For My Readers who Buy Books — Book Marketing Question

On book marketing front, does this make sense to anyone?

“Mailing list — Hands down the most useful tool, however you use it, is your mailing list. Start collecting emails before your book is ready (with a coming soon landing page), use it as an announcement list when your book is ready, and use it to consistently communicate with your audience. There’s no better way for an author to talk to their audience and sell books than a newsletter.”

Do people DO email any more? Would YOU like to get emails from me about my book(s)? Do you get emails from any author about their books? Do those emails contain NEWSLETTERS?

17 thoughts on “For My Readers who Buy Books — Book Marketing Question

  1. Email is my primary means of communication. Is there another way? I use Twitter to publicize stuff, but I can’t have a conversation in 140 character groups. And not everyone I want to talk to is on either Facebook OR follows my blog. So yeah. Mailing list. Important.

  2. I came across this bit of advice as well, I have a list, but I have no idea what to do with it yet. I was planning on more research before tackling this project.

  3. The only emails I receive are from Barnes & Noble….they notify me about all kinds of ways to spend my money–pre-orders on new books, coupons for discounts…..the usual marketing stuff. I don’t do Twitter or FB.

  4. No to all these questions. I have trouble promoting my book. Nothing turns me off more than going to a blog only to find it’s a vehicle for selling someone’s book. I couldn’t bring myself to do that, so sales are down. And I don’t care. I got the thing done and published. That was the goal. I never thought I’d cut a fat hog in the ass with it anyway.

    • I don’t seem me doing it, either. I’ve been stunned (and a little depressed?) by everything I’ve learned about marketing a book. There are so many outfits out there ready to charge a lot of money (to me a lot) to help self-published authors. Yesterday I read about how a guy got a big email list. He gave away books. As I read that I thought, “OK so you paid people to sign up for your email list” though it would be possible to give away ebooks without causing pain to the fixed income. I revisited BookBub as a result of reading his piece. To build a giveaway on one’s website they will do all the work AND charge $650.

      • I’ve given away more than I sold. I give them to people I meet on the stream and on the trail. I don’t mind giving them away as long as I’m doing the giving. I’ve rejected any other giveaway ideas. I’m not paying anyone to sell my book. That sounds too much like the people who sell gold. “Your money will soon be worthless, so we will take your soon to be worthless money in exchange for gold.”
        I sell signed copies for $10.00, unsigned copies for $20.00.

      • I understand that. I feel good when I hand a book to someone I know will enjoy it. But I’m in this now and I’m going to have to at least finish what I started. At that point, I’ve decided to regroup and rethink it all. I’ve been really happy to realize how much support I have from friends all over — here on WP and in other perhaps more three dimensional areas of life. And I realize this is stuff I had to do; I had to learn otherwise I could make a choice about what I do in the future.

      • I wish you luck. I’m doing some rethinking myself. All I know is that I’ll write. I just don’t know what I’ll do with it. I made a will and left my intellectual property to The University of Utah. I’ll let them worry about marketing my work–which they’ll do in order to make money off it.

      • Whoa — that’s funny. I did my graduate work at the University of Denver. They essentially threw me out (didn’t give me a third year as a teaching assistant). They had little to no respect for me at all and when I showed up in the department head’s office with a finished thesis, he was surprised and the effer said so. He found only one SMALL mistake, I had to redo one page. My thesis advisor was Robert D. Richardson who’s now kind of a famous author — you might like his book on Thoreau; it’s beautiful. Anyway, I was supposed to have bought three bound copies of my thesis — one for the University library, one for the department and one for me. I couldn’t afford three and I wanted one in the university library because it is next to my dad’s. ❤

        When the thesis showed up in the department library, I stole it. I didn't see how they had any right at all to something I had done without their support. I should leave the University of Denver my intellectual property. 😀

  5. I’m a bit late with my comments, but I’m going to stick my thoughts in too, for whatever they’re worth.

    I’m like Marilyn; email has always been my prime method of communication, both in my personal life and professionally. I receive regular email newsletters from such writing, publishing, and marketing professionals as Jane Friedman (I love this person; she posts wonderful, useful info on all aspects of writing, publishing and marketing), Joel Friedlander (he has a really great website for publishing and marketing tips, but he’s a bit heavy on the selling in his emails, too much so for me – I recently unsubscribed because of that), and The Write Life, to name just a few of the 22-odd “professional” emails that I get each day.

    I’ve mentioned Derek Murphy (www.creativindie.com/) to you, and his marketing techniques are out there for free, if you choose to follow them. Whether or not he invented it, it’s become the selling method “par excellence,” copied by many self-published authors out there now. At the very least, they’re worth reading. This guy doesn’t mince words. He’s certainly a unique individual, but I like that he says what he thinks and I really enjoy reading his stuff, even though I might not actually do it.

    Here’s a precis of the latest word is in the Book Marketing World:

    First you create a website, then you compose something (i.e., tips for aspiring authors, or whatever), edit it up pretty, double spaced, perhaps 20-30+ pages to whatever you want, and save it as a pdf. Then describe it and offer it as a free gift to anyone who SIGNS UP FOR IT (thus you get their email address).

    Then you email these subscribers once a week or so with other tips and info. they might be able to use. Friendly, conversationally. Invite them to ask questions. You’re building contacts here. You throw in something about your books, or a link to your author page, and presto, you’ve got a following. Apparently it works, and it works without more than the initial work on your part. And the cost is $0.00.

    There are multiple other things you can do to get yourself out there. There’s some difference of opinion on whether Facebook and Twitter are worth it, but I’m going for it anyway.

