Thursday, March 1, 2012
What Helps Sell Romance Books?
Belonging to professional organizations:
Hmm. I'm not sure about this one. Belonging to professional organizations may help with craft and other useful information, but the actual selling of books (unless at a sponsored book signing) doesn't happen. Quite honestly, how many times has someone interested in buying a book asked, "Are you a member of RWA?"
Promo done on yahoo groups:
Social networking done on these groups get you book blurb, cover, and excerpts out in public view. Groups can be as lively or are quiet as participants allow. Our Romance Books R Us yahoo group is always active because of the great participation we have. Selling books happens through groups like this where I have an opportunity to connect with readers.
Promo done on Twitter:
Can you really sell books here? Or, is it a "hit or miss" opportunity? I'm not sure if any of my "tweets" have created interest in my books.
Promo done on LinkedIn:
Again, same dilemma. I'm "linked" to many people, but do they purchase books?
Promo done on Facebook:
I have two pages; one for each pen name. Again, same dilemma. Am I timing posts at opportune times to reach more readers? I read an article and the poster said that you need to post around 7 times a day of FB, Twitter, and LinkedIn in order to reach everyone. Seriously? I don't have time for that, although I guess you can set up Twitter to "retweet" your messages.
Chats: I found them to be so fast-paced that messages got confusing and sometimes went off in tangents. I don't think I've ever sold a book this way. While chats can be interesting, the chat group we started for Romance Books R Us never quite caught on with readers. And, some authors "forgot" when they were supposed to chat. Perhaps in the future we can try some "fun" chats and see if interest picks up.
Blogs: Great way to introduce authors and books. Readers seem to enjoy hearing from authors, and not just about their books. Throwing in a peek at an author's personal life, like doing an interview, gains an author fans and readers. By being active on a blog, an author can continue to connect with readers.
Conventions/Conferences: Great way to meet readers and fans...if the event is geared towards readers/fans and not strictly writers/authors. While I enjoy the informative conventions/conferences, the ones open to readers/fans are more casual and intimate and help sell books. Book signings at any of these events is a good thing!
Contests: Some readers just do these without actually buying books. But, publicity is good and running contests gains interest.
Reviews: Mixed on this one. Good reviews? Great. Do readers read these? When one of my books became a "free read", I got some "bad" reader reviews on Amazon from people who obviously didn't read paranormal or romance, but took the book because it was free.
Newsletters: I did newsletters for many years and just recently stopped. I don't have a new book out and haven't in over a year. My nonfiction book doesn't sell well to romance readers, and I've been concentrating on doing promo for that elsewhere.
Websites: If I can't easily read text on a website, I'll avoid it. Some sites are very dark with almost unreadable wording. Then again, I have "old eyes" and like things bright! If pages are off-center of text streams out of text boxes, that can be a problem. I've recently redone my websites and hope I've fixed some problems. To sell books displayed here, readers have to know how to find my websites first!
Covers: Yes...I believe covers have a lot to do with selling books. One cover I approved I regret...no people on it and I think that was a mistake. It's the book "of my heart" and the one I've sold very few copies of to date. Another cover (I had NO say in this one) I'm still unhappy about...and I believe it "tanked" my sales. A cover is what readers see first and is important.
Building a fan base: Definitely a positive step! Get loyal readers and you have buyers. As authors we're told to keep writing, but sometimes that's easier said than done!
So...what do you think? Readers, do you relate to any of my observations? Authors, do you agree or disagree?