Since my novel, Back Kicks And Broken Promises, came out in February, I've been plugging away at trying to get it positive exposure to boost sales. Naturally, just from pure novelty, sales online at sites like Amazon and Barnes and Noble spiked early. I recall on the first weekend Back Kicks was out, the numbers from Barnes jumped something like 200,000 places in rank. That sounds like a lot but I really couldn't tell you what that means in terms of units sold. I can tell you that it was very exciting to see my book climb up in rank to the mid 300,000s, where it still sits.
A couple of weeks after the print editions came out, full ebook coverage hit. What that means is, not only is the ebook available from the publisher's online bookstore, it is now available in full Nook, Kindle and Kobo format. This didn't see a spike in sales but I think it did help stabilise my book's sales ranking. I know that one customer, a very good friend of mine who has been wonderfully supportive of my writing endeavours, did wait for the full Kindle version to be released before buying a copy. That was fine with me. My point is, for you soon-to-be indie published authors, is that people will wait for the digital version to come out before (instead of) buying a print copy of your book.
Once my book was released, on February 7, 2012, I blogged, I blogged, tweeted, set up a Facebook fan page, acquired a Goodreads author page, joined several online author websites and communities. I even had one of my Taekwondo students hand out bookmarks with the book's cover, synopsis and ordering information printed on it as I was competing at the 2012 New Jersey State Taekwondo Championships. (Incidentally, I won again so I'm a two-time back-to-back state champion.)
In the last month or so, things have slowed down. I'll admit that I haven't been able to press away at promoting my book because of other commitments. I'm a fulltime teacher, Taekwondo instructor, track and field coach and, oh yeah, a father and husband. Be prepared soon-to-bes that it's a major commitment you're getting into. I'm not complaining. I, actually, am enjoying the whole process but it is a haul.
I've also sent copies of my book to some target audience outlets - Hyphen Magazine, The Asia Pacific Forum, Taekwondo Times Magazine, Black Belt Magazine, to name a few - to be possibly reviewed and/or get mentioned in a brief press release-type column.
Of late is the most recent promotion. Below is the link to the online version but in tomorrow's (Friday, 6 April, 2012) print edition of The Filipino Reporter, an article about me and my novel is coming out. As a Filipino-American writer, whose book is about a Fil-Am who's dealing with identity issues, I'm hoping that the piece will garner further interest. It might lead to increased sales but it also might lead to other outlets, like Asia Pacific Forum or The Asian American Writer's Workshop, to do something with it.
Like many of us who do anything, I'm on a budget and a very slim one at that. I'd love to go on a media blitz with radio spots and print ads but, realistically, I don't have the resources for that. Another word of wisdom for my fellow soon-to-be indies, it doesn't end once the book is published. There's a lot yet to be done to get your book out there and reaching your target audience. I've a lot yet to do and I'm learning on the go. I'm loving the learning process but, honestly, I wish I'd done more homework and put away for capital before I fully jumped in.
Either way, though, I'm a published author who's gotten some really good praise for what I've written. My book has been mentioned in the same sentence, positively, with The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. I don't know (think, let's be honest) if my book can hold a candle to those fantastic novels but the fact that it was juxtaposed with them is simply a compliment.
So, indies, keep plugging away. You do have an audience out there. Just make sure you check and double check and keep a share eye on your work.
Here's the link to the full article from The Filipino Reporter.