Friday, June 3, 2011

Getting published is only half the battle...

As regular readers know, my first book, Catch Me A Catch came out in July 2010. Since then, I've learned quite a lot about the business that I really wasn't aware of up until that point.

The hard truth of the matter is that it isn't enough to have written a good book, scored a good cover, and have it available on Amazon. All these things are vital, but not enough! After all, there are thousands of books available on Kindle and other ebook platforms, and the only way to sell decent numbers is to make yourself stand out in a crowded marketplace. Everyone has heard of the great sales of good writers who are powering through the bestsellers lists - but what is often absent is the fact that they are great marketeers, who have worked hard to build awareness of their product.

I find this difficult - as I guess many writers do. After all, we spend most of our time in the cave, rather than blowing our own trumpets!

So... here are some tips I've learned and applied....

1. Make sure you have an online presence before you sell. That means a blog, twitter, facebook etc.
2. Reviews of your book on Amazon are vital - both UK and US. The US version of Amazon sells ebooks into many countries (including Ireland), so you need to have reviews in both. Also, its worth remembering that most review sites take time to review your book (if they review it at all) so ideally need to have your book before it goes on sale, so that the reviews are done when your book goes live.
3. Good tags on your Amazon entries - and ask people to agree with your tabs, which will advance you up in the amazon listings.
4. Being shy and reticent to promote yourself doesn't work. You need to let everyone know when your book is out - shout it everywhere. If a few people buy it at the same time, you will shoot up in the listings, and appear on more lists, and this means more people will see your name and cover. Remember you are not so much promoting yourself as your book, and giving it the best chance to fly. Check out Kindleboards, accept every invitation, and blog tour you can find. The last thing you want to do is bore the pants off all your internet friends, or even worse, irritate with constant self promotion -  but you need to let new people know about your work - so expand out!

Here's something I'm trying... I'll blog about results when I have 'em!
On June 10th Bound to Love is the featured book on Kindle Daily Nation. This means it will be mentioned on the site, which is automatically forwarded to interested readers, who receive the KDN newsletter on their Kindles. I haven't tried this before, but I'm hoping it will have a bump in my sales. The most important thing before KDN sponsorship is to have reviews of your book, because then people can see what others thought of it, which will help them in their decision to buy. These reviews don't have to be from professional reviewers, they can be from anyone who has read your book and has an opinion about it. KDN links to your US Amazon page, and I have 5 reviews there presently, which is just about the bare minimum. If anyone has read BTL and has been putting off doing a review, doing one before the 10th of June would be nice!

I'll report back on this in the week following June 10th to let you all know how I got on!

In the meantime, if you want to know how the big sellers are doing it, here are some good links to check out...

JA Konrath
Talli Roland
Catherine Ryan Howard
Amanda Hocking


  1. Really good info, Sally! Thanks for sharing this.
    BTW, how do "taqs" work? (Don't laugh... I no longer have a teenager in the house to explains stuff like this to the "old fart.")

  2. Hi Les! Tags work by associating your book with others of the same type, and it means you get included in lists and elsewhere on amazon automatically. The more times people agree with the tags, the higher up the lists you get, getting more visibility.
    This means that if someone goes to Amazon, and looks for 'noir' they will see your book in the list! Kindleboards have a 'tagging party' forum, where people will agree with your tags, in exchange for you tagging them. It seems a really useful thing, I have tags for romance and others on the bottom of my books' entries on Amazon. Check out more about it here:

  3. Thanks for the mention, Sally! :-)

    I've actually being considering Kindle Nation myself, so will be very interested in how it works out for you.

  4. Thanks for the info Sally. As I'm still awaiting my release (August, but with the Salt setbacks, it might be Sept!) I devoured your post. I am very interested to hear what I should do/be doing. I've got the foundations of a net presence (just no readership!) and will return to this post when I have an e-book, to follow it step-by-step.

    And I bought Bound to Love a number of months ago, just haven't found time to read it...I will get a move on, and tag and review the moment I finish it :)

  5. Hi Catherine! You've been so generous sharing all you've learned, glad to give something back in the way of Kindle Nation results!

  6. Hi Madeline! glad it helped! I'll email you privately with a couple of more tips... and thanks for reading/reviewing BTL!

  7. Hi Sally! Thank you so much for the shout-out. You're so right - it's not just about having your book up there, and marketing is indeed hard (and time consuming!) work. Good like with Kindle Nation. Keep us posted!

    Great tips, too.