Saturday, December 4, 2010

Marketing 101. E-Books.

by Louis Bertrand Shalako


All Rights Reserved

I know so little about internet marketing that I read pretty thoroughly. While I am always interested in what other people have to say on the subject, I don’t always have the sort of experienced judgment to know which writer really has something to say and which one doesn’t.

I also have a few thoughts of my own, which are either lame, or brilliant, depending upon who we ask! But in my own limited experience, the toughest calls are ‘which contracts not to sign,’ quite honestly. Those are real gut-twisting decisions; because you don’t know when or if you will ever get another offer, let alone a better one.

Going by classic theory, I should be sending out complimentary promotional copies, and according to one highly placed source, ‘the more the better.’ His absolutely top-line publisher gives him fifteen or twenty, and he would prefer a hundred. If I mailed paperback books by Canada Post, it is slow. But we also know that it will eventually get there. We have no way of knowing what happens to that mail once it arrives at its destination, but someone would open that envelope or package for sure. That paperback is going home with somebody.

From ‘createspace,’ this would cost $11.99 plus shipping and handling, (last time I looked.)

It is a free gift. It has value. It is tangible. You can hold it in your hand and feel the weight. You can wrap it up and give it to Aunt Minnie for Christmas.

With an e-book, theoretically I could send out an unlimited number of free promotional copies, a gift of some value, if you will. I probably should be doing it, but I’m not. Here’s why.

Theoretically, if I have the right e-mail address it will arrive very quickly at its destination. Ah, but we ourselves are rather reluctant to click on attachments, and so are they. We know there is some risk in clicking on a link, and so do they. We have junk folders and spam filters, and so do they.

The problem is, with a free promotional e-book, is how to let them know that it is safe, or that it is coming, or available upon request. How do they even know that it is there? The trick is to let them know who you are, maybe.

There are other factors. Aunt Minnie doesn’t know what an e-book is, and does not own a computer, and doesn’t want Kindle, Kobo, or whatever. People love books, and change is often threatening or merely unwelcome. It is a free country. It is her choice, and my challenge.

How much time staff members spend combing through e-mail junk and spam folders is unknown to this writer.

Now. Any system can be defeated by using its own rules against it. And my business model is predicated on getting every possible service for free. That’s because this February is my fifteenth anniversary on disability, and poverty has its own logic which I won’t dwell on. I guess you could say education costs money, or time, or effort, or something.

At the risk of seeming to be hypersensitive, I am perfectly aware that I am in no position to offer e-book advice to aspiring authors. I know no more than you do, and arguably less. It is true that I could self-publish POD with createspace and The former would cost about $300.00 US or thereabouts. I simply don’t have the money, and I will not have that money for months, maybe longer. Four titles equals $1200.00, and I would have one author’s copy per title. This is ‘vanity publishing,’ with all due respect, at its best.

I may be sarcastic, to some small degree. Buddy, there’s no way in hell that I’m throwing that on my credit card at 28 % per annum. I want to see some sales and some traffic. I want to generate some buzz. Show me the demand for my product and I will find the money to invest in increased profits. Show me enough demand, I will go the bank and ask for a loan!

And I make no claims whatsoever about knowing what I am doing. It is an experiment, no more, no less. I have nothing to lose and much to gain, and you win by playing the game.

The only way I can lose is if I quit; and a ‘quick victory’ is a myth of military science.

That is the theory, until someone respectable and credible tells me different; or my circumstances change.

So how do I defeat the system? I have a plan. I have the wit to conceive it and the audacity to carry it out.

The details of this plan are confidential, but will become apparent as time goes on.

Oh, and don’t forget to sign up as a follower on my blog.

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