2017 Coming to an end. What’s next?

Written By: Jackie Weger - Nov• 09•17

2017 IS COMING TO A CLOSE ~ WE’RE EVALUATING WHAT WE’VE DONE

AND GLORY BE! WHAT’S NEXT?

This is a really tough blog to write because just when I think I’ve learned a few things, I find I’m eating Stupid for Breakfast again. When I first stepped into the indie publishing arena, I did what every newbie did and does. I joined dozens of Facebook groups and plugged my book right behind hundreds others. Never saw so much as a single download. Three years ago, I unplugged from those Facebook pages. In 2016 and 2017 we saw new kinds of Facebook groups. Usually genre specific, or authors looking for newsletter swaps or just pages that authors could share tips. I joined a few of those in late 2017 and this week, I left all but two. I even dropped out of the romance groups.

Here’s what I found: In genre specific rooms predator online publishers are scouting newsletter swaps. I only do coordinated newsletter sends now because I discovered in no time flat many authors may mention a book title, no link, no cover in an email. That’s the swap. And they lie about the number of subscribers. Many are not abiding by the Can-Scam Act. All are searching for free newsletter servers. Huh?

  • Ask about open and click through rates and you get dead silence.
  • Ask for a preview of the newsletter.  It never arrives which makes one wonder if the author even has a newsletter.

About those online publishers scouting for swaps. One approached me. I’ve never heard of a publisher promoting books outside their own stable of authors. And most online publishers don’t have a decent subscriber list. So, I told the publisher, if you promote all twelve eNovel author books in our newsletter on your site and in your newsletter, we can work something out. Gone Baby!  Not a peep.

 

Giveaway live November 13 to November 27, 201

In the romance groups, authors are setting up group promos for a fee. Not doing that. Figure this: An author charges $20 and signs up 50 authors for the promo.  That $1000 straight into that author’s wallet and that author is doing those promos every dang week.  Which bring me to this:

Complaints that our best promoters are not moving books like they used to are filling forums. IMO group author promotions to sign up subscribers using Instafreebie and Bookfunnel or promos offering mega gift cards to winners are siphoning off subscribers. I can tell you early on I joined one of those mega events, saw 5K subscribers and 4900 unsubscribed in my next send. Oops. Not doing that any more.

BookDoggy’s Rafflecopter live right now. Enter Today!

What this tells me is we have an underground community that enters giveaways, signs up for newsletters and once the giveaway is over, unsubscribes so he/she can enter giveaways again and again.  I liken them to folks who engage in extreme couponing. The difference is, the corporations have a budget and vast right-offs for promotion. And every grocer who accepts a coupon gets an 8c handling fee. It is win-win. Most indie authors don’t have enough of a promo budget to cover right-offs. I like to offer my subscribers a Rafflecopter now and again. But I’ve stopped doing that every month.

eNovel Authors at work is trying something new.  We’re beta testing coordinated newsletter sends 5 days a month. We’re pumping the giveaways of our favorite promoters. Yes, we’re sending our subscribers their way. In return the promoter is giving our books some coverage. It’s a win-win for us, because we cannot feed readers every day. We have to write our books, take care of our families and cope with life events. Our fav promoters of integrity do and can feed readers every day. Both ways help to build an avid readership for all indie authors. Plus, we’re giving back to promoters who have served us well in years past. It is up to indie authors to keep our industry healthy. Nobody is going to do it for us.

We’re excited because while only 10 to a dozen eNovelers may engage in the coordinated newsletter send, many  eNovel members are supporting the send, and promoting our sponsors on their blogs, or sending out dozens of Tweets. In our first coordinated send members have an aggregate of 97K subscribers and about 400K Twitter followers. With the addition of our sponsors, we’re reaching another 150K readers. So meet our Sponsors. We love ’em. You will, too. And if you are a sweet or cozy romance author willing to work to sell your books and want to join eNovel, email us: enovaaw@gmail dot com.

Wishing you all a super fine Thanksgiving with friends, family and comfort food. It’s time now to start ordering print editions for your Mom, Dad and shut-ins. Amazon gift wraps and delivers right to their doors.

@JackieWeger 2017

eNovel Authors at Work also salutes these fine and trustworthy promoters: Carmen DeSousa. ReadersGazette  People Reads.  

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

29 Comments

  1. Linda Lee says:

    First off, Jackie, you never “eat stupid,” no matter what the meal.

    Thanks for sharing this marketing information,which will help other authors avoid the same pitfalls. We need to know where not to put our advertising dollars and how to promote wisely. Pinned & shared. 🙂

  2. Yes, selling books takes work. Thanks for your help and excellent advice.

  3. EM Kaplan says:

    Doesn’t seem like an ad technique lasts for about 6-12 months and then either dies down or changes? Keeps you on your toes, that’s for sure!

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Emily, that’s true because many techniques are fads. eNovel has beta tested a lot of those fads or ‘this is a sure thing’ and we come away with the real skinny. Since eNovel’s beginning, I’ve encouraged indies to stick to the basics: Write. Edit. Publish and Promote wisely. In four years, that philosophy has not let us down.

  4. Lots of good advice for Indie Writers. Marketing books is getting more and more difficult. Thanks for sharing this important marketing information, Jackie. So much to learn.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Thank you, Susan. You are correct. It has always been difficult, but now we have to roll with the times and find new ways to get our books in the hands of readers. That’s the goal. Adding: Susan is one of the newest members of eNovel and the author of the award winning A Bend in the Willow.

