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text 2017-12-09 07:20
Book launch case study results

 So what works when it comes to marketing your self-published book?

 

Nothing.

 

Well, maybe that's being overly cynical. You may find some things work infinitesimally, but let me assure you there is no book marketing "silver bullet". At least that's been my experience over the past seven years with my eight novels and two plays.

 

But, hey, I'm ever the optimistic (what's the alternative?) and so when I received a promotional email (no personalized salutation) from an indie author saying she noticed I’d reviewed a book similar to one she had just written and if she sent me a free e-pub edition would I be interested in reviewing hers, I was curious as to know how she culled my email address from the millions on Amazon.

 

So I agreed to review her book on the condition she tell me how she got my email address and any other tips she might have on marketing. She responded favourably and was very forthcoming.

 

This all transpired in early October 2017  and I wrote a blog (see my previous blog entitled Book Launch Case Study) about what she had undertaken to produce and market her novel on October 18th.

 

As promised I read and reviewed her novel and rated it two stars. It was classically amateur. As well as posting the review I sent her a long, constructive (at least I thought it was) email with suggestions on improving the book and her overall writing.

 

She sent a terse reply saying I clearly did not enjoy the genre and her book obviously was not for me.

 

Fair enough.

 

So I thought I would wait and see if the money she spent on marketing would increase the popularity of what I considered a bad book.

 

Her book was published Sept. 27, 2017 and here's what she'd done and spent up to the point of sending it to me:

- To produce her book she hired two beta readers at $50 each and got a book cover artist from her writers’ group to design her cover for $65. No editor was needed she said as she just happened to be one herself.

- She purchased a Book Review Targeter app for $200 (that's how she got my email address).

- She uploaded the culled emails into Group Mailer and had "about forty-five people agree to read and review a free version of the book and an additional twenty who declined the free copy and purchased the book to review it.”

That's 65 people who agreed to review her book. Keep that number in mind.

In addition, she said she had another three or four lists (from additional similar books) she had yet process.

- At the end of October she was running a 99¢ campaign for the e-book edition for two days on Amazon and one-day free book promotions on Pretty-Hot Books and Discountbookman, spending ten dollars for a featured promotion on bookreadermagazine and running a giveaway on Goodreads.

- Let's not forget her friends, colleagues and clients whom she apparently had no problem asking to buy and review her book. She also asked writers in her writers’ groups to share information about her book on their Facebook pages and had started looking for blogs to ask bloggers to mention it.

 

All this cost her $375, and, I might think a bit of personal integrity and perhaps even a friend or two. But who isn't prepared to sacrifice their integrity, friends and even money if it means hitting the Amazon Best Seller list?

 

In the 71 days since her book was released she's had 7 customer reviews on Amazon with an average 4 star rating. Her book is currently ranked 3,359,000 on Amazon.

 

So what's the take away from this book launch case study?

 

  1. - Promises are not reviews or sales (remember those 65 people who promised to review her book, buy her book, or both) they're just promises.
  2. - Offering your book free or for 99¢ does not generate reviews or sales.
  3. - Since her family, friends, professional colleagues and clients didn't step up and review her book maybe you shouldn't go there. Relationships are more important than a book review and you really never know how much harm you're doing. Think of the friend who got involved in that multi-level marketing scheme - do you really want to be like him?

 

Am I happy she fell flat on her face? No. Am I vindicated that her efforts fell miles short of what I imagine her expectations were? No (well, maybe a little).

 

Mostly I hope she's gained some knowledge, maybe a bit of humility and carries on, but with emphasis on improving her craft rather than her marketing schemes. Maybe even get that email I sent out of the deleted file and take a look at what I suggested.

 

And always remember what Nietzsche said, "Art is the proper task in life."

 

And that would be whether it sells or not.

 

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs

 

 

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Author Amazon Page  https:www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

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text 2017-09-22 14:37
Book Launch: Antologia de Poesia Contemporânea "Entre o Sono e o Sonho", Vol. VIII by Gonçalo Martins

 

For the first time I see one of my poems chosen and published in the VIII Anthology of Contemporary Portuguese Poetry "Between Sleep and Dream". 

 

 

If you're into Poetry, read on.

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text 2016-12-06 07:10
# 7 The LOCAL RAG. Putting everything I know into a book launch and achieving nothing
The Local Rag - Rod Raglin

 

How I came to write my seventh novel, The LOCAL RAG.

