Book Marketing Experiments

Ok, enough said with the title, right? Not many authors I know enjoy marketing their books. I released a second independently-published book in March this year.  Unlike with the first book that trickled out via family and friends and blind perseverance from its eager hobby author who spent hours on phone calls and emails to get bookstore shelf space and in-person signings, I was fully prepared this second time, with boxes of physical books already received for the signings and launch events already awaiting. Yet as we all know, that release plan was to be scrapped before it began and 2020 proceeded its own way, leaving my boxes of books piled in the spare room. What to do?

First, a deep funk was in order after the race to deadline in January and February – the editing, cover and illustrations, layout, and printing; I was left drained from the Work of an indie author. So I spent the first lockdown months not exactly depressed, but like many, somewhat down and lethargic. The blur and grey of those months escape my recall now, thank goodness.

Summer was here, and I hadn’t sold any new books in person or from bookstores. (Although, thank you to the Facebook friends who did finally get their Amazon orders; those early reviews cheered me considerably.) But a restlessness had begun. A few of my old contacts from bookstores accepted some books for the shelves, but I know they don’t sell well without an in-person signing, and those weren’t in the offing yet nor still. I was stymied as to how to get my book to readers.

I tried some local outdoor markets. Not a great amount of sales, but they did spark my marketing skills again – I was still enthusiastic and hopeful that more buyers would find my books. Outdoor market season is ending. Indoor market season will likely be cancelled again fall/winter 2020/2021. What to do?

So here I am online again, with some ideas. And your suggestions are appreciated also!

  1. Get back to life activities. Like curling. I will offer book sales at my curling club with a portion of proceeds donated to the club, which really needs the funds.
  2. Do more promotion of my Amazon links on my Facebook page, and encourage more Facebook sharing of those promotional posts. Amazon is still a powerful delivery system, like it or not.
  3. Try “indoor/outdoor” venues : Set up a table on Saturday afternoon in my condo lobby? In the malls? Team up with other local authors? Getting permission is always the challenge. Time to try.
  4. I may offer deliveries in my region. This idea struck me when a reader mentioned they’d like to buy my books and noticed they lived in the same town. We did arrange to meet up and it worked out well. Why haven’t I pursued this more? I think I will.
  5. Mail out deliveries? I’ve done it, for family. But it’s so expensive. I guess I could offer it with the buyer prepared to pay shipping? I spent more on my facemask order shipping charges than the facemask itself cost, so why not? Collecting money from strangers is the challenge here – and depending on the shipping? I’ll think about it.

How about you, fellow readers and writers? How are you getting your books these days? Anyone have experience with my ideas – would they/do they work? Life. It’s always a challenge, but still better than the alternative. Happy reading!

Where to find my books? Try this link 😉

8 thoughts on “Book Marketing Experiments

  1. I admire your tenacity, I have not tried very hard to market physical books. I did offer a promotion in my building and folks were happy to take the freebies but it resulted in two sales but the goodwill will carry on in the future. I have resorted to Amazon ads, and took Bryan Cohen 5 day Amazon Ad Challenge, it’s free but a lot of work Howevet the end result was rewarding with 122 books sold in August. Most of them ebooks. But with good royalties . Having said that I have boxes of unsold books in my condo that I would love to get sold so if you find the magic venue let me know, and I’ll do the same for you.
    Good luck !

      1. I have marketed my novel “Beneath the Wild Blue” with in-person appearances and also through book sales platforms, mainly Amazon. I had a good friend with contacts at an Air Force bade who arranged a talk at the Base Library for military families, a talk at another library, and a reception at the Base Commander’s house. She sold about 200 books in a pre-sale we collaborated on. I sold more at the events. However, other in-person events were not so successful. They were expensive and time consuming. I have sold many more books online through Brat Facebook groups. I’m going to start running Amazon ads to drive a steady stream of sales, but I don’t expect to make a lot. My next endeavor as an Indie will be a mystery book series. I will release the first, then follow up with the second, and build an online reader base that will likely buy each new book in the series. I will drive traffic with ads. In-person signings and physical books are no good, especially with Covid. Good luck! I love being an Indie, but it’s a lot of work.

      2. I agreed with most of what you said except, I DO like in-person signings and physical books. 😉 Good luck to us🤗

  2. Have you thought about arranging in-store signings from behind a Plexiglas shield? After signing the book, place it into an envelope where the new owner can leave it for a two-week quarantine period? Kind of a COVID spin on the event.
    I understand your book-launch frustration. I still haven’t been able to properly launch mine even though it was published in March.

    1. It’s the Indigo Chapters Coles store policy, no author signings yet no matter what you propose. But yes, the private stores are more flexible,just not as many around. I sell most of my physical books at Indigo store signings.

  3. HI Stevie

    My bike ride to Aylmer is not cancelled, I had better do it soon. I have lots to share with you when we do meet, and, I am tempted to help you flog your book. Just ask, and we’ll see what we can do.

    Guiltily I confess, I received a copy of *Camp Followers* through our mutual friend Ken Delmage (yeah, small world). By the way, what weekdays are better for you this week and next week, say if we met at a coffee shop in Aylmer?

    Casey Callahan

    On Mon, Sep 7, 2020 at 9:55 AM Stevie Szabad, Author wrote:

    > Stevie posted: ” Ok, enough said with the title, right? Not many authors I > know enjoy marketing their books. I released a second > independently-published book in March this year. Unlike with the first > book that trickled out via family and friends and blind perseveran” >

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