I did it his way

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His way? All will be explained. . .

There’s nothing worse than people boasting about how brilliant their book promotion went but, in a spirit of trying to give hope to all those out there, like me, who are doing our best to sell our books in a tough market, this is an encouraging story – if it helped me, it can help you too.

I’ve published two books now and in middle of writing a third, plus I do another blog about the hero of my mystery series Jack Lockwood (http://jacklockwood.wordpress.com) Tip one for blogs (learnt the hard way): I’ve been doing these stories for quite a time, but I’ve discovered that the shorter they are the better.  No one wants to wade through long blogs.   Make it fun.  Make it unexpected. Make it short.

Thanks to reading David Perlmutter’s book MY WAY viewBook.at/MyWay , I decided to do a free 5 day promotion for my second book DOPELLGANGER, under the KDP scheme, who let you do a free promotion every few months.  David has had well deserved success with his excellent, highly readable  book WRONG PLACE WRONG TIME viewBook.at/WrongPlaceWron, and he knows a lot about book promotion, and he’s sharing his tips in MY WAY.  It’s packed with useful, helpful tips, some of which I knew, many I didn’t.  David’s book isn’t expensive, and it gives good straightforward common sense practical ideas that he’s leant the hard way. It doesn’t promise the moon, it simply tries to give you some help and some answers.

I thought what’s the point of a free promotion?  The point is, with any luck you might get good reviews (you might get bad ones too, but that’s always a risk).  And it’s nice to think of you r book being seen by many people, even if they never actually read it (I think some never even read it, or maybe just glance at the cover and forget about it).

But here’s the thing. The thing that I never expected.  AFTERSALES.  For some crazy reason, after the free promo ended I unexpectedly got lots and lots of sales in the first few days, and I’m still getting them.  Rather like kick starting a motor bike which takes a long time to catch, I have the feeling that the motor has actually started.  One, really sweet girl tweeted to say she’d started reading DOPELLGANGER at 8 o’clock the previous night and couldn’t stop till 4am, because she wanted  to know what happened.  She wrote a review, and another nice lady has done a fine review too within days.

I’ve been lucky enough to meet many kind people on twitter who, simply because they’re good and generous, have given me barrowloads of free advice about all kinds of things.  I’ve done my best to use it, and pay back wherever I can, even if it’s only in RTs and helping in a minor way with their promotions.

GIVING AWAY YOUR WORK.  The arguments against: You’ve spent hours and years on your book.  It’s your baby and it’s precious to you. If you don’t value your work yourself, no one else will, you’ll be underselling yourself. These are all the reasonable cogent arguments for refusing to charge nothing.

But here’s the reality.  Nobody cares about how long you took to write your book, or the effort it took you.  Everyone in the book-reading world is as busy as you are, fitting in reading with family life, work, hobbies, worrying about making ends meet etc.  They can read whatever they like at the touch of a button.  Whatever bores them gets put aside.  Whatever revolts them will be dropped.  Book readers want to pass their valuable time making friends with nice characters, being captivated by a puzzling idea, entering a mysterious world that’s exciting, entering a romance, having a laugh, getting turned on by erotica, lots of things, everything under the sun, in fact.  A writer once gave me some good advice: whatever your subject is, horror, crime, erotica, humour,  chick lit, sci fi, etc, make sure you give them a hit of what they want on every page.

The facts?  Unless you charge a lot for your book the difference between charging the price of a cup of coffee for your book or giving it away free means nothing.  What matters is the chance of putting your work in front of a new person, who wouldn’t otherwise have found you.

So if you are hesitating about a free promo, why not give it a go?  There’s really nothing to lose, and possibly plenty to gain. I charge 99c (77p) for my books, so unless I sell a great many, the money is notional anyway, my eventual aim is to try and establish my books and get some kind of a foothold, even eventually secure a publishing deal (although as we all know that’s a chance in a million).

I did it his way.

And I didn’t regret it.

http://amzn.to/16D3fwX

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14 thoughts on “I did it his way

  1. Brilliant post, Geoff, and bloody well done – I’m delighted it’s gone so well for you!

    I love, love, love the bit you put about ‘Here’s the reality – no-one cares how long it took you to write your book’. That paragraph is spot on, and a breath of fresh air after so much stuff you read about people being so terribly precious about their work – calling it ‘part of themselves’ and ‘my creation’ all that. You’ve hit the nail on the head – we write because we love doing it, and people read because they enjoy it, and if they stop enjoying it they stop reading. End of story. I might have to feature this bit in a future blog post – I will, of course, ask your permission first and give you full credit!

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      1. Hiya – just idly looking at my own ratings for yesterday (not the sales report) – and it looks like I sold an unremarkable 5 in the UK, so I bow to you in a “We are not worthy!!!” fashion – I looked at yours too, and they’re both still looking in a very healthy place!!
        I’m so pleased – the free promo breaks you out of the Twitter Writers Club trap, if done right, as you did!!!

        Re the bit I want to nick – I didn’t say it myself, though!!! Hey, what the hell,I shall nick some stuff off Douglas Kennedy and Kate Atkinson, and say, well, I’d thought of it it too!!! 😀 No, I want to put it in a future post for the UK Arts Directory series about Author Pitfalls, the one entitled ‘Delusions and Dream’ – I shall have to give Maria credit for the title, too!!! 🙂 I shall put something like “Author Geoffrey West had this to say after a successful free promotion”, plus link to books…!!! (Well, the chap who runs UKAD says the views for my posts go into the 1000s, as UKAD are on every single social networking site, so why not!)

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      2. Thanks again Terry. The UKAD looks interesting, I’ve joined them, look forward to your blogs, and delighted if I can get a mention. Congrats on the thing you won.

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  2. I am so thrilled to hear how well it all went for you (and is still!), Marvellous stuff! Fabulous too that reviews are already coming in. Well done Geoff! 🙂 X

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  3. Great post, Geoff. Very happy to see that the KDP free promo can still work. It has changed so much in the past 12 months and of course, more and more books are coming online all the time, so ever more competition, so your tale is heartening for many. Couldn’t have put it better myself – totally agree with Terry re your comment about no-one gives a stuff how long it takes one to write one’s book. Sometimes the truth hurts, but people need to know it! And yes, Dave’s book, My Way, which I, too, have read, is very succinct and helpful. In fact, I’m reading his Wrong Place Wrong Time at the minute. And, just so you know, I downloaded your book when it was free, but as it’s part of a series, so if I like it, I would be more than happy to pay for the others. Series in particular do well, so I’m told. Sooz

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  4. Nice post and you hit the nail on the head methinks. So glad that it’s working for you and that you’re seeing a return. Readers just want to read and don’t give a…..(fill in own expletive) about anything else except maybe looking out for the next one if they like the first.

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  5. This is so inspiring Geoff. I read Dave’s books as well which I thought was packed to the brim with great advice and your success is proof of that. Your novels are great (I know because I’ve read one and am about to embark upon the other) but your motor bike analogy is perfect you just needed the kick start. I feel so inspired by your amazing success I think I might give it another go myself. Well done you!

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    1. Lovely comments EL, I’m sure I’ve not sold as many as you have, just the surprise was the sudden sales I didn’t expect. Back to normal in a few days I’m sure. Will email you, sorry not replied to yr last

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  6. Thanks Geoff, it’s about a quarter done at the mo, seems like I don’t have enough hours in the day. Just started an ambulance blog, pop over and have a look, and that will take some time, especially trying to drag the memories out of my brain, a lot of which I really don’t want to remember!

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