Back in the spring of 2014, just after I’d published Perceval’s Secret, I spent over $3000 on marketing with AuthorBuzz but saw no return on that investment in terms of sales. As a result, I’m now carrying that marketing cost as a debt, along with all the other costs for the e-publication of the novel. Sales of the novel haven’t increased, so I’m now in the process of finding the best way to pay off that debt.
In marketing terms, I know that one of the obstacles I must overcome is being an unknown author trying to market a first novel. What I have learned since the spring of 2014 is that this obstacle cannot be overcome by traditional marketing. This obstacle requires marketing creativity. And this is where I find myself today.
At the moment, my only rule for promoting and marketing Perceval’s Secret is that it must be free. So what are my free options?
Facebook: Yes, if you go the traditional route at Facebook, it will cost you. But I’m learning that there are other ways, such as a free public page to promote the novel. I set one up back in 2014 and have been working on pulling in “likes” and readers ever since. It is a much slower process than I expected. So….
Recently, I joined an Independent Authors support group on Facebook. It was free, but by invitation only. I’d been following the blog for this group for some time — the posts there are helpful — and obtained an invitation through that. Now I’m trying to carve out the time to participate at their Facebook page in order to keep Perceval’s Secret front and center there for the other participants.
Then I ran across another Facebook page that is devoted solely to promoting the books of independent authors. It is for Speculative Fiction. I plan to get Perceval’s Secret up there also.
Other Social Media: I’m not very good at using Twitter but I found a service through another blogger that may be helpful. Haven’t had the time to research it. I need to do more at LinkedIn, too. As a member of a lot of groups, though, that’s a daunting thought, especially with my limited time. Still working on finding ways to fit more social media into my schedule and not lose writing time.
Bloggers: I would love to attract the attention of book bloggers interested in Speculative Fiction who’d be willing to read Perceval’s Secret and review it. I’m in the process of compiling a list. Then I’ll approach them via e-mail, I think.
Book Reviews: I continue to seek out review opportunities. Just sent the novel to a reviewer. I need to do more work at Goodreads in support of this promotion. I’ve encouraged readers I hear from to write reviews either at Amazon or B&N/Nook, where they bought their copy, but many don’t feel qualified. All it takes is a couple sentences like “I read the novel and disliked/liked/loved it because…. I’d recommend/not recommend it.”
Word of Mouth: This can be the best and most effective kind of promotion, but is notoriously uncontrollable. When I’ve heard from readers, I’ve heard nothing but positive comments about the novel. I’ve encouraged these readers to tell their friends, family, post on Facebook, Twitter, etc. How to ratchet up the “buzz” on the book? Still looking for good ideas here that are free.
Other ideas: I recently read an article from NPR about Andy Weir’s experience with The Martian. It gave me some ideas that I’m following up on. First was to get my novel in front of the audiobook publishers that published Weir’s novel. I’d been so focused on print publication, I’d forgotten about other formats.
So the promo/marketing work goes on. I’m always looking for new ideas and things I could do for free, so I’m open to any suggestions that may have worked for you. Please put your ideas in the comments section below and send me an e-mail. Thanks!