22 November 2015

E-Book Marketing Doldrums? 1: Make a Plan

I look at my web presence, and particularly my e-book sales, and I cringe. But it can happen to us all – life overwhelm, health issues, burnout – for whatever reason, we blink and our business enterprise falters. Or in my case falls off a cliff.

This summer I had routine, if major, surgery. I thought I’d planned my writing life reasonably well around it. Alas, the rehabilitation has extended far beyond what I expected. Moreover, it is liable to impact my life until the New Year. If you are one of my readers awaiting Pilgrims of the Pool, the final novel in the Torc of Moonlight trilogy, I can only apologise for its delay. Life happens.

However, I do have a short Supernatural Suspense ready to upload. And this leaves me in a quandary. To do so at the moment would be to upload the title into a vacuum. Linda who? Not only will it need to be promoted, but a signposted path needs to be cleared to ease its launch, and that means marketing both my name and my current titles so as to ring a few bells in the ears of prospective e-book buyers. How to go about this?

My initial step has been to take stock. I listed available titles, indicating which could be aligned to the Supernatural Suspense. I then listed all titles in development, where each stands in its schedule, and sub-headed the sequence necessary to bring each to fruition. It was a bit of an eye-opener, to put it mildly, but the sub-headed sequences will help to break projects into manageable chunks. At the very least it gives me something to tick as and when completed.

My second step has been to check my current marketing plan. Ah... not so much a marketing plan as a badly corroded colander. Time for a rethink.

Nearly all e-book marketing gurus and would-be gurus emphasise the need to identify a target market – difficult, as I don’t write in a single genre – and to make personal connections across the spectrum of social media in order to hand-sell titles. The main problem with this is that it takes time and an awful lot of energy. The secondary problem is that Christmas is rushing up at speed.

So where and how to expend my limited time and effort?

I’m sure manufacturers of cars or laundry detergent have dedicated teams to hand-sell their products to their target markets, but they also use passive marketing. You’ve never passed a billboard or read an advertisement on the side of a bus? It is derided as a scatter-gun approach, renowned for its hit & miss effect; mostly miss. But the odds can be altered a little by targeting where, for instance, the billboard is placed.

Back to taking stock, this time of where I have, or have had, a digital presence: this website, other blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Yahoogroups... and that will have to do for the amount of time available. I again sub-headed possible To Do strategies for each along the lines of research promotional pages and add myself in; be active & helpful on... A bit airy-fairy? Of course it is, but even an airy-fairy plan is a plan of sorts.

How long to run with this before uploading the Supernatural Suspense? Good question.

I offer my titles for all the main e-reader portals: Kindle, and Nook, Kobo and iBooks via Smashwords distribution. Therefore, despite Amazon being my most profitable portal, I have no titles in its KDP Select. I can, however, offer Pre-Order to all. I’ve done this once and it wasn’t particularly successful. This time around I doubt I have enough wiggle space: both Kindle and Smashwords require a minimum of 10 days Pre-Order, so on this occasion I am counting that one out.

To give the title its best chance on launch I’ll pick a Friday to go live ready for weekend e-book buyers, which means 27th November or 4th December. As I type I realise that 27th is Black Friday sales day on the internet, and even an idiot with hardly a plan (ie me) knows that any squeak I can make will be drowned before its first breath. On the other hand, launching 4th December means that the title will still be listed in Amazon’s Last 30 days New Releases across the Christmas and New Year period.

Decision: 4th December will be Launch Day.

So when will I start to put the new marketing plan into action? You’re reading this . If you’re interested in seeing what and how I do, I’ll be posting regularly about my forays into segments of social media, so do call back or ‘Follow By Email’ to have the posts drop into your Inbox.

If you have made it all the way to the end of this post, many thanks for hanging in there. Like me, I'm sure you're gagging for a coffee. I both appreciate your patience and promise that following posts won’t be as lengthy. Have you been in e-book sales doldrums? Are you in them now? What are you doing to counter it? Please share your experiences, good or bad. They will be most useful.

Finally, may I ask a favour? If you found the post useful, quirky, or just plain laughable, please consider giving it a Tweet, or copy & paste the following handy RT. Y’see, every little helps, and so does saying... Thanks!

RT @LindaAcaster #Ebook Marketing Doldrums? How to Plan for a Christmas Launch http://ow.ly/UW4n7 #indieauthor


  1. I wonder what's in the air, Linda. As you know, I've recently been standing at a similar crossroads, hesitating with the uncertainty that is the normal state for indie authors.
    My own decision was to stick the marketing on the back burner, except for the necessary and complex preparations for a mailing list. I intend to concentrate on actual writing instead. Of course, the fact that this decision coincided with another, to start experimenting with Scriverner, rather complicates the issue, but I'm determined to continue along the path of writing more and marketing less in the hope that readers will tell each other just how good my books are!
    I wish you well with your move into marketing and look forward to learning about the new book, as I await the publication of the Pilgrims of the Pool with impatience.
    Good luck with your 'plan'.
    BTW, I've Tweeted, G+'d, and stuck this on my 2 FB pages.

    1. Thanks for calling by, Stuart. Maybe it's that year-end frisson where we start glancing over our shoulders and think... good grief, where's the year gone?! You write faster than I can, so a set period of writing & launching may well pay dividends for you.

      I'm treating the marketing exercise as a foundation builder for next year when I'm trusting I can give it more direct energy and momentum ready for, dare I suggest, the completion of Pilgrims of the Pool!

      And thanks for the promotional push you've given the blogpost. Most appreciated.

    2. You're welcome, as ever, Linda.