Monday, December 16, 2013

Day 344 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author/publisher,
Dane F. Baylis


Okay, I'm not going to get snarky here, just factual. I just saw the figures for one of those Countdown Deals Promotions.
This was posted by a self-published author with no other presence than what he/she has done on the web. The book mentioned is a fantasy/sorcery genre piece that is only offered on Amazon.
Let's take a look at some of the basics here. The Internet is swamped with people producing this exact same subject matter. This person happens to self-promote their ass off but, from what I've seen, he/she doesn't have a clue as to how to differentiate between their product or the one thing that must be sold first - themself.
So, after a $1200.00 investment, what does this person actually have? A stack of books in the garage, or at a distributor, or worse yet, only in the digital version. Why worse? Because the real market is still among the people who want to hold, feel, smell, and make notes in a physical book. There are so many E-books out there now that, unless you invest the extra capital in a marketing guru, you have the same chance as that proverbial one legged man in an ass kicking contest to be noticed. You might score occasionally, but the chances are slim.
The duration for this promotional blitz was 168 hours, or one week. Really? Even a half-hearted campaign in the bricks and mortar world goes on for months, not weeks. Granted, the amount of money and resources involved will be commensurate with what the publisher figures the products chances are, but then there's the involvement of the author. Yes, there are some well-known names who only have to show up on a couple of cherry picked media outlets and their work flies off the shelf. But, for those who put in the leg work, and I mean literally hitting the road and flogging their work, the chances tend to increase.
What was the outcome of seven days of this author's blitz? A little over $92.00 in royalties. He/she mis-speaks when calling these profits. Yes, on the single copy, the royalty is an earning. But until the initial $1200.00 is recouped, it is not a profit. At that rate, it will take years to recover his/her initial investment. I did that much in one night at a poetry reading hawking a chapbook!
Why was my outcome better than our E-author? Because I have a track record of appearances. I was an author long before I attached publisher to my name. What is my delineation between my owning that title and others who claim it? I have been published time and again by editors and presses who accepted me on the strength of my work or on their personal acquaintance with my artistic abilities. I learned the publishing side by working in the trenches doing selection, copy editing, and artwork. I also belong to a writer's group. I associate in person with writers, authors, editors, and publishers of all levels.
I invite people at my appearances to share with me more than the purchase of a book. I let them hear me read the work so that they can pick up on the nuances and emotion and share with me their reactions while they are fresh and vibrant. Every time I do another reading, the book travels with me. I sell it before, after, and during the breaks in the readings. I appear with other authors who display an enormous breadth and depth of talent. All of this is validation and self-promotion at its heart. Does it always work to such advantage? Nope. There are nights it can be pretty thin, but for the most part, I average better than 70% sales per capita at any given appearance. 
Does it require travel and commitment, a constant reaching out to other venues and promoters? Of course it does. But that's how you make it work. I am always looking for another microphone, another gathering of the ambitious, another trip down the road to a cafe, coffeehouse, bookstore, or library. I send fiction and poetry out all the time. I am forever striving to improve what I put on the page.
That's what I have been saying here, in this blog, for over a year. If you think the electronic thing is the be all and end all for your career, you are wrong. The readers want to see and hear you, they want you to personally sign their copy of your book, they want to think, if only for a moment, there is a real connection between them and someone whose talent they respect, and who you value beyond the $0.99 you charged them on-line. The brick and mortar publishers want to see that you understand the importance of a personal attachment to your fans and potential fans. Yes, they want you to be able to do the digital thing, too. But more than that, you need to grasp and utilize a combination of techniques to reach as many readers as possible.
But this is only your Uncle Dane's humble friggin' opinion!
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------, love, write. Oh, if you choose not to take it on the road, that's alright, it just leaves more dates for guys like me.
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Dane F. Baylis

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