It’s funny. I had this subject in mind for over a week, then today I got a PubIt newsletter. (PubIt is where you self-publish your Barnes&Noble books.) In it, successful indie author H.P. Mallory advises writers to use keywords and category words. For instance, as I type this, DEAD PEOPLE, which I published in November, is listed in Kindle as #20 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Horror > Ghosts; #24 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Horror > Ghosts, and #34 in Books > Romance > Gothic. If anyone is searching for a romance with ghosts, DEAD PEOPLE will be one of the choices on the first page. All because of the keywords.
H.P. mentions the cover and cover copy next. Of course the blurb is important, but that deserves a post all by itself. I’ll just talk about covers. I LOVE my cover for DRAGON BLUES (which I published last week!). I think it looks better than most print books. It will certainly catch the attention of a reader. And the title is easy to read even when it’s a thumbnail size. In my opinion, this cover is the best promotion I can have. A lot of indie authors do their own, but I paid less than $100 for the cover. For me, it’s well worth the money. This is my fourth cover by Laura Morrigan, who reminds me of the Tina Turner song: “Simply the Best.”
Now we get to the hard part. You put your book up, and what then? For my first book, CATTTIUDE, with the help of Amy Atwell (who created a large community of writers with her Writing GIAM groups), I had my release party on the GIAM Facebook page. It was a great success, but after the first few weeks, the sales settled.
From this I learned that one “pop” of sales doesn’t make a career. We need to reach out and find people beyond our writing friends. We need to find readers.
With my next book, I didn’t do anything for its release. I put it up the week before Thanksgiving. I was too busy to promote, and most of the people I know were too busy to come to any promotion. With this third book, DRAGON BLUES, I planned my release party to reach readers, not just other writers. For this week, Feb. 21st through the 25th, I’m posting excerpts on my blog from 5 different eBooks each day from Feb. 21st to Feb. 25th. The authors, 25 in all, will each give away a book to a commenter. (Lori Devoti, a founder of the How To Write Shop, will be giving away an e-copy of DEMON HIGH. Her excerpt will be posted on Wed.)
I’m hoping that most of the savvy writers will Tweet about it or mention it on Facebooks to their fans and friends. Then their readers and friends will tweet about it. I won’t choose the winners until February 28th, so people can read and comment on the posts all weekend. It’s a win-win for my guests, for me and, most important, for the readers.
I have a lot of writer friends, and I could have set up a blitz of books. But it’s tiring and time consuming. I’ll still blog with friends, but not at the kill-me-now pace that I see many writers do. And this way I’m bringing the readers to me.
You could have a contest. Misty Evans, who writes two popular and very different series, has a Name the Witch contest for her next Witches Anonymous novella in which people get extra points for tweeting and signing up for her newsletter, and more. The information is also on the end of her recently released Wicked Souls novella. That’s another way to promote. (She’s part of my release party, too.)
Since I mentioned newsletters, every writer talks about how important a newsletter is. I did do one for DEAD PEOPLE. Soon after, I switched domain and web hosts. My newsletter template and list of subscribers were lost. So I’m building my list again.
Next month I’ll talk about blogs, interviews, Kindle boards, Twitter, Facebook, indie writers groups, price, advertising, and more. I’ll just end today’s post with two pieces of advice. Get a professional looking website. And more important than tweeting, Facebook, etc., is to write your next book. Almost every bestselling Kindle writer has at least several books for sale. So go forth and multiply your pages and your amazing books.