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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

 

 

30

 

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

 

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review 2017-11-11 22:17
Excellent historical perspective on the genre
The Tale Of Terror: A Study Of The Gothic Fiction - Edith Birkhead

Disclosure:  I acquired a free Kindle edition of this public domain work.

 

Although a bit dry at times, Edith Birkhead's 1921 study of gothic fiction is still a valuable resource for anyone wishing to understand the evolution of the genre.  Her insights remain relevant even a century (almost) later.

 

She starts with Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto and moves forward into the novels of Mrs. Radcliffe, Matthew "Monk" Lewis, and others at the end of the eighteenth century.  The connections she makes between the authors and the books they read as well as the books they wrote was interesting.  Too often, literary analysts seem to assume the books write themselves and evolve one after the other without human intervention.

 

Many of the books and authors cited have of course been classics for a very long time, but others are less well known and less available even in this age of digitization.  It's going to be fun tracking down some of these unfamiliar titles.

 

One aspect I found particularly interesting, and again given that this was written nearly a hundred years ago, was that Ms. Birkhead recognized the integration of aspects of the gothic story into other genres of fiction, whether bringing elements of the supernatural into the mundane setting such as The Picture of Dorian Grey, or allowing natural fear and terror to heighten the reader's excitement and interest, as in The Prisoner of Zenda.

 

The edition I obtained is complete with footnotes and index, which will be very useful.

 

Recommended.

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text 2017-10-30 00:55
Reading progress update: I've read 53%. or When Technology hiccups and gives us a chuckle
The Tale Of Terror: A Study Of The Gothic Fiction - Edith Birkhead

Many of these public domain works have been republished using OCR scanners, which occasionally misread things.  There are supposed to be proofreaders, but I guess they aren't perfect, either.  I wouldn't have caught this one if I weren't simultaneously reading Northanger Abbey.

 

Nor is Catherine aided in her career by those "improbable events," so dear to romance, that serve to introduce a hero—a robber's attack, a tempest, or a carriage accident. With a sly glance at such dangerous characters as Lady Greystock in The Children of the Abbey (1798), Miss Austen creates the inert, but good-natured Mrs. Alien as Catherine's chaperone in Bath:

 

"It is now expedient to give some description of Mrs. Alien that the reader may be able to judge in what manner her actions will hereafter tend to promote the general distress of the work and how she will probably contribute to reduce poor Catherine to all the desperate wretchedness of which a last volume is capable, whether by her imprudence, vulgarity or jealousy—whether by intercepting her letters, ruining her character or turning her out of doors."

Birkhead, Edith. The Tale of Terror A Study of the Gothic Romance (p. 74). Kindle Edition.

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text 2017-10-29 21:44
Reading progress update: I've read 44%.
The Tale Of Terror: A Study Of The Gothic Fiction - Edith Birkhead

Godwin's peculiar interest was in criminal psychology, and he concentrates on the dramatic conflict between the murderer and the detective. An unusual turn is given to the story by the fact that the criminal is the pursuer instead of the pursued. Godwin intended later in life to write a romance based on the story of Eugene Aram, the philosophical murderer; and his careful notes on the scheme are said to have been utilised by his friend, Bulwer Lytton, in his novel of that name.[80] Caleb Williams helped to popularise the criminal in fiction, and Paul Clifford, the story of the chivalrous highwayman, is one of its literary descendants.

 

Birkhead, Edith. The Tale of Terror A Study of the Gothic Romance (p. 63). Kindle Edition.

 

"Godwin" here is William Godwin, who married Mary Wollstonecraft.  Their daughter, Mary Godwin, married Percy Bysshe Shelley.

 

Bulwer Lytton's novel Paul Clifford is famous -- or infamous -- for its opening line:

 

It was a dark and stormy night. . . . .

 

 

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text 2017-10-29 17:14
Reading progress update: I've read 40%.
The Tale Of Terror: A Study Of The Gothic Fiction - Edith Birkhead

One thing that's annoying me about this book is that the author often doesn't fully identify the authors of the works she's analyzing.  She only references them by last name.

 

What surprises me, however, is that many of them aren't even available through Project Gutenberg. 

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