IWSG Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
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Feather Stone, author and realist, former idealist
Author of “The Guardian’s Wildchild” Romance / Paranormal / Etc.
Recently I made a quantum leap in admitting to the truth about my book’s less than ideal sales record. It has very little to do with the quality of my writing. The number one factor is that The Guardian’s Wildchild didn’t quite make it to the WOW factor. Apparently, unless the reader gets that “OMG, this is like …., wow.” sales will be pitiful. Hard pill to swallow, but there it is!
The truth is I’ve also made errors in judgement. The failure of sales rests totally on my shoulders.
- Selection of Publisher: My book does was not the best fit for the publisher’s themes of romance. Readers loyal to Omnific Publishing expect to read romance. Yes, there is a romance element in the TGW’s background but the overall theme is military suspense (espionage, murder). Romance readers who read my book might have been unimpressed with the story due to their disappointment in not receiving more passion and erotic thrills. Therefore, they were not inclined to take the time to write a review. They liked it enough to not write a scathing review, but they quickly went on to other novels that had what they were looking for. Lesson: Chose a publisher which attracts readers who will love your story.
- Genre confusion: The term ‘paranormal’ seems to have a wide variety of meanings. Most people I talk to about paranormal get a picture of vampires and evil characters (well, they are not always evil). TGW is more about normal human beings with special gifts, metaphysical. I think that readers looking for paranormal might have felt cheated when reading TGW and finding no vampires or genetically altered creatures. Lesson: Carefully select the story’s genre.
- The numbers game: Being a marketing ‘virgin’ I had the impression that the more followers/friends an author acquired translated into popularity and high sales. I spent hours daily friending and following, pleased to see my Facebook / twitter friend numbers reach high levels (high for my world). More recently I consulted a marketing professional, Angela Ackerman. She used a word that struck a chord – genuine connections (okay, two words). My error? Assuming if someone ‘friended’ me, they’d at the very least check out my book on Amazon. Not so. Those ‘friendships’ were based on qualifying for rafflecopter giveaways. They entered their name, and moved on. Lesson: It may take more time and effort, but it is important to build a relationship with readers. The most effective marketing tool is encouraging people to talk about your book; and they will if they have invested an interest in you as both an author and a likable person.
- Being a published author is a business: Any successful business person will tell you that your business will fail if you don’t invest in it. That means spending money on a variety of marketing programs. Having connected with Mark Malatesta (audio tape intro), I’m seeing how I have short changed TGW. For the past three years I have invested minimal currency in marketing programs. Big mistake. Lesson: Find a marketing consultant (recommended by trusted and experienced fellow authors) and invest in a marketing program that suits you and your book.
- Less is more: I have realized that TGW sales are low as it appeals to a small audience. It is not clearly focused on one genre and one sub genre. Military, espionage, parapsychology, telepathy, telekinetics, time travel, post apocalyptic, dystopian, sweet romance perhaps confound a reader looking for a book. As they say, sometimes less is more.
A reader knows what they are looking for, generally speaking. An author can apply a variety of tools, including magic, but the reader is boss. I believe people are drawn to a particular book, perhaps intuitively and by a friend’s recommendation. If it’s not on the correct ‘book shelf’ and the market program has failed to inspire interest, a talented author may remain unnoticed.
Have you gained insight into your market pitfalls?