Wednesday, March 2, 2016

#IWSG: A Tenative Marketing Plan #pricepulsing

IWSG was created by the Captain Ninja Alex J. Cavanaugh. Click here to visit the other IWSG participants. This month's co-hosts are: Lauren Hennessy, Lisa Buie-Collard, Lidy Wilks, Christine Rains, and Mary Aalgaard.
I have social and generalized anxiety. Despite taking medication to help tone down the side effects, I have pulled away a lot from social activities, particularly social media. My book sales, or lack thereof, show it. So far this year across four books, I've sold a whopping 4 copies and have had 2 free downloads.

So I've decided to take baby steps to promote myself more. I utilize my newsletter once a month or so. I enjoy blogging, and blogging two times a month is really working out well for me, but I need to do more than that.

Here is what I have planned so far:
  • Price pulsing. I plan to lower the price of one of my books a month. This month A to Z Flashes of Foxwick is free.
  • Advertising. Although I don't have much money to advertise my books or enough reviews on three of them to advertise them on paid sites, I can create promo images, post in Facebook groups that allow ads, and mention my books once in a while on Twitter with the goal of not spamming people. (I think the last time I mentioned my book(s) on Twitter was back in November or something like that.)
  • Mention my blog posts on my Facebook page and Twitter.
  • Talk about my works in progress more on my Facebook page and Twitter.
My goal is to do a little more without edging into the spamming people side of promoting, and I hope to find a way to share more of my interests too that relate to the realm of speculative fiction. We'll see how it goes. One step at a time.

What do you do to market yourself and your books?

In February, I actually completed every single one of my goals! I think that's a first. I also decided to switch my main and secondary projects, and the decision worked out well. I wrote for thirty minutes a day in A Soul to Kill and have 13 out of 16 chapters written. As for Destined, I wrote for fifteen minutes a day and have 10 out of 41 chapters completed. I finished editing a friend's novel, another edit on "Folds in Life and Death," and outlined Destined. I also finally sat down and edited Marked, which is with my first critique partner. Man, I don't know why I waited so long to edit it. The story was maj and read well. Of course, I could be delusional. *laughs* I've also edited my short story "On Day 168" for the upcoming Untethered Realms' anthology and have sent it to the editor.

My March goals include:
  • Write 30 minutes a day in A Soul to Kill.
  • Write 15 minutes a day in Destined.
  • Final edits on "Folds of Life and Death."
  • Outline the short story "A Soul to Protect" for the Untethered Realms anthology Spirits in the Water (Forthcoming 2017).
  • Edit the bonus woodwose section for the forthcoming boxed set of The Fate Challenges.
  • Implement my new marketing plan.
What are your goals for this month?
Current 2016 Stats: 59,469 words written and 577 pages edited.

Galactic Empires

Eight Novels of Deep Space Adventure

Adventure, war, intrigue and survival in the far reaches of space. Novels include The Backworlds by M. Pax, Ambassador 1: Seeing Red by Patty Jansen, Alien Hunters by Daniel Arenson, Hard Duty by Mark E. Cooper, Bypass Gemini by Joseph Lallo,  Sky Hunter by Chris Reher, The Galapagos Incident by Felix Savage, and First Conquest by David VanDyke.


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49 comments:

Sarah Foster said...

Congrats on completing your goals and getting lots of writing done! And good luck with the marketing and advertising! I'm sure you'll find a good balance of being able to promote without spamming.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Those sound like a good way to market. Subtle yet consistent. Heck, I don't even remember the last time I mentioned my books on Twitter.

Nicola said...

Congrats on achieving all your February goals, Cherie. That's great! During my research into marketing, the common advice given is to build up your email list. I've not started mine yet, but when I do, I'll let you know how it goes. Even though you have a newsletter and some emails, maybe concentrate on building that up. Perhaps you can offer something free - a short story or something in exchange for an email address. You could do this via Facebook and Twitter if that reaches more readers. Maybe you are already doing this already :) Wishing you lots of success, more reviews and a happy month. All the best.

