Marketing sucks. Or at least, I do

"Sweet success" by michael kooiman - originally posted to Flickr as sweet success. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
Sweet success” by michael kooiman – originally posted to Flickr as sweet success. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Marketing sucks. I’m terrible at it. At least judging by how Becoming Jake is performing. I mean, the vast majority of the reviews and feedback I’ve been having is that this is a great book, a wonderful story. People love it. And yet, three weeks after its release it tumbled down on Amazon charts. It seats now at #55 in Gay Erotica, after having been #4 during its first week.

So, if this is a book with 4.4 stars out of 5 and people love it, why isn’t it selling more?

Is it the price? When I was trying to decide how to price it, I thought to myself that $3.49 wouldn’t be that expensive given that this is a fairly long story. I mean, some of the coffee options we have at our local shops are more expensive than this. So, I figured it was a good price. Right? Well, maybe. Maybe it’s too expensive for people to take the plunge given that I’m a new author. Maybe it’s a psychological barrier, because its three dollars something, not two dollars something. Is this it?

If it’s not the price I blame my marketing skills. Up until now, I’ve been promoting my books on Twitter and Facebook groups dedicated to erotica and Kindle. Maybe I should be doing more, although I’m not quite sure what exactly.

Maybe my expectations are off. This is still a book on the Amazon Top 100 list. But this means little if the revenue I get from it isn’t enough to keep me going. And please don’t get me wrong. I love writing, with a passion. Unfortunately, money is a necessity and passion along doesn’t pay the bills.

There’s one last option: the story isn’t that good. But I don’t believe it. Even if I was completely delusional about its quality, I have dozens of people raving about it, and at least one that reviewed Becoming Jake and said it was worthy of more than 5 stars.

I must be missing something but I don’t know what. I’m going to mope to that corner over there and write.

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12 thoughts on “Marketing sucks. Or at least, I do

  1. I don’t know much about marketing or sales, but my basic understanding revolves around making a choice between selling at a medium to high price at low volume or selling at a ridiculously low price at high volume (the App store model). No idea if that helps you but please come out of your corner?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Dear James,

    I think you may be using a measuring stick in centimeters, you damn Brit, and interpreting it in inches. What do I mean? I mean that all of your “reasons for failure” are set up against a myth instead of a reality.

    1…The reviewers say it’s great, so it must be great. Or conversely, the reviewers panned it, so it must be terrible. Bah, humbug! Reviewers represent a tiny fraction of our readers. And many (if not most) are our FB friends or Twitter followers, or a member of some biased “street team.” I think a writer needs to step back and measure the reviewers’ comments against the test of time. And even then, we need to take them with a huge grain of salt. Have you noticed how some books are “born” with twenty or more reviews? That’s because the writer went fishing among friends and “street teams,” or promised a great review in exchange. The whole review system is deeply flawed.

    2…The price is too high. Another bah, humbug! Most of my books are in the $5 to $6 range, and I would never consider lowering the price. Why? Because they took months to write, they took their toll in frayed nerves and shredded ego, and each one took a piece of my soul in the sense of the time and effort I expend in marketing them. I would have it no other way. To charge pennies for a book is to cheapen it in the eye of the public. Don’t fall for the claim that cheap = saleable.

    3…The marketing is flawed. From the perspective of a seasoned (and professional) promoter, I think you do a far better job than most. You vary your posts, they are super attractive, and they are spread among erotica, gay, romance and kindle groups. It’s a logical flaw to say that “my book is a failure because I suck at marketing.” Hell, you’ve been doing it for only a few months. Tell me that one or two or three years from now. Because nothing in this business happens overnight … except the collapse of our egos and the deprivation of our sleep.

    Let me ask you something, James. If you were locked in a room and told you had to re-write “Stripped Expectations” without ever glancing at your finished novel … would it be the same book? Or would it be better crafted, the plot more complex, the character more finely conceived? What I’m really saying is: If we are dedicated to our craft we grow, we evolve, we get better over time. Give yourself that precious time, my friend. And please continue to hone and worry and fret and chew your fingernails to the quick. That means you care.

