Marketing adventures and balcony earwigging…

Here I am navigating how to market my books as I go. I’ve always been one to learn on the hoof, so to speak. It helps with my impatience to get things done. I am trying to be consistent in what is turning out to be a pretty inconsistent way.

Having video’d myself reading from 12 excerpts of The Isolation Sex Stories I find that Facebook doesn’t want to post the videos – maybe it’s a download thing or maybe they don’t like the content. I have no idea as I haven’t received a notification as yet. They are simply proving impossible to upload. The first introductory one was fine but nothing since has worked. My phone rarely lets me down so I’m pretty sure it’s not that.

WordPress to the rescue where happily I have discovered that by using Anchor my blogposts can be created as podcasts. So now you get to listen to a nice American lady instead of my sultry tones and you don’t have to look at me. This could well be a blessing in disguise! Having said that, videos are fun to do when I’m in the mood, so I will persist with those when time allows.

You can listen to the podcasts via the links at the bottom of this page and all future blogposts will be available as podcasts too. Maybe I will eventually get to use my own voice but for now I’m happy with the American lady as it saves time and time is particularly precious at the moment.

It’s a bit tricky when you have written a book containing adult content. It’s not porn but obviously there are some scenarios and language that could cause offence and that’s why I did put a warning at the beginning at my videos (even though I made sure the excerpts weren’t anything too naughty). This is all a great learning curve. I am glad I wrote the book and I know it has given a number of people great amusement which was always the intention during these tough times. It will certainly be fun to look back on it in ten years time…

My next book of short stories is a completely different subject and looking ahead I now know how much easier it should be to market. Someone once said that I never do things the easy way and that’s pretty much true. However, it does prepare the way and I’m always suspicious when things are too easy. Life has conditioned me to believe that if something is easy it’s probably not worth doing.

Marketing certainly isn’t easy but it can be fun researching what to do next and interacting with other indies and readers on social media.

As I type this we are in the middle of a mini heatwave in the UK and it has been a long time coming. Consequently, for the first time this summer I have been able to move my office out onto the balcony which I have to say is some kind of bliss. As well as roasting nicely in the sun (with necessary precautions of course), I get to listen to the conversations people are having on their balconies. Yesterday some women were discussing which parts of their body tan first and a man was on the phone arranging a date. It’s impossible not to earwig and as a writer I certainly see it as my duty to do so! Who knows what could turn into my next story? The seagulls are squawking, music is playing and the herbs are growing away in their pots. Apart from the odd gnat bite, this feels like the perfect place to work. Oh hang on a minute, the women are back, the word ‘literally’ and phrase ‘going behind my back’ are being repeated quite a bit. If it gets really interesting I will let you know in my next blog. She just told Alexa to be quiet… that’s a shame, I was enjoying Ed Sheeran!

More of my indie author experiences soon…

Check out my podcast at Spotify, Breaker, Google Podcasts, RadioPublic and listen to the nice American lady reading my stuff 😉

While you are waiting, my short stories The Eight of Swords, The Putsi and The Isolation Sex Stories are all at Amazon (free on Kindle Unlimited) waiting for you to read them. If you do, please let me know what you think of them via Amazon reviews or feel free to message me with your thoughts via Twitter @PetraKidd – Instagram @PetraKiddWriter or Facebook/PetraKiddWrites

Author adventures in marketing…

The sun is out, the sky is blue, there are a few clouds but they aren’t spoiling the view. As tempting as it is to go out and enjoy the fresh air, here I am in front of my screen trying to get my head around book marketing.

I love writing my stories but it’s another thing altogether spreading the word about them. Writing is fun but hard work, marketing is even harder. I enjoy producing graphics, I know my way around social media (to a point) but when it comes to advertising, it’s a whole new ball game. Suddenly I need to know target audiences. I have to create a budget for spending. I have to measure results and assess what works and what doesn’t.

I’ve watched lots of instructive book marketing videos. I’ve read the experiences of other authors. I’ve listened to podcasts galore. Somehow I still feel a little adrift because everyone has a different experience, what you have to do is weigh up the common denominators that lead to success. Even then, luck comes into it. In truth, writing is like any other business and a book is a product. However, it’s more of a personal kind of product to the author who has to do the promotional work so sensitivities have to be quashed.

It’s not the first time I’ve had to market a product as I’ve always worked in business of some kind but a book, well that’s a bit different. I see a book as an emotional product, it’s much more personal. The stories I write will strike a chord with some and may leave others cold. I have to put this at the back of my mind and decide that everyone will love them. Positivity is the only way forward. Once upon a time I sold books by other authors, that was easy. When you come to sell your own, it’s a very different feeling.

The only way to deal with things you aren’t comfortable with is to make them fun. Quite by chance I came across a site called AllAuthor.com and they provide all kinds of useful tools for promotion. It’s a great site for readers too, well worth a look if you want to find indie authors and the genres you enjoy.

When I wrote The Eight of Swords, I didn’t do much promotion other than through social media. This time I want to stretch my readership far wider. I’m thinking of the future and the next books I will write as much as my existing ones.

My first proper ad via Facebook taught me that it’s not only your book you may get commentary on, it’s the way you plan to sell it. For The Isolation Sex Stories I decided to sell it exclusively via Amazon. This is partly because I wanted to test how that would go and it meant I got a free ISBN (a number which simply put, is a product identifier and almost every book has one). At the time of publication funds were tight and it seemed the best way to go. Also, let’s face it, Amazon is one of the largest book selling sites in the world and Kindle is massively popular. In business terms it was a no brainer to use them.

Amazon has come under fire for alleged tax avoidance in the UK. Tax avoidance isn’t illegal but of course it is emotive. When my ad for The Eight of Swords popped up on one Facebook user’s newsfeed, he decided to plant a gif in my post’s comments concerning Amazon not paying tax. Unfortunately I had to point out that Facebook had been accused of similar and that the person commenting on Amazon’s tax avoidance happened to be using Facebook to promote his work and comment on my post. We may not like what these big companies do but we shouldn’t be bringing one another down over it.

The other thing the commentator pointed out was that he didn’t like unsolicited advertisements popping up in his newsfeed. Well, this is easily fixed, all you have to do is adjust your settings to say that you don’t want to be shown personally targeted advertisements. In truth, I didn’t mind the commentator being grumpy about the advertisements, I get a bit fed up with them at times too. Sadly what he didn’t want to acknowledge was that we are both people trying to show others our work, and yes, obtain sales. If you don’t like what Amazon does business wise, if you find it doesn’t fit with your morals, fine, don’t use it. But if you moan about Amazon while using Facebook, I think that might make you a little hypocritical…

Next time I will publish on a wider variety of platforms. Experimentation is always fun and interesting. I will write more about my experiences as I progress.

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