As an independent writer I’ve to consider how to market my ebooks on the Net, a task that have to be performed with great care; even with first-class works, if I can’t reach any audience everything will become useless, no more than an ego stunt about how good I could be on writing.
So let’s face the truth, there’s no ready-on-the-shelf strategy at hand to achieve a good exposition for my works and there are a lot of mistakes to avoid along the road to success. I want to use myself as a test case, in order to use real data and to start with a low-exposition position.
What’s my position on the Net? Of course there’s this blog. I have 71 followers who get the information I post here (hello guys&gals, how are you?). There are the social networks, of course. I got 147 friends on Facebook, 59 followers on Twitter and I’m connected with 135 people on G+.
There are a lot of intersections in these numbers, people who are in two or more of these groups. So I can evaluate in about 100 the number of people who I could reach with a direct marketing campaign. That leads to first question, is it good to start such a campaign? There’s a lot of difference between information (i.e. Hello! I write a new e-book) and spam-like messages (i.e. Buy my e-book! Now!! It’s fantastic!!!). I do not want to act as a bot-spammer, not even for a good reason.
What I want is to reach as many people as possible in a reasonable amount of time without using a lot of money. Is it possible? Is there a viable strategy for an author-publisher who got a budget close to zero?
Phase One – Do Your Best.
Before consider to release my works on the market I’ve to be sure that I’ve done the best I can. It’s not about writing a good story alone, it’s about writing at the peak of my abilities. I’ve to find somebody who can perform a first-class edit of my works and a handful of trusted beta readers. Then I need to wrap it up in a nice file (.mobi AND .epub) with the best cover I can get my hands on. You can keep all of these at zero budget only if you have very good friends at your side and/or trusted colleagues to work with.
Phase Two – Put Your Work Outside.
I will need two different version of the same e-book as stated before; the .mobi version for Amazon and the .epub version for Smashwords. I’ll to release these version in a different way, first on Amazon and six months later on Smashwords (that because Amazon want an exclusive period of six months). This is good for two reasons: the former is to maximize the exposition, the latter for working at two different angles at the same market. Do you have a Kindle? Then I’m on Amazon. Don’t you have a Kindle? No problem, I’m on Smashwords too.
Phase Three – Advertising.
I choose the slowest way, the one with the word “politeness” attached on front. It’s good to talk about your project from time to time, to release small samples of it and stuff; that if you do not became obxionous about your works. It’s time to be bold enough to ask for the truth, for some HONEST review from your friends. It’s also time to send a bit, I repeat A BIT, of email about your upcoming work to e-zines offering an advanced copy for review purposes.
Phase Four – Do Anything Else.
Once done the previous three steps it’ll be high time to do something else. A new project, helping some of my friends to develop his/her projects and so on. Let the dust come down and relax for a while.
Phase Five – Aftermath.
I will thank at length everybody who help me, who review my e-book, who spread the word about it. It will be a good idea to check out every piece of criticism I get, no matter how strange it could be. For sure somebody will be able to point out some mistake I’ve done, so it’s time to learn and fix errors.
What more? Do it again, and again, and again…