Plus book launch advice - what doesn't work

 

The LOCAL RAG was my first go at fiction - a long, long time ago.

 

At the time I was full of hubris and upon completion quickly sent it to a local publisher. I don't even remember revising it.

 

It just so happened it landed on the desk of an editor who recognized my name as the publisher and editor of five community newspapers and an aspiring politico. Rather than shred it she took the time to line edit the first chapter. Suffice to say there was so much "blue pencil" it obscured the original manuscript.

 

I quickly hid this embarrassment in the back of my filing cabinet and would have forgot about it except for her comment that "there's a good story in here somewhere". I thought so too, all I needed to do was learn how to write it.

 

With the demise of so many reputable media outlets and the rise of just as many disreputable ones I had been thinking about writing a novel with a media theme. I wanted to investigate "citizen journalism", the influence of social media, and digital technology on my profession. Why not have a protagonist, a publisher and a journalist, who is struggling to keep his professional integrity while confronted with technological and financial challenges.

 

Hey, that's what The LOCAL RAG is about, and maybe I now know enough about the craft that I can write it.

 

I dug it out, sucked it up, and read it.

 

Wow, was it bad. But, as the editor had said, there indeed was a story in there and it was the one I wanted to tell.

 

It's quite interesting that as you become a better writer you write simpler. New writers and bad writers use way too many words. I cut about forty percent of the novel and then set about layering in characterization, motivation and honing the plot line. I also needed to bring it up to date technologically and to do that researched successful online newspaper models.

 

It was fun, it was exciting and a side benefit was that I learned how to put the last of the community newspapers I still publish online.

 

Here's the gist of it:

 

Do you believe everything you read in the newspapers?

 

Jim Mitchell doesn't.

 

He's a journalist and the publisher and editor of a community newspaper, The Sentinel.

 

He gave up a career with big media because he couldn't justify their choice of what to cover, couldn't tolerate the way they edited his stories and would not be implicit in misleading the public to benefit some hidden corporate agenda.

 

When he bought The Sentinel he thought all that would end. Being owner of "the local rag" he could select the stories, edit the copy and make sure the interests of the community were served.

 

He would print the truth - no slant, no bias, no spin, and he'd make a living doing it.

 

He was wrong.

 

Right from the beginning Jim's brand of reportage rankles some powerful people, people who pay his bills. Then there's the new competitor, a multinational media conglomerate that's expanding its generic community newspaper format into The Sentinel's market area.

 

Soon it's a struggle for The Sentinel to make a profit and for Jim to keep true to his uncompromising ethic.

 

When his best friend, Anthony Bravaro decides to run for mayor Jim's hopeful he'll be an honest politician.

 

Hope turns to dismay as Jim watches the quest for power turn a good man bad. Tony's campaign tests Jim's professional objectivity and personal integrity.

 

When Jim confronts his friend with damaging information that could end his run for public office he finds out how far Tony's prepared to go to win the mayor's seat - farther than he could ever have imagined.

 

 

This being my seventh novel I tried everything the so-called experts insist makes for a successful book launch.

 

Beginning in October, The LOCAL RAG was available for pre-order and entered in KindleScout, where readers could nominate it. I did a direct mail campaign with a free e-book advanced reading copy attached to over two hundred people who had expressed interest in my work. I ran giveaways on Goodreads, BookLikes and LibraryThing and enrolled in Amazon's KindleSelect so I could take advantage of their five days where The LOCAL RAG is available free.

 

I promoted all this on Twitter and Facebook and sent two follow-up messages to my email list.

 

So far I've given away about four hundred e-book editions and the net result has been one sale - I think ( I find Amazon's royalty reports are challenging to understand) and four reviews - all flattering mind you, but disappointing just the same.

 

I'm here to tell you despite what the book marketing, book launch scammers tell you none of their sure-fire techniques and gimmicks has worked (yet) - at least for me. The only up side, if you can call it that, is I've been able to do all this marketing on my own so it hasn't cost me anything.

 

I have two more Amazon free days left and am currently in the process of sending out e-books and two paperbacks to winners of my giveaways so there still could be a review or two trickle in from that - not like it will make a difference.

 

Even for a guy who loves to write this is getting a bit (?) frustrating.