    Love, your pal,
    Erin O’Quinn (Bonita Franks)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. At 159 pages, it’s on the highest end of what some literary book awards consider a novella, and not a novel (novella’s aren’t bad–I only write short stories). $3.49 for a novella could be considered high. I often see indie authors sell 280-380 page novels for $3.99, as they are unknown authors. Known authors often sell their 280-380 page novels for $4.99-$6.99.

    If I were pricing a 140-160 page book, I would put it at $2.99, personally, because it reaches the bottom edge of most market place’s 70% royalties. If there weren’t a pricing window to reach that 70%, I might even consider pricing it at $2.49. It may not sound like a big difference, but as you said, a “two” something is a big mental gap from a “three something.”

    I hope that helps! This is all in my humble opinion. Write on, friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Just keep writing and marketing… Perserverance, perspective, and planning can increase sales to readers outside of the friends, family & acquaintances circle.

    Sadly, coordinating and timing your books subject matter, and release dates matters… if you are serious about making money.

    Draft off a popular television show or movie but add your original twist,
    As a fan of Vikings..when the season ended, I searched the bookstores for MMRom about Vikings… and you know what…I spent alot of money and would have spent more if I could have found more books.
    My behavior is an example of ordinary human behavior… we are [greedy/hungry] for more of the same as long as it contains a bright spark of different, surprise or better.

    Time your book releases and (or include material relevant ) to the seasonal holidays and traditions (not necessarily American). This gives you an opportunity to research and share what you learn in your storyline and automatically gives your story some interesting content… and gives you an opportunity to appear on other than the norm MM-related blogs.

    Check out what current trend interests you, but is popular with the masses as well and let it inspire you. You’re online looking for content anyway, share what you learn in a different way.

    This is not selling out… this is business and yes, it requires planning.

    It doesn’t mean you give up your love of writing or the process… it means you will be able to afford to keep doing what you love.

    And honestly, success is being able to do what you love… believe in your self, observe when you are lying to yourself, make the necessary changes and the money will come.

    Thanks James, in commenting to you, I feel like I’m reminding myself of this vital POV … : )

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Just keep writing and marketing… Perserverance, perspective, and planning can increase sales to readers outside of the friends, family & acquaintances circle.

    Sadly, coordinating and timing your books subject matter, and release dates matters… if you are serious about making money.

    Draft off a popular television show or movie but add your original twist,
    As a fan of Vikings..when the season ended, I searched the bookstores for MMRom about Vikings… and you know what…I spent alot of money and would have spent more if I could have found more books.
    My behavior is an example of ordinary human behavior… we are [greedy/hungry] for more of the same as long as it contains a bright spark of different, surprise or better.

    Time your book releases and (or include material relevant ) to the seasonal holidays and traditions (not necessarily American). This gives you an opportunity to research and share what you learn in your storyline and automatically gives your story some interesting content… and gives you an opportunity to appear on other than the norm MM-related blogs.

    Check out what current trend interests you, but is popular with the masses as well and let it inspire you. You’re online looking for content anyway, share what you learn in a different way.

    This is not selling out… this is business and yes, it requires planning.

    It doesn’t mean you give up your love of writing or the process… it means you will be able to afford to keep doing what you love.

    And honestly, success is being able to do what you love… believe in your self, observe when you are lying to yourself, make the necessary changes and the money will come.

    Thanks James, in commenting to you, I feel like I’m reminding myself of this vital POV … : )

    Like

  6. I know it’s not marketing but promoting but what if we can spread the word of your books to groups and see if we can get more people to buy your books. I’m in several groups. I could promote for you the best that I can. Do you think that would help a little?
    Your books are awesome James. You should be very proud of yourself for doing so well. You’re a new author and you’re doing fantastic. Don’t let this get you down. Chin up. Deep breathes. And write from your heart. As anything else, it takes time. Time can be our friend and it can be our enemy. Give it a chance. DON”T stop writing. Let me know if there is anything I can do for you. I’m serious. I’m not a professional reviewer or anything but I’d put my heart and soul into anything to help you. I believe in you and all my authors. Let me know if there is anything at all I can do. Please? It will get better. I have faith in you.

    Liked by 1 person

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