You are hereEssays on Life / HOW NOT TO SELL A BOOK
HOW NOT TO SELL A BOOK
I've been silent on this page for the last six months. Has anyone noticed?
In December, I started a major effort to market my books: this included hiring Ellen Green, a publicist at Author Marketing Ideas, to get some attention for the pile of books I've produced in the last two years. They produced a slick "video press release," and also an e-mail press release, and suggested that I take part in Goodreads (that's a web site) promotion in which I gave away ten copies of my book, DISAPPEARING ACT. On January 20, one of Ellen' s associates wrote to me:
"I’m glad to inform you that your giveaway for the book DISAPPEARING ACT has successfully ended last Sunday. We are very happy of the result of this giveaway, since it attracted 748 people and generated much interest around your book. It means that we did a good job with our promotion activity on social media and also that your book has a good potential. Remember that all the participants to the giveaway added DISAPPEARING ACT to their bookshelves, so it is possible that some of them will decide to buy a copy of your book."
I dutifully packed the ten copies up – signing the books and adding a personal request: "If you enjoyed the book, can you please write a review on Amazon?"
I guess no one liked the book.
I wrote Ellen and asked her what I should do. Her reply: "Have any of the Goodreads winners posted on Goodreads? Did you ask them for reviews when you sent them the books? Usually people are pretty good about it. Have you continued on Goodreads? It is a great place to continue your marketing… you can join review groups and ask for reviews, you can join groups related to your genre (genres) and join in on discussions, getting exposure that way."
"I'll try more on Good Reads," I responded, "but I have to admit that I haven't gotten much response from the site. Over 700 people requested a free copy, but apparently not one of them is willing to shell out $10 for one. What is the next step you think I should take?"
"I would try Goodreads," Ellen wrote back, "because it’s free and you can do easily. Just use the links I sent and join some review groups and some genre groups. In the latter, join in on the discussions as appropriate… don’t appear to just be there to sell your book Jbut certainly bring it up as appropriate. Pick one book to start and really work it, both trying to get reviews and potential reads and give it a few weeks – say a month – and then let’s see what if any results – reviews and/or sales."
Kim Subra, a colleague of Ellen's, wrote me in February, saying: "We are pleased to inform you that your Press Release was sent out on January 25, 2016. We are happy to see that your book has gained some massive exposure with our PRWeb service. Below is a report based on PRWeb figures which describes your PR exposure under Headline Impressions, Full release reads and Media Sources & Online Pick-ups. As we will explain, these numbers are stats of exposure through PRWeb’s own site that they can therefore track. When the PR is picked up and reposted, those subsequent stats cannot be tracked by PRWeb and so are NOT included in the numbers shown.
(1) Headline Impressions, PRWeb is showing 174,199 Headline Impressions, which is the number of times your press release headline has appeared on PRWeb and within news aggregators, like RSS feeds and web crawlers. These are great figures and, better still, aren’t even close to the overall total as there are many more impressions which PRWeb can’t track once the release is reposted-which certainly has been, hundreds of times.
(2) Full release reads. We are also seeing 1,454 full page reads, which is the number of times a full version of the PR was loaded. These numbers are also great and please bear in mind that they do NOT include the reads on sites beyond PRWeb as again, those they cannot track. So the true number of reads is far greater!
(3) Media Sources & Online Pick-ups.The PR also went directly to close to 4,280 media sources and was picked up by 98 sites and again, potentially picked up and reposted from there.
(4) Overview. Basically, the PR is picked up from PRWeb and reposted from there to a host of other websites whose exposure cannot be tracked, just extrapolated as exponentially more exposure! We are happy to say that you have gained great amount of exposure with the number of headline impressions and full release reads. Having full page reads of 1,400 and impressions of 174,000 are considered great figures. Also, the best thing is that your PR was picked up by 98 sites, which means even more exposure! We hope you are satisfied with our work."
"The analysis is very impressive," I wrote back. "But I haven't sold a single copy of DISAPPEARING ACT since I signed up." I wrote Ellen in March: "I’m frustrated by the lack of any response — reviews, sales, even an acknowledgment from the book contest winners that they got the book. It’s as though we did nothing…"
June 12, 2016