As 2014 draws to a close it seems a good time to review the progress of my social media book marketing and decide what my strategy will be for the coming year. To be truthful, while I have had some successes there have been several disappointments. The first of these is how few social media platforms I have mastered. Looking at eBiz who list the fifteen most popular social networking sites I find I am only using four and, to be honest, I have found even them overwhelming. Twitter and Facebook have become addictive time wasters. I admit they are fun but, looking at them, has been eating into productive writing time. I tried to get to grips with Pinterest but sticking pins in pictures, hoping they will interest others, strikes me as pointless nonsense. Linkedin quickly became a talking shop of moaning authors all trying to impress each other. As for the others, I’m sorry but life is short and my time valuable.
Having got that off my chest, what are the positives? Only three months have passed since I decided to look seriously at my social marketing. During that time I have learned a great deal, grown my twitter following from a couple of hundred to nearly 9000 and, more importantly, my ebook sales have increased by over 400%. By that measure alone, the exercise has been worthwhile. Monthly royalty payments always cheer me up.
Probably the most valuable lesson was how to use search engine optimisation to bring my titles to the top of the Amazon page. The first book that got the SEO treatment, The Welsh Folly Book , took a while to pick up but, since then, it has been selling well in the USA. Previously, I had sold none of The Welsh Folly Books in America, proof, if any is needed, that SEO really does work. Who would have thought there would be a market in America for a book about strange buildings in Wales? Welsh Legends and Myths which has always sold well has also benefitted from SEO refinements. Other lessons learnt were how to use Hootsuite to schedule, manage and post messages to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ and employ Justunfollow to clean up my follower list.
Another significant boost to sales came when I split my novel The Iron Masters into five volumes to get the maximum benefit from Amazon’s kindle unlimited promotion. Doing so generated more revenue. Kindle unlimited is still in its infancy in the UK and is getting a slating from the bigger publishers. I’m not sure how it will develop and if sales fall back I may pull out and distribute through other ebook retailers instead.
Here is my ten point marketing plan for 2015.
- Concentrate on Facebook and Twitter and limit my time on social media to 20 minutes a day.
- Abandon the other social media networks. I hope they survive without my patronage but if they don’t I won’t lose any sleep.
- Restart my traditional offline media marketing with press releases and news stories. It’s an area I have neglected recently.
- Look for more speaking engagements to promote my books.
- Visit key retail outlets in Wales to secure direct sales.
- Increase the number of my titles being distributed by the Welsh Books Council.
- Get back into a proper writing routine – something I have badly neglected in the last two months.
- Publish my next novel A White Man’s War by June 2015.
- Publish a sequel to The Iron Masters before the end of 2015.
- Continue to learn about social media marketing and share what I have learnt via this blog.
2014 has been an interesting year. I have made new friends, sold more books and enjoyed myself immensely since beginning this journey into the ebook marketing world. I wish authors everywhere a profitable publishing 2015 filled with purpose and the pleasure of success.