Friday, February 10, 2012

Can I Have Cheese With My Whine?

At my writers' group meeting last month, author Lexi George talked about being published and what she wished someone had told her.  She did a great job by making it interesting and informative.

That got me to thinking about a certain situation that has come up since I received THE CALL. In my case, an email was my first contact on Avon Impulse wanting my book now titled Circle of Desire, though two days later my editor called to talk about what they were offering.

Unlike Lexi, whose books can be purchased on the shelves of most bookstores and probably at other types of merchants (e.g., Wal-mart, Target, etc.), my books can only be purchased on-line, either by e-format or print on demand. So advertising is a number one priority for me. How else will be people know my book is available if I don’t let them know? In a brick and mortar bookstore, they have around 200,000 titles (per B&N’s website) on their shelves. While on line, the number is more like 30 million. Yes! That’s with seven zeros!  So what do you think are the odds of one e-book being noticed?  It’s not like someone can walk to a certain section (Romance) and see my book. Even they don’t buy it, it becomes familiar to them and who knows, they may purchase it next time.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. Well, not really. I’m proud that my book found a home with HarperCollins. A dream in more than one way that’s come true. And I understood in the beginning that it wouldn't be in a store.

I’ve heard a lot of authors talk about being on their own when it came to advertising their book.  My publisher has done a little advertising around the time it was released just as most publishers, but you and I know that’s not enough. I also knew they expected me to get word of mouth out by blogging and giveaways. And I did. But hey, unless you’re a New York Times best selling author, it’s hard to grab people’s attention.

[I had mentioned this in a prior post] Oh, I’ve got to tell you something so funny that proves the point I just made. In the beginning of January, my editor came across my book in iTune’s iBookstore as a featured book.  How cool is that? Anyway, it hit the Top Ten Erotica Romance list.  When I looked at it, it was number three. Of course, being a newbie and excited that my book was on some type of list, I looked at it every day for about two weeks. It got as high as number two. Then one day, I couldn’t find the link for Erotica under Romance category. Strange. I could find the section if I search my book and click on the links at the top of that page. A few days later, that section totally disappeared. Huh? I knew they were updating iBooks because they had recently announced that they would start selling text books. Okay. But what does that have to do with romance? Anyway, that section is no more.  ::sigh:: Yet during the small time I was on that list, I noticed the number of reviews increased five to ten a day.  Like someone told me, not everyone who buys a book on line does reviews, so that was thrilling. Of course, you and I know by it being on that list, people would automatically buy it. That’s how NYT best sellers sometimes can stay for weeks at the top.  That’s why BAM and other booksellers have sections showing the top selling books.  And you guessed it, the number of reviews have dropped considerably since then.  It’s hard to find my book unless you’re looking for it. Also another point I’ve made in earlier paragraphs.  

So now I’m trying to save up money to do advertising and hope to get people's attention in time for my next book.  We'll see how it goes.