Any self published author must have heard about the maze of square holes. If you haven’t, you are about to learn of it here. Marketing self published books is like confronting the maze full of bottomless square holes, square one has a sign declaring, ‘Invest in me and I’ll invest in you!’ Square two says something like, ‘Do it my way for instant fame and fortune!’ Square three promises, ‘Give me your money and I’ll sell your books!’ You get the picture? In reality, each hole is simply waiting to swallow up your hard-earned cash and spit out zilch in the way of sales results. What’s a poor struggling author to do?
Well, this author turned away from the maze and looked at ways to market my work without spending a great deal of money. I first invested in some good editing software and polished my work until my eyes bled! I republished every single book, once I had made sure that they were as good as I could possibly make them in terms of a cracking great read, with little to no errors. I made a website and filled it with samples of my work, pictures and links, blogs and excerpts of upcoming work. You can see it here if you are interested. www.pearlagardner.co.uk Then I joined Facebook and spent a little on advertising, joined Twitter and tweeted my life away, began blogging and started to get a small following on all these sites, but no real sales!
I joined Goodreads and did a free giveaway of The Scent of Bluebells. This resulted in a few ‘friends’ and some sales after the giveaway ended, but the royalties from these sales didn’t cover the cost of sending out two free paperbacks! Should I go back to the maze and square one? Not yet!
I tried free promotions to lift the ranking of my books in Amazon, believing that a higher ranking will get more exposure, and a free book will surely bring more reviews. The Scent of Bluebells got more than 1500 downloads in the first 2 days of a free promotion. That’s 1500 sales I didn’t get any royalty payment for! It barely rose in the rankings, got no reviews from that process that I know of, and the book sank into oblivion days after the promotion ended. A very similar scenario followed when I put the same book on the Kindle countdown promo. I DID get a few sales, but again, it dropped away to insignificance very quickly.
So I contemplated the maze again and stared at the first square hole for hours. Should I take the plunge? NO WAY! I can do this, I told myself. I just have to think outside the box! (Or outside the square hole.)
I looked at the results of the Kindle countdown deal. People seemed to want to buy the books if they were at rock bottom prices. I wouldn’t earn as much per sale, but I wasn’t earning much anyway, so what did I have to lose? I took a deep breath, crossed all my digits and lowered every one of my published books to .99c or .99p and then I waited, trembling and peering through my fingers every time I dared to look at the sales figures. It was a slow and painful first month, but sales were happening. I couldn’t deny that my books were selling. It was there on the screen, and the line on the graph was rising!
Two months later, The Scent of Bluebells is averaging 50 sales a day in the UK, has risen in the rankings on Amazon.co.uk to the top 500 overall, and around the top 20 in 3 sub categories. Whoop whoop!!!! (I’m jumping around in my chair now!)
The other works are all selling slowly but surely, but they ARE selling! I guess I can’t pay off the mortgage yet, but I can start saving for a nice little holiday! Maybe a writers retreat where there are no mentions of the maze of square holes. Maybe I’ll see you there?
Pearl A Gardner