  5. laurieboris says:

    Both the good and bad of self-publishing is how quickly it can all change. It’s great to touch in with authors who are learning new things and sharing…what works and what doesn’t. I pulled way back on promotions earlier this year because “the usual suspects” weren’t working. Who knows what will come next? I just know I’m not quitting. Thank you for sharing what you’ve learned.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Laurie: You are not alone in pulling back this year. I hear it from more than a handful of indies. I get it. We get tired. It’s as if we’ve worn out our oldest favorite straw broom and just can’t bear to throw it out. We just have to cut off the useless part and recycle the handle. I have a ten-year-old broom handle I use to stake my tomatoes every year. It feels like an old friend. When the floods and hurricane hit that broom handle was the only thing I saved. It doesn’t hurt one bit to sit back and observe for a bit. Or let the world get by on its own while we hunker down to write a new book. Laurie’s newest release is: The Call: A Baseball Novel. It’s in Amazon Select. You know what that means: Read it FREE.

  6. Thank you so much for all of the wonderful new ideas, Jackie Weger. This business is constantly changing, and I love the way you are always one step ahead of the game. I also think the world of the promoters who you mentioned. It would be my pleasure to share them with my readers.

  7. Mary Smith says:

    I am so in awe of your energy, Jackie, to always be on top of researching what’s going on and separating the useful from the useless in the world of promotions. Thanks for this.
    And you want to know about eating stupid for breakfast? Someone I know has just published her first short story collection and I asked her about which social platforms she’s on. She tells me she’s on FB and Twitter – but has her Twitter account is in a false name! And her FB acc is so guarded by security no one could share her post showing her book cover. I love her, she makes me feel smart 🙂

  8. Julie Frayn says:

    Stupid schmupid. You’re one smart broad (meant in a very loving way). You never fail to learn, to investigate, to hold feet to the fire when necessary. We love you!

    I like sticking to basics. All the other stuff just sucks valuable time away from what works.

    Julie Frayn
    Author of Mazie Baby

  9. You can spend a whole lot of money on a whole lot of nothing if you’re not careful. Thanks again Jackie for the great advice 😀

  10. Thank you for these precious insights, Jackie. I still use Facebook groups (and some pages) but I see a lot of irrelevant stuff in there when I do, and it always feels like no one ever reads the posts. Maybe you are right, maybe this shotgun approach to book marketing is just a waste of time. Your coordinated newsletter send sure sounds like a more effective way to get books to move, and without making one of the many predators out there any richer. Hurray for eNovel!

  11. How do you do it, Jackie? Your amazing insight, and your generosity in sharing with those of us who struggle to sort the delete key from the insert key–they go hand in hand. I have learned so much from you over the past few years and I’ve actually retained some of what I learned. Now that is a grand miracle! <3

  12. A super post Jackie! Lots to take in and a lot to think about. Food for thought 🙂

  13. P. C. Zick says:

    Thanks, Jackie. It’s so hard to navigate through the sharks. I’ve come to depend on your wise and sage advice.

  14. Thank you, Jackie. I’m in awe of your energy and your grasp of technology in this fast-changing market. I’m running and panting to keep up. It often feels like e-marketing is a dark computer game, with hidden pitfalls and demons around every corner. Unlike a game, it actually costs us time and money – not always with a happy outcome. But I’m grateful that you do help to shine a light on the right tracks to take. All useful stuff for the indie author.

  15. Alexa Dare says:

    Much appreciation for your efforts on our behalf and for sharing your journey. So helpful!

  16. ajlape672014 says:

    Thanks for all you do, Jackie!

  17. Traci Hall says:

    Jackie, thank you for sharing the facts. It is why I love your blogs because I know I won’t be given a lot of fluff. And yes, you almost always make me laugh 🙂
    You are the real deal and that is priceless!

  18. flaxroots says:

    Jackie Weger, you are an exceptionally clued-up lady. That’s because you put in the hours and work. We can all learn from you. Thank you for all you have taught me. 🙂

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Bronwyn, Thank you. Here’s the way it is. I observe, because I often don’t get to talk. My whole life I’m told: Shut up! I observe and sort things. Usually something floats to the top.
      If any of you want a read a book you can identify with, pick up Bronyn’s Seventeen Seas. If you’ve ever been on a cruise, you will see yourself in this book. Loved it.

  19. Great article, Jackie! We’ve seen so many changes in the promo world and things that worked a few months ago just aren’t showing the returns that they used to. This business is always changing and I’m always interested to read your perspective on what’s going on – the good, the bad, and the ugly! Thanks for the insight!

  20. In the LGBT publishers realm, there is a lot of cross promotion with other publishers. I have dealt with MyLesFic promoters and they are excellent. Run by a Ladylit Publishing company and are willing to open up their list to authors not published by them. There are others in the lesbian fiction community who are also doing this. Bella Books for one. I don’t work for either of them 🙂

    Having said that there are far too many sharks. Thanks Jackie for yet another insightful article. Newbies (and old hands) should go back into your archives and have a read.

  21. Donna Fasano (@DonnaFaz) says:

    I firmly believe that embracing the ability and willingness to transform is the only way indie authors can survive and succeed. You, Jackie, continue to embrace just that. You are willing to try new things, you evaluate, and continue to use those methods that work and chuck those that don’t. You are always willing to re-evaluate. You are the model indie and you have my deepest respect.

  22. As always you give us so much information, Jackie!
    Thank you so much. 😍😍

  23. Livia Quinn says:

    You’re such a forward thinker Jackie. I’ve seen these same results with FB groups and newsletter building freebie ploys. I swore off both a few months back but haven’t found a good alternative. This sounds fantastic, sharing solid viable lists with others doing the same.

Leave a Reply