Book promotion update

I spent most of the day submitting Where Memories Meet to websites that promote ebooks. I want to promote the book during its Amazon countdown deal scheduled for February 1 – 7. Apparently some sites have to approve the submission (due to time, space, or quality reputation considerations I imagine). Other sites seem to be willing to take my money and go with it. That might give you an indication about the desirability of promoting on the various sites. Overall, it seems like the business of promoting self-published books online is much better established than it was when I first published Dancing in Heaven in 2011.

Here are some useful things I’ve learned:

TCK Publishing has generated two lists of sites that promote ebooks, one for  free ebooks, and one for paid Kindle books that I used since my Amazon countdown deal starts at $0.99 and not $0.00. The list is ordered by rank according to the amount of traffic the site gets. The top six are:

Book Bub 27,224
Ereader News Today 28,681
Buck Books 34,248
Many Books 35,754
Kindle Nation Daily 43,172
The Kindle Book Review 45,812

  • As I mentioned in my Marketing Self-Published Books post on January 6, I was turned down by Book Bub.
  • I submitted my book to, but have not heard back from, Ereader News Today.
  • I did not submit to Buck Books. By the time I got around to it, I couldn’t easily find the way to submit, and I was too tired to deal with it.
  • I submitted to Many Books but have not heard back.
  • I looked at Kindle Nation Daily, but the slots for the dates of my countdown deal were already taken. Next time I will have to apply earlier. (Alternately, BookBub requires that you apply no earlier than one month before your promotion date. It all gets rather jumbled up and confusing after a while.)
  • I submitted to the Kindle Book Review. They accepted my money ($25), but I have not received any confirmation.
  • Previously I paid $90 for a promotion at Just Kindle Books (ranked 365,139). I’m assuming that’s a go.
  • And earlier I paid $20 for a promotion at Goodkindles (ranked 594,646). The rankings go to 5,628,580. So although these sites are not at the top, neither are they at the bottom of the list.
  • I plan to apply at BookGoodies (ranked 231,471) tomorrow. Their application is complex with required author interview questions to fill out. I’m going to start fresh in the morning. (I stand corrected. Please see the comment BookGoodies added below.)

These are just some of the options. They vary in what promotional services they provide from tweets, Facebook posts and emails to featuring books on websites. Many promotions run for only one day, although it varies depending on the site and the price you are willing to pay. It’s rather complicated. I have started an Excel spread sheet that I am using to keep track of site URLs and the status of my submissions. I don’t have any first hand experience with paid promotions. I chose not to spend money on promoting my first book. If all goes well with this experience, I may decide to splurge and promote Dancing in Heaven later.

Wish me well.

 

 

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The book is published, now the hard work begins

I’ve entered the marketing stage of self-publishing project, although I really don’t like to use the word marketing. The whole point is that I have to somehow, in this noisy, crazy, over-stimulating, cyberworld, let readers, who might be interested in my book about Alzheimer’s, know that it exists. It’s not all that easy to get a book on someone’s radar screen.

That said, I want to thank Beth Ann Chiles at It’s Just Life, for posting about Where Memories Meet today. I met Beth Ann early in my blogging experience in 2011 and she has been a friend ever since. She writes an assortment of interesting posts on a frequent basis. I always enjoy her Teapot Tuesday where she shares a teapot from her extensive collection. She has been doing this for a while. I have no idea how or where she keeps all these beautiful items. But what I think makes Beth most special, is that every month she picks a worthy cause to feature in her Comments for a Cause. At the end of the month, she donates money to the cause based on how many comments she received throughout the month. It’s a double-win for the cause: money and exposure. Well done, Beth Ann.

Now, it would be great if you could go visit It’s Just Life and read all the wonderful things Beth Ann said about Where Memories Meet. The results of a short interview with me are posted there as well. Here’s a sample question:

1. What is your favorite thing about sharing such personal stories about your family? Or maybe a better question is what was your motivation?
For the answer to this and other questions visit It’s Just Life.

Self-Publishing—what not to do

Advisory: This post disregards, violates and otherwise ignores all advice to self-published authors regarding professionalism, such as: Be professional. Or if you can’t do that, at least act professional.

