1. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    An Experiment in Non-Promotion

    Discussion in 'Self-Publishing' started by BayView, Nov 22, 2015.

    Okay, I admit it - this is mostly because I hate doing promo. But I'm also curious...

    I've decided not to do any "active" promotion for my newest book, which I'm self-publishing. It's the first book in a series, so a slow-build wouldn't really be a problem (since there will be later books to boost its sales) and it's something I've been wondering about - just how effective is all the self-promotion authors are told to do?

    So for this book - I'll do my standard "announcement" type promo on my own social media platforms (none of which is very big). And I'll respond to anyone who contacts me, bloggers asking for review copies or requesting interviews or whatever. But I won't send out requests for reviews, won't pay for any advertising, won't do a blog tour or whatever else.

    I'm reasonably established in my sub-genre, so the results of this experiment won't really apply to people who are just starting out. But it'll definitely be interesting for me, and I've already heard from a few other authors who want to know how it goes.

    So if anyone is interested... I'll report back as results come in.

    I've set a release date of December 15, so that's when I'll begin to see how things go.
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I'm interested. :)
     
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  3. MustWrite
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    MustWrite Member

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    Out of interest, what does your 'normal' promotion plan for a new book/movie look like, and particularly, what did your first ever book promotion look like?
     
  4. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    All I can say is that I don't do any promotion and it seems to be a hit and miss affair. This year The Arcanist went to number six on the fantasy list (blew GRRM off the map for two weeks!) and The Stars Betrayed bombed.

    But in answer to your question - how effective promotion is - no one knows. Again it's hit and miss. If you go to kindleboards and check out all the preachy posts about how they did this or that with prices and promotion you'll see that the results are hardly ever replicated. What works for one author, one genre, one book and one release, doesn't work for another.

    For me I'd rather spend my efforts and money on covers and writing new books.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  5. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I mostly publish through publishers, so I just follow their plans. There are usually blog tours and a few ads and interviews, and of course they put the book on Netgalley for review and send out notices or whatever to the big reviewers.

    The last time I self-published, I sent a lot of e-mails to bloggers and reviewers, and did a lot of guest posts and interviews in return, and sent out quite a few review copies. I think I paid for a few ads, too.
     
  6. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Progress update #1 - I put the book up for pre-order yesterday on Amazon, and at least a few copies have been bought - it's currently at about 62 000 rank. Which had damn well better get higher :meh:, but is at least a sign that some people are aware it exists...
     
  7. MustWrite
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    MustWrite Member

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    Thanks, Greg. I guess at the moment I will keep concentrating on polishing my story up to the best quality I'm capable of. If a book is really good, whether it is helped along by publicity or not, I think word of mouth is still the greatest tool there is. If my book is no good all the promotion in the world won't make it so.
     
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  8. MustWrite
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    MustWrite Member

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    @BayView thanks for sharing and I hope your experiment works out for you!
     
  9. RikWriter
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    RikWriter Member

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    I've never done any of the sort of promotion you're avoiding. I make a policy of not throwing money at my books since they are already a poor monetary return for the time I put into them.
     
  10. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    But what if spending some money on promotion is the trick that allows you to make sales at a level that WOULD be a good return on your time investment?

    (These are the questions that make me wonder...)
     
  11. RikWriter
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    RikWriter Member

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    Shrug. I've sold enough books doing it this way that I am not feeling like I want to drop a bunch of money on a maybe.
     
  12. Sack-a-Doo!
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    I'll be following your progress as well. I've often wondered how much promotion really helps if it isn't for a major name released by a large publisher.
     
  13. locoza
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    locoza Member

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    Well, hmm it makes sense of course, but the way you are doing promotion, where, who is the audience and what - that must make up a good interesting campaign, than it can of course be helpful and etnertaining and a blessing for those who need it.
     
  14. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    So, book released this morning. There were some pre-release sales, but not that many, and now that it's out?

    Not great. It's currently at 23 119 on Amazon.com - I don't self-publish much, but my publisher-published books usually make it to the top 1K on their release day, at least briefly.

    So, so far - not a ringing endorsement for this approach. We'll see what the future brings...
     
  15. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I would think that non-promotion wouldn't have the kind of first day traffic that a publisher promo would have. If anything differs I would think that first day sales would be it. It may not be a sign of sales to come.
     
  16. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, I think that's totally valid. There's been no push for this - it'll sink or swim based on word-of-mouth, and that takes time to happen.

