Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

Lessons in Book Promotion

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

For the first week or so in the life of my new e-book, Freelance Fee Setting: Quick Guide for When a Client Demands a Price NOW, I did no promotion. I was curious to see how many people would find it simply by searching Amazon. None did, or at least none bought it.

Then I sent an email to about 20 people with strong followings and websites with good participation. I described the book and offered a pdf. Most accepted. Two posted a notice about the book immediately.

I watched the sales figures climb steadily over the next five days. As the numbers started to inch up, I became obsessive, logging in to my Kindle account several times a day. 0…11…20…28…33…42…48…53…55. It was a thrilling ride.

Besides offering quick guidance on setting a price for a particular job, the new e-book is meant to drive sales of my longer book, What to Charge: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers and Consultants. It did. During the same period that Freelance Fee Setting purchases went from 0 to 55, Kindle sales of What to Charge rose from 8 to 20.  

Then it all stopped, as quickly as it began.

Lesson 1: A passive approach to book marketing does not work. The author has to get out the word.

Lesson 2: An author can use a brief, inexpensive e-book to promote sales of another book.

Lesson 3: Book promotion needs to be continuous. When it stops, so do sales.

Worse than Out-Of-Stock

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Earlier this month, the print edition of my book What to Charge: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers and Consultants suddenly disappeared from Amazon. It still appears there, but it can be purchased only from third-party vendors, most of whom charge far more than Amazon. Fortunately, NAIWE members don’t have to worry about buying the book, because it is available in NAIWE’s bookstore (http://naiwe.com/bookstore/index.php).

I emailed Amazon about this problem and received a nonsense reply. When I sent a second email, the response was “We are through with this problem.” Well, I wasn’t!

I then contacted my publisher. They began almost daily correspondence with Ingram, the distributor. The CEO even got involved. It’s now two weeks later. Ingram has informed the publisher that they notified Amazon that the book is still available. At last look, though, it still wasn’t on the site.

What to Charge is print on demand. One of the purported benefits of print-on-demand books is that out-of-stock situations don’t occur, because stock doesn’t exist. I have encountered a worse problem than being out of stock: not being available at all.

I still don’t know what caused the problem or if the fault lies with Amazon, Ingram, or the publisher. (My initial thought was that when the publisher sent an announcement to Ingram that the cover was changed to show the Best Books finalist award, they may have sent the wrong message.) But I do know that for several weeks my book has been in limbo. I hope it returns to reality soon!

Marketing vs Sales

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Last week I attended the Creative Freelancers Conference to market my book What to Charge: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers and Consultants.

Despite the name of the conference, few independent writers and editors were in attendance. Because this conference is held in tandem with a large design meeting, most of the freelancers were graphic designers and web designers.

This audience is challenging for me to reach. I speak the same language as writers and editors, and my name is known in some sectors of the world of word freelancers. I was crossing the border into the world of image freelancers.

Sales were modest. But I was not disappointed, because my marketing efforts were successful. I connected with leaders of several organizations for freelancers, and they are eager to spread the word about the book to their members. In addition, I made direct contact with about 200 freelancers who were not aware of the book. If only 15% of them eventually buy the book and another 15% tell their professional colleagues about it, that will be a good reach into a relatively untapped market.

When I promote myself as a freelance writer and editor, I don’t think of what I’m doing as sales. Maybe that’s because my services are not tangible, like the books I cart to meetings, put on a table, and ship home if unsold. But every contact we independent writers and editors make is a marketing effort, with a sale as a potential outcome.

Marketing is a long-term effort, whereas sales put money in the bank. The time horizon between marketing and sales can be quite long.

I once met an editor who took almost two years to offer me an assignment. Then I continued to freelance steadily for her for seven years. The wait between marketing and sales was long, but in that case the sales payoff was substantial.

As independent professionals, we have to continually market ourselves. We can’t necessarily expect quick sales, although that of course is the dream when we need work and money to pay our bills. But without marketing, sales will never happen.