Today I’m going to share my publishing journey, but first I’m going to let you in on a shameful secret. Okay. Maybe it’s not too shameful, but perhaps a little on the obsessiveness side. I check my Amazon sales at least once a day. In fact, admitting to once a day isn’t close to an estimate. Let’s go with several times a day and leave it like that. After all, a gal has to have a little pride right?
Released September 2010
My best selling work, Control Freak: Brandon’s Story, averages about 3 sales a day. Though it’s listed at $0.99, the price isn’t bad for a 3+k piece of work which took me 1-2 weeks to write, polish, and edit. I have to admit, I’m quite pleased with the results, profit-wise. Not stellar, but at least it’s something. It’s rather nice knowing I’ll have $30-50 a month from Brandon’s Story to fund various promotions and what not. And anyone who’s tried to promote a book, knows that amount doesn’t go very far.
Still, if only my other works did so well. 🙂
It’s interesting to note, I did pretty much no marketing for Brandon’s Story. In fact, I offered it for free for the longest time. Honestly, I didn’t think it was a piece anyone would want to purchase at $0.99. After all, it’s a short story, and a very short story at that. When I set a price for Brandon’s Story, and people started buying it, I could hardly believe it!
Released January 2011
Why? Because Shadow Cat, which had all favorable reviews was having an extremely difficult time getting off the ground. I’ve been all over the place with the price, from $0.99 to reel in folks who only buy cheap, to $4.99 to lure in folks who think cheap is crap. No matter what price I slap on Shadow Cat, it averages about 2 sales a week. <sigh>
Shadow Cat and I even went on tour together. Me and my kitty… tiger. I put up ads on various blogs, paid for advertising on Goodreads, Facebook, Google Adwords. I’ll be honest, I’ve yet to see a return on investment (ROI).
Allow me to go off on a tangent, as I’m known to do at times. 🙂 I was driving to pick up my son from preschool today and thinking about my ROI. With no out of pocket expenses by only publishing Brandon’s Story in eBook and not spending a dime on advertising (I think), I’ve already earned a decent salary for at least 1 week. Remember, I mentioned it took me 1-2 weeks to write, polish, and edit Brandon’s Story for publication.
ROI for Shadow Cat? I might have covered the marketing expenses for Shadow Cat… maybe. And the time writing, polishing, and editing? haha Let’s not even go there.
Released July 2011
Next up, we have I Loved You First. With I Loved You First, I cut back on the advertisements and went straight for the blog tour… full force. 45 days and I don’t know how many blogs. The book received lots of great reviews. Last I checked, we were up to 16 reviews at Amazon and averaging about 4 stars. Way to go Alex!
You’d think folks would flock to pick up a copy. Not so, my friends. Of all my works, I Loved You First has the least amount of sales. Lean a little closer, I don’t want this getting around the blogosphere. Can you hear me? Well, I Loved You First has only received 3 sales this month. Shhh. Don’t tell anyone. Last month was only slightly better at 6 sales. Yikes!
In terms of my ROI? I think I spent about $60 in promotion materials for the blog tour, which doesn’t include the costs of books and shipping. I’m certainly not crying over the fact. I spent a lot more trying to get Shadow Cat off the ground and still only have 8 reviews on Amazon. Of course, Shadow Cat has slightly better sales, but not enough to make me feel I’ve gotten my money’s worth with advertising.
Released October 2011
Okay. Last piece, which I released early this month. Control Freak: Regina’s Story. I did even less advertising with Regina’s Story than I did Brandon’s Story. For the most part, I just set it out there and tweeted a couple of times about the availability. Interesting enough, the sales on Regina’s Story are comparable to Shadow Cat — averaging about 2 sales a week. Actually, the sales for Regina’s Story are slightly (not by much), but still slightly better than Shadow Cat.
Like Brandon’s Story, Regina’s Story is another shortie — a little over 4k words. I will admit, it took me longer to write. I just wasn’t in the mood to write erotica. In fact, I’d considered giving erotica up entirely. However, I felt I owed readers the sequel to Regina’s Story. After all, the back of Brandon’s Story ended with a promise to have the sequel out shortly. That “shortly” took about a year to get around to writing. 🙂
So here I am, a little over a year into the self-publishing game, 4 works up for sale, 2 free flash fiction pieces, and completely clueless over what works and what doesn’t.
Just how effective are blog tours, ads, promotions, etc? Perhaps I’m not trying hard enough or better yet, perhaps I’m not giving my attempts at marketing long enough to kick in and take effect. What says you?
What types of marketing have you tried?
Do you have a story to tell? Share with us your successful and less than successful campaigns. 🙂 In fact, email me (firstname.lastname@example.org), and I’ll open Ramblings of an Amateur Writer to you for your own guest post.