The bottom line for any working writer is whether or not they are making any money from their writing. While there are many types of writing one can make a living from, we will focus here on eBooks, either fiction or non-fiction. The basic process is the same for both but some things work better for one than the other. The first thing you need is an eBook. This eBook must be the best you can write. I know there is a plethora of pap out there pretending to be worth reading and many think all eBooks are in this category, but we both know this is not the case. The traditionalists, those that like to see forests denuded and turned into books, often claim that eBooks are rubbish, not worth reading and have lowered the tone etc. Far from it. They have opened the floodgates to allow many otherwise never to be read writers the chance to get into print. Even if it is electronically.
So write the best book you can and get a good, second pair of eyes to proof and edit it. If you have critical friends, other writers you can trust, have them read it and offer their criticism. Criticism properly done is always constructive and helpful, even if it is not flattering. It is the skill of the critical friends that allows them, like a diplomat, to tell the writer to go to hell and they actually look forward to the journey. Once the book is the best it can be, format it properly. I use Smashwords.com because they do a great job in all major formats and then distribute as well. There are other sites,like CreateSpace.com and of course Lulu.com also does eBooks as well as hard copy editions. These sites also offer marketing packages and you can investigate these if you have the several hundreds of dollars they usually cost. I prefer to use that budget directly, in other words I don’t have the money to spend in the first place.
You should have a domain name and web site in the name of the book you are promoting. One for each book is preferable. I have www.twentysevenseventy.info for my latest novel. It doesn’t have to be a dot com nowadays, a dot info is cheaper to buy and just as effective overall. If you are Australian, don’t waste the $70 or more on a dot com dot au, sell around the world for a few dollars for a dot info! I also have web sites for each of my StreetWise Philippines titles as well as sites covering Philippines related topics that also have ads and links to the books. Plus they are for sale at Smashwords.com, Lulu.com, Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com, iTunes.com and several other places (all thanks mostly to Smashwords distributing them for me). I do have an Amazon.com account for Kindle sales and there is so much I could be doing on the Amazon site to promote these books but so far I have not gotten around to it. Getting involved in the forums and bulletin boards is a good way to start and costs nothing but your time and bandwidth.
Social networking is the key, if you believe what John Locke has to say about it in his eBook “How To Sell 1 Million Books On Kindle” which I bought and read. I am not into the heavy handed American style of carpet bombing people into submission with multiple Tweets and tons of Facebook posts but it worked for John. Good on him. No doubt when he hit the million seller mark and released his How To book, that nudged him closer to the 2 million mark. Keep in mind he was well off before he started to write and he has a decent budget for each book to spend on editing and formatting and cover design. Which goes to prove that if you are serious then you need to get serious and that means you have to invest money to make it. If you don’t have that seed money, then read on.
I found that Tweeting a dozen times a day about my book only attracted other authors Tweeting a dozen times a day about theirs. The reason for this is that I followed and was followed by other writers, all with a book to push. You need a platform, as I have mentioned before. You need an audience to Tweet to. Other writers is not it unless the book is a How To Make Money Writing book and there are a ton of those out there already. I found with Hilda Hopkins that her being a machine knitting serial killer gave us a ready made platform; machine knitters, not serial killers. Sales were ok for a while but then we managed to get some publicity on a well respected knitting web site and we got huge hits that very day! I tried to follow knitters via Twitter for a while but as I didn’t know enough about knitting it was not long before I couldn’t keep up with the exchanges. But then I am the publisher, not the author. She can keep up with the technical details and does. She now has a Facebook page we need to do far more with and really get serious about pushing Hilda Hopkins.
Consider doing a YouTube clip. You can do it with a Powerpoint series of slides, then do the back ground music and use iMovie to make it into a movie (on a Mac it is easy, not sure about PCs and Windows). They used to take off your clip if you used music without permission but now they offer to let people buy the music and make their money that way. Anyway, you can always use classical music I guess. Have a look at the promotional videos on YouTube and get some ideas. Again, like John Locke’s covers, the professionally put together ones stand out and cost money but they do work and increase sales.
2012 is the year of promotions for StreetWise Publications. I have one novel being written which will be out later in 2012, but the focus will be on the inventory already in print. My backlist so to speak. All efforts will be focused on selling these books. I will document what I do and what the results are and report back. I plan to make sure all titles have a domain name and web site, as well as cross linking. Lots of reviews and articles and links etc. Plus I will get into social networking and also look at YouTube clips, maybe do a deal with some visual arts students or something. Meanwhile, write the best book you can, then get out there and sell it!