There is one part of being independent that we don’t like - marketing. We would really just prefer to write novels and have them magically get noticed and read. Unfortunately the world doesn’t work that way. We think our inability to promote our work well means that we are not attracting as many readers as we could and, at least for our fundraising efforts with Bobbie Titan in the Mark of Kain, this means we aren’t generating the kind of support for Poway High Student Services as we would like.
The way we see it, there are four levels to “getting out there.” First, some of your close friends and family buy the book just because they think they should. When it turns out that what they read is worth the effort, they talk among themselves and some more of the level-1 books get sold. Level-2 starts when people in the local area begin to hear about the book and start to buy it. In our case, it was people like the dentist, hairdresser, the kids that come into the Student Services Office and a few of their parents who read the book. If you’re lucky, you also get recognized by some local media. It happened for us when we just released Bobbie Titan and the Poway Chieftain carried a story about us. Unfortunately they only included the article about us in the print addition, so we weren’t able to share a link and the impact stayed local to Poway.
Luckily, we’re getting another chance to shine a little bit in the area around PHS. This week an article came out about us in the 92064 magazine. It’s a nice publication and their web presence is well laid out. They also distribute a paper magazine to everyone in the Poway zip code. So, all of our loyal followers might want to check out the whole periodical by jumping to http://www.92064magazine.com/ . Don’t forget to check out the “Faces in the Crowd” column to read about us (http://www.92064magazine.com/category/faces-in-the-crowd/). We are really pleased by the article.
Unfortunately, we seem to be stuck at marketing level-2. Level-3 happens when people greater than two degrees of separation start reading your book. We just don’t have a real good feel on how to get “strangers” interested in what we’ve written. We have a sense it comes from “discovering” us at the place where people buy books and, for us, this equates to the big e-book distributors like Amazon. So now our big push is to get as many of the level-1 and level-2 people who read and liked our work to go to Amazon, B&N, Apple, or all three, and tell others what they thought. We think Amazon is the most important. Even when we buy a book somewhere else, we often go to Amazon first to see what other readers thought. We are also always more comfortable choosing an unknown author when they have 20 or more positive reviews. So that’s what we’re trying to do for Bobbie. Right now we have six: four five star and two four star ratings.
Level-4 is a dream. That’s the kind of marketing that happens when you have a runaway best seller and people want the movie rights. If we ever get to level-4, we will be sure to get professionals to help. It might mean less independence, but it would also mean we would have people begging to help us. Now wouldn’t that be sweet!