Promotions

When you work your entire life to build a creative product, you think that the “creation” of that product is the hardest part–the writing or planning or filming or recording or painting or the whatever.

But, when you’re done with a finished product, and you send it out to the world, and you wait in vain for the people to discover your work, you realize that the creating wasn’t the hardest part.

The selling of said product is the hardest part. That’s the point in an author’s career, where the forward momentum stops. I’m trying so hard not to let that be it for my career. It’s not enough to pour your soul into something…you have to put yourself on the line; lay yourself open to criticism; and be as vulnerable as you have been in your entire life.

There is no way, no way that anyone could describe this life as easy.

So, you try various ways to promote yourself, and hope that in the process, you don’t burn out your friendships and contacts. I err too far on the side of not talking about my creative life (this blog not withstanding – LOL).

Anyway, KDP has a promotion going where members of Kindle Prime can borrow books. Authors who sign up for this are signing up for a program called Kindle Select. I went ahead and tried this with two of my titles. As part of the program, you can “promote” yourself by giving away your book for free. I tried this for the first time on Thursday, still not really understanding how it works. And of course, there is no royalty associated with books given away for free. However, as an experiement, I wanted to try it. If someone gets one copy of my book for free, then they like it, then maybe they will purchase copies of my other books, right?

The time period is based on west coast time, so that meant that the promotional period runs from 2am to 2am in my time zone. When I woke up at 3am (dang that insomnia), I had “sold” a few books. Then I kept looking at the numbers to try to make it to 100. After all…that’d be 100 people who hadn’t been exposed to my books before, that now were, right? By 7 am, I’d hit the 100 mark. Then by 9 am, I’d hit the 200 mark. By then, I was hoping to get to 500. 500 is a respectable number, right? In how many other creative endeavors had my work been exposed to 500 people? Yes, I’ve been a newspaper reporter where 500 people have read my words. Yes, I’ve sent out press releases when 500 people will have glossed over the words. Yes, I’ve sung original songs in front of hundreds of people. But that’s passive. The KDP promotional tool is active–people who read are having access to my book. By 2pm, which was 12 hours into the promotion, I’d hit 500. Gee….okay, now what?

By this point, I’m getting nervous. I wanted people to read my book, but the anxiety kicks in: what if the formatting isn’t right (which is a huge issue with Kindles as well as other ereaders); what if they didn’t like the book or the story; what if–being a novella–they were expecting a full length book and they are unhappy; etc. Anxiety after anxiety after anxiety.

So, I called my Mom, who gets excited about all this stuff, and thinks it’s super-cool, and she got my brain turned around back to “this is cool” “this is a great opportunity”, etc.

I stayed awake enough for me to see the 1000 mark. Then I went to bed. Bottom line: I had 1217 downloads of one title during this free promotional 24-hour period. That has to count for something, right? There have to be bounce-back sales. I know I’ve had 5 so far.

I decided to try my other book that’s on KDP, and it’s racking up “free” sales today. (Sunday if you’re reading this and you want to go get a free ebook. _Right Under Her Nose_ by LeAnn Coston at Amazon.)

If you got either the last one or today’s, and if there are formatting errors, please email me and let me know. I want to get this right, but you hope and work and try, but still…it’s hard to get everything right. Formatting errors are a huge factor with ereaders.

So, the Friday after the Thursday experiment, I had 2 ebooks returned for the first time. By today, I’d had 3 returns. Not exactly sure what that means. It could be as simple as someone thinking the book was still in the free period, and they downloaded it and realized there was a price, and returned it? But, I know that in one instance, one “free” book was returned. Why would you return a free book, unless there was something wrong with it?

Anxiety again.

Over on the music side, I’ve been spending a lot of time in my music studio. Playing the piano, playing the guitar, planning my next recording session in OKC. I had bought a backup laptop when my main computer had troubles. I decided to utilize that laptop as a music computer. I had tried my recording studio stuff on it one day, but I didn’t get very far. But, I can do lots of business and administration stuff on that computer, and it turns out that having my work divided by computer and by work station makes much more sense. So, I have that computer fired up and I go to the music room and work on administrative paperwork for awhile, till I get tired of it, then come back to my main computer (and check to see how many free books people have downloaded today), and breathe and think. Then I work some more.

I decided that this is the year I’m going to learn the fiddle. There–I said it out loud- in public. I had bought a fiddle maybe 8 years ago, and goofed around with it some, but nothing serious. I opened it up yesterday, and the hair on the bow was falling apart. I was surprised, but what did I expect? It’s not going to last forever. So, I worked on the bow, but very little hair was left. Gee….what to do to solve this problem? Not being a fiddler, I’ve never re-haired a bow. Living in the middle of no-where, where do you go to have this done?

Solution: buy a new bow. So, I bought a bow on ebay last night. I can’t wait till it gets here. I have no idea how this learning process will go. I am a musician already. I understand music. I have watched fiddlers play, so I do know more than if this was the first instrument I’d ever tried. Still, it’s a completely new skill set. And I really, really want to play the cello. So, this is a step in that direction.

Yesterday one of my book co-writers and I planned out a book project. A good deal of this work has been done already, so hopefully it won’t take but a few months to pull together. I have the bulk of my part of the writing done already, but….for the first time in my life, I’m going to attempt cover art. My part of the cover will be incorporated into other things, so it’s not a solo cover. I’m both excited and nervous. I have art training, but it’s very raw and art is quite low on my priority level. Still…how cool would that be, for a piece of my art to be on a book cover?

Anyway, I find that the writing is awake in me (as is the music). After so many months and years of it being dormant, it’s great to have things percolating again. I keep writing too-long emails to my friends, and words still keep popping in my brain. So, it’s time to get back to some writing. There are always at least a dozen books and screenplays, etc, that I’m writing on, that are in various stages of completion. If there are this many words in me, then it’s time to put them to good use.

Wishing you peace.

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