Thursday, December 27, 2012

Book Marketing 2012: What Worked, What Didn't, What Might

Sitting here, thankful that the world didn’t end as the Maya didn’t in fact predict, I figured I’d take a moment to reflect on the state of my book sales for 2012.

What Worked

  1. Sustained Online Discourse: no getting around this.  Without an online platform, you’re dead in the water
  2. Conventions: I did two, and I had a blast at both of them.  Left Coast Crime was my introduction to mystery conventions.  I sat on a panel, made friends, connected with readers, and ate well.  Men of Mystery gave me my first shot at selling myself in front of 400 readers and writers.  
  3. Writing More Books: hard as it is to sell books, every new title has a domino effect, increasing sales of pervious books.
  4. Connecting With Readers:  even literary small-fries like me get fan mail, and it always makes my day.  Taking the time to connect with readers might help move books, or it might not, but I’m always going to do it.
  5. Engaging Librarians: this is a no-brainer.  Would you want to visit Valhalla without having chatted up a Valkyrie or two?

What Didn’t Work

  1. Bookstore Sales: grueling and time-consuming, getting books into stores IS part of the equation.  I get it.  But it often seems more trouble than it’s worth.
  2. Book Signings:  see above.  Again, it’s part of the equation, but getting folks to part with $12 for a book sometimes seems like pulling teeth.
  3. Contests:  I had my hopes, but I’m kind of souring on these.  Every time I fork over a huge entry fee, I’m deluged with offers to boost sales if I pay more.  No thanks.

What Might Work

I have plans for 2013.  I’m going to write more books and sell more books.  And I’m going to come up with six new promotional ideas.  Here is my first:
  1. Do Something Unexpectedly Unique:  I’m starting a line of journals.  Each journal will feature a storyline and an exciting cover.  Who says journals have to be boring?  On the back of each journal will be a link to my webpage, providing information on my actual books.  I think also, as the project progresses, I will feature images of my covers on the back.  Have a look at the first one:

Sure, it might not work, but it might.  I’ll keep you posted.  In the meantime, if you’re looking for that perfect gift, keep looking.  But if you think $5.95 is an OK price for a journal with a great short story and an awesome matte-finish high-resolution cover, then consider getting a few copies of Mounted today.


Charles Gramlich said...

That journaling thing sounds intersting. I'll be looking forward to hearing more.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your learning curve with us a step or two behind you. I'm sure some techniques and efforts have better payoff than others. Good luck with the journal idea-- interesting.

William Doonan said...

Thanks, Charles and Julie,

I figured I'd give it a shot. These days you never know what's going to catch on. I would have bet money against the Kindle working out, but here we are!

Liane Spicer said...

I agree with you re the stuff that works, at least of those I've tried. Conventions are still in my future.

Bookstore sales ceased to matter to me even with my traditionally published book (after the first three months or so). I've managed to avoid signings and contests, so I'm patting my back on that score.

Best of luck with Mounted--cool cover!

William Doonan said...

Thanks, Liane. Congrats on avoiding signings. They're heartbreaking.