Life in Missoula, Montana.
A post about my book and the crazy social marketing it takes to promote it
The good news is that I finally published my first book to Amazon.com. The bad news is that these days, that is only the beginning. It turns out that writing a book of about 100k words is only a part of the process. Once my book was live on amazon's site, I was pretty happy. After all, it was the culmination of a lot of work: concepts, ideas, writing, editing, re-writing. Now I finally had something to show for it. Instead of just saying "I write." or "I'm trying to be a writer.", I now had something to show for all the work. Not only that, it was available all over the planet on the world's best known book sales site. I admit I went to Amazon more than once just to look at my book on its own beautiful sales page.
That was the beginning. At first I mentioned my new book on facebook and posted it on my site here. Friends and relatives were very supportive. Likes and views rolled in. I sold 15 copies in the first two days. The initial momentum of sales and interest slowed, but I was already sending the link to anyone and everyone, and mentioning it to strangers on the street (not really, but close). A few more sales trickled in while I began sending links and descriptions to everyone I thought might be interested: book clubs, bloggers, horror sites. I found facebook groups about monsters and books and posted my link. I e-mailed reviewers and site managers. I revisited my LinkedIn writer's groups and posted a description and link on the appropriate forums. It's not always appropriate to post your link in online groups, so I was careful to be respectful and not spam it or post it where it was not appropriate. I contacted my followers from fictionpress and Sparkatale and sent them the amazon link. I joined the amazon Select Program and ran a temporary free promotion and a lot of people took advantage of that.
The book was selling, slowly, and some people had picked it up free during the special promotion. I had over 150 downloads, which I thought wasn't bad. But there was another problem: Amazon reviews. My book had no reviews! When people stumbled onto the book on Amazon, it just sat there, no comments, no stars. Other books had stars, raves. How were people supposed to choose my book alongside similar ones that had four or five stars? Now, I had a new challenge. I had to find people to review the book. I asked people who had read it if they could post a review. I found another author in a writer's group who would review my book if I would review theirs. I begged, pleaded, wheeled and dealed to get those early reviews.
By now, the book was being picked up by a few blogs and book club sites. The GoodBooks Book Club blog listeded it http://goodbookstoday.com. A horror/zombie site made mention of it on their blog http://greyzombie.com . The word was starting to get out. People were getting directed to the amazon store, but there were still no reviews. (Cue the sound of crickets)
Finally a few days later, I got a five star review. I was happy. Better stil, it was from someone I had never met. A relative posted another review, then two more popped up. I had four reviews, all of them five stars, and two were from strangers.
After sending a lot of e-mails, descriptions and links to the sales page, the info. on my book is now starting to bounce around cyberspace. Someone snet out a tweet about it. It's been mentioned on blogs,facebook, pinterest, and Tumblr. Another blogger recently posted a blog about the book with a short review, link, and excerpt. Here are some more links http://dreamtheanswer.tumblr.com http://blog.dreamtheanswer.com/2014/03/strange-hunting/.
The social media campaign is a grueling process, where the payoff is measured in tweets, likes, and shares. You provide information, be diplomatic, trade, share, and jump through hoops and the payoff is maybe a bunch of ones and zeros flying around in cyberspace. Hopefully it means that someone buys the book. Better yet, hopefully somebody enjoys it.