    Twitter’s easy; I just started a month ago and I have over 100 followers – many writers have thousands! Twitter and Facebook are good places to post your blog posts, so your followers (and followers-to-be) will see them. Good places to make your free gift offers too, perhaps. I’ve never been very good at learning Facebook, and Twitter’s brand new to me, but neither is hard to get the hang of. And they’re dollar-free, too.

    Some people offer free videos of their tips or whatever they have. You’re accustomed to doing videos, as I recall, and the one I saw was just superb. Another good way to increase your mailing list.

    As you know, I’ve not done the marketing thing yet myself, so I can’t speak from personal experience. However, I can promise that when I research something, I don’t mess around. I’m collecting a huge amount of information for both my own use and perhaps one day to do this marketing thing.

    So far, I do see a fine line between friendly offering and being sleazy using this marketing technique, and until I’m sure I could do it honestly and not OVERdo it, I’m not all that sure I want to skate that line. On the other hand, it would be nice to sell books! At the very least, it’s probably worth checking this mode of marketing out; it doesn’t cost anything to look. And if you get on someone’s email list, you can always unsubscribe if you don’t want to be there, and that’s the end of it.

    It’s all out there on the World Wide Web, everything we could possibly need by way of information. It’s an avalanche, actually, just waiting for us to type in a few keywords so it can gather appropriate websites for our perusal. In this case, the Internet really is our friend!

    Cheers! 🙂

    • I use Facebook and Twitter. Of the two, Twitter has proven to be the best at reaching people and is most enthusiastically used by the people who are promoting me. I was recently invited to join another information sharing site, Postwaves which is different (check it out) and my teaching essays got a lot (and still get some) followers on Medium (I like that platform but I don’t write there any more).

      No one — absolutely no one on the planet goes to my novels webpage except people who follow me here. And while I’m gratified by the number of people who like what I write and with whom I engage regularly, it’s not even 1000 people after 3 years. I probably WOULD write a newsletter about my books if anyone signed up. This is not for lack of promoting it.

      I don’t have a blog with writing tips — I have been doing that on IndieBRAG and on my Goodreads blog, but it seems that until someone is actually interested in my writing, there’s little point.

      I’ve reached the point where I’m about finished with this. It’s been very expensive. It has netted close to nothing so far — but I think it will, and it’s pretty much emptied my purse ($200 to live on for the rest of the month and I need groceries). It’s taking the joy and interest out of writing for me which, I don’t know but that might be OK — at this point I want most to get to Colorado Springs and pick up my bicycle and see if I can get a good deal on X-country skis so I can have more fun with Bear this winter.

      I think the bottom line is what a person writes. I think the same formula which has made it impossible for me to get my work agented is meaningful. Those people KNOW what the vast majority of readers want to read and if they find it, they’re going to jump on it because their livelihood depends on it. I think that’s a very reliable barometer not necessarily of the quality of someone’s writing but the size of the market that exists for a particular story.

      But I might just be all sour because I caught a stomach bug, got no sleep last night and feel very ‘un-Martha’ today.

  6. I’m sorry you’re not feeling well; that’s a drag! I hope this bug is the 24-hour variety and you’ll be back to ‘being Martha’ tomorrow. ❤

    Unfortunately, I think I have to agree with you about the bottom line. I'm in the same boat as you with my little memoir. My editor has taught me a great deal about writing, and I'm grateful, but I've paid a large (for me) price for that teaching, and I'm just about at the end of that road.

    If we were writing romance or fantasy, with some hot sex thrown in, or outright erotica, we'd be sitting pretty. The other most popular genres seem to be crime/mystery, religious/inspirational novels, sci/fi and fantasy, and horror. None of which I have the slightest interest in writing. Do you?

    It definitely has little to do with the quality of the writing, because some of the crap I've come across in my research is so poorly written it would make you want to gag, and yet people keep jumping on them. A few readers mention the bad writing in their reviews, but most don't appear to care a hoot about lack of readability.

    Is it a sign of the times? I think it might be. Too little reading of good books, too much texting with all its jargon, too much cheap and gaudy television, all playing to the lowest common denominator. Good grief, Trump is a perfect exemplar of what we may have come to. The man is a buffoon – and terrifying!

    It's discouraging, all right. But having said all that, I still hope that the combination of things you're doing will pay off for you in the long run; your books certainly deserve that!

    P.S. I'm one of your followers on Twitter, and now that I know you have a Facebook account, I'll follow you there too. One more never hurts, right?

    Be well!

    • Thank you! Trump doesn’t bother me — his followers are the scary ones. That jerk ran in 1999 and was ignored, but we were not the same people then and I think you’re right; social media has something to do with that and the absolutely abysmal education system in the US which had not even started in 1999. It was the “brain” child of GWB’s administration…

      I’m not quite back to being Martha… But a little closer. ❤

      At the historical novel society convention last year the existence of two trends was very apparent. The guy sitting next to me at the book signing said my book was more along his lines than most of the books there. Most of the people there were women. Most of the books were Historical Romance — bodice rippers. So I put a loosened bodice in The Bros Path just for fun and to say I tried 🙂

      But there are 900 billion people writing books and of those 900 billion, maybe 5 are truly good writers and 5 will get picked up by publishers and they won't necessarily be the same 5. Our generation is enormous and then there are two following hard on our heels that we've influenced significantly so they're out there writing.

      I was thinking about this godawful election and the only thing I can actually DO about it at this point is turn in my vote. One tiny X in a box. And that's what I am. The imperative is to be that X to the best of my ability. And once that ballot has left my hands, all I can do is believe it will be counted, but I have no guarantees.

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