M.J. Fifield said...

I'm guilty of not really marketing myself or my books very much at all. I'm a member of several writers group where I haven't even told them that I've written a book.

Your plan sounds like a good one, and I wish you much luck with it.

And congrats on completing all of your February goals! That's amazing!!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Sounds like you have a plan to deal with your anxieties and marketing. Little steps like you have planned can be really effective, especially in dealing with the emotional challenges too.

Julie Flanders said...

I have the same anxiety and it's been hard to overcome in regards to social media. But I have been trying to take baby steps and do more with it and I'm surprised that I'm starting to enjoy it more.
I think you have great ideas for your marketing and I hope you see results. Good luck!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Congrats on completing all of your goals.

I've done almost nothing to promote my books lately except add to my book boards on Pinterest.

Crystal Collier said...

Yay for the goals!

Marketing for me has just been integrating my professional life into my personal life. It is a part of me. It appears everywhere I go. Friends are interested in knowing that I'm slamming my head against the desk to get a story out or that I've landed a contract or that my next short story is NOTHING like what I normally write--just like I want to know when they have a job change, when they have kids, celebrate with them over accomplishments and awards etc. I think the only way to handle social media is to be true to all aspects of your life.

Christine Rains said...

You're totally not delusional. :) Woo-hoo on finishing all your February goals. Here's to a great March! I like your baby steps in marketing. I post on Twitter and Facebook and do a newsletter, but I need to find different ways. That's why I'm doing the guest post thing this year. Let's see what happens when Totem comes along!

Rachna Chhabria said...

My March goals are to write more and read more. I like the idea of price pulsing. I'm sure it will boost your book sales.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I loathe asking people to buy my book. I am so envious of people who have that easy-going self-promotion style. That's not me. I honestly can feel myself break out in a sweat just thinking about the marketing side.

I like your plan, though. It seems like a good one.

Chrys Fey said...

Baby steps really work. I do everything you mentioned you plan to do. :) Price pulsing is a great idea. I don't have enough books with a price that can be lowered, but I have done sales on them and it always makes a difference. Good luck with your March goals!

Bob R Milne said...

Nice - a solid plan and realistic goals. I know what you mean about social anxiety, but you seem to have a good grasp of how to work with it. Best of luck!

Heather R. Holden said...

Wow, congrats on all the productivity! That's great how you were able to achieve each of your February goals! :)

And gosh, I can relate so well to the stress of promotion. It can be so hard to push myself to market, too, and whenever I do manage to do, it never seems to lead anywhere, anyway. Really love this new marketing plan of yours, especially the part about talking about your WIPs. It's always fun to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse like that!

Lexa Cain said...

Thank you so much for your honesty. Often, writers only post on FB or wherever when they have good news, and although I'm happy for people whose books go up the Amazon ranks, it makes me feel like such a loser and pretty hopeless. Knowing that you're still plugging away and making plans, knowing that you're not giving up, makes me feel I can do it too. Thank you very much and good luck with all your writing goals! :)

cleemckenzie said...

With those goals you're going to get consistency, and that's a major factor in success. Congrats on setting goals and achieving them.

H.R. Sinclair, Southpaw said...

The first step is the plan. So yeah. It was that extra day last month that helped you finish your goals, wasn't it?

Krystol the book worm said...

I love your March goals! I need to write for a half hour a day as well. Working full-time and taking 2 classes as a PhD student is tough. I am glad that you have a plan.

lorilmaclaughlin.com said...

Congrats on reaching your February goals! I think you've got a great plan for marketing. I feel the same way about self-promotion. It stresses me out big time. Most of my focus is on my blog. I have my posts set up to "publicize" on my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ accounts, but that's about all I do with those other accounts. I keep saying I want to do more with them, but I haven't done it yet. Eventually... Good luck with your March goals!

Olivia Rose said...

I think we all are social recluses. Congratulations on finishing your goals!

Olga Godim said...

Great post. I should be taking lessons.

Loni Townsend said...

I don't market, and I think my sales show it. :) I hope your plan works out well!

