Monthly Archives: June 2013

Self Publishing – Is advertising worth doing?

Before I start I will acknowledge that everything I do whether by accident or design that makes people aware of my books, which certainly includes this blog, is a form of advertising. What follows is merely based on my personal experience and nothing more.

Supposedly back in the electronic self publishing days of yore (about three years ago at most) the $0.99 book was way to get ahead. A handful of writer sold vast number of books and made substantial amounts of money. That can probably be attributed to the ereaders, after their initial spluttering start, taking off. Thousands of people had Kindles and frankly there is nothing more sad or pathetic than an ereader with no books on it. The $0.99 books are still around and some of them I would guess are making good money but the days where that is all a books needs are in my opinion over*.

So presumably some kind of advertising is now needed?

I have my doubts.

When it comes to self publishing my guiding star has always been minimize costs, combine that with my cautious*1 attitude to money and what you end up with is no formal advertising. This blog only started about a year after my first book came out and while I got as far as opening a Twitter account I’ve never written anything on it*2. Heck, I only join Facebook less than two years ago. Self promotion as those who know me out in the real world is not in my nature. My books have nonetheless sold  and while it is hard to get any solid information regarding an overview of the world of self publishing, what bits and pieces I’ve come across suggest I’m pretty much average in terms of money made.

In the past I’ve heard traditionally published mid-list authors complain about the lack of advertising support they get from they publishers. I also know that they only advertizements I’ve ever seen for books outside books shops were for the Dan Browns and J.K. Rowlings of this world. The problem with advertizing is that it gets really expensive really fast and frankly most of it won’t work*3 . For it to have any hope it will have to be targeted at the group(s) of people most likely to be interested in your book in the first place. Which immediately begs the question, do you know who these people are and how to reach them? Until you work in advertising the answer is probably no. Even if you do work in advertising the answer is still at best only probably only maybe.

So while it is certainly possible to spend a lot of time and money on advertising. The more you spend, the more a title has to sell just to break even. Plus time spent on advertising it time you can’t spend writing.

Before I self published I was of the opinion that the definition of a successful first book is one that paves the way for a second. Two years into self publishing experience has not indicated that opinion was faulty. The best advertisement for one of your books is another. Blogs, websites, twittering, etc, etc have undoubtedly their place, most of the people who come to this blog are looking to see when my third book is out but even though the financial costs of these are minimal they do have a time cost. The accountancy term that can be applied is opportunity cost. Time or money spend on advertising is time that can not be spent on anything else. Which is why I think any author has to take a cold hard look at any advertising possibility and ask themselves whether it will pays its way.

But as I said at the start this is just one persons perspective and as with everything in the modern world of publishing, what is true today might well be obsolete tomorrow.

Regards

*. I’ve noticed the price of Indie Ebooks in slowly creeping upwards, which sort of flies in the face of the critics claims that they would devalue literature.

*1. Sure, lets call it cautious.

*2. And likely never will.

*3. For example I’ve never read anything by Dan Browns or J.K. Rowling

The Nameless War, available on Kindle, Smashwords, Kobo and paperback.

The Landfall Campaign, available on Kindle, Kobo, Smashwords and paperback.

The Job Offer, currently only available on Kindle.

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The Landfall Campaign – Now available on Smashwords

UPDATE 31st October 2014

Until further notice The Nameless War and the Landfall Campaign have been removed from Smashwords.

 

 

Dear all,

I am please to announce that book two of the Nameless War – The Landfall Campaign, is now available on Smashwords, for all you non-Kindle users. A little later than I originally planned but it is a bit more complicated a process than with the Kindle. I should also be putting up my novella The Job Offer within the next month.

The Nameless War, available on Kindle, Smashwords, Kobo and paperback.

The Landfall Campaign, available on Kindle, Kobo, Smashwords and paperback.

The Job Offer, currently only available on Kindle.

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GUEST BLOGGER: Catherine Brophy

Something different this time, a guest blog from fellow self publisher Catherine Brophy with a little personal tail of science fiction.

