For me as an author it’s all about linking to people who may become potential book buyers. As a result, I’ve been rewarded with people who become my email friends and better yet want to be on my growing list of customers to notify when my latest book comes out.
Awhile back, I was emailed by someone belonging to the WeRead website. She linked that website to my blog, because she liked what I write about and thought others on her site might, too. My blog is a split between daily life in the country, mentioning my books and what I learn as I go through the process of becoming an author. Perhaps, some of the readers on WeRead will buy my books after they have gotten to know me and about my books through my blog.
This last week I had an email from printerinkcanon.com. If I would put a link in my blog from their website I’d get quite a bit of exposure. I was told there is 30,000 blogs on this site. Now I guess there will be 30,001. 200,000 visitors read blogs posted on that site. Now I have been invited to link to kodakprinterink.com. So maybe a few of the visitor hits from those sites will be on my blog to see what I’m all about. If they like what they read, maybe that will lead to repeat visitors and to book sales. At the very least after reading my blog, my name mentioned on the internet or on the cover of a book will already be familiar to my blog readers. Maybe that will make someone curious enough to buy one of my books to see how good it is.
I just made it into the line up of Iowa authors on Iowa Center for the Book website. That’s a good thing. My interacting in a community connected to MyEntre.net blog brought the site to my attention. I asked if anyone knew of websites in Iowa for Iowa authors and someone responded with three websites for me to explore. I like the idea of people checking for Iowa authors and finding my name and list of books among all the others. Some buyers like to buy books from authors in their area. Others want an author to do a presentation about their books which help gain exposure.
Over the weekend, I took the time to get into the mystery community in Amazon where I sell my books. I have several genre, but I don’t take the time to advertise that fact often enough on the different communities. The mystery subjects for conversation were right up my alley. A cozy mystery which is what I consider my mysteries. A less violent, less sex, and no swear words type book which mine are. A Miss Marple kind of book and that is the way I have always described my mysteries series. The five books are about a Miss Marple type person who happens to live in Iowa. So I posted in each place and came back with emails wanting to know if my books were on kindle. I thought the first one Neighbor Watchers was two years ago. I hadn’t made a sale so I decided no one wanted to buy that type of story. I investigated and found out I hadn’t filled out all the forms Amazon needed. By the way, am I the only one that spells out the state in the address form only to be told that it isn’t my state? After a few times of trying, I finally thought to abbreviate the state and the form went through. So I got back into the mystery community and posted that my book was in Kindle and emailed the two people who emailed me to ask so they could get the book. Now I know I have two customers for that book. My idea to put the first book in my mystery series on Kindle in the first place was to get customers that might buy the next four books in hard copy, because they couldn’t stop with just one book. Might not work that way if the buyers all describe themselves as Kindle addicts, but still they are going to tell others that they liked my stories. Maybe those people will buy my book.
One contributor on Amazon emailed me that my books sounded like Geezer Lit which is what she was looking for. I hadn’t thought of it that way, but it is true. While I was working at the nursing home in Keystone, I read the residents all of the mystery books. They identified with my elderly characters. When I started writing, I wanted to write books like I want to read. Plus, the people who live around me, friends, neighbors and families like the same kind of books I do so I knew I had a built in potential customer base in my area. Just to be sure I had posted in all the places I could in the mystery community, I searched for Geezer Lit. I couldn’t find it so I’m saying my mysteries are about Miss Marple like characters. Call the books whatever genre subtitle you want as long as you buy one. Next time I enter the mystery community, I’ll start a discussion about Geezer Lit.
Word of mouth links are great ways to sell books. Last fall, I had a three day book sale near my home. A man bought one book in my Amazing Gracie Mystery Series. He mentioned to his daughter 600 miles away that he wished he had bought all five books, because he liked the first one so well. His daughter emailed me, bought the other four books for her father for Christmas. Her husband’s grandparents live near me so I dropped the books off there for the woman pick up when she came for Christmas. That’s friendly customer service.
One day I was in the drugstore in a town near me. The clerk asked me what I had been up to lately. I said I write books. She wanted to know what kind. I told her, and she said she wanted to buy the first book in my Amazing Gracie Mystery Series. Another time I was in the store and the clerk said she wanted to buy two more in the series. Then later on, the clerk called me and ordered the last two be dropped off at the drugstore when I was in town. We take the local newspaper. I always read the library news to see what books are being added to their inventory. That library had bought three of books last fall, but didn’t ask for any others. Suddenly, I found my name and one of my mystery books on the list. Along the way, one at a time my books appeared in the library list. It puzzled me at first how that happened, then I realized the drugstore clerk donated her books.
The library in Keystone, Iowa is a link for me. I am a member so the library had me come for an author visit right away a couple years ago when I first published. They bought 15 of my books. Now when I meet someone in town they bring up how they checked out one of my books from the library and really liked it.
I’ve put a state public library list in google search and came up with email links to most of the libraries in that state. I picked the states that I sell most of my Amish books in and let them know that I’ve written Amish books and how to purchase them. I see a rise in sales by the next month.
I’ve learned to think where to place a free book now and then in hopes of getting more sales. Last year I gave away 20 at my high school reunion. Each book had a list of other books I’ve written tucked inside along with contact information. I sold more books as a result. Not because my former classmates know me well, but because they liked the way I wrote the book I gave them.
Two other places I’ve given a book, with a business card inside, is at a bridal shower and a baby shower. Gifts are passed around for all to see, including my book. Our niece and my friend were pleased to be able to say to the guests that they know the author well. Guests were curious and asked me guestions. That’s just one way of spreading the word and drumming up buyers.
This all seems like a slow start sometimes, but new self published authors don’t give up hope. It takes time to get your name and book known. Customers looking for a particular book keep watching the internet. You’ll find what you want. Thousands of new books are published each year and the internet is a great way to find them.