How to Promote Your Book - (I guess?) *shrug*
Right out of the gate, BLACK OF HEART got a 9 out of 10 review from SequentialTart.com - Gotta love that! Big thanks to them for the support and I'll have an interview to share from them very soon as well, so be on the lookout!
Quite a few press outlets picked up the news / press release from Source Point (WHICH IS AWESOME) and now a mere google search will bring up several articles. I can safely say this isn't something that I've been doing for myself. Whatever math or data entry work you need to do to get your books out there in the ether - I was too lazy or dumb to do it.
In terms of pre-orders for BLACK OF HEART and HORROR DOUBLE FEATURE 2, I'm calling this a social experiment because I've never been in a situation where I've had to send someone to order my books from somewhere else. Generally speaking, I have always announced things that people could buy from me, either through CharltonWrites.com, Kickstarter or face to face at a convention. (Ah, the good old days.)
If this is something you've done before and you have experience with, feel free to chime in. If you're thinking this may be something you have to deal with in future, pay attention, take a note, etc.
We're talking about PROMOTING STUFF.
I like writing. I can do the thing where it goes from my head to my fingers and type-type-type until a story appears. But THIS? Promoting? I'm not good at this.
I have done the social media posts. Source Point Press has graciously given me some little handy dandy pre-made files (below) with the cover art for the book and the Previews Code so that, ideally, you have everything you need to let your local comic shop know you want these books on your pull list. Or so you can say "hey get me this thing!"
I'm doing these blog posts, but it's never that simple, is it? Maybe I've posted it on the wrong day or at the wrong time on the right day. I wasn't paying attention to the algorithms! Now no one will order my books! I forgot a hashtag! People will think less of me! They'll think my work sucks. The publisher will never want to work with me again. Blah, blah blah.
There are a lot of layers to all of this. Cause and effect. Some things that can be learned and some things that can't. You get the idea.
The pre-order sales of my book(s) can only go a few ways.
#1 - The first print run sells out. That means Source Point can promote the fact that it sold out, which "should" drive more sales, which "should" grab the attention of more readers/press, driving them to sell even more copies and all is well. I'm happy and the publisher is happy and the sequel gets one step closer to being made.
#2 - Sales are good, but not great. Maybe the book finds its audience, but its a smaller audience than anticipated. Generally, the sales on a comic book series drop sharply after the first issue. (This is partially due to collectors wanting to grab that highly sought after #1 to squirrel away.) Depending on the trajectory of the book and things like reviews, press, promotion, etc., the book could still find an audience later, so there may be a watchful eye on it.
#3 - Sales are low. Expectations are not met. The remaining books are possibly still released or possibly pulled just to save the publisher money. Why print books that won't be sold? I believe it's the publisher's call at this point unless the contract stipulates that the full series will be released. Either way, bad news.
Luckily, this blog and my social media posts are not the only driving force here. Source Point is promoting the book too, and hopefully they have better resources than me. (They do.)
But what about factors beyond your control, such as:
- Global recession (no money = no sales)
- Full on pandemic (sounds crazy right?! People may not want to even venture out to their LCS despite wanting to support you)
- Poorly planned release date (releasing a horror book in Spring, for example)
- Some kind of crisis you could never predict (congratulations, your book is the least important thing in the world)
- The publisher has decided NOT to promote your book (this can happen for any number of reasons)
There's only one thing you can do - smile and keep working. You can't plan for everything and it's not all a reflection of you. Keep promoting yourself and try not to annoy people. (This is a VERY thin line.) Obviously, not in the case of some major crisis. Be sensitive and have a heart, etc. Even still, promoting my work, I feel like I'm annoying people and it also feels like I'm in a bubble, just tapping the same ten people on the shoulder like "hey, did you hear about my book? you should order a copy!"
The ideal situation is to get those friends tapping their friends on the shoulder and sharing your posts, but I'm not sure how to do that. Maybe some kind of free promotion. I guess it's too much to hope that just being a nice guy would work. Anyone want a sticker? (*sobbing*)
I think in the three years I've had this site, I've had only two or three comments or interactions directly through this blog. A lot of articles I read are that way, so I don't take it personally, but I still wonder how to drive traffic and get poeple to engage and sign up. Maybe it's just easier to discuss on social media. Maybe I should be asking more questions so people respond? Oh, but what if they don't respond? Then I might look stupid or weak. Like asking a girl out and she laughs in your face and walks away and then someone shoves you in your locker. I don't know why I went to high school for that scenario. Maybe because that's how a lot of this feels. Like a popularity contest that you have very limited control over.
Even now, this post is probably way too long, but I'm still typing away trying to make sense of something that just doesn't come naturally to me. Ok, I guess I better wrap it up. If anyone needs me, I'll be in my locker.
Thanks as always for reading, helping promote my work, getting friends to sign up for my blog (*wink*) and pre-ordering my books. I guess this social experiment wouldn't be complete without a test question.
Ok, pop quiz...
WHAT IS THE MOST EFFECTIVE MARKETING THAT HAS WORKED ON YOU?
A great book cover? A great premise? Being able to click a link to place an order versus going through a retailer? I'm just curious.
Black of Heart has a bunch of reviews on GoodReads. Did you know that? Yeah, me neither until about an hour ago. Some things are just out of our hands. You could promote until you were blue in the face and get nowhere, or you could do nothing and some miraculous thing would happen where the right person sees it and it blows up for some completely different, oddball reason.
The universe works in mysterious ways and I guess I feel like, (despite the fact that I WILL continue promoting my books), if it's really meant to be out there and take off and have a life of its own beyond what I could provide by cold-calling people while they're trying to eat dinner, it WILL happen. Whether its because of me or despite me, it will happen as it was meant to and when it was meant to.
In it's own way, that's all the peace of mind you need. ❤
Ok, that's all I got. Thanks!