Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wednesday Writerly Way ~ Online is Easy

Marketing online is easy with social media, right? I mean there are tons of sites that you can promote your books as an author. Is there such a thing as being online too much? How do you know you are reaching your target audience?

I'm on MySpace, GoodReads, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, SheWrites, belong to a large number of writerly sites for authors and readers alike, and follow blogs when written. If I spent any number of hours on these sites I'd never get any writing done on any WIP. Besides there are tons of indie and traditional authors doing the same thing...get to know me, howdy, I wrote a book, buy my book blurbs in 140 characters or less, and websites and blogs. It's a disorganized mess out there with tons of competition. So what's my angle?

I've been accused a time or two of having Montezuma's Revenge of the mouth...talking too much. My blog isn't any different. While most blogging experts say to keep blogs short and sweet, I do just the opposite. My blogs are meaty chunks of succulent details that you can't help but sink your teeth into and come back for seconds. The only thing short about me is my stature, but then only if I'm not riled up because I can get ten feet tall and in your face if the circumstances warrant it. I've made full grown, good old boys cower in fear. My blog is my perfect platform for my condition and it works for me.

Those other places, I check in weekly unless there is an event going on. I get weekly digests of who said what and when that happened while I was away. I do spent quite a bit of time, several times a day, in emails. There may be a three week backlog in my answering you back.  I'm there but not there. They are my silent salesmen working 24/7 just like this blog does. My Amazon author space and Smashwords is updated automatically as I publish. My blogs and twitter comments are posted on several site usually within twenty-four hours of posting them...I'm all about double or triple duty uses with one effort. That's because I have a life too, don't we all?

Be it tenacity or pure mule headed stubbornness, however you cut it. We as indie authors face the same challenges without a Big 6 publisher holding our hand or offering support. We have our own support and hand holding network of friends and Indelibles and a host of other sites.

So how much of an online presence do you need? A lot, but if you can find options that allow double duty for the same action, grab it and run. I'm averaging 5,000 to 10,000 hits a month on this blog so for me its exposure. If everyone that stopped by bought even one of my books, I'd be rolling in money. I realize the more likely number from sales is 10% of that. I spend a lot of time doing the analytics thing. I analyze what is the best use for my money and time is money. Although the experts say that blogging doesn't relate to book sales I beg to differ...mine does. In each of my books there is a section in the about author that I add contact information. Yep, this website is listed. It works for me. I can see the numbers.

I did something really smart or very stupid during the Smashwords "Read an e-book" promotion. I set all my books for free except one. Over 100 books flew into people's e-reader formats. But Jo, that's money out of your pocket. Yes, it is. I advertised the sale everywhere listed above, but only 100 books were downloaded. That's good news and bad by my calculations. I really expected the number to be higher on the bad side of the scale considering it was five titles. Conversely, my sales to B&N and Apple accounted for 200 books paid for tipping the scales the other way. So I lost some money during the promotion but made twice as much in sales in other areas...go figure. It was a gambled risk that worked out. Sometimes an author just wants to see what happens and to get books into readers' hands.

Seeing how I advertised the sale everywhere along with quite a few other authors the numbers of downloads didn't sway the numbers too much. So the question I pose is why spend hours upon hours promoting a book online? Use your time and resources wisely. I know I do.

Keep writing and loving the Lord.


Sandra Almazan said...

Marketing can be very time-consuming if you let it. I agree it helps to make your posts do double or triple duty.

J.L. Campbell said...

I tend not to do the amount of marketing that I should and feel overwhelmed even with only Fb and Twitter as my main places to get word out. It's hard to strike a balance, but all we can do is try.

J.L. Murphey said...

Making everything double or triple duty makes more bang for your buck.

J.L. Murphey said...

J.L. (is there an echo in here?)
And try we will.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Other than when the book releases, I don't spend much time actually promoting any of my titles. They've done well though.

Lara said...

I think constant promotion is a quick way to annoy readers. There's definitely an important balance to find between conversation and promotion.

Nick Wilford said...

I think the ultimate promotion is to get other people talking about it - word of mouth. The only problem is it's impossible to predict or direct, but it's hugely powerful.

J.L. Murphey said...

Alex, I "promote" my books on this blog by using them as examples of what I'm trying to explain.

J.L. Murphey said...

Yep Lara, you are right.

J.L. Murphey said...

It can be masterminded but whoa what effort it takes.

Jeremy [Retro] said...

I need to promote better, people don't even know I have books... I am sidetracked by the simplest things and my focus is terrible. You always as I have found... with the most respect many solid ideas and helpful solutions. I have joined many sites... author to author sites just don't work. They don't want my works they want to sell theirs. Finding a whole in the fabric of the internet, a open place to share your work to sell/give or meet people.. I think this makes some sense.. I am more of an artist I feel, feeling like my work is in everything I try to do... really I hope this makes some sense.

Have a great day!

J.L. Murphey said...

You write books too? I wouldn't have thought it. The problem and beauty of the internet is that you can find what you are looking for and the down side there's too much of it.