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Friday, July 22, 2011

Baa Baa

So...marketing strategy.  I didn't want to put myself on blogs and websites where a zillion other writers were already hocking their wares.  To some extent you have to do that, but many of those same blogs are mostly haunted by other writers that are scoping the competition, and not actual buyers.  Authors can make good buyers, don't overlook that.  And if you don't mind the fact that they are comparison shopping if it lines your pockets, than by all means go for it.  And I don't man to slur other authors...they can be a wonderful source of both emotional and financial support.  I've logged enough hours on the Kindle forums to develop a very warm and fuzzy feeling for the authors that hang there.
All that being said...an author's goal is to build a readership, a base of consumers (Dare I say fans?) that will return to buy your next book and your next..and recommend you to their friends.  But doing that is no easy feat...you have to stand out from the crowd.  And for me standing out meant getting away from the crowd.
I was lucky enough to choose an unusual setting for my first published book, Godhead.  I set it in Belize in the 1960s. (At that time it was still known as British Honduras, back when the British Empire was gamely hanging onto as many outlying colonies as possible.)  I thought perhaps I'd have a market in Belize itself.
As it turns out there are few books set there, which astounds me, as it is lush and fertile with stories, and scenery, and memorable characters, but hey I'm not complaining...  So I started hunting for Belize forums and  there are plenty of those.  I posted my blurb, explained why I had chosen Belize and within days that post had been looked at over six hundred times.  Realizing I was on to something I posted in other forums, and at this time the majority of my sales have come from Belize itself, or at least from those with more than a passing interest in the country.
Now, I realize that since the rest of my books aren't set in Belize, I may have a hard time getting follow-up sales from the same people, but if they like my writing hopefully they will come back for more.
So my advice to marketing noobs with a zero budget, is to look for a niche market that your book belongs in and pitch it there.  If it's about detectives, pitch it on police forums. If it's about a particular locale, look for those web pages that may support you.  If it's about hacker,s pitch to techie groups...you see what I'm saying?
Think of your book as more than a book, think of it as a wealth of information on a particular subject that someone somewhere will appreciate beyond a good story.
Take your book and your brain out of the box.
Set it free and you may just be surprised where it takes you.

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