IWSG – Marketing Mysteries

It’s September. I’m back for another IWSG posting day. I wasn’t sure if I’d make the hop this month, I’ve had a few back to back betas and that requires lots of brain power. But chatting with my Squad and we were lamenting marketing woes and the idea for a post hit me.

I think I’ve written about marketing woes before, but much like the writing process, there is a lot to stress over there as well. Writing is a business which means it’s work. Work we choose to do because we love* it, but still work. Unless you’re a “big” name with a “big” following and you can sell tons of books by simply putting them out, we have to pimp ourselves out. Not the best way to describe it, but it’s true.

How can readers find us if we aren’t figuratively twirling buy here signs on a sidewalk or walk up to people and pop open a trench coat to talk about all the good stuff we have to sell. (Yes, I watch way too many old TV shows) And I admit, I sucked at both aspects. Social media can be draining. It can be like shouting into the void. But the alternative of not shouting… well that is somehow worse.

My friends and I were chatting over the best ways to get eyes on our work. To KU or not to KU? Try Amazon or Bookbub ads? Offer a freebie or a $0.99 deal? Which marketing sites to use low cost, mid, or high? 

There are so many options and the mileage can very so greatly that it’s hard to really get a read on what works. Be consistent they say. Which this year I’ve been better* at. I set aside an admin day where I scheduled out social media posts for the week. Now, I admittedly am terrible with tracking data, but in my faulty memory, I can’t say that my results have been any better than when I wasn’t hocking my wares on the timeline. 

Bookbub deals are the golden goose they say. I’ve had 2 and while yes, the $0.99 books sold decently (though didn’t make the investment back), I didn’t have much buy through even though it was a connected series.

I’ve taken Bryan Cohen’s Amazon ad class (free one) more than once, applied what I learned and yet those also seemed to have little to no effect. Facebook ads are frustrating and I gave up on them. And the Bookbub ads, well I have only tried once so hard to say there. 

The point of my ramblings is, while I know nothing is a magic pill, would it be too much to ask for something to simply work, just a little bit? Because these days I’m feeling like nothing makes a difference. I post, I don’t post. I run ads, I don’t run ads. No matter what, my income hovers around the same low end it always has and it’s frustrating. I don’t need to get rich, but breaking even would be nice. 

When I think about the books I produced last year and know that I’m still in the red for those production costs. When I think about the audiobook I had produced two years ago which also remains in the red. It’s hella discouraging. Especially when I am putting forth a genuine effort into the marketing of my books.

There is a lot about this writing business that is discouraging. Everyday I’m asking why I bother, yet everyday I continue to bother with it. I’m not sure what that says about me. Maybe I’m an undercover masochist. 

Case in point, I heard back from Carina where I’d sent my proposal. They passed on the manuscript and what did I do? I immediately went into thoughts about the steps I needed to take to go more in the red to produce this new story as an indie. LOL Masochist indeed. 

That’s all the woe-is-me for today. 

Until next time,

~Meka

The awesome co-hosts for the September 7 posting of the IWSG are Kim Lajevardi, Cathrina Constantine, Natalie Aguirre, Olga Godim, Michelle Wallace, and Louise – Fundy Blue!

11 thoughts on “IWSG – Marketing Mysteries

  1. M.J. Fifield says:

    My local writing community is constantly talking about marketing woes. There’s so much trial and error and trying to catch lightning in a bottle and all the things involved in it. I agree with Michelle—a person really does need nerves of steel to navigate this industry.

    A couple of my writer friends have had some success with a site called Freebooksy (.com). They report a noticeable boost in reviews and sales. I don’t know anything about it, but maybe it’s something to look into?

    Best of luck to you!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Meka James says:

      It’s certainly a major concern these days. I have heard of Freebooksy, I’ve had friends that have used it before. I haven’t tried it because I usually only do 0.99 when I do a sale instead of freebies so I’ve used their partner side Bargain booksy when I had a Bookbub deal. It got me a few sales. Trying to find the magic egg that will help with sustainable growth is the great challenge.

      thanks for stopping by

      Like

  2. Damyanti Biswas says:

    Ugh! I totally understand your frustration. I had just written about it in my blog a few days ago. To be honest it’s tiring to think about marketing sometimes when all you want to do is write.

    Liked by 1 person

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