Thursday, November 15, 2012 — afternoon

You’d think I’d know better. I mean, after all, I was a high school valedictorian and managed to earn a bachelor of science in Chemical Engineering. You’d think I could manage to to update my Amazon.com book page. But then I haven’t done that in over a year. Maybe if I were 25 or 30, or whatever age one is at the prime of one’s mathematical ability, which I correlate to analytical ability, or a basic ability to think oneself out of a paper bag, I could have figured it out even if it was a year later. But, no.

I sure hope I haven’t inadvertently unpublished my memoir from Amazon.com. All I wanted to do was update my book description.

Give me strength.

Here’s the good news:

After publicly announcing I was abandoning all efforts at marketing my self-published book, I made personal record-breaking sales in October and am looking at a fairly good month here in November too (still a pittance for real authors, but good for fledglings like me). I don’t know how. I don’t know why. Maybe it has to do with some kind of fancy Amazon.com algorithm that pops my book up in front of the right eyes. Who knows? But I’ll take it.

In his infinite wisdom, Mark says I should keep doing what I am doing—nothing.

I also received a letter this week from the Midwest Book Review where I had requested a review of Dancing in Heaven in July. It read, “I’m very pleased to announce that the November 2012 issue of our online book review magazine “MBR Bookwatch” features “Dancing in Heaven.” (Along with a gazillion other books, but hey, I’ll take it.) You can read it here. It’s under “Greenspan’s Bookshelf” and you have to scroll to the bottom. But it made me all kinds of happy because I can add it to my marketing materials (which are largely nonexistent). And which brings me to the present crisis of the day.

I decided to update my book description on my Amazon.com page.

I read a good article at Catherine, Caffeinated, “The 11 Ingredients of a Sizzling Book Description,” by successful Kindle sales author Mark Edwards. I thought the tips looked good, so I spent all day sprucing up my book description, and attempted to update my Amazon page.

But I forgot (it’s been a whole year remember) how to make revisions and ended up, without fully realizing it, on the publish a book page. You know the rest. (If you aren’t trying to sell a book out there on the web, you can’t imagine what a mangled up mess of author pages, book pages, passwords, user names, web addresses, and a whole lot of other things I have to contend with. And clearly, I am not contending with them very well.)

Thursday, November 15, 2012 — night

I received an e-mail from Amazon.com stating, “Per your request, we’ve unpublished your book, ‘Dancing in Heaven—a sister’s memoir’ . . . It should become unavailable to buy withing 24-72 hours. . .Republishing requires approximately 12 hours.”

I read it aloud to Mark who said, “I thought you were going to keep doing what you had been doing — nothing. Are you trying the Cabbage Patch strategy and building interest by making your book unavailable?”

After two frantic e-mails to Amazon.com, I’m afraid to try to republish it, since it doesn’t appear to be unpublished yet. I know it’s just a matter of a day or two, but I just hope I don’t lose my “likes,” reviews, and tags. I sent a third e-mail.

E-gads.

Now I wait for 12 to 24 hours to see if I’ve made a complete mess of things, or whether the gurus at Amazon.com are going to bail me out.

Stay tuned.

Friday, November 15, 2012 — before getting out of bed

I checked my iPhone for e-mail messages and found this one from Amazon:

“I’m sorry for the inconvenience caused. Every time you make changes for your book in the bookshelf, it will go to the publishing status. (Who knew?) There is nothing to be alarmed as it’s a standard procedure. (Again, who knew?) I’ve republished your book on your behalf. It could take close to 24-48 hours for the title to appear as “Live” on the KDP Bookshelf. It’s common for a product description to take 36 – 72 hours to be fully updated on the web site, so yours should appear online soon.”

Good to know.

Read more posts about self-publishing, some of them actually helpful, at my Self-Publishing page.

Seven years old again

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In case you missed it, here’s a comment my sister Carol left for me on my “Now Marketing” post where I was bemoaning the task at hand.

