Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Let's Talk About the 'S' word

Hey everybody! Long time no see! I know, I'm terrible at keeping this blog up to date. I'll try and be better. (Let's be honest. No, I won't. Enjoy this post while you can, suckas!) Today we're going to talk about the 'S' word. Not sex. No, not swords either. Sales. We're talking about sales and marketing.

But first, a bit a news.

--The audiobook of Paige's Story has been up for a little over a month now. It's doing great. I mean, I think it is. The ratings are good and it's selling so I'll call it a win.

--My husband, Benjamin W. Bass has just released his debut novel, Alone in the Light. People.People. Listen to me. It's a fucking great book. It's not zany, or action packed, or funny like mine. It's also severely lacking in robots. But if you want a one-of-a-kind love story that's an emotional roller coaster, boy-o he's got your back. The book deals with the post deployment life of two veterans who are struggling to return to normal and finding that there's no normal to be had. It deals with mental health, PTSD, love, grieving, and hope. Seriously. Check it out.

--There are some updates to my online store coming soon. There will be stickers and bookmarks for sale. I'm also considering adding coffee mugs... but I haven't decided yet.

--Fort Thomas Book 2 is still in the works. It has some complex story lines that I'm having trouble ironing out, but it'll get there.

So, enough with the newsie bits. Let's talk. Let's talk about sales or lack thereof.

Writing a book is one thing. Selling a book is a whole different animal. Everyone, including myself, has this glorious vision of publishing their book and then just sitting back and watching the sales roll in. Unfortunately, I'm not Stephen King. Neither are you... unless you really are, in which case, HI MR. KING I LOVE PET SEMATARY!

No, no, we don't have the level of street cred to just publish and wait... not yet. So. what do you do? Well, you school yourself in the necessary evil that is marketing. I moseyed on over and downloaded a copy of William F. Aicher's Indie Author's Guide to Self Publishing and educated myself on what to do next. My husband and I also had a nice conversation with Nick Smith via Facebook or Twitter... maybe both... Anyway, he stressed that now that I'm published, I really need to establish a brand and market things for it. Since he's ridiculously successful, I figured he knows what he's talking about. Ben and I began working on the Fort Thomas brand. We made up T-shirts, stickers, bookmarks, and all that. We also put our art school degrees to work, made ads, and bought ad space. Yeah, it costs money, but not much. A boosted post on Facebook can be as cheap as $10. We also contacted our library, our town Facebook pages, and newspapers and we basically said, "Hey, we live here and we just did this thing. You should maybe interview us."

Well, maybe not with that level of smarminess, but you get the idea. We put ourselves in the spotlight to get local exposure offline as well.

So far, all this work has been paying off. When my first round of audiobook royalties get in, I'm using some to buy a dishwasher... because I'm a sad, sad, adult and I want a new dishwasher. One that's not 20 years old and... gross.

Look, being a self published author means you wake up and think of new ways to tell the world about your book. You have to do it every day because no one else is going to do it for you. You pester readers for reviews, you give away bookmarks and stickers, you have raffles for free books, and you blast every corner of the internet with this info until the algorithms force you to take a break. Then you fucking do it again.
This is your life now. I mean, not really, but is sure seems like it and that's good. I like this life.

What I'm saying is, you absolutely can't just publish and expect to sell. The market is way too oversaturated. Yay! You published a book! So did 400 other people today. If you don't market it, your baby will get lost in the crowd never to be seen by anyone. Big fat zeros in your sales report is discouraging. It's why so many talented authors give up, and that's a damn shame.

I'm not trying to discourage anyone. I just know way too many authors who quit too soon. I'm not going to be one and I don't want you to be one either.

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