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- Mikhail Bulgakov

Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."

Friday, October 7, 2016

Making the Sausage: Book Sale

Generally speaking, the whole thrust of your marketing efforts should be to get as many eyes on your books as possible.  Ideally everyone that sees your book will buy it, but the truth is that just doesn't happen.  There's tons of raw data on this, but I'll give you just one example.

I recently tweeted about BILLY AND THE CLONEASAURUS.  I pushed this tweet harder than I do my normal tweets, utilizing retweet groups and so forth.  The tweet got 30 retweets and a total of 2,587 views.  That's 2500 eyes on.  And how many link clicks did it get?  3.  And I'll go even a step further and tell you that based on sales that day, only one person that actually clicked the link bought the book.

If I could sell 2500 copies of my book based on a tweet, well, kids, I'd be retired.  But I don't.  There's a trickle down effect.  If 1 out of every 2500 people who see my book buy it (and that's just a wild guesstimate based on this one tweet), then 6,250,000 people would have to see it before I sell 2500 copies.

But that's not the whole story.

I've written here previously about what I somewhat tongue-in-cheekly call The Katy Perry Theory.  As a general rule (again, there's no magical number, just kind of what research seems to suggest) you have to hear about something seven times before you'll actually purchase it.  So the 2,499 people who didn't buy my book based on that tweet are not lost causes.  They are potentially racking up psychological tally marks pushing them towards finally breaking down and buying it.

Now one thing that can tip the scales in your favor is putting your book on sale for a discounted price.  Some people have already been primed by your ongoing marketing efforts to consider buying your book.  And they may simply be waiting for it to go down to $0.99 before they do.  So in that sense, all of your marketing efforts are building a foundation for a successful sale.  Having your book go on sale is an opportunity.  It's not a guarantee, just an opportunity.

So when a sale comes around, capitalize on the fact that this may be the culmination of all your hard work.  Don't just let it just pass by.  Push it hard, because maybe you've already pushed a whole bunch of people into the "maybe" camp and all they're waiting for is that little push to buy.  So here are some steps you can take to make sure everyone knows about your sale:

- craft a sale day blog post.  I'd recommend making it the day of the sale and not earlier.  Some people suggest you prime the pump, but my feeling is if you have their attention, don't expect them to wait a day or two before they can actually make the purchase.  One click, one buy.

- respond to any blog comments with a personalized thank you

- craft the perfect e-mail for the mailing list.  Personally I don't use my mailing list for sales, because I've promised not to.  But if you have a mailing list, by all means utilize it.  And, again, I'd recommend you e-mail people on the day of the sale.  If it's a multi-day sale, send the e-mail on the first day of the sale.  Yes, some people don't check their e-mail constantly.  But you still want to have that one click, one buy effect.

- send two separate e-mails, one for the people you know are real on the mailing list, and the other to the people you suspect are scammers

- clear the confirmed scammers out of your mailing list when their e-mails bounce

- answer congratulatory e-mails from your mailing list

- create the perfect Goodreads event well in advance of the sale, making the duration of the event at least one day for each thousand friends you have on GR

- invite all of your Goodreads friends to the event in blocks of a thousand, a hundred at a time, because Goodreads won't let you invite more than a thousand people to an event in a 24-hour period.  If the duration of your sale is less than the time you need to invite everyone, you have to make a hard choice between losing the "one click, one buy" effect by starting the event early or being more selective in who you invite when.

- respond to each "yes" and "maybe" on your GR event with a personalized thank you, and to some of the "nos" if they've given some kind of justification with an offer of some sort or possibly just a condolence

- mention your sale on any pertinent and apropos GR groups

- craft the perfect Facebook post for the business page and schedule it for release day

- like (or love) and craft a personalized thank you comment to each person who shares your FB post

- after determining interest has waned on your business FB post, share it to your personal FB wall

- also like (or love) and craft a personalized thank you for everyone who shares your personal FB post

- mention your sale on any pertinent and apropos FB groups

- consider a FB event for your sale.  I don't personally tend to do these as I'm not sure whether people enjoy them or even care.  However, you should definitely experiment with it before writing it off, because lots of people do it.  Have your author friends donate items to give away.  Have caption contests, share memes, and the like.  You can also enlist your friends to take over the event for, say, an hour at a time.

- craft the perfect Tweet

- take advantage of Tweet sharing groups, etc., to get more eyes on your tweet

- craft a personalized thank you for everyone who shares your tweet

- monitor Twitter for mentions of your sale that you haven't been tagged on and gradually retweet them and send personalized thank yous

- retweet every review or spotlight you've ever had for this book, and tag each reviewer.  If you've ever wondered if there was any practical value to my Info on My Published Works page above, this is one example.  You're doing the reviewer a favor by sharing their site, so they're extremely likely to retweet your tweet.  Unless you're Ashton Kutcher you probably can't get anything trending on Twitter just because you're tweeting about it, but you can turn your account into a mini shotgun, blasting news of your sale as far and wide as possible.  Here's the format I recommend: a short, punchy quote from the review + the reviewer's handle + mention the sale price + link + hashtags (if there's room.)  So here's an example:

"I give this book 5 out of 5 blood spattered stars." - @Jeanette_art
And you can own it now for only $0.99!

- monitor Amazon rankings, sometimes all night, in order to capture screenshots of your possible bestselling statuses, across every individual national Amazon store

- after determining your highest bestseller statuses, post screen caps, along with a thank you to your fans, on FB and Twitter

- mention your release on any pertinent and apropos message boards you may belong to/participate in

- submit your sale to any blogs you know that will share news of your sale for free

- consider paid ads on FB, pay-for-play websites, Fiverr, and so forth.  This is where art, science, and business blend into a murky stew.  No one knows for sure what, if any, value you'll get for your dollars.  There are thousands of websites offering advice on this, so I'll refrain from offering any here, except to say that most of those websites are run by snake oil salesmen.  I'd recommend you spend the years you're in this business experimenting until you get an idea of the kind of alchemy it takes to put how many dollars where to maximize your revenue.

That's everything I can think of that's sales "day" specific.  What do you think?  How much of this is wasting my time and how much is actually driving sales?  What do you do?

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