J to tha M: On Marketing

Marketing Free or Free Marketing

medium_7869728560M:  You had a Release Day this past weekend – Yay!

that’s exciting-puking-scary-thrilling all at once

J:  well, it was part of an already crazy weekend, so I had no time for puking

mostly, I was nervous about formatting. that what I saw wasn’t what everyone else would see

but thank you. I’m so, so, so excited to finally get Going Under out there

now… marketing. (dun dun dunnnnn)

and, as you know, this is not much fun.

this is actually the scary pukey part for me

and I feel like I’m already failing

M:  Yes, not only a release day, which is exciting enough, but your first self-published release

J:  right

which may or may not have been a good idea. jury’s still out

M:  that’s got to be a little more like free-falling

still super exciting but super scary

J:  really, the whole publishing part was…cool. easier than I thought

but now… I sit and watch

will it catch on? will people like it? will I be crucified for not having a publisher?

it did well in its first few days. still in the top 100 for children’s urban fantasy

which is whoa

but the momentum is already slowing

and I’m thinking “too soon for free days?”

which seemed to do wonders for Wraith Enchanted

Miss Number One in Her Category

nice work

M:  Thank you! I was really pleased with the free days

J:  but there’s got to be a more…lucrative way to market

besides just giving away free things. Still, if all those people tell one person

it’s super worth it

M:  I’m still kind of not understanding how that’s not lucrative marketing

I mean, think about it

it doesn’t cost you one cent to give away kindle copies

and you reach thousands of people

isn’t that reaching beyond the goal of getting your name and work in the hands and minds of readers?

J:  oh no. I understand THAT part of it

it’s definitely lucrative in that way

M:  what way isn’t it lucrative?

J:  well, I guess that it’s thousands of people who won’t pay for that book

maybe your next one, yes

thousands who probably wouldn’t have found it otherwise

I’m on board with that

I see the marketing side of it

but the bank account side of it still stings a little

M:  but it doesn’t really

I look at it this way

My sales of both books were okay but not super stellar

and during the free days, and even after, I saw the best sales on my first book that I’ve seen since the first month it came out – even better for a few days

sales I would not have seen had the second book not been offered free

and it didn’t cost me anything

J:  now that I can see

M:  and now, I have a whole bunch of new people who have my books, who will hopefully like them and have some sort of name recognition for my next works

and not only did it not cost me anything, I gave something fun, and actually made something besides feeling good in sales on my first book, and hopefully through word of mouth on both books

J:  and I don’t want you to think I’m against free days

I’m NOT

I just try not to think about the royalties I might have earned if all those people actually paid for it and I can be hap-happy

M:  gonna be honest – you cannot think that way

J:  hahahaha

my husband makes me

i get dirty looks when I say “it’s not REALLY about the money”

M:  I’d venture a pure guess that probably most of those people who downloaded the book free would never have paid for it

so how can you count that as lost sales?

Count it as a huge positive, because now they have a chance to read your work, hopefully like it, buy more, and tell their friends

you didn’t lose sales

you gained a bunch

J:  and I know it’s not. It’s about getting it out there, getting some notice

I’m not arguing. Just lamenting. it’s a difficult balance

M:  it really is

here’s the other way I look at giving away free books or putting them on sale

I have a huge list of book and authors I want to read. I can’t afford to buy them all – no way

so I get excited when a book I find intriguing goes free or on sale

and I snatch it up, and I read it

and then, if I liked it, I go and buy all of their backlist I can afford and tell everyone I know to try them out

How many sales did they make there?

when before, I never would have had the chance to find them and try the stories and recommend

that’s a loss to everyone

I mean, some of my new fave authors I discovered that way

Kate SeRine, Kit Rocha, Kristen Ashley

J:  I’m afraid I sound whiny

M:  no, you just sound like the other side of the debate

a lot of people feel that way

J:  it’s not my intention to sound whiny

M:  probably more than feel my side

J:  because I fully understand the benefit

and can’t wait until it’s time to do free days for Oracles

M:  I think a lot of authors fall into only seeing lost sales on those thousands of downloads

but you can’t see them as lost sales – most of those people would never have paid full price in the first place

sure, some of them, maybe, but the few that might have are made up by the word of mouth and sales resulting from those reads that never otherwise would have happened

J:  another benefit to self-publishing is setting my own price

M:  yes, price setting is a huge benefit

and being able to make changes at any time, when those pesky errors pop up

that’s probably not as big of a deal to you – heh

J:  I could have asked a lot more, but I thought the lowest possible price was still really fair

M:  yeah. I just want to get my stories into as many hands as possible. I’d love for everyone to be able to afford all the books they find interesting

and still allow the authors to make some sort of living

J:  now, I know how you feel about the Goodreads giveaways

like maybe you don’t see as much of a benefit

but since mine went live this morning, more people have added to the to-read lists

maybe they will, maybe they won’t buy it

but the giveaway at least put it on their radar

M:  that’s true. anything that gets the info out there is good

J:  but it gets the book in front of even more people

because those people who put it on their to-read lists are then seen by their friends

who might also find it interesting

does it translate to more sales?

no clue

but people know my name and my book

oh

do know what has helped me find books to buy?

the lists on goodreads

when I’m on my geeky hero kick, I search the lists

I’ve bought at least five that I found on those lists

it’s how I found Ruthie Knox and Delphine Dryden

M:  I find books by word of mouth or blog and publishers sites and reviewers I trust

J:  word of mouth is still definitely the most powerful

Tiff’s reading Red

and LOVING it

I feel accomplished

M:  see

I might still not have purchased Red off my want-to-read list if Kate hadn’t offered it for free, and then never rec’d to you or everyone else

J:  but Tiff wouldn’t have read it if we hadn’t talked about it

and I know two other people who bought the series after reading my rec on twitter

M:  right. but we wouldn’t have talked about it if I hadn’t read it

and I might not have read it if it hadn’t been free

J:  nope

but you can see how both worked

M:  so that whole chain reaction goes back to her offering the ebook free for a couple days

J:  perhaps, but if I hadn’t tweeted it, it would have stopped with me

M:  but I wouldn’t have started if it hadn’t been free. And boy, did I rec it after I was finished reading.

J:  and I discovered Charlotte Stein because Ruthie Knox told me on twitter to check her out

M:  and I only bought both Knox and Stein because they were on sale or free, no matter your rec

so it’s all intertwined

J:  one to spark, the other to fan the flame

M:  the best thing in the world is to get people talking

and offering your book on sale or free is a very lucrative way to do that

J:  Talking is good. I’ll start my plan for the Oracles free days

brb

photo credit: <a

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About melissafoxwords

After being rationed books by my parents like most kids get rationed candy, I turned to writing to tide me over between fixes. Having lived in the suburbs of the Mid-West, desert of the Southwest, and foothills of the Rocky Mountains, I'm now living on an island in the Puget Sound with my husband and dogs.

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