Tuesday, May 10, 2011

How Often Should I Release a Book

I have come across many blogs and forums where people have shared their advice on how to market a book on Kindle --and Nook to a lesser extent. Well-intentioned folks have recommended blog tours, participating in forums, buying online ads on certain sites, social networking, etc. Authors are so desperate to sell their book, that they'll try anything thrice -me included.

So does any of that shit work?

Yes and no

No, the shit doesn't work for the short-term, but can it work for the long-term? Fuck if I know! I haven't tried any of these techniques for the long-term yet, except for social networking, and I can tell you from experience to save your time and not waste it marketing to your twitter followers every minute of the day because its counterproductive at best for the short-term and annoying as hell for the long-run.

So how can we get more people to buy our books?


Part of our problem as new writers is that we still approach marketing like we did 10 years ago. Too many of us are too busy trying to figure out how to sell one release every year. A lot has changed in the last 10 years. Ebooks are flying off the virtual bookshelves, we have smartphones with Kindle and Nook apps, and self-published authors have ultra-liberating control over the price and release dates of our books.

So why are you still trying to pimp one release 2 years later?

Why are you continuing to harrass your Facebook friends?

These questions aren't a knock below your belt. They're questions that I'm asking myself 2 years after my first book release. I feel like an idiot for not publishing to Kindle back in 2009 when I said "ugh, those 35% royalty rates are nothing more than unarmed robbery. Why shall I settle for a pittiance of a royalty when I can earn far more in paperback sales? Ho! Thou shalt get that dirty Kindle away from me at once!"

How stupid and naive of me!

Fact of the matter is that 50% of little to no sales is far worse than 35% of steady volume sales in a growing Kindle market. And Kindle's royalties have improved at certain price points too.

Instead of trying to sell my books on CTA platforms and damaging half my print books in the process, I should have published on Kindle. Forget guerilla marketing to Facebook friends. Forget #FollowFriday on twitter.


Releasing a book once every two years is a relic of the old publishing model. Marketing said book is also limiting and time consuming. Adding friends, dropping twitter bomb, and liking pictures probably makes your friends feel nice, but more times than not it doesn't make you money. Social networking just becomes a major time vampire.

Q. Glenn, if I can't social network, buy ads or go on blog tours, then how will I sell my books now?

A. Your approach towards selling books is all wrong. Its not about selling books RIGHT NOW. Its about being a writer who establishes quite a catalog. Plus I never said that you couldn't do those things. I'm saying that placing too much emphasis on those overrated marketing techniques takes away from what you do best... WRITING STORIES.

Your focus should be placed on the long tail and the long term. New release marketing is unnecessary when you're solely releasing ebooks. Right now, you and I should be working on our next book and releasing it within the next 3-6 months. That way you'll have 3 ebooks for sale on Kindle that potential readers can stumble across and try, instead of burning yourself out marketing one book and trying to finish another one.

These are some of the things I've learned from waiting two years to write and release another book. And it wasn't as if I purposely waited two years. I just got so caught up in trying to sell my first book that two years slipped by without me doing shit. I could have released at least 3 more novels had I placed more focus on being a writer than haplessly trying to market and sell my book.

Q. Mr. Glenn your Highness, what would you do if you could start your writing career all over again?

A. Just call me Glenn... I would still utilize social networks and blogging, but I would use those tools for what they were originally intended for.. online networking. More importantly, I would dedicate 20 hours a week to writing future works. Then instead of telling my 500 friends to buy my book everyday, I'd put up a notification upon my release stating that I just released my new book and its available on Amazon as well as my previous works. I'd do a blog tour that doesn't kill my writing time, and I'd work on my next book. At that point more of your friends will think "wow, Glenn's really serious about this writing stuff!"

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