Monday, May 27, 2013

Timing is Everything

So, last week, I went all out trying to garner promotional stuff and getting my book mentioned in as many places as possible. Today's post is going to be a somewhat boring re-hash of the efforts I made and the results of all that effort. So, here goes.

1. Crypticon Seattle. This is one of the things I wasn't supposed to talk about before it happened. Now it's over. The jist is this. I submitted a short story to the convention's writing contest and I managed to be a finalist. That meant my short story would be printed in the con's anthology and I would need to attend the convention to see whether I made it to any rank which would include prizes. I inquired of the people running the contest if people would be interested in having their books signed by the authors after the ceremony and I was told "Definitely". In no specific terms, I was told to be prepared to get mobbed. I accepted this and even ordered extra book cards to slip in for bookmarks to promote my book. None of that happened. My book was merely an honorable mention, there was no mob of people looking to get their anthology signed, and I didn't managed to hand out a single card the entire time I was there. I expected this to be a major point on my promotional list for the week and it was an absolute bomb. The anthology doesn't even mention if any of the authors in it have websites or anything. The only mention is their name underneath the title of their story. The judges are awarded more attention than that. It is another book with my name and work in it, but I don't expect to garner any real attention through it. Someone would have to REALLY like my story in order to set the book down and look me up through a search engine in order to find me. Disappointed isn't the word for my feeling about the whole ordeal.

2. I really don't have much to say here either. This one though is more of a balancing act, as opposed to a disappointment. The Wednesday before my free promotion, they send out their inquires and I received confirmation emails from over a dozen different website, many of which I didn't even know existed before. Being at the convention all of Saturday and recovering from the convention Sunday, though, meant that I didn't manage to check any of the sites to see if they decided to post my book. Reading through some of the confirmation emails. I know some of them simply dismissed my book as they have requirements of 4-star ratings or better on the books they advertise and some require much more lead-in time than they would have received. Still, I was impressed with the sheer number of sites they submitted my promotion to, and given a bit more lead-in time and a better-rating on my book, I would probably give them another chance.

3. Everything else pretty much went as expected. The podcast blurb was awesome, the interview was good (despite my name being misspelled in the title of her post.), and my advertising on Goodreads and Facebook garnered as much or more attention than I expected.

4. The free promotion itself. The main reason for all that work. To put it lightly, it bombed. Over a 48-hour period, I didn't even manage 100 free downloads of my book. Ouch, to say the least.

The question is, after all that work, getting my book mentioned on a real podcast, being thrown on a stage at a convention, getting the promotion submitted to dozens of sites whose sole purpose is advertising free books, posting several times over on Goodreads, Twitter, and Facebook, and even doing an author interview on another blog, where did things go wrong? What did I do, or not do?

One answer would be the rating of my book. It hasn't done well since its release and is currently sitting at an even 3-stars, with more 1-star reviews than any other kinds. There is really no question in my mind that its rating is hurting sales. To be perfectly honest, the rating being what it is, last week I considered just canceling everything and pulling the book to re-work it, as it obviously needs something. At the end of this month, I am sending it to another editor to get an opinion on it, we'll see what happens after that.

Timing. The timing was off. With all the work I was doing to promote my book, work on my next and everything else I've been doing, it completely slipped my mind that it was Memorial Day weekend. THE biggest weekend for people not to be home, on the computer, and reading. I can't believe of all things, I forgot that. Of course, if any other authors would like to weigh in with results from their free promotions over this long weekend, it would be nice to have something to compare to. I think this is the biggest reason the weekend didn't work out, though my book's current rating comes in a close second.

Lots of lessons learned over this past week, and hopefully mistakes I won't be repeating. Still, I got my name out there to a lot of people who probably wouldn't have heard it otherwise, I have another book with my name and work in it, and I did manage some downloads, so it's certainly not like the past week was wasted effort.

Still. Ugh.

~ Shaun


  1. Sorry the event didn't go as planned, I know what it's like to be really excited and hopeful. The disappointment is proportionally greater, but at least you are being positive about it. My first book didn't work out, I reworked it, and it ended up so much better (especially as I did another book in the interim and learnt a lot from that). Thanks for sharing your promotional tips, I'll probably try Kindle Select next time.

  2. Being able to make my book free for a day or two is an incredible boon and definitely worth being exclusive for a little while. I've got about a month left on the current Kindle Select promotion, then I'll probably take it off and make it available for other e-book readers.