Sandra Cox said...

You go, girl! Those are wonderful goals! Selling any books right now is challenging. The market is saturated. Great for readers. Challenging for authors.
Hugs

Patricia Lynne said...

Great job on your goals! Is it weird that I feel weird if I achieve all my goals in a month? I always feel like I should fail at least one just so I don't look like an over achiever.

I've recently created a plan in hopes of promoting my books better. There were quite a few things I found I could do that didn't cost me any money. If you want, feel free to hop over to my blog and take a look and see if anything gives you ideas of things to try. (http://www.patricialynne.com/blog/making-a-promo-plan)

Juneta Key said...

Kudos to you for reaching your goals. Wishing you much success.
Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

Cathrina Constantine said...

Cherie, you continue to amaze me!!! I can barely concentrate on one project and you have three or more. Keep it up!!!!

Medeia Sharif said...

I need to market myself more. I used to have a lot of anxiety, but have found that much of it has diminished. Good luck on your goals.

WritingNut said...

Congrats on completing your goals! You are truly amazing! I'm terrible with self promotion on all fronts!

emaginette said...

Marketing? I've made a list of all the reviewer/book bloggers that like my genre. And over the next year I plan to contact each and every one of them. And be me--that's another big one. :-D

Anna from elements of emaginette

Jenni Enzor said...

It sounds like you have a good, do-able marketing plan. I get a little overwhelmed with social media myself being an introvert. I need lots of unplugged time. It's great that you're finding a good balance for you!

Melissa Sugar said...

I'm amazed at how much you accomplished in February. You have the right idea. You have a plan and you obviously have the tenacity and determination to stick with it so you will see results. I agree with the other commenter who praised your honesty and bravery for sharing this. Not many people are brave enough to share when things aren't going so well. But, I can see how it helps others in the same situation to know others are there and to see what their plan is. Best of luck to you. I'm off to Amazon now to purchase your book. See, you made a sale. Now just stick with your plan and you will continue getting results. It's so time consuming I know. I don't know how you manage to do all that you do. I'm truly impressed.

Cathy Keaton said...

Good luck with your marketing strategy. I hope it works out for you. I'm sure you won't become a spammer, at least not without somebody letting you know (even if rudely). I can't even imagine marketing right now. At least you're far enough along on your writing journey that you have this issue.

Stephanie Leland said...

My goals for this month are exceedingly lofty.

Set up my Patreon page
complete the first draft for Cry of the Hawk
make 250$ in fiction sales

Since I'm currently make 0$ in fiction sales that's probably the loftiest of the three. But they say aim for a star and you might hit the moon. I have massive social anxiety as well, so I understand how daunting social media can be. Good luck with your marketing strategy.

smpace.com

David VanDyke said...

I used to suffer from anxiety but seldom do anymore. Besides lowering my stress using various strategies, I also dramatically reduced the amount of sugar in my diet. This helped me a lot. Who knows? It might help you too.

As far as book sales, I took a look at your author page and I'm shocked that you'd sell so little with such good product. I did see a couple of things that may help.

1. You appear to have two author pages, one of which has no pic. If I were you, I'd make sure to consolidate into one good author page. Author Central will help you, I'm sure. The second author page might be confusing some folks.

2. Your Foxwick books don't seem to be linked in series. KDP can help you with that, but the first thing you need to do is make sure that the series name in the series field is exactly the same across all series books, letter for letter.

3. Whichever is your largest/longest series (at least 3 books), I would consider going permafree with its intro book/book 1. Considering your current level of sales and exposure, you need to try out an inexpensive strategy for discoverability, and permafree can be very effective. I use it myself and it's been very effective.

4. Once you have that one permafree book, you can easily schedule inexpensive promos with complete freedom. There are lots of them $20 and under that will get you hundreds of downloads and will show a positive ROI with the read-throughs to your other books.

5. Consider going KDP Select for everything that's not permafree. More people will take a chance with a borrow than with a purchase, and the borrows count as sales so they synergize to help your rankings. You can always go back to being wide on the other sites later, if you like.

