Does marketing actually sell books?
I’d like to think that it does, but that hasn’t been my experience so far. Once upon a time a while back I had another pen name. I was trying to write to market, and the results were kinda meh. I wrote press releases and paid for them to be sent out, interviewed bestselling authors and posted to my blog, I guest posted on other people’s blog, I interacted on several forums on a daily basis, I built up a big twitter following and tweeted frequently – conversationally, interacting with other authors, not spamming – and, nothing. My sales were okay, but marketing made absolutely no difference.
I’ve talked to countless authors who paid for advertising in various places, with mixed results. In some cases, they got a big temporary boost and then things sank back to normal. In some cases they even made their money back with additional sales – but again, sales went back to what they were before the ad, and it didn’t make any long term difference.
So I created a new pen name. I wrote what I personally wanted to write, what I loved to write. I got great feedback from my readers. I decided to try paranormal because that is what I read. I got even better feedback. And finally I published a BBW werewolf romance, and here’s all the marketing I did – I sent out an announcement to my 43 newsletter subscribers a few days beforehand. And I announced it on Twitter but nobody clicked that link; I checked, so I know. And I announced it on Facebook, to my 6 Facebook followers.
And the book took off like crazy, and very quickly hit the top 100 on Amazon, and now I have hundreds of newsletter subscribers, and I’m still ranking in the top 100.
So, my feeling is – it’s the book, not the marketing. From now on I shall continue to write absolutely the best book that I can, forget about what’s selling, what’s trendy, what’s the flavor of the week, and just write what I would want to read. And I’m going to spend most of my time writing, not marketing.
And now – back to writing.