Thursday, March 17, 2011

E-Promotion

Rick’s Tuesday post regarding the mid-list author’s marketplace dilemma is troublesome because it is so accurate—today’s crowded e-market is quickly becoming a saturated one.

I entered the e-book game last summer, when I discovered my contract with the University Press of New England (somehow) allowed me all electronic rights for my five Jack Austin novels. I hired a terrific digital artist to redesign the cover of “Cut Shot,” revised that first novel, purchased the final text and artwork for the others, and uploaded them all to Smashwords and Amazon.

An agent told me I need to be online, meeting e-book readers and Kindle owners. He insisted that I ought to be all over the Internet. He’s probably right. Yet I’m not a player on Kindle Boards or other e-book chat rooms. In fact, I do zero promotion of my e-books (unless one counts this weekly blog). Instead, I use my free time to write.

Would it matter if I spent three hours a day (or even a week) on Kindle Boards? Would sales improve? A little? A lot? I don’t know. Maybe. I do know that Rick is correct—the e-book market is “cluttered.” A cursory perusal of Smashwords and Amazon will validate his sentiment. My (admittedly naïve) hope is that a potential reader scans the blurbs from reviews of my novels, which are there on my e-books, and sees that these novels have been, for lack of a better word, “approved” by the literary community, and then chooses my book over a self-published author’s work. Is that asking too much of the average e-book buyer? Again, maybe.

I can promote my work. I have done so previously. Each time I have had a novel released, I have done book tours, countless signings, and even some TV and radio interviews. More than once I drove two or more hours to sign ten or fewer hardcovers, which, given a writer’s typical royalty scale, makes very little fiscal sense. So maybe I’m missing the boat on e-book promotion. I realize it has to be more cost-effective than what I have done previously. Is the old-fashioned bookstore sign-and-handshake method becoming antiquated?

I have many more questions than I have answers to them, so I would love to hear what other writers are doing to separate their e-books from the e-pack.

1 comment:

Vicki Delany said...

I'm doing nothing, so you're not alone. I have books to write and publisher books to promote and I really, really do not want to be on social media any more than I have to. I haven't looked up Kindle Boards etc 'cause I just don't want to. At first I went on come Twitter chats for writers and all I could see were beginning writers thinking everyone wants to hear what 'tips' they have to offer. Maybe it works for some people but not for me.