    And it's hard to ever have a really "scientific" experiment with novels - hard to have a control group, when each book is so distinctive. The early reviews for this one haven't been overwhelmingly positive, so maybe this book isn't going to have the same appeal other books of mine have had for some people. Who knows - early days, yet!
     
  17. Annihilation
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    Annihilation Active Member

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    Wow, whether or not your current book will sell, you are very fortunate to have done so well as a writer so far!

    I'm 25 and I'm still at the stage of deciding whether or not I want to self publish my novel. I'm currently the only one who knows it exists lol!

    But I'm sure your book will eventually get plenty of notice:)
     
  18. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Your reviews look good! :agreed:
     
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  19. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Word of mouth is the best kind of 'advertising', though it works best for an established individual. Or a really strong beginner. But overall it falls squarely on the work or service, as far as quality and craftsmanship. So for the OP they would not have much trouble once the ball gets rolling, mainly due to the fact they already have some form of recognition as an author. So in theory it will build up steam based upon how well the fan base for them decides the latest book is good or bad, and whether to recommend it or not. Not an easy route to take regardless of how well established you are. And not for those who lack patience.
     
  20. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    So, one week in - not great... about 200 copies sold on Amazon.com... I haven't checked all the other venues, but based on past experience I'm guessing maybe another 50 or so, total, from all the other Amazons and the other stores as well.

    My cover and formatting costs are covered, I guess. Editing was free/bartered, so I'm good there. But I'm certainly not setting the world on fire with this one!

    In general, my books often have an upswing after a week or so, once there's been a chance for word-of-mouth to do its thing. Reviews have been pretty good, although there really haven't been many of them...

    I don't know. It'll be interesting to see if things pick up when the second book in the series comes out.

    It's all just a game--but I want to win!
     
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  21. shlunka
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    shlunka Member

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    I find the only way to succeed while not promoting, is to be excessively prolific with your works. A single novel on Amazon might bring in a few purchases (only around 32 for my first one...), but each addition of a work will improve your chances of being discovered (and purchased). Also, if an individual enjoys one work, they may cast some cash to view another work of yours.
     
  22. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    Don't know about excessively prolific, but you do have to think of writing as a marathon not a sprint. One book is not enough.

    But also don't forget the basics. Good cover, good blurb and good story properly edited.

    There's also one other thing to remember in this digital age. Your book is out there for seventy plus years. That seventy years in which people can come across your book and go wow!

    My first book did very poorly, but my second book has had two seperate runs up the charts, and because of it my first book even nearly five years later still sells a handful a month.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  23. kateamedeo
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    kateamedeo Active Member

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    Hello! Was really interested in your post, as I am trying to self-publish as well. It's my first attempt at it, I found a website called Inkshares (it's called Schizophrenia, a horror/psychological thriller), so decided to give it a go there.

    I've never tried publishing anything previously, it's interesting how an author can build his audience without huge promotional campaigns.

    Will be following your progress on this post :) p.s. good luck!
     
  24. PaintingWriter
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    PaintingWriter New Member

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    Hi, I thought I'd break into your little conversation, because I had a few thoughts. I am relatively new to the forum, and I am still reading posts without responding to them, trying to get a feel for the place. I am self-published. The first book I ever wrote I wrote when I was twelve years old, but I threw away the manuscript and wrote it again when I was in my early twenties. My mother helped me pay for self-publishing three years ago. We had no extra money for advertising. However, I had a couple of books signings at my workplace and I sold some copies to my church. I told all my friends and family about it. I used social media, and I started a Word Press page. I bought fifty copies for the book signings and friends and family, and all of them are gone now. I didn't sell very many online. I felt obligated to give many of them as gifts. I sold a few copies to used book stores, for a fraction of what I paid for them - but they got on the bookshelves, and people have read me. I donated a copy to the public library near me. I had other material. I relinquished them to a free e-book website. I get no royalties for them, and they are now the website's property. But the point is that although I am not making big bucks for my writing, I feel very good about myself for being a good person. I call it my gift to my friends and family, and my contribution to the world.
     
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  25. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, that's a totally valid way to go. Expensive, but if you can afford it, it's great!

    For me, making a profit is important - no so much because I need the money (although I certainly like having it!) but because that's the challenge I've set for myself. But it sounds like you found a system that worked for you, so - good work!
     

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