Marketing Your Novel: 2019 Goals

I know we’re already a month a and a half into the year, but I haven’t yet laid out my book marketing plans. I needed some time to mull over what my real goals were and how I can actually reach them.

Answering the first question is easy: Sell. More. Books. As for the second question, well, let’s discuss.

Last year, my marketing efforts were focused on getting my authorly name out there and drumming up hype during my pre-sale period.  That didn’t go well. So let’s address that elephant first.

The 2018 Pre-Release Flop

As you can see from the original post linked above, I targeted four main channels for my pre-release book marketing efforts: newsletter, Facebook, Pinterest, and pay-per-click campaigns.

The Evening Satellite newsletter flopped. I tried to get 10 subscribers with the promise of a free Kindle copy of WoEM upon publication. I got two subscribers, and neither of them responded when I asked for their Amazon accounts to “gift” them ebooks. I don’t really know what to do with this newsletter right now.

The RSPC Facebook page was mostly useless. We had 150 followers, but my book announcement post didn’t do jack. The same post on my personal Facebook page did incredibly well (100+ Likes/comments, people asking for copies, etc.), so I shut down the RSPC page. Maybe it will reappear as an author page so I can stop bugging my friends. I’m not sure.

I lost interest in Pinterest. Honestly, I just stopped using it. It’s a cool idea, but I just didn’t enjoy the platform very much, and I got so few visitors that I just stopped trying.

My pay-per-click marketing campaigns for WoEM-related pages did quite well. I earned 600-some clicks over the course of three weeks post-publication. However, I don’t think I got any more than a couple sales from that group.

Now, I sold 64 copies of The Warden of Everfeld: Memento in 2018, which is nothing to sneeze at. I know for a fact that 35 of those sales were to friends and family.  15-20 more were probably also people I know, but I’m estimating based on people telling me that they bought my book. So I sold perhaps 10-15 copies of WoEM just on the merit of my online presence and the Amazon listing.

Now that I write it out, 10-15 sales to strangers is pretty awesome. However, I’d like to sell even more this year.

The key lesson I learned from all of my efforts in 2018:

No one knows who I am.

I need to get my name out there. I need to meet readers and fans of fantasy stories and hope they like mine enough to tell their friends about it. That’s why the main part of my plan will be direct marketing – getting in front of and talking to people who might want to read my book, directly.

The 2019 Book Selling Plan

I’m keeping my marketing/sales plan simpler this year. I’m going to focus on just three general avenues to sell my book:

  1. Conventions
  2. Wattpad
  3. My online presence

The Convention Scene

Even though I only have one book, I want to hit the convention scene pretty hard this year. My vague goal is three conventions/events. The good news: Jessie is supposed to be publishing her book this year, too, and selling two books is better than one.

We have a table reserved with M.L.S. Weech for Awesome Con in DC. I’m supper excited for this three-day event where I can just meet readers, and hopefully, sell some books. I’ll get into my specific convention plans as we get closer, but I think this will be the best way to meet people, and for people to meet me!

Scientific-Wild-Ass Goal: Sell 100 books between multiple conventions/events

Wattpad Readers

I’m publishing a series of short myths on Wattpad this year, entitled “The Grand Mythos of Úr’Dan”. With only one chapter up, readership has been slow, but I’m hoping this will grow as I publish more content, one chapter each month.

I like Wattpad’s user-friendly interface and social atmosphere. I’ve already connected with a few authors through my own reading on the platform and engaging on the user forums.

Scientific-Wild-Ass Goal: 600 reads on my Wattpad stories, equivalent to 50 readers reading each chapter one time.

Building My Online Presence

This is a much more general goal of finding the platforms, whether social or not, and using them consistently. This blog is obviously my biggest priority. We have 500+ followers now, and I’d like to continue growing.

Other platforms I’ve been using more regularly this year:

  • Wattpad, as discussed above
  • GoodReads – I’m finally updating this every few days. Actually reading productively has helped, but the engagement I get on my updates from my handful or friends/followers also helps.
  • Facebook – I’m considering an author page, but we’ll see.
  • Imgur – I’ve always liked Imgur, I’ve just mostly been a lurker. If I can work up the courage to publish my awesome cover images there, I think I could generate some interest.
  • Newsletter? – I’d like for this thing to get off the ground. I’m just not sure how to get people to subscribe yet. Maybe meeting folks at conventions will generate interest.

Scientific Wild-Ass Goal: Continue making connections on these platforms; hit 600 followers for WordPress and figure out this newsletter business.

That about does it. Like I said, this year’s goals are simpler and more streamlined. I want people to be able to find my writing, and if that means getting out there and looking readers in the eye, then I’m all for it.

Steve D

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