As many regular readers of this blog will know, my second novel – The Back Road – was launched just four weeks ago, and being my usual obsessive self I had a carefully considered (and very long) marketing strategy.
Based on my experience with Only the Innocent and its startling success, I had tried to analyse what made it shoot to the top of the charts and stay there for so long, and my plan was based on identifying those key points and making them work for me again.
My expectations were lower. There are not only more books out there now, but other authors are much more savvy about how to market them (I knew I shouldn’t have blogged about my methodology! ). On top of that, until the day of launch there were still lots of 20p books in the charts, and my book stood no chance against them. Fortunately for me, the era of the 20p books ended (for now, at least) just as I was about to publish – but had left in its wake a plethora of books at 59p or 65p. The desperation to get into the charts and get noticed gave authors and publishers little choice and due to Amazon’s price matching policy and the will of other distributors to discount heavily, the days of cheap books are not quite over – and indeed, might never be.
Killer Plan or Lady Luck Part III – The Marketing Plan
The next post in this series was supposed to be on formatting. However, I have been persuaded to skip that bit for now, because there are lots of books and bits of advice out there that are probably much more detailed. What people want to know, I guess, is how I got to number one – not how I formatted the book!
However, I will say this. The formatting of your book is seriously important. You need to look like a professional. A badly formatted book automatically shouts INDIE, and not in a good way. If you don’t know how to do this, I have already written a couple of posts here and here that will get you to the point where you are almost ready for Amazon, and you will at least have tidied your book in preparation for upload.
The other thing that I was going to talk about was the cover. Again – there is a lot of advice available in that respect. Sometimes people say the cover doesn’t matter. Don’t listen to them. Whilst people may not ultimately choose to buy your book because of the cover, it needs to attract their attention when there are twenty other books on the screen. So go the extra mile.
Now – back to what people seem to want. Marketing tips.
It goes without saying that the most important aspect of getting to #1 on any best seller list is having a book that people actually want to read. If you choose to write in a genre that is less popular, you have to set your expectations accordingly. Choosing to write a thriller – a very popular genre – wasn’t part of my Killer Plan. It really is simply Lady Luck that I love thrillers.
Taking advice on some aspects of my writing and trying to do better, however, was definitely part of my plan, and so this section aims to share some of the hints that were passed on to me. Once again, I am definitely not trying to set myself up as any sort of expert. I still have so much to learn, and there are so many ways that I can improve my writing. But maybe this post will help others who are on the same journey. These are a few of the things that I have been guilty of, and some things that I have noticed when reviewing indie authored books (naming no names, of course!).
Since reaching the coveted number 1 spot in the Amazon charts, I have been asked on an almost hourly basis for tips by other indie authors. I have tried to respond to these, but it occurred to me that the best thing that I could do would be to create a whole series of blog posts on the subject, and try to get feedback from other authors too.
Can I start by saying that I am not an expert in any of the fields that will be discussed. I am an amateur in every sense of the word. So I will be talking about the process that I went through – without any guarantees and in the sure knowledge that there are people out there who know more than I do about each and every step in this journey. I will reiterate this every five minutes, so that nobody is under any illusions!