What Comes After “Book”

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It seems to take an eternity to go from dream to book. I have ideas that float around in my head and never seem to navigate as far as the page, even to sketch the primary components. Others sit in loose outline form in a file on my computer, and still others, few though they are, have made it to Amazon.

For me, the hard part truly begins once the book is out there. You look at this picture, this meme, this almost-accurate graphic, and you see “Book” sitting on an iceberg, and although the reader boat is in the vicinity, it’s heading the wrong way. Smart sailing. No boat wants to collide with an iceberg. Somehow, you have to change the image to that of a welcoming tropical island. After all, islands go just as deep.

Folks who are great at marketing know how to make their books appeal to readers. They know how to have the palm tree fronds waving in the breeze, and the smell of tropical fruit and pig roasts and frosty coconut drinks with little umbrellas wafting over the ocean to entice that little boat in. And considering that there are far more writers competing for a only a handful of readers these days, that’s exactly what we need–a big ol’ continuous luau that’s bigger and better than everyone else’s.

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been reading David Gaughran’s Let’s Get Visible and learning about Amazon’s lists and how to get on them, and about categories and key words, and all these other things that have been vaguely mentioned sometime or other in my past, while I was trying to learn how to write. I truly believe that writers conferences do their members a grave disservice when they don’t offer more comprehensive courses on marketing, promoting, and playing the game of internet distribution. Many authors will never find their books inside a physical store, so internet distribution is the only way they can go–which is hardly a bad thing, considering that only through the World Wide Web can they hope to attain world-wide sales.

But it’s so complex and complicated, it seems, and time consuming. You really have to stay on top of things. Gaughran even suggested running your key words through Google’s key word search to see if they’re popular. Well, he admitted getting the idea from Joanna Penn–and who doesn’t get ideas from her? But it’s all like turning “Hit or Miss” into a precise science. First, you must understand Amazon’s algorithms, then if you have the right category lists and if you have the right key words and if you have enough sales and if you have enough reviews, you might land on one of Amazon’s coveted lists and might even be poked up to the top of the list of other books whose authors didn’t know the correct formula to get theirs noticed. And if you are truly lucky and trade winds blow in your favor, you might get to stay on the lists for a while.

Well, I’m belly-aching. Groaning and complaining because I really do hate this part. True, most of this falls on my publisher’s shoulders. All I have to do is continue promoting my books so their manipulations of Amazon’s quirks will work in my favor. Play my role in the hit-or-miss science of marketing and promotions.

There’s another meme floating around Amazon–one I’ve seen a thousand times, but can’t find it now that I need it. It says, “All I really want is coffee and a million dollars.”

Yes. Oh, yes. I’d down the coffee and buy myself a market/promotion/publicist expert.

 

About Linda W. Yezak

Author/Freelance Editor/Speaker (writing and editing topics).
This entry was posted in Promotion/Publicity/Marketing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to What Comes After “Book”

  1. Gay Ingram says:

    I’m with you Linda. After all I’ve absorbed about Amazon’s algorithms and key search words, I just want to throw my hands in the air and walk away. If that million dollars comes my way, I’ll share and we can both use the same numbers-smart person who delights in spending their time crunching numbers. Me,I’ll just stick to writing – that’s all I have time for.

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    • It’s one of the primary reasons I don’t want to go solo. I like having a publisher who has to take care of that end of the business. I’ll learn, over time, and will have a few indy books out, but don’t expect a lot.

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  2. anemulligan says:

    No matter how big the publisher, we still have to do some. My suggestion is to gather those people…readers, who have expressed how much they love your book…into a street team. Give them special sneak peaks, name characters after them, and give them freebies, for helping you promote your books. Remember, word of mouth is the BEST sales tool. I’ve bought more books on word of mouth from friends than anything else. 🙂

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    • Oh, yes. I intend to do that. But there’s a difference between promotions and working the system. *Let’s Get Visible* is about working the Amazon system and pricing strategies, and all those other little nasties that I don’t have a handle on yet.

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  3. Reblogged this on Odd Sock Proofreading & Copyediting and commented:
    From the pen of my friend Linda Yezak.

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  4. K.M. Weiland says:

    I just read another really good (short) marketing book that you might like: Reader Magnets by Nick Stephenson: http://amzn.to/1JyM8An And it’s free on Kindle!

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  5. Pearl R. Meaker says:

    The more I think I’m starting to get a handle on marketing, PR and engaging, the worse I seem to get. And then, when I do get more comfortable with it, I find that my brain is so focused on that stuff that it doesn’t create and write well any more. I really need to get help with more of it than my publisher covers for me – and mine does pretty well. There has to be a balance somewhere so I can still actually write books.

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  6. Pearl R. Meaker says:

    Let me know how it works out, Linda. I had an assistant that I tried for a month and it just didn’t work out like I’d anticipated – but I still need some help.

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    • Oh, I’d love to have an assistant! This one is someone who did promos for a friend, and I was impressed with her work. She comes highly recommended, but I’m not sure she’s concentrating on promos anymore.

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      • Pearl R. Meaker says:

        I’d love an assistant too 😉 – especially if I could find one a bit cheaper than the lady I tried. And like I said, we just didn’t jell. I’ll probably try again later if I can get someone recomended. (The one I tried was recommended by an author friend.) I’m hesitant to just advertise for someone.

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