Books are easy to borrow.
What do you buy the aging veteran for Christmas, when he’s got enough ties, socks, underwear, and aftershave lotion to last eight lifetimes? A book. A war book, because you know how he loves that sort of thing. Over a lifetime of birthdays and Christmases, these old fellows end up with a lot of books. With my old man, it was anything to do with airplanes, or anything to do with WW II history. He loved that stuff, but then as a boy he lived through them headlines, right? He was an amateur historian, although his theories were pretty crackpot in some ways.
Both of my buddies had read most of those books, but when I spotted them I immediately went over and started looking at the titles. I ended up borrowing three and four books at a time. This was mostly because I could see them.
When marketing e-books, the only place people are going to see them is online. The chances of someone looking over another person’s shoulder on the subway and seeing the cover, title and author name are pretty slim. Most of us can’t afford to rent space on a billboard, and we have no measurement of its effectiveness anyway, not so far. On the other hand, paperbacks on coffee tables, bookshelves full of hard-covers in someone’s living room, or a sheaf of glossy magazines in a rack in the bathroom are fairly easy to spot.
Paperbacks at the drug store or in a rack in a department store are fairly easy to spot as well. It makes impulse buying possible.
Other than being in online bookstores, E-books rely on word of mouth to a far greater extent. They aren’t in brick and mortar bookstores. They’re not laying on benches at bus stops, either. So far, they can’t be donated to thrift shops. I have no idea if there is anyone with a ‘used e-book store’ out there, but it may come. What would the discount be based on? Cover condition? It’s getting a little dog-eared around the edges, right?
No one is going to stumble across one of our e-books in Wal-Mart in some desperate last-minute shopping bid for the perfect stocking-stuffer.
This is why so many independent authors feel they must promote or at least advertise their wares one way or another. The real problem is figuring out what works, and how much is just enough. It’s just as easy to shoot yourself in the crotch with a sling-shot, if you have a poorly thought-out campaign.
As we head into Christmas, I’m thinking of trying a campaign of excerpts. As long as I have a picture of some kind on it, I can post it to Pinterest, and a few other places too. It brings blog traffic, and gives anyone reading it an idea of the sort of material and writing they will find in the book.
Here’s a couple of excerpts from ‘Horse Catcher,’ available from Smashwords and many other fine retailers.
This is Chapter One, 'Dooley Wakes Up.'
This one's from a little deeper into the book. Note that I have a better marketing image now.
I’ve never gone at this systematically before. Those excerpts were posted, often while a WIP, (work in progress.) While it might not be the greatest marketing technique to show products that were only half done, the fact is that now I have the excerpts, and it’s easy enough to use them methodically, over the next six weeks or so, and then maybe try something else. This is the value of experimentation.
Now I that I have the excerpts, I can try something different with them.
Here’s a great song by the Tragically Hip. ‘Trickle Down.’
There will always be insecurities in being independent, because we are relying on no one else for our pay-cheques or our validation. In the above photo, the reader can see how one of my short stories, ‘The Apparition of the Virgin’ ($0.99) looks in the Nook for Desktop application.
Totally off the record, it looks beautiful. Right?
Don’t read that and go thinking that I don’t like Clive Cussler, because I do.
Sometimes a parody is just a parody.
“When are you going to write a successful book?” When my thirteen year-old nephew asks that question, I think he means million-copy bestseller status.
He means being on the cover of Playperson Magazine and getting interviewed by Colbert.
(Phooey on you, Monsieur Colbert.)
Time to make a will.
It’s just the sort of terms that people think in. They don’t know any better. Theoretically I should make a will and leave all of my intellectual properties (sic) to my nephews. It’s hard to imagine them guys knowing what to do with 'The Company,' but if I don’t legally leave it to them there’s no chance at all for them to find out…right?
It’s probably not going to make whole hell of a lot of difference to me. I could always leave it as a cultural artifact to the Canadian people. I doubt if they’d know what to do with it either, which basically just leaves the government or some charity somewhere.
I’m just saying.
Every so often I'll read a snarky comment about spammers. If you have a traditional publishing deal, hopefully you got a $50,000 advance and your book is in all the stores. The rest of us have to learn how to promote our books one way or another.