Self-Publishing Update — 1st Quarter, 2012

1st Quarter Promotional Activities

My promotional activities for Dancing in Heaven continue to be on a very low burner, and I’ve pretty much decided to keep it that way. I want to work on other projects. Some of the most experienced, best minds, and perhaps loudest speakers out in the world of self-publishing tell you that the best way to succeed is to publish more books. Bob Mayer and Joe Konrath are two writers and bloggers who I enjoy reading. I recently read (and would be happy to credit it to the proper source if I could retrace my steps, which unfortunately, I can’t), “Don’t spend any large amount of time or money on promotion until you have three books published.” I’ll take that as permission to back off and not worry about it. Before I had backed off but I worried about it.

Reviews and Interviews:

The following book reviews were posted by bloggers in February and March (for information about January see Self-Publishing Update—January sales and promotion that I posted before I decided to go quarterly this year):

02-05-2012 — Kindle Book Review by Java Davis
03-08-2012 — Nikki Bywater at nikkisbooks4U.blogspot
03-08-2012 — A Book Vacation

Bookstores: As I mentioned in January, I was disappointed with the results of my attempts at getting two local bookstores to stock Dancing in Heaven. They said they couldn’t do it because the books arent’ returnable. I explained that the business I set up, Grote Ink, would deliver the books and accept unsold ones back. I was still turned down. Recently I found out that a woman I met at the very first memoir-writing group I joined, who also self-published her book, has been successful with Joseph Beth, making me feel I may have gotten unfair treatment there. I’m not sure whether to try again, or just give it up and rely on internet sales.

I don’t yet know how many of the 16 books I delivered to the College of Mount St. Joseph bookstore for Jeff Hillard’s Cincinnati Authors class have sold.

Marketing Materials: I do have a one-sheet that Anna designed for me. Feel free to download it, print it, send it to friends and relatives, staple it on telephone poles, make flying airplanes out of it and fly it away . . .I may print a few copies to have on hand if I want to send one somewhere. I want to request a review from the Midwest Book Review and will need one for that per their request.

Bonuses: I was notified by Google Alerts that someone has linked Dancing in Heaven on a post. This led me back to my Amazon page where I discovered that Dancing in Heaven is part of a bundling promotion Amazon is holding: Buy three books – get one free. I don’t understand nearly well enough about what these promotions mean to me in  terms of royalties, but since I’m not hopeful or concerned about making money on this book, I think it is kind of cool to be included in any promotion.

Future Promotional Activities

The jury is still out on the KDP Select program that I mentioned in January. For now I’m doing nothing about it.

In April I have three speaking events scheduled.

April 5 – I will be speaking and answering questions at the College of Mount St. Joseph Cincinnati Authors again.
April 11 – I have been invited to speak to the Friends of the Library group at Kettering College in Dayton, Ohio.
April 18 – I look forward to doing a reading for a good friend’s book club and extended friends group in Cincinnati, Ohio.

I am grateful to my three friends: Jeffrey Hillard, Teresa Hutson Simmons, and Nancy Henry Chadwick for providing me these opportunities to talk about Annie’s story.

1st Quarter Sales

In January I thought my sales were low. In February they hit rock bottom. Last month they revived a little, but probably due to the speaking engagements I’ve scheduled. Even though my sales are meager, it continues to amaze me that people out there, who mostly I don’t know, are buying my book and reading Annie’s story.

Month Number sold
March  33
February  13
January  28
1st Quarter Total 74
December Total 42
November Total 34
October Total 33
Grand Total  183

“There is only one success — to be able to spend your life in your own way.” Christopher Darlington Morley, 1890-1957, American novelist and essayist

See links to more posts about my self-publishing journey.

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16 Comments on “Self-Publishing Update — 1st Quarter, 2012”

  1. Christine,

    I am so impressed by you. You wrote an amazing book, and even if sales are slow you have sold some. You are speaking. You are sharing a story that touches everyone. Don’t let numbers get you down.

    I believe the quote is probably from Bob Mayer, since he said something similar several times during the course I took on-line with him. He also kept emphasizing the importance of writing good books. You write good books. Actually, if it is ok to massacre the English language for a moment, You write good!

    Hugs,
    Lisa

  2. Beth Ann says:

    I think you are doing great!!! I can not even begin to imagine all that you have going on and to be working on promoting your book is an overwhelming task! I think all the speaking that you are doing is only going to help get the word out there . I almost always buy a book if I have met the person who wrote it!!! There is just a connection. Keep on keeping on and don’t stress about numbers at this point. You did what you set out to do—write a beautiful book about your sister. I would say you can deem it a huge success regardless of if it hits the NYT Bestsellers list!

    • CMSmith says:

      Thanks, Beth Ann. I feel good about it overall. The numbers are difficult, but I’m glad I wrote and published the book. It’s always validating when I talk to readers as I did last night a the Mount.

      You are a great supporter.

      • Beth Ann says:

        Glad you are feeling good about it—you should!!! You have worked very hard and like I said—Annie’s story is so touching and you will reach more folks than you know.

  3. All is good. You are doing a lot. Most bookstores will stock books for a short while after an author speaks there. See if you can first arrange for a talk, then ask them about a short term placement.

    • CMSmith says:

      I might, but truthfully, I don’t think being in bookstores will make or break me, and it seems like a lot of effort for little payout right now. I may change my mind later.

  4. Looks like you are doing well, Christine. Good sales in March! Keep up the good work. It’s a powerful book, my friend!
    Hugs,
    Kathy

  5. 184!!! Go, go, go, Christine! That’s great :-)
    This book will be around for years. Time is on your side.

  6. nrhatch says:

    Thanks for sharing the update, Christine. Enjoy your speaking engagments and your other projects too.

  7. Teepee12 says:

    I don’t think most people realize how much courage it takes to put your life out there. Good for you! Keep on writing. This past June I finally got myself into gear and published mine in Kindle form. … five years after originally publishing it as a trade paperback.

    If you can, do it. You can sell them for as little as $2.99 and you have the option of “free days,” giving them away for a day or two. Quite famous authors do it too … Diane Gabaldon gives one of her books away on Kindle a few days each month. You get the opportunity to reach a lot of people who might otherwise be unwilling to spend money on an obscure author. It’s easy, so if you’re interested, I’ll give you the information to get it done.

    • CMSmith says:

      Thanks, Teepee12,
      Dancing in Heaven is on Kindle, as you may already know. But I’ve never really looked into how to give it away there, and what happens to the other sites where it is also for sale: B&N and Smashwords. I don’t think I can sell it for less on Amazon than other sites, so I guess I would have to figure out how to give it away everywhere.

      I’d love to have the information you offer.


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