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Looking Out for the Little Guys

There’s a lot of books out there, and there’s a lot of different methods to get a book. Amazon, like them or not, is the reigning commander of all things “book” on the Internet. Ebook or print, Amazon is where the majority of the Internet savvy world goes to get their read on. For myself and other writers that means we must work with and use Amazon if we hope to have any chance of success.

If Amazon’s new author ranking system is worth believing, I’m doing pretty darn good compared the vast majority of writers out there. Pretty darn good, for the record, is nowhere near good enough. I’m working on that, but the fact that I’ve had more success than most makes me want to offer up some bits and pieces of what I’ve figured out for other writers. I don’t see writing as a competition. Show me a person who reads who will only read a single book in his or her lifetime. No such thing, barring a severe reaction the closing a book that results in an untimely death.

Having said all that, I don’t really have anything new to share that I haven’t shared in the past. I’m always trying to find new things to try, but alas, I’m not finding that many. I do have a promo campaign running for my Vitalis Omnibus book, but it’s more of a slow burn than an instead path to success. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself to justify the lack of results. 🙂  To be fair, a lot of the exciting things that should start making a difference will start up in November.

Until then I just keep on writing. I’m working on my next book (Bounty, book 3 in my Wanted trilogy), and I’ll be releasing Child of Fate, book 1 in a new fantasy series, sometime in November. And I keep writing blog posts too, like this one. To be brutally honest I’m doing whatever I can to try and snag and interest readers to check out my stuff (case in point, see those links throughout this blog? Click on ’em, go ahead, you know you want to. You’ll like them, I promise!).

I’ll stoop to almost any means of generating interest, provided it’s ethical and legal to do so. As a matter of fact, just last night I received a wonderful email from a new fan who admitted to me that she picked up the first book in my Lost Girls series because it was free. She was hooked and bought the other ones as soon as she could. She just finished them and loved them, then she had to tell me. We had a nice conversation over email about things, and what was invaluable to me.

By talking to me she helped me get to know my readers a little better. Sure, she was one of many, but I’ll take what I can get. She provided a new point of view on things and gave me some direction for other things to try. She was excited to get some of my other books and read them and it was a great experience for both of us. Win-win!

But what about other writers trying to get the word out about there books? What’s the secret or the trick to being noticed, especially if you only have a couple of books available? I’m not sure there is any sure-fire method, it’s just a manner of doing as much as you can to try and be noticed. I read a blog post recently by a well established writer (Dean Wesley Smith, I think, but my apologies to Mr. Smith if I’ve gotten him confused with another writer) that eschewed writers from tweeting and blogging about their books. I read it and I came away with a bitter taste in my mouth.

Sure, the author of that post has hundreds of books he’s written. Other people only have a handful. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try to get some awareness generated. Nor does it mean that they are wasting time by tweeting, Facebooking, or blogging about their books or their writing. Even if the 800 words of this blog could be put into the book I’m writing right now, it’s not going to slow me down or impede my progress. I’ve also got over 20 books published, but I’ve been working hard at trying to promote myself since I only had a handful.

Ultimately, in my experience, what I write in a promotional or marketing medium has very little impact compared to what I’ve written in an entertaining fashion. By that I mean my books have been the best sales tactic for me, BUT that doesn’t mean that I haven’t had a measure of success from social media as well. If I had to guess I’d say only 5% – 10% of my sales come from social media, but without that 5% – 10% I’d have 5% to 10% fewer sales. When you’re in the starving artist stages of a writing career every sale means the world to you.

So I say do what you can, so long as it doesn’t hinder your progress. That and be careful with Twitter, they seem to have a random number generator when it comes to suspending accounts without reason or explanation! Or maybe that’s just more bitterness talking since I still can’t get a non-automated response from that company after nearly a week and a half.

To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

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  1. October 15, 2012 at 14:34

    I had a problem not long ago with my facebook it took over a week of sending constant messages along with screen shots showing the message I was getting before the fixed it and I never got anything other than the automated messages

  2. October 15, 2012 at 14:47

    In some way or another I guess we’re all the little guys. Your example is unfortunate, but that’s what it takes to get these things addressed – the squeaky wheel is the one that gets fixed, after all!

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