Post-Launch: Promoting (Or Failing to) a First Novel

As you might have gathered from the title, this section of the post-launch series for Wild Nines is going to take a look at what I’ve done and didn’t do for the marketing side. That’s the hidden other element to being a writer – getting people to actually read what you put down.

To sum up: It’s harder than it looks

It’s easy when all you see on the front racks in bookstores, or on Amazon’s main page, to think that there are so many readers waiting to grab at any story that a writer chucks out there. In reality, while there are throngs of readers, there are also throngs of books. And movies. And Candy Crush. With all the competition for time, most books won’t naturally climb their way to the top spot.

Wild Nines definitely wasn’t an outlier. I’ll get more into the numbers on the next post, but for now, let’s take a look at what I did for promotion, with the following, huge caveat:

It’s generally seen as not worth spending a lot promoting a single book because the return isn’t very high. You don’t have any other books for people to buy and read.

As such, this post will get more interesting with book two, Dark Ice – pictured and linked below, goes up in a couple of weeks.

Anyway  – what I did do for Wild Nines was talk about it on Facebook, briefly, and to some friends and family. They were all exceedingly awesome, many bought copies, which propelled the book far higher than it would have ever made it on its own. To below, at its high point, under 500 in its categories (it’s now somewhere in the thousands).

As a promotional tactic, talking to friends and family about what you’re doing seems doable only here and there. Especially if you’re thinking of doing it in a salesman-like way. As a ‘hey, look what I did’, I think it’s more than fair to call out your novels, short stories, etc. to your personal network. What I don’t think will work, at least not for long, is to continue bringing it up to that group. It’s what your other Facebook pages are for. Your publisher and/or author page. Anyone going to those will, presumably, want to get your stuff. I’ve been slow to get those running, but that’s going to be a focal point moving forward.

One other thing I want to talk about – I did start a small AMS (Amazon Media Services) ad for Wild Nines. It’s a sponsored product ad, where you essentially choose a bunch of keywords that people might search, indicate a cost-per-click on the ad, and then see what the hell happens. I’ve had something around 4000 impressions so far and a solid 4 clicks. I don’t really blame the ad so much for that low conversion rate as the fact that Wild Nines doesn’t have much in the way of reviews and I don’t have much of a name (yet). Setting up and running the ad is super-easy, though. Almost Ikea-furniture levels of simple. And you can tweak it endlessly. At a max budget of $4.00 (you can set your own), and a pay-when-clicked structure, I’ve only paid a whopping $.50 for those 4000 impressions.

Marketing lingo has it that people need to see your name or your brand at least five times before they recognize it. I’ll enjoy every one of those impressions now, and hope to turn those into sales later.

Anyway, that’ll about do it for this one. I’ll talk some harder numbers on Friday. In the meantime, here’s Dark Ice. You’ll notice it’s linked, through Amazon’s Affiliate’s program. I’ll talk about that a little later too.


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