I'm a full-time author making a living as an indie. Feel free to email me at david (at) davidvandykeauthor.com if I can help you further.

Romance Reader said...

Marketing is very hard to do and especially for introverts its harder.

dSavannah george-jones said...

It is difficult to promote ourselves, but if we don't toot our own horns, who will? That's wonderful that you met your goals - if you make marketing one of your goals, and make those tactics attainable, I'm sure you'll do great! Of course, it's a balance between being spammy and being informative. Hope you find that balance!

Doreen McGettigan said...

Marketing, advertising and PR are 3 separate things and coming up with a plan that has all 3 working together is not easy.
I have such a hard time talking about myself and my books in real life but I know I have too.
I also realized I have to occasionally pay for social media marketing, it is so inexpensive but it does work.
Good luck with your goals, it's a new month, keep going!

Doreen McGettigan said...

Marketing, advertising and PR are 3 separate things and coming up with a plan that has all 3 working together is not easy.
I have such a hard time talking about myself and my books in real life but I know I have too.
I also realized I have to occasionally pay for social media marketing, it is so inexpensive but it does work.
Good luck with your goals, it's a new month, keep going!

Dawn Simon said...

Congrats on completing your goals! Sounds like a good way to market. It's inspiring, reading how minutes add up to completed work. I used to have way more writing time, and it was quite an adjustment, shifting to less time to write. Then I found a new rhythm and completed a first draft in January. Woo-hoo! Keep up the good work!

Libby said...

I get that. Self-promotion is difficult, even without anxiety and I'm sure with all that extra pressure, it has to be hard. Good for you for taking small steps.I'm doing promotion too and it's nerve wracking. I'm trying. And I wish you luck as well.

Tyrean Martinson said...

I struggle with knowing how much to tweet and how much not to tweet. I don't want to spam, but I want my books out there and my tweets seem to do best when
I'm churning out five a day plus 20-30 retweets- not all the same thingI also have my first book in The Champion Trilogy set permafree because it had stopped selling - this way at least the downloads seem to connect with book 2 and book 3 downloads.
However, I'm not making much money, so obviously, I don't have this marketing thing figured out either.

Mark Noce said...

I know I struggle with some of the very same things. But on the bright side, I'd be more than happy to post anything about your wonderful books on my blog anytime. Just let me know when:)

Nicole Zoltack said...

Ugh. Marketing. I hate it. The writing part? So easy for me compared to everything else. Marketing is something I want to start making a bigger push with myself this year. If I find something that helps, I'll be sure to share it with you!

alexia said...

Nice job with your goals!! I am so-so at marketing. I definitely learned a lot over the fall when I released Black Magic and Mojitos. As you saw, I'm trying Thunderclap to see how that works (and thank you for supporting!!). I'm going to try some of the $5 marketing things at Fiverr and see how they do. For $5 it's worth a shot. As for Twitter, I use Buffer, which is GREAT. It allows you to schedule 10 tweets at a time. I just do one or two book promo tweets a day, so then I can forget about it for about a week. Then of course I tweet regular stuff to mix it up and have that balance of marketing and personal interaction.

Sandra Cox said...

Hope you're having a great weekend and have a pleasant productive week, Cherie:)

Sandra Cox said...

Hi Cherie,
Hope your day was pleasant and productive.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

I am AWFUL at self-promotion. Even though my book is still selling at a slow trickle, it's a matter of sheer luck and word of mouth. Running giveaways on Goodreads usually generates a modicum of interest, and spurs more people to add my book to their "Want to Read" list, but it doesn't correlate to an actual increase in sales, even if I run it in conjunction with a reduced rate on Amazon. (But since my goal was never to make a lot of money or to become rich and famous... I'm a success!)

Congratulations on meeting your goals for February. Here's to an equally successful March!

Tabatha Morrow said...

Oh wow, when I'm ready to publish/market, I'll be sure to follow your example. :)

Sandra Cox said...

Have a great evening, girlfriend.