By CJ West author of The End of Marking Time
Seems like an odd number right? Actually that’s my marketing budget for 2012 (well, most of it) and I’m giving it directly to readers to thank them for spreading the word about my work. This is something new for me, but I’ve been trying new things for years.
For those of you who can’t wait for the next 439 words to find out how to win your share of the $2,400, click here.
I’ve tried a lot of things over the years to reach out to readers. Some of them have worked. Some of them have been total flops.
Anyone remember The Million Dollar Home Page? Didn’t think so. Back in the days when I was focused on print books, I bought an ad there for about $250. If you click over, you can find the word SIN about two inches down from the Contact Me link. I’m scrunched in there between A free Xbox, a liquor add, and a dollhouse furniture gallery.
When I made the transition to e-books, Kindleboards was the place to be. Everyone was excited about e-books and after a few months in the discussion forums, I learned they were going to start selling ads. I quickly bought a week’s worth. By the time my ads ran it seemed that only authors were on Kindleboards anymore. It is still a great place to visit, but advertising there didn’t help me reach new readers.
In January of 2011, I made friends with Christian, the owner of eReaderIQ. This is a fantastic site that lets readers track the price changes in e-books they are interested in. Christian has developed some fantastic technology that works with amazing speed.
I was the first advertiser on eReaderIQ and I sold a boatload of e-books this January. It takes a lot of electrons to fill a boat! Seriously, I was delighted. EReaderIQ has been the brightest spot in my e-book marketing struggle.
Next I found the Amazon Kindle Page on Facebook. I gave away a few hundred copies of The End of Marking Time there and I made some great friends, but unfortunately as the page grew from 30,000 friends when I joined to over 1.4 million now, there is no longer room for conversation. E-book authors continually blast the page with promotions and the people who used to visit the page several times a day no longer visit.
This is one of the sad realities of indie publishing. There are so many authors and it is so hard to reach readers that the marketing noise often spoils some of the best places to get to know other humans who happen to read fiction. The Amazon Customer Discussions forums is a prime example of this. The hostility to authors there has grown and Amazon has imposed restriction after restriction to keep authors from monopolizing the conversation.
So, if the forums are jam packed, and the venues that accept indie advertising are hit or miss, what is an author to do?
This year I’m giving my marketing dollars to the people who market my work best: readers. Each month I’ll hold a drawing for a Kindle Fire. Winners who already own an e-reader or would prefer something else can choose a $200 gift certificate to Amazon, BN, or an independent bookseller. My hope is that $200 is enough incentive to get people excited about the contest. At the very least I hope to make one new friend each month.
Anyone can enter by tweeting, posting on Facebook, or emailing their friends. Register here.
Do you have e-book marketing woes or triumphs to share? I’d love to hear them.