try Too Hard — “Language Warpers”


Today’s post is about bad similes.

Bad Writing

Image Courtesy of Brenton Nicholls ~ http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/BJN-31210

Four of my dictionaries give “simile” these definitions:

“a figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another thing of a different kind , used to make a description more emphatic or vivid”

“A figure of speech in which a person or thing is described by being explicitly likened to another, usually preceded by as or like”

“A figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another of a different kind , as an illustration or ornament”

“a figure of speech in which two unlike things are explicitly compared”

Quite similar with interesting variations

I also have four different weather apps, with their own brand of interesting variations (and many days not very similar…) on what kind of weather to expect :-)

The Paris Review has an article called Striking Similes that says:

“’I think that the impulse to find the likeness between unlike things is very basic to us’….Pair this impulse with a desire for novelty—with every writer’s desire, that is, to be the first person ever to make a certain comparison on the page, to connect two previously disparate things—and you can see how even a seasoned writer could have a reach that exceeds his grasp. There’s a thin line between the original and the asinine.”

The article quotes some amazing (weird, out-there, warped) similes from a book called, Fifteen Thousand Useful Phrases. <— that link is to a Google Page (you can buy the book or get it free…).

“Useful” Phrases………

Hmmm

I read a lot of folks on Wattpad (part of my book promotion program) and, admittedly, most of them are not “seasoned” writers (still, there are many fine writers); yet, there are quite a few of them who fracture language but still pull me along with their Sense of Story

And, even though some of the Wattpad writers warp things a bit, that article from The Paris Review has more than 40 Extremely Overwrought similes.

I’ll excerpt just the few that really stand out for me:

“A glacial pang of pain like the stab of a dagger of ice frozen from a poisoned well”

“Brute terrors like the scurrying of rats in a deserted attic”

Those are definitely overwrought…

This one’s almost painful:

“Cheeks as soft as July peaches”

Just a few more:

“Each moment was an iridescent bubble fresh-blown from the lips of fancy”

“He snatched furiously at breath like a tiger snatching at meat”

“Her hair dropped on her pallid cheeks, like sea-weed on a clam”

“Like a festooned girdle encircling the waist of a bride”

“Love had like the canker-worm consumed her early prime”

And, some of them “almost” work:

“You are as gloomy to-night as an undertaker out of employment”

So, if you need a course in overwriting, check out that book; and, you might also read the whole article in The Paris Review
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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
* Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

#Authorship and #Publishing ~ “Tell Me I’m Pretty”


Should authors decide how their book should be promoted?

Self-Publishing

Image Courtesy of Marinela Prodan ~ http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/Marinela-30103

Are the agents and editors of traditional publishing (and their industry cohorts) the only people on the planet who know what’s best for an author?

To begin to answer those questions, I’ll share excerpts from an article by Gene Doucette—best-selling author, screenwriter, and playwright—but first, I’ll quote from one of my own articles—Are Readers Going To Be The New Gatekeepers?:

“Should more readers demand that authors forget about genre and write what the unique combination of theme, plot, and character demands of their creativity?”

“Is it conceivable that the reading public could select books based on plot characteristics or character interactions or theme arcs?”

“I do believe that, eventually, readers will have an exceedingly easy time in finding exactly what they desire; and, that they will become the primary ‘gatekeepers’ in the Book-World.”

Gene’s article is oh, so appropriately called, Tell Me I’m Pretty.

Here are a few excerpts:

“The argument is that the gatekeepers in the traditional publishing path are important because they know what’s actually of good quality, but the industry they man the gates for is interested in what will actually sell.”

“They’re there to pick books they think will sell, and it turns out ‘quality manuscripts’ and ‘books that will sell’ aren’t always the same thing.  And that means the marketplace itself makes for a better gatekeeper.”

Here comes the part where authors want someone to tell them they’re “pretty”:

“Writing can be terrifyingly feedback-free, and we’re not necessarily the best ones to ask if we have talent.  We want someone else to tell us, and we want that someone to be a person whose opinion actually matters.

“In traditional publishing, the people whose opinions matter are called agent, editor, or publisher, and it wasn’t so long ago that theirs was the only opinion that mattered, because if they didn’t think you were pretty, nobody else got an opportunity to weigh in.

“That’s no longer true, because self-publishing doesn’t require the advance opinion of anyone in the traditional publishing industry.”

Any author who’s agonizing over whether to (very likely) suffer through massive rejection from the traditional gatekeepers or learn what’s necessary to self-publish needs to read Gene’s full article.

Also, you might want to check out the 145 articles on self-publishing that I’ve written—this article will also be at that link since I must tag it with “self-publishing” :-)

I’ll end this post with a powerful statement from Gene:

“What I’m saying is, let the marketplace tell you you’re pretty.  In the end, it’s the only opinion that matters.”

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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
* Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com