If you are like me, when you think about the writer’s life, it involves power, paper, ink, coffee, late nights, early mornings, and feeling like you may never finish that next project. But there comes a time when you put the pen down, and pick up the phone, metaphorically. It’s the date the book is done and now it must be sold. This requires buyers, and they need to be reached. How?
Back in 1994, I was chatting with a new co-worker at my sales job and we traded contact information. My new friend pointed to his card, “And that’s my email address.” I said, “Really? Cool!” but I thought – Wow, what a dork. Why would anyone email? In the following months, I learned I was the dork and my question was irrelevant…but in the era of texting, perhaps that question – do we even need email – should be asked again.
My #resistance to email stems from my failed attempt to harness its power for a 2016 Riverside Art Museum exhibition. For that, I combed my contacts and LinkedIn profiles for emails and then created a mass email, which I tried to send in bulk through Gmail. Whoops! Many of you know what happened next – several reports of SPAM ensued, along with a high number of bounce-backs from closed email accounts. Rookie mistake! So, I culled down what was left to people who ACTUALLY know me in the physical realm AND may want to come to an art show in Riverside. My take-away? Quality beats quantity.
So, armed with this wisdom, I set out to market my new book, 100 Things to do in Riverside Before You Die, I created a Facebook page and an Amazon campaign.
It was exciting creating the page because it was a measure of progress in my mission to “market my book” and another indication that I was a “serious writer” at that! I did not let the ease of creating my page take away from its importance. And while easy to start, it gets progressively more difficult to decide how to use it. To do so, I perused other author pages to see what they say and how they keep the page fresh without appearing to constantly fish for likes, orders, and gigs.
For $25, you can start a campaign to generate page views, likes, shares, orders, just about anything you want a prospective reader to do. You pay by the “click”, and each one takes about $.15 out of your budget. The great thing is that you set it and go, then they keep you posted on data and tell you when you run out of dough! Important to keep tabs on the expenses when you recognize that writing is the worst money making scheme since someone realized how much it cost to manufacture a penny.
The result? 51 clicks, just under 3000 impressions, and my likes crossed the 100 mark. I am still trying to figure out if the clicks turned into pre-sales, but my looking in Amazon left me hanging on how to answer that one. To see this as a positive, I am choosing to focus on what I learned and the fact that I am just starting out here, so there really is no reason to focus on sales yet.
For February, I will be adding photos and fun content daily. Since my book highlights several restaurants, museums, parks, shops, and entertainment venues, my next move is to connect with each, make sure they know about the book, and ask them to pass along my links. Then, I will compare the two actions to see which one worked better.
For Amazon, I submitted my campaign, by the way, you must spend a minimum of $100, and it was rejected. The reason had something to do with the title of my campaign. I couldn’t understand what to fix so I just put that project aside. Perhaps it will be the writing project that never gets done. If not, then I will write about that experience here soon.