Comparatively speaking, writing a novel is the fun, easy, first step of the self-publishing process. The second step, creating an attention-getting eBook cover (and optional print version cover) offers its own unique set of challenges. The most intimidating undertaking, to most authors, is the third step—marketing. The word strikes terror in their sensitive little hearts because many authors want as little to do as possible with the outside world.
The largest, most demoralizing marketing question is, “Where do I begin?” Guess what? I’m not going to tell you. There are about a billion articles and blogs on “How to Market Your Book.” Go read one. In this blog, I plan to relate the first steps I’ve taken to escort my eBook into this over published world.
There are more than seven billion people alive, but how many of them read regularly? Better yet, how many of them are looking for my book? Answer: None—Zero—Zilch—hence the need for marketing. I carefully packed this thought away in a dark corner of my creative attic upon beginning the journey of writing a first novel.
As I neared the climactic scenes of my first draft, I noticed it became harder to write. After a good deal of soul-searching and hand wringing, I diagnosed the problem. My writer’s block stemmed from the subliminal understanding that it was almost time to say goodbye to my family of characters and their world. That world had nearly ended, but it was far better than my ordinary life and the real world terrors of self-promotion. Excuse me for this digression. I couldn’t help it.
Flash forward 18 months. I’ve uploaded the eBook to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and ibooks. I’ve developed a Three Days to Darkness web site and a Facebook page. After a year-long struggle, I’ve managed to place a hyperlinked image of my eBook in the right hand column of this blog (see “I Finally Did It”).
Now what? Gulp…
This is the seriously hard part—driving people to these outposts in cyberspace.
I started with an ad on Book Daily. Your book is featured for one day per month on Book Daily’s E-Zine. Your first chapter is e-mailed to a combined audience of 25,000 readers (many of them authors). They e-mail your chapter to a subset of readers by genre on three consecutive days during the month. With each exposure, your book is piggy backed with five competitive books. The ad costs $49.00 per month. I sold two books the first month. I cancelled the campaign.
I’m experimenting with ads on Facebook. You can create a campaign budget and target audience starting at $5 per ad. So far, I’ve spent $35 on three ads. I’m having fun racking up tons of likes. I’m waiting for the book sales to come rolling in.
Next, I’m planning a press release on PR Web with a target audience of 30,000 journalists and bloggers. The idea is to drive traffic to my web sites and to generate publicity on major news sites and search engines. The campaign will cost $250. To do it right, I will need a book trailer video as part of the package. A simple video will cost another $250. I am using California Videowork to produce the video.
Wait a minute…This makes no sense.
I will have to sell at least a thousand digital copies of my book at $3.99 each to generate a profit (after deducting advertising and self-publishing expenses, plus a few hundred hours of my valuable time).
The odds of selling a thousand digital copies of my book are probably north of a zillion to one.
You know what? Fuck the odds.
*I apologize for assaulting you with another image of “Three Days to Darkness.” I posted it to get a hyperlinked image of the eBook on my Facebook page. I can’t figure out another way to do it. I think Facebook makes it impossible to hyperlink images on FB pages because they want you to spend money advertising. I could be wrong about this.