CONSOLIDATING YOUR MARKETING EFFORTS
I think over the last 15 plus years on the net that I have tried about all the marketing strategies out there. Radio show to ads in RT, to contests and blog tours, there are many more over the years. But, the one thing that is always difficult to determine once the event is over—is how successful it may have been.
You can read stats to see what kind of traffic you scored or how many people comment on your blog post, there are all kinds of way to see how it went. Yet, no matter what method you use, the big question is did you sell any books? That one question hounds authors whether their writing is a hobby or professional—Book Sales is the gauge to success or is it.
That answer is very difficult to pin point to one specific marketing event. The main reason is the author does not have the sales results to do a comparison. Even if the publisher shares sales figure for the time of the event it doesn’t cover any of the retailer sales. Retail sales are notoriously months off the mark. The retailers do not report the sales until they close that financial period and that can vary from a few weeks to months. Amazon Kindle is the exception as they do have very timely reports. Smashwords also has daily sales figures, but again these are not the major retailer sales.
The problem with having a part of the picture is the obvious—it is incomplete. So no matter how well planned the marketing effort by an author, it honestly is unknown if it equated to sales.
An even bigger problem than the sales figures is the time and effort put into marketing. Authors are comfortable with writing, even putting their finished product out there, but marketing—not so much. My own personal experience was being overwhelmed with the whole process of marketing. As I said I tried it all and most of my marketing was more to put the concept of ebooks out there. Ebooks have come a very long way in a short amount of time, but then it is an excellent medium.
Marketing is like this whole other world for an author. It takes time away from writing and forces authors to step out in the public. The fact we don’t know what is working makes it all the more difficult. I have learned one very important lesson and this one just in the last year or so, you have to focus your effort. When I say focus you can also throw in consolidate. We need to stop going in all these different directions: blog tours, ads, reviews, release parties, contest, websites, groups, and more.
Pull back, slow yourself down and take a very hard look at where you have been. Did any of your marketing really get your book out there to the reader? Can you see the readers’ reaction to your book? Are you spread so thin it is affecting your writing?
I think that last question says it all for an author. Are you still finding time to write? More to point, are you forcing the words and finding it more and more difficult to focus on the story. Marketing can and does kill off a lot of authors because it can steal away the spark, the muse, whatever you want to call the gift. All the time management in the world can’t create a story.
When you think about it, even if you are still writing and finishing books, try to weed through all the things you do on the net. Do you have a website, a blog, both? Pick one, let the other go. It isn’t easy, but you would be surprised how much time you will free up just by consolidating your efforts to get out there on the net. Don’t think I forgot Facebook and Twitter, these two are great but they are time hogs. Slow it down, make yourself turn off the net after your make a couple posts. This goes for yahoo groups as well, chat or get off of them. The groups, even at retailers, can be an emotional drain because they take so much time.
If you need to eliminate the groups, you are off to a good start. Consolidate your blogs and websites, get one and have fun with it, yes fun, when you aren’t out straight it can be fun. Try to see where the readers are, not other authors but readers. You aren’t going to sell your books to other authors so why are you marketing to them? Pick the sites/groups/blogs/ that has a great reader base. Find your way to reach the readers without destroying the reason for being there.
It takes time to focus your efforts but the results will show in your writing and well-being.