BUT IT’S ONLY FOR NERDS!

I suggested Science Fiction.   There was a sharp intake of breath and startled show of the whites of their eyes.  You’d think I’d suggested barbequing a baby!

Let me explain.   I’m in a book club.  It’s all women.   They’re all bright, they all work and they all love a challenge.   We have just one rule… no cooking.   We’re not one of those book clubs that cook elaborate meals get tiddly and only make passing reference to the book.   We don’t have the time for cooking elaborate meals. We’re all working women, we have lives, we love reading.  You can open a packet and pull a cork but that’s the max for hostessery.

Over the years we’ve read everything from classics to chick-lit, biography, history, science, travel, philosophy, you name it, we’ve read it… except science fiction.   That, it seemed was a challenge too far.
“That stuff is only for nerds,” they objected, “teenage boys and losers with no friends…”
“I’m married to one of those nerds.” I said.
They were taken aback.  They know my husband and like him… well duh… he’s intelligent and funny and thoughtful and warm.
“He loves science fiction” I ranted on, “ and fantasy/alternative universe/time travel… all that stuff and he also loves philosophy, classics, history, travel and regular fiction.   They’re not mutually exclusive you know.   Maybe you’ve been watching too much “Big Bang Theory”
They shuffled their feet and looked sheepish.
“But isn’t it mostly … well… rubbish?” they asked
“Have you read any?” I countered.
“Well no….”
“It’s like everything else there’s the good, there’s the bad and the horribly ugly.   The trick is to read the good stuff.”
“So suggest something.” They said.
Now I was in a quandary.   What should I suggest?   My friends were unaware of the infinite sub-categories within Sci Fi/fantasy genres so my choice was wide.   Too wide.   I thought of Frank Herbert’s Dune but reckoned it might be too long to start with.   I toyed with King Rat because I love China Mieville. (‘My job,” he said in an interview “ is not to try to give readers what they want but to try to make readers want what I give’, Fans often demand that their favourite writers churn out more of the same, this limits the writer and keeps them from writing their best.)  I flirted with The Terror by Dan Simmons.  But I finally choose Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs partly because I’d read it recently and partly because I thought it was an easy introduction to sci-fi fantasy genres… and oh yeah… because it’s beautifully written..

The book club read.   They loved it.   Some have converted and are asking for further recommendations.   The rest are at least willing to admit that it’s not entirely rubbish.   Success.
So now  that I’ve opened a few people’s minds why don’t some of you try my latest book… it’s a comedy and hey… everyone enjoys a laugh don’t they?

 

burning night

A COMEDY ABOUT MONEY, FAME AND THE CELTIC TIGER

The Celtic Tiger is in his prime and the Kerrigans are splashing the cash.  They have made it big time, so eat your heart out you small town snobs!  But Daddy’s-girl Kirsty wants International Celebrity and devotes herself to this dream. She crashes Madonna’s Christmas party but that doesn’t help.  She goes on Big Brother and causes a stir but doesn’t help either,  However, when a You Tube video of Kirsty goes viral, fame arrives with a bang.   But Tracey O’Hagan, a blast from a shady patch in the Kerrigan past, has appeared on the scene. She’s mad. She’s bad. And she’s definitely dangerous to know.
Burning Bright is told in the voices of Kerrigan family members and friends.   It’s funny. It’s believable. And it will definitely make you laugh.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:   Catherine Brophy is a writer, story-teller and broadcaster.   She writes film, T.V. and radio scripts and she also writes short stories. Her previous novels are The Liberation of Margaret Mc Cabe and Dark Paradise.   She lives a blameless life in Ireland but escapes whenever she can.   She’s been rescued by a circus troupe in Serbia, had breakfast with a Zambian chief, ate camel stew in the Sahara, and was kicked by a horse on the Mexican plain.

On kindle and paperback

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Filed under science fiction, Self Publishing, Writing