 

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs

 

30

 

Reviews for The LOCAL RAG can be read at

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

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text 2016-11-02 04:03
The launch of The Local Rag
The Local Rag - Rod Raglin

This is my seventh novel, you'd think I should know something about launching one by now. Right?

 

Because I write this blog and facilitate creative writing circles I continue to read books and participate in webinars on book marketing hoping there'll be something new I can pass on.

 

There isn't.

 

There's stats, graphs, media mixes and the occasional ridiculous suggestions like:

- include the title of all your books in the header photo of your various social media sites, and

- post photos of five covers of your books on your Facebook opening page - bottom left column below your intro.

As if this preaching to the converted (since they're already on your site) will make a difference.

 

Currently, the Holy Grail of social media marketeers is "the e-mail list".

 

Building the email list should be the primary objective of authors and this is done through giveaways, signups for your newsletter and any other way you can get a person to divulge their email address.

 

Then, if done right - right timing, content and frequency, these lists can apparently be mined for gold.

 

Without exception these social media marketeers, authors and webinar presenters all have their own marketing company and will be happy to further enlighten you with an online course or program (for a fee).

 

Armed with the experience of six previous launches and now buoyed with all this new(?) marketing information I set forth on October 1, 2016 to launch my seventh novel, The LOCAL RAG.

 

The first thing I did was to enroll my book in Kindle Scout, Amazon's "reader-powered publishing for new, never-before-published books. It’s a place where readers help decide if a book gets published. Selected books will be published by Kindle Press and receive 5-year renewable terms, a $1,500 advance, 50% eBook royalty rate, easy rights reversions and featured Amazon marketing."

 

https://kindlescout.amazon.com

 

There's a forty-five day exclusive agreement stating you're not selling your book while it's part of the contest.

 

In essence this is an electronic slush pile, but it's free and easy though it provides little indication if your book is popular since, like most internet polls, it can be easily skewed by nominees who rabidly recruit votes from everyone they've ever come in contact with.

Then I sent an email with a free Advance Reading Copy e-book.

 

For the first time I used MailChimp. They offer a free service for lists less than two thousand subscribers. I have two hundred and thirty-five emails from people who at one time or another expressed and interest in my writing. MailChimp is worth investigating and certainly beats sending individual emails.

 

https://www.mailchimp.com

 

I enrolled the e-book edition of The LOCAL RAG in Kindle Select. For a ninety day exclusive Kindle Select offers me greater royalties, wider distribution, participation in Kindle Owner's Lending Library and the opportunity to offer my book free on Amazon for five days during that period. I chose five individual free days more or less spaced equally apart.

I've used this program for some launches and not for others. The results have been the same - zero.

 

https://kdp.amazon.com/select?ref_=kdp_BS_TN_se

 

By the end of the month I had sent out two follow-up emails urging people to vote for The LOCAL RAG on Kindle Scout and read and review my book.

 

Once the Kindle Scout promotion had expired (results pending but not holding my breath) I scheduled a giveaway from November 7th to December 4th on Goodreads for two paperback books, and here and LibraryThing for the same duration for one hundred ebooks each.

 

https://www.goodreads.com/

https://www.librarything.com/

 

I set up a pre-order on Smashwords for January 7, 2017, ninety days out and once my commitment to Kindle Select is over. I'll likely offer it for free for a couple of weeks just for exposure. Smashwords is another non-starter, but what the hell.

 

https://www.smashwords.com/

 

I've joined four Goodreads groups and will endeavor to engage in meaningful and civil discussions during the next three months as well. Social media gurus insist joining and participating in online groups will increase sales - at least indirectly. This by far is the most difficult and time consuming part of the launch.

 

My goal is to get at least ten reviews and sell at least fifty books within six months of the launch.

 

With about one month down I've so far received three reviews (all five stars) and no sales.

 

I'll keep you posted.

 

Stay calm, be brave watch for the signs.

