Author of Murder is Revealing and upcoming Dark Blood Awakens.
Ramblings and Reflections
First goal in book publishing
Before self-publishing my first novel, I read articles, attended webinars, and subscribed to author YouTube channels to learn everything possible about the industry. One of the best pieces of advice I heard—which also applies to other aspects of life—is to set attainable goals.
Desires without direction remain dreams.I established goals to measure my progress because if self-publishing cost more than my budget permitted, then I needed to stop, reassess, and reconsider my choices. Time is also a commodity. Presently, I work full time. As a single woman, I bear the sole responsibility for my current and future expenses. Retirement is always around the corner. Besides writing, I enjoy gardening, baking, and biking. While I want to be a successful writer, a well-rounded lifestyle is important. By establishing goals, I maintain boundaries.
The initial target was to sell one hundred books—not unreasonable. By the end of July 2022, I will reach that milestone. The next goal is to recoup the money invested in publishing Murder Is Revealing. Since the audiobook narrator alone cost around $3000, that second objective will take longer. There are other hurdles to overcome in my publishing journey, but first I must generate income.
Many writers incorrectly believe that if they opt for the traditional route, their publishing house will handle all the marketing. Wrong. Even successful writers do some of their own marketing.
In July, I hired Books Go Social (BGS) and BookBub to advertise Murder Is Revealing. I discounted both the eBook and audiobook to encourage sales. BGS advertises across several platforms, including Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. BookBub directly emails their subscribers. I contracted with BGS for Twitter, NetGalley, and Amazon Ads. BookBub offers various email ads, which I will discuss in depth at another time.
Reedsy Discovery and NetGalley allow authors to get independent book reviews. Unfortunately, neither improved my sales. The problem is extrapolating reader reviews from those sites onto larger bookseller platforms like Apple Books, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon. Authors give Reedsy and NetGalley a copy of their manuscript to make available for free to their readers, hoping for book reviews. However, those reviews remain on those websites. It’s the author’s responsibility to encourage readers to transpose their reviews onto other platforms. Out of over one hundred free downloads of my book on NetGalley, only thirteen readers posted an online review. Despite my requests, none of those readers shared their reviews on an online bookseller website.
BookBub has driven attention to my book. The platform allows authors to decide how much to spend. I ran several ads throughout July to determine what visuals and book blurbs attracted readers. BGS also increased my Amazon sales. Twitter Ads, not so much, but Twitter rarely generates book sales. I’m not sure about advertising on Facebook. Since I am not on the platform, measuring advertising effectiveness becomes harder.
After watching videos on Amazon’s KDP and Kindlepreneur, in August I will conduct my own Amazon ad promotions. Like BookBub, KDP allows authors to set their own ad budgets. You only pay if a subscriber clicks on your book image. Authors can pause campaigns any time. KDP allows authors to view their results daily. With BGS you can request results, but only once every two weeks.
Audiobook sales lagged initially but have increased since I advertised with Chirp via BookBub. However, with the lifting of pandemic restrictions, people are engaging in more outdoor activities and buying fewer books. At over $3000 a pop, I will weigh expenses before hiring another narrator.
Audiobook and eBook discounts will continue throughout August as I monitor different marketing services. My most important goal in self-publishing is sharing each step of my journey with readers and other authors. If you have questions, feel free to email me at news@MichelleCorbier.com. Thank you for your support. Happy reading.
If I reach for the stars and land on a cloud, I’ve still climbed higher than remaining on the ground.