Blog Hopping. To Market, to Market…

Welcome back to another BlogHop, with#OpenBook. Read on for this week’s prompt.

We’ve touched on this in the past, but it bears repeating. What’s the best way to market your books?

This is an interesting subject. In the nearly seven years that I’ve been self-published, I’ve tried all sorts of ways to market my books. I’m still searching for the magic formula that works.

The problem is, I actually hate marketing. I started writing as a hobby. I only really do any marketing because I’ve seen others doing it and think that perhaps I ought to make an effort every now and then.

I’d much rather write and publish, have nothing to do with selling. I guess it’s a result of my life, I never had to do any marketing while I was at work, and to be honest, I hate being ‘sold’ something. So I shy away from shouting ‘buy my book’ at every opportunity. Now I’ve retired there are so many other calls on my time, things I couldn’t do when I was working. Spending hours marketing is not high on my list.

You might wonder at this point, why do I write if I don’t want to tell everyone about it? My response is, do you tell everyone about all of YOUR hobbies? Why do you do anything you enjoy? So you can talk about it endlessly?

It’s my way of passing the time, being creative, keeping my brain active. The end result gives me pleasure. People who find my work might enjoy it, they might buy more of my titles, tell their friends. Or they might not. It’s not my life, just a part of it. There’s no pressure on me to sell.

Which is not to say that I don’t have an online presence (Obviously, as you’re reading this). Before I retired, I created this website. I still blog frequently, not just about writing. I talk about cooking, my life and what interests me. I promote others. I tell my Facebook and Twitter audience about my books and share any good reviews I’ve been lucky enough to receive (but not too often, I’d hate to be a nuisance).

I’ve tried paid advertising, on Amazon, Facebook, Google and Twitter. With little success.

I’ve joined a writers group; been to events, libraries and festivals. Given talks and workshops.

I have a small group of beta and advance review readers, who tell me their honest opinions of any new work before it sees the light of day. I also have an editor who works tirelessly to ensure the quality of the finished article.

And yet, I still don’t sell as many books as I’m told I should do (at least when you compare my sales to those of others).

Despite the fact that I’m quite a shy person, I feel most comfortable when I’m talking to someone about what I do, I definitely sell more books face to face at events than I do online or via social media. Personally, I find social media hard work. It can be very time consuming; taking up time when I could be writing or doing something else, unconnected with writing.

Sadly, I’ve also been on the receiving end of the less pleasant side of things on various platforms, which has put me off trying to be more visible.

At the end of the day, you have to manage your expectations. When I started, I imagined instant fame and fortune, these days I’m much more realistic. As I’ve said many times before, a single sale is good, what makes me happier is a review or a message from someone who enjoyed reading one of my books.

What do you think? If you’re a writer, how do you market your work? If you’re a reader, what sort of marketing gets your attention? Please leave a comment below and then go and visit all the other great blogs on the hop.

I’ll be back on Thursday, with another Indie Showcase. Saturday will feature my thoughts on this years NaNoWriMo challenge.

Whatever you’re doing, have a great week.

10 Responses

  1. Jack Eason

    We’ve all tried the things you mention Richard. The trouble lays squarely at the feet of the general public. If your book does’nt pique their curiosity…

    • Richard Dee

      Agreed, it’s all about finding the hook. Maybe one day?

  2. Stevie Turner

    We’re all in the same boat, Richard. Nothing really works unless you’re a celebrity or have an agent. There’s no point worrying about it, and I think you’re doing it right in just writing for a hobby. It’s what I do too.

    • Richard Dee

      It’s less stressful, there’s no worrying about whether I’ve posted, what I’ve posted or even if I SHOULD have posted.

  3. Lela Markham

    Nothing turns me off as a reader than someone constantly begging me to read their book. I was a salesperson 30 years ago and I found it was far easier to sell by being friendly and chatting people up than by going in cold and saying, “Buy this fire extinguisher.”

    Yeah, every once in a while, I put up a post that is a “Buy my book” post, but for the most part, I use soft-sales techniques and sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t.

    • Richard Dee

      My thoughts exactly. I want a quiet life, not stress about my next advert (or my last). Social media can be impersonal, it’s easy to create the wrong impression. Not like when you’re face to face.

    • Richard Dee

      Very true, I’d rather have one reader who found the book and liked it than ten who I talked into buying it.

  4. Roberta Eaton Cheadle

    It seems that all writers have tried everything to market their books, Richard. Mine are also a hobby and I enjoy the research and writing. I do market them but only in the ways I enjoy and that is largely through blog posts, which I hope are interesting, with the book promotion at the end. I also use adverts I create on Twitter and Instagram. No idea if those help at all.

    • Richard Dee

      I think you have to settle for a position that keeps you happy. I don’t write to feel stressed about what to do with the product.

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