“Well sis ~ I “feel” you. Resistance to Marketing can really be a “downfall” (you know I’ve got more experience than you in this area) ~ it takes a lot of conviction and commitment to what you believe in ~ to stick your neck out that far ~ but, I believe you have that level of commitment. And I believe in YOU ~ because when you decide to do something ~
YOU DO IT. You’ve come this far ~ don’t stop now ~ Case Closed.” Carol Sue Flowers

A few words from my one-year-older sister and I’m seven years old again. “You can jump,” she’d say. “Jump now.”

I’m back in high school. “You aren’t going to wear those pants, are you?”

Some things are indelibly etched in our minds and on our hearts. Some things remain the same.

And I know Carol does “feel” me. She was a cheerleader right along with me selling those tags. She probably hated it worse than me.

I’ll have to admit, though, Carol stuck with me through all the ups and downs with my memoir. I called her, still upset and even crying over the sibling release form fiasco. “I’ve needed to talk you,” my seven-year-old self whimpered.

“You are a writer,” she said. “You have a right to do it.”

Growing up we always were two little souls— cohorts for all our childhood dreams and schemes.

She is the only person who can make me laugh like the child I was.

It’s not all bad to be seven years old again.

Carol (left) and me (photo from Dancing in Heaven)

Self-publishing update: Now—marketing

Many of the self-publishing blog posts, articles, and books I’ve read make a comment that expresses the sentiment, “Authors struggle with promotion and marketing,” or “Marketing is where the real work begins.”  This is based on the general idea that many, if not most, writers are introverts.

Where I’m sitting right now, I couldn’t agree more. I feel completely out of my element. Where do I go? What do I do? Do I even want to peddle my work?

When I was in grade school, one of the clubs I was in, and it may have been Girl Scouts, had a fund raiser where we had to sell decorative glass candles door-to-door. I absolutely hated it. I remember thinking, I will never get a job where I have to sell things.

And look at me now.

In high school I was a cheer-leader. And every Friday during football or basketball season we had to sell a certain number of “tags,” for, I think it was,  25 or 50 cents. They were a football or basketball sticker attached to a ribbon of about 2 inches wide by 5 or 6 inches long printed with a very spirited message like “Blast the Bears” or “Cream the Cougars.” Students were encouraged to buy and then wear the tags to build interest in the upcoming game and rally team spirit. Quite pragmatically, it was a lucrative fund-raiser for the cheer-leaders.

I hated having to sell all my tags. I had to spend the morning, and sometimes the whole day, before and between classes trying to coerce or cajole fellow classmates into forking over 50 cents for a tag. I’ll never forget the two quiet guys who sat near me in my homeroom, my early targets. I think their names were Nick Simpson and Ned Steinke, or maybe Nick Steinke and Ned Simpson; it’s been a long time. I didn’t know them outside of school, or outside of my homeroom, really, but they were kind, and sweet, and rather quiet, and always willing to buy my tags.

Looking back on my fairly short self-publishing journey, I’ve faced a lot of challenges. But the book has been written, edited, rewritten, re-edited, formatted into print and ebooks, a cover designed, summary and blurbs generated, and an ISBN assigned with a bar code generated. My book is for sale in print at Amazon.com, (and surprisingly to me, at B&N online), and as an ebook on Amazon Kindle, B&N Nook (although there is something very funky going on with the title that I will have to get to the bottom of), and Smashwords in multiple formats. I discovered today that the ebook is even for sale in other countries, giving me a little chuckle. Check out these links:
Dancing in Heaven in the DE Kindle store and France Kindle store

I have so many Dancing-in-Heaven-for-sale pages out there that I am trying to figure out how to keep it all straight. You would think books would be flying off the shelves or ebooks would be shooting across the airwaves. You would think the books would just be selling themselves.

Not so.

I believe what I read; now is when the real work begins.

Today I’m going to re-read Chapters 10 and 11, on platforms and promotion, in April L. Hamilton’s The Indie Author GuideI’m familiar with the material, having read it before, but this time I’m taking, as my college professor Dr. Bobal used to say, copious notes.

All advice, suggestions and/or help welcome and appreciated.