In their words, 'Do you ever wonder why some books become bestsellers while others can barely be given away? Why some businesses succeed and others fail? How does a blog post or a YouTube video manage to go viral? Is it a matter of luck or is there some magic formula for success?'
Those taking part in the symposium are going to tell about a marketing idea that they used and what worked or didn't work. It could describe a campaign that succeeded in a big or small way or one that failed drastically. Anything that involved promotion!
I'm going to share my experience of releasing two books in very different ways.
In March 2013 I released my first self-published book, Passing Time: Nine Short Tales of the Strange and Macabre. I knew for my first release I wanted to make a big splash - I wanted it to be everywhere. Over 20 blogging friend helped me with the cover reveal. Several bloggers also helped with the release day, and ten helped with a two-week blog tour. I ran a competition for those who commented. As I wanted to keep costs to a minimum, I organised all of this myself. It was a lot of work. I had to be meticulous with dates and what I'd sent to whom and when.
The result was that on Passing Time's release day, and over the next two weeks, it was high up the Amazon rankings. For a few days it sat alongside a Stephen King short story collection. Taking part in a blog tour over two weeks kept it in the spotlight. By the end of the first month of publication I'd sold over 83 copies and received three great reviews. For me, it was a resounding success.
My second release, Taking Time and Other Science Fiction Stories, was a different story. Despite personal issues that were physically and emotionally draining, I was determined to push ahead with my second release in July as planned. So, I went for a soft release option. A small cover reveal and release day announcement. No blog tour.
The result was that while Taking Time did briefly making the Top 100 Science Fiction list, it dropped out within a day. The sales weren't there. At the time, I didn't care. I'd suffered a devastating bereavement on the very day it was published. However, several of my blogging friends stepped up and helped get the news out there despite me not being around. For that, I'm eternally grateful.
In hindsight, I should have pushed back the release.
What did I learn?
Never release a book when you are under extreme emotional and physical stress. You might think you can find the time needed you promote your book. You won't.
Cover reveals, release day blitzes, and blog tours work.
If you can afford it, hire a professional book tour host to organize your promotion activities. Organizing and running blog tours takes a lot of time. And in comparison to other types of promotion, this is not an expensive option.
The longer the blog tour, the greater the book exposure. But don't over do it. One stop per day.
Keep your posts short and to the point.
Make sure each blog tour stop has unique content. Only repeat the book and contact information.
For one-week or two-week tours, blog Monday to Friday. Avoid the weekend and bank holidays, when web traffic is low.
For longer blog tours, visit a maximum of three blogs per week to avoid burn-out.
Don't forget your long-term blogging friends. Let them know about your release plans as far in advance as possible.
Run a giveaway with daily and/or weekly prizes. Be inventive with what you offer - book vouchers and swag are popular.
Always visit those generous enough to give you space on their blog. Make sure you respond to comments.
Finally, thank the hosts personally.
So, those were my experiences and what I've learned as a result. What about you?
Don't forget to call back on Wednesday, when this week's Speculative Fiction Writer is Fireseed One author, Catherine Stine.