Since I first stepped into indie authorship, advice has poured into my mailbox that I must blog. And recently suggestions are piling up telling me to blog about anything other than my books. Blog about cooking or recipes or crystals or knitting… And once foodies, new age aficionados or knitters are following my blog, they might also notice I write romance novels and buy one. HUH?
Not to put too fine a point on it, but those folks who are telling me and you how to generate sales by blogging off-topic are
NOT Madison Avenue Ad Agencies. Notice when Sears wants to sell you a washing machine, it talks about the thing. The ad does not hint around by telling you the store is air-conditioned, or on the way to the washing machines you’re gonna pass the shoe department. What about Every Kiss begins with Kay. Great tag line…Kay Jewelers has been using it for 40 years at least. Those ads are calls to action and they don’t beat around the bush. When I promote my books, those promotions are calls to action…I want readers or folks interested in romance to pop on over to Amazon and download one of my books.
We indies are also told we must build a platform and build a relationship with readers.
Dang! Everytime I hear “platform” I think of a diving board. Who the heck thinks up this stuff? Here is my relationship with readers: I write books that entertain. That’s my job. If a reader enjoys it, posts a review and said she did so–or not, I’m done. If a reader messages me with a kind word, I say thank you. I appreciate beyond measure every reader who takes moment out of his or her busy life to message or email me. All are answered. Plus, I often Amazon gift the fan with another of my books. The reader goes on with her life and I get on with writing and my life. Moreover, I give away thousands of units to introduce my work to readers. I pay $$ for those promo slots. That is enough. I ain’t inviting a reader who lives in Oregon to Texas for coffee or a bar-b-cue. I will chat with a reader at a book signing. Happy to meet and greet–whether she buys a book or not.
Here is what I have learned:
The only thing that sells ebooks is smart promotion.
Networking helps. When any member of eNovel has a book in promotion, we get behind it and spread the word. But if an ebook is not put in front of readers and subscribers to newsletters, it ain’t gonna sell. Yes, there are indies who started early in the Kindle era who have 6,000 followers on Facebook, 35,000 followers on a webpage or blog. Guess what? Those followers are not active every day or even every week. No ma’am. Yes, groups of authors get together and publish their fav recipes. Those are giveaways and all have hopeful calls to action. I enjoy those recipes, but they don’t make me want to buy a book. They make me hungry and I head to the kitchen and start cooking….Just sayin’…
Here is another thing I’ve noticed…
Many of eNovel members participate in interviews…and seldom will followers of the host blog read or comment or share the post. A dozen of us will pop over and comment and share…but the blogger’s folks/followers are often absent–not interested. And many blogs don’t have any reach. No Alexa ranking and perhaps only 3 sites linking in. Sitting for an interview feels good, a lovely ego hype. I enjoy reading them. But they don’t sell a raft of books. Moreover, few of those interviews are calls to action–of any kind.
Now, this is a blog. Subject is blogging and indie authorship. I’m sharing my opinion and perhaps clueing you in. I’m giving myself permission to blog when I have something to say and when I don’t, I won’t. When I want to sell books, I’m gonna promote ’em. That is my call to action.
I’m Jackie Weger, Founder of eNovel Authors at Work. Comments welcome and do take a moment to scan our Author Pages for a fantastic array of books. I never like to sign off without encouraging indie authors to add this gentle gem of a plea right after THE END of your books:
Thank you for taking the time to read [title]. If you enjoyed it, please consider telling your friends or posting a short review. Word of mouth is an author’s best friend and much appreciated. Thank you. [author name].
Yes, it works. Readers have now posted above 14,000 reviews on eNovel Authors at Work member books. To name just a few: A Dead Red Cadillac: 717 reviews. The House on Persimmon Road: 574 Reviews. Mazie Baby: 404 Reviews. The list goes on…but each has that gentle review plea. Just keep in mind, we are not entitled to reviews. Read this terrific Blog by TOP 1000 Amazon Reviewer, Julie Whiteley. That is another Call to Action.