Saturday, 3 September 2011

And now for the hard part...

Let's start with the big news, shall we?

Now available at Smashwords. (Kindle store version coming soon)

That's the easy part. The hard part is getting people to buy and read the book, and that starts now (okay, technically it started about fourteen hours ago, but I did need to sleep...).

First things first: price. After all my talk about pricing, I settled on $1.99 (currently about £1.23). There are a few aspects to that decision, the biggest of which is that, quite frankly, right now I need whatever money I can lay hands on. My budget for the next two months is very tight, and any help I can give it is a good thing. On the other hand, I recently blogged in defence of the free-content webcomic business model, so I didn't want to bump my price up too high. I didn't feel comfortable with the $2.99 Amazon-enforced price point, either, partly because it feels like bending to Amazon's whim, but mainly because at 63,000 (ish) words, 'Heaven Can Wait' is rather shorter than the average $2.99 ebook.

So $1.99 it is. The best compromise between free-content principles and 'I need to eat!'

My marketing strategy is deliberately non-strategic. I haven't tried to organise any massive launch promotion (or even a simultaneous Smashwords and Kindle Store launch) because I think - even given my financial situation - there are more valuable things than a big initial burst of sales, and foremost among them is approachability. I don't want to appear to a reader as a slick marketing machine - that's not a role I'm going to play well. I want to appear as I am; a guy who's written a book he'd like you to read. I want to seem human, like I'm someone you could have a conversation with.

Why? Because I'm trying to build a relationship. I plan on writing two or more books a year for the remainder of my natural life-span, and that's a minimum of about ninety books. I'd very much like it if every reader who buys Heaven Can Wait goes on to buy all those other books as well (or at least many of them). That kind of conversion is possible with slick marketing, but I think it will be more rewarding if I can do it by reaching out to people, and responding when they reach out to me.

I'm going to do a more detailed blog post next week sometime about branding, advertising, marketing and connecting with people, so I won't say too much on the topic now, but it boils down to this; you can be, or look, too slick. Professionalism is a good thing to cultivate, but self-promotion is annoying. I've never done formal very well - I wear a certain amount of scruffiness in my soul, and with pride - and ultimately I don't want to use marketing tricks to artificially boost my performance.

That said, I'm not going to sit around and do nothing. I plan on creating as much social media content - engaging, fun content, but still content - as I can, on every network I can stomach. Today, for example, I'm going to do a big Goodreads blitz (I'm here, but I you may feel like waiting until I've actually produced some content). I've put together an author page on Facebook here - and super-massive thanks to all who helped me reach the 25-like threshhold in barely more than 30 hours (also, I apologise for my torrent of spam and begging to reach that goal - I hadn't realised it took most people much longer and I left it later to start than I should have >.>).

I'm also accepting any reasonable ideas, offers and exchange requests you might have for promotion. Would you like to interview me? A guest post exchange? Some wacky thing I've not thought of? Let me know!

I'd also like to know what, besides the obvious (good cover image and blurb - and I'm still accepting feedback on both of those), you look for when deciding whether to buy a book? Reviews? Reader quotes? Sales figures?

Right, now all that's out of the way, I've been holding this in all blog, and I need to get it out: EEEHEEHEEHEEHEE I'M PUBLISHED WAHOOOOOO!

Ahem. Okay, we're done here ;)


  1. =) Congratulations! I'll be joining you in this situation (hopefully) in about two months.

    Your price point is very interesting. My WIP is expected to be around the same length, but I've also decided to sell it at $2.99. I've read a lot of other posts on the subject, and I think we as writers need to remember one thing:

    Our product has value.

  2. Want to add my congratulations on getting it done and getting it out there - well done! I'm not sure I agree with you about the marketing thing. I'm not sure that the assumption that looking slick and professional puts people off holds water, but I will wait and see what you say in your next post. Look forward to it!