As most of you know, I had a week off last week and had absolutely nothing to do with any social media or marketing of my books. You would expect sales to have been lacklustre at best – I certainly did. But I was wrong. In fact, sales of Murder at the Maples were far higher than I’d predicted, and sales of my other two titles also remained steady.
When I say I did nothing last week, I did still regularly check my KDP figures and Amazon rankings. Oh, come on! I’m only human and I did have a brand new book out!
Anyway, back to those sales figures. The first Flora Lively mystery was released on the 12th September. In the week ending the 14th September MatM had 30 downloads. The following week it achieved 37. During my launch events in the local area I also sold over 20 paperback copies (thanks to lovely friends and family and the customers of Bookshrop). And last week while I was lounging around doing zilch? 107 downloads! And, even more amazingly, it’s hardly dropped out of the top 2,000 in the rankings and has stayed in the top 50 bestselling books in the Kindle categories.
So does this mean that doing nothing at all is the way forward? Well, sadly no. Because even though I did nothing last week, I had of course been working my socks off up to that point. I believe these sales are down to a simple equation expressed this way:
Concentrated sales = visibility = more sales = visibility … and on until it stops working.
Lots of people buying a book at the same time has an effect on the Amazon ranking, pushing the book up the charts – popularity and bestselling – making it visible to more buyers, who then download the book repeating and multiplying the effect. There are a number of things that help – if the book is new, if it has some good early reviews, a striking cover, well written blurb etc. Here are some of the things that were in place which may have come together to create what those in the know like to call a sales spike:
- Articles in the local press creating local interest
- A buzz around the launch with posters, bookmarks, people talking to their friends, that kind of thing
- Amazon mailing customers to tell them about a new book by an author they’ve bought before
- People buying from their ‘to read’ list a couple of weeks after release
- Goodreads interest following from the giveaway
- Posters in the library ahead of this weekend’s signing
- Support from bloggers, on Twitter and Facebook getting the word out
Basically there were a lot of paths leading people to be interested and possibly buy, all coming together at the same time, and this may have caused the jump in sales that pushed the book into visibility.
Which leads me to my bow and arrows metaphor – you know I love metaphors, right? OK, so I’m the bow – the author or marketer – and the arrows are the activities I send out into the world to let people know about my books. If you were fighting a battle you wouldn’t fire one arrow one day, then another the next day, then another … you get the picture. You’d stand right there outside the castle and fire a whole quiver of arrows, one after the other, until you had none left. Then you’d go home and put your feet up until the next battle!
That’s my new marketing strategy. Once a month I’m going to fire out lots of arrows and spend the rest of the month with my feet up – or writing 😉 No more chipping away with meaningless tweets or half-hearted Facebook postings. From now on I write, I blog, I keep up with my friends and connections, and I put on my marketing hat – or take up my bow – once a month for a concerted effort. What do you think, guys? Sound like a battle-winning strategy?