Studio Tendra’s first week has gone better than I expected (although the post on our cover design process kind of sunk without notice).
We’ve seen some downloads, some feedback, some positive word. All in all pretty good for a five day old venture.
But, as you may not know, we don’t have a grand master plan here beyond making the books as good as we can make them. Sure, we’ve got ideas and plans for how to market these things but they’re all still pretty much up in the air.
Which brings me to you. I need your help. I’d really appreciate any suggestion for how to market these ebooks (or ebooks in general) that you can throw in my direction.
No matter how obvious you think it is, put it in a comment or in the feedback form. If there’s a venue you think I should check out, mention it. If you have a website or a forum you run that you think might be useful for marketing websites, feel free to pimp it. If you have a service that might help, by all means talk about it. If you’ve published yourself, I’d love to hear some of what you’ve done. Feel free to mention what book it was you were promoting as you make your suggestion. I’m open to anything and everything that isn’t sleazy or creepy (so no review-buying or people-stalking, thank you :P).
If you can, put the suggestion in the comments in case it might be helpful to others who are in my position.
Oh, and isn’t anybody curious about what Tendra means? 🙂
Some suggestions from twitter:
Shelley Powers pointed me at Free Kindle Books and Tips and the features that KDP Select offers. She also mentioned Amazon’s forums, which I’ll have to check out.
George Walkley pointed out that some people have been using Google Hangouts to good effect. And that kindle.amazon.com might possibly be an underused option.
Tom Abba said the following:
Establish audience, lots of free tasters, dropped out at random (ish) and then hit them with the pay what you want.
You need the author equivalent of ninja gigs. imho.
Ninja gig is unexpected, free, counter to expectation and gets attention. What can a writer do that gets the same results?
Which, to me, sounds like a Seth Godin Purple Cow and those are hard to come up with. Maybe this old Kathy Sierra post represents a good framework for coming up with ideas?
Pablo Defendini answered Tom’s ninja gigs question with the following suggestion: “Flash fiction in a public gDoc.”
Which I think is a pretty interesting idea and would be more fun for people to watch than, say, writing an entire novel in a google doc. Very close to the live, performance, vibe of ninja gigs. I like it.
I’ve been wanting to do another ePub. One of my ideas is to create a mailing list and have weekly updates. (I have weekly content.) Then in each mailing include a code for a free book on the basis of “first come gets it.” I figure people who have used the codes won’t try more than once, so they would either pass it on or leave it for another. Either way you’d be generating some level of excitement.
I only have one publication out there so far: Anansi Poems. I have plans for a ton more. Are you on the iTunes store as well?
By the way, covers look great.
Thanks, yeah, we’re on the iTunes store as well (right here).
A regularly updated mailing list seems like a classic thing to do. A lot of people still prefer email over twitter, facebook, or RSS/Atom.
Giveaways are another classic tactic, whether they’re done just to mailing list members or to blog followers or whatever. It might be interesting to do a couple of short ebooks that are only available (for free) to those on the mailing list. Or would that just piss off those who aren’t on the mailing list and don’t want to join?
One option is to use Gumroad. I think you can both set a book download to be free (or pay what you want) and have a limit on the number of downloads as well. So, I think you could use them to do a giveaway of only a set number of books.
It might not be a bad investment to offer titles that you’re not giving away free here as prizes/giveaways for SF/Fantasy blogs and other outlets. Since it’s sword and sorcery, perhaps RPG-related sites and webcomics would be interested giveaway materials as well.
Ah, yup. That does sound like a good idea. I hadn’t thought of the RPG/webcomics angle either.
I plan to do some paid content ePubs soon, but I also have a massive idea or a free one. I think exclusive swag pisses no one off. You might give away fewer, but eh.
I like how this site does ePubs: http://www.damninteresting.com
Well, that is damn interesting indeed. I like the way they do that.
Sales pitch/full disclosure upfront: I doing a startup, inspired in part by your post http://www.baldurbjarnason.com/notes/end-of-ebook-dev/ to offer a package of services to small ebook publishers. It started as a cloud-based ebook production system, but I discovered that the technology enables writers to build a sustainable career by discovering their true fans. My definition of a fan is someone who will pre-order your next book. Here is my marketing evaluation/suggestions:
You have already done a couple of important things. You have a genre series with multiple books available almost immediately. This is the best strategy for building a fanbase. The next step is identifying where your potential readers congregate, who the key influencers are, and what is appealing to your readers. From that you build a long-term marketing plan, with blog tours, events, etc. The system I am building enables personalized ebooks, including signed ebooks, ebooks with book plates and platform-optimized ebooks (i.e. KF7 and KF8 from different sources in the same file). These techniques can be powerful tools for enhancing the connection with your readers.
Email me if you would like to discuss in more depth.
First step (which I’ve taken care of), is to add your book and yourself to Goodreads:
Second step is to claim your author profile at both Amazon and Goodreads, and properly integrate them into your platform.
Third step, profit! (Actually, there’s a lot of things you can do from your third step, but start with these more passive basics that maximize your discoverability.)
Claimed and claimed. Now I just have to figure out how, where, and when to link to and promote these profiles. This is going to be interesting. 🙂