Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Crash Course in Marketing

Self-publishing my autobiography has allowed me the freedom to do pretty much whatever the hell I want with all things relating to my book.  I can't say I'm intimidated; I was responsible for 99% of the marketing of the original version, which was released by a so-called "traditional" publisher.

I've learned a lot in the months leading up to the book release.  With the help of two excellent Kindle books, Are You Still Submitting Your Work to a Traditional Publisher? by Edward C. Patterson and Plug Your Book! Online Book Marketing for Authors, Book Publicity through Social Networking by Steve Weber, I created a low-cost marketing plan to help my book become a success. Its effectiveness is TBD.

My primary target is Amazon customers.  Although my royalties are lower for Amazon sales than they would be if I directed buyers to the CreateSpace page or sold them through my own site, Amazon is a virtual bookstore, fully customized for each user.  Amazon sales and reviews = greater visibility on the Amazon site.

Getting reviews, as I've said before, is a challenge.  Less than 1% of the people who read my previous titles took the time to review them.  Here's my strategy for getting reviews:

1. Review Copies: I sent a copy of my book to wrestling journalists and other readers who I thought were likely to review my book.
2. Goodreads Giveaway: I'm giving away 10 free books on the Goodreads giveaway.  I'm hoping to have 500 people enter to win because that means 500 readers have taken notice of my book, leaving 490 potential book-buyers.  Winners of the giveaway are encouraged by Goodreads to review the book.  I've also added excerpts on the Goodreads site.
3. Free Digital Copies: I'm giving away 50 digital (PDF, EPUB, MOBI) copies of my book and asking those who receive a free copy to review the book on Amazon.
4. Kindle/Amazon Gift Card Giveaway: I haven't decided on this one--it depends on what early sales figures look like--but I'm considering randomly selecting one reviewer to receive a free Kindle or a $150 Amazon gift card if/when my new book reaches the lofty goal of 100 Amazon reviews.

I've also created a Facebook ad which will be seen by 2,000 potential book-buyers during the next few weeks.  I'm not sure how effective it will be, but I am sure that I don't want to spend a bunch of money on a book that won't likely make me a whole lot of, if any, profit.  I budgeted just $1.00 per day for this ad campaign, and if I like the results I will increase the budget.

That's it so far.  I'm doing some trial-and-error while trying to keep expenses to a minimum in the process.  Feel free to share any other marketing ideas.

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