 

30

 

 

Find reviews, blurbs and buy links to my seven novels and two plays at

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

Facebook for writing news, my experience as a writer as well as promotions, contests, giveaways and discounts regarding his books

https://www.facebook.com/Rod-Raglin-337865049886964/

 

 

Video book reviews of self-published authors now at

Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Video Book Reviews:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH45n8K4BVmT248LBTpfARQ

 

Cover Art of books by self-published authors at

https://www.pinterest.com/rod_raglin/rod-raglins-reviews-cover-art/

 

More of my original photographs can be viewed, purchased, and shipped to you as GREETING CARDS; matted, laminated, mounted, framed, or canvas PRINTS; and POSTERS. Go to: http://www.redbubble.com/people/rodraglin

 

View my flickr photostream at https://www.flickr.com/photos/78791029@N04/

 

Or, My YouTube channel if you prefer photo videos accompanied by classical music

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsQVBxJZ7eXkvZmxCm2wRYA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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text 2016-09-09 07:43
Can you do the same thing and expect a different result? Maybe.

I once had a friend (yes, I did) who was just recovering from his second divorce. Given the emotional (two kids with each wife) and financial (dividing of community assets) devastation I asked him what he would do differently in a new relationship?

 

My understanding is if we do everything the same how can we expect a different result?

 

I ask myself this question as I'm in the process of launching my seventh novel.

 

You could say, start by writing a better book (ouch) and you'd be right. But that's kind of like my friend saying he'd find a better partner, which he actually said and did - though I'm not sure if she's better.

 

My novels are far from being perfect, but - and I hope I don't sound too delusional, egotistical or like everyone else who has written back-to-back-to-back flops - they're at least as good as some books that have had way, way more success (sales) than mine.

 

And my books aren't alone. In my reviewing the books of new self-published authors (Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Book Reviews https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH45n8K4BVmT248LBTpfARQ) I find about twenty percent have written remarkable books and yet they have zero success.

 

So enough talk about failure (and justifying it), the question is what to do different with the launch of The Local Rag, so it has more success than the others have achieved so far?

 

At the time of writing this I have 394 followers on BookLikes, 39 on Twitter, 13 on Goodreads and 61 subscribers to my blog. Some are actually people. I've been told by the experts if I want your support I need to interact with you, build a relationship, give if I want to get.

 

Okay. This is tough for someone as misanthropic as I am, but here's what I'll do. If you comment on something I've posted I'll respond. Will I "like", "friend" or "follow" you? Let's go slow, one step at a time, this is, after all, is a new relationship.

 

I've listened in on some webinar's on marketing and have tweaked my social media sites adding my Amazon Author Page link to my profile and a list of my books and plays on my Twitter header photo (like this will make a difference).

 

The most interesting thing I learned was from Chris Syme of Smart Marketing for Authors https://cksyme.com/ when she presented a graph showing the Funnel Influence By Network broken down into which social media sites performed best when it came to Introduction, Awareness, Purchase Point Conversion and One Touch Purchase.

 

Of course, she could have just told the listeners which sites sell more books but apparently obfuscation is the key when it comes to good marketing or at least the presentation of if.

 

Anyhow, according to this graph you're just not happening unless you have a Facebook presence.

 

I stopped using Facebook about seven years ago when my wife asked me if I was interested in any of the people I had "friended". I said no. She said, "Then why do you think they're interested in you?"

 

Most recently a young acquaintance with over five hundred "Facebook friends" invited them all to her birthday party. The only people who came were a few of her immediate family.

 

Despite my moral misgivings and uncertainty about the effectiveness and authenticity of this social media site, I revisited it.

 

What I found is that I can link my Twitter feed to my Facebook page so I won't have to double post (probably I'm the only one who didn't know this). That was encouraging.

 

So here's what I've resolved. I now have a Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100013287676486 where you can view all my tweets and some more stuff on writing, community development and the environment. I'm not "friending" anyone because I think it's dishonest to pretend to be interested in someone when you're not. However, you can still "follow" me and get some good information from my timeline.

 

My problem is I have this integrity thing - it's a proving to be a real liability

Writing is my one true thing and I won't sully it with chicanery and deceit.

 

So all this time (and words) you've been wondering about my twice divorced friend, did he do anything different?

 

No, but here's the thing - even though his third wife (unbelievable, I know) is very similar to his previous two, his circumstances have changed and so their relationship appears successful (so far).

 

Does that just negate everything I said?

 

What do you think?

 

Stay clam, be brave, watch for the signs

 

 

Facebook link https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100013287676486

 

Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Books Reviews link

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH45n8K4BVmT248LBTpfARQ

 

Amazon Author Page link http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

 

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