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Discussion Starter #1
Hello!

Having completed one book and a minor novella (both in the mystery genre, cozy-ish but no cats or cupcake shops), I realize that I love the writing part, but I am overwhelmed by the marketing. This sucks as my day job is as a marketing director. Honestly, I think I’m too close to the client and too inexperienced in the specific market.

I am looking to hire an experienced author who has had ongoing success in marketing his/her/their own books. I’d like someone who could take an hour or so, look over (audit) what I’ve done (which feels like a lot, but nothing focused), give me some brutally honest feedback, provide suggestions for a better directed effort, and perhaps even provide benchmarks for what is or could be possible. This would be a short-term, paid consultation.

On the plus side, I have a deep knowledge of marketing, ad development, art direction, marketing writing, digital marketing, etc. so we can skip the basics and get right down to how to apply it all to the hidden mechanics of book marketing. I’d be happy to provide you with a detailed list of what I’ve read, watched, tried, etc. as well as the results thus far.

Interested? Your best start would be to take a look at my author’s web page via the link in my signature. You can get a very quick sense of the kind of books I am writing / hoping to write. Drop me an email via the contact form on the page and let me know what you propose, your suggested scope and fees, etc. I’ve spent the last 30 years pricing and spec-ing marketing jobs, so whatever you send over isn’t set in stone. We can consider it the start of a conversation that ends when we both have an agreement we are very happy with.

Thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing from you!
 

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Here is my assessment, for free.

The title is awesome. The cover is cool. It appears well-written. No real issues there.

As marketing person you'd be hugely aware that you can't spend a lot on getting a sale for a book that costs a few lousy bucks.

Then don't. Write more books instead. Make sure they're in the same genre and same series. If you're not going to do much marketing, take them out of KU and make sure you take them as wide as possible and upload direct to all retailers. Apply for a free Bookbub once you have three novels in the series. Start a mailing list.

Don't hire anyone, just hang around here and in Facebook groups like Wide For The Win. The people who charge for advice have only one aim: make money off you.
 

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Here are the basics:
1. Set up a newsletter.
2. Possibly, a website.
3. You don't need to post on Facebook or Twitter, but go ahead and claim your profiles. Set up a Facebook page, direct people there to your newsletter. Once you get the basics done, that's it for social media.

After that:
1. I don't read a ton of mystery, but most main characters seem to have mysterious backstories, right? Something you've maybe hinted at in book 1? That gives you enough to write a prologue-type novella. Put it on Bookfunnel, and use it to collect newsletter subscribers. Let it going in the background. 

2. Write more books in the same series.

If you're running Facebook ads - I'd say the breakeven point should be between books 2 and 3? Obviously, people do better than that, but if you're not breaking even between Books 2 and 3, look at your ads & your sell-through.

Don't bother with ads until you have book 2 out, it's not worth the money. Save your focus for writing.

3. When you get Book 2 out - book a Freebooksy ad for Book 1. Offer up your freebie in the front and the back of the book - you'll pick up a few subscribers that way. Also, make sure you link to Book 2 in the back of Book 1. (I typically link to the new book first, and then to my newsletter.)

That's pretty much it. Rinse and repeat. 

(PS: I just realized I basically repeated everything Patty said, so what she said.)
 

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I just went and looked at your website - it's very nice.

I think you just need to keep writing. There's a lot of marketing noise out there, but success in this business highly correlates to release consistency and frequency.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Patty Jansen said:
Here is my assessment, for free. . .
Patty, sincere thanks for your advice! The consistent message I'm getting is "more books." I need to learn to ignore the voice inside me that says "You're a marketing guy, why aren't you doing more marketing?" Your suggestions are actually a huge relief as they take the pressure of marketing off my shoulders for now and focus it on the pleasures of writing more.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
TaraCrescent said:
I just went and looked at your website - it's very nice. . .
Thank you, Tara. . . I am very happy with the site :) Also, I greatly appreciate the advice. I'm going to focus on finishing book #2 in the first series. Third and fourth are already outlined, so sounds like I need to play to those strengths and let the marketing simmer for a while.

Thanks again!
 

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There are no marketing experts here! Only writers. We all have the same problem: we want to write, we don't want to market. But, even trying to market one book is a waste of time and money. You have started a series; now before you spend money on marketing it, write the rest of the series. People might read your first book, then look for the next. If they don't find it, they soon forget who you are.

I would not agree with going wide; I think as an unknown you'd do better in kdp select, but then I've never had any luck with going wide. I think cozy mystery series do better with page reads than with sales. But don't bother until you have more books written and ready to go.
 

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I'm no pro. But I would say between the cover and the first page or two of writing, your book is one of the stronger titles I've seen on kboards this year.

Could you throw a bunch of money into ads and make a profit? Maybe. It's so well targeted. But I've seen it done and marketing a single book is a real grind.

As others have said, indie marketing strategies work best if you have a series and are publishing consistently. 

(I'll pass your post along to some folks who know the genre better than I.)
 

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Great work on releasing the new book! Looks slick and I'm sure it'll do well.

I'm only a small fry compared to some of the guys here, so won't pretend to offer advice other than every time I release a new book, earnings increase further, even with no added marketing, so take that as you will. :)
 

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I think a lot of writers become marketing experts because there aren't many affordable marketing expert options. We don't have a ton of margin to give selling $3-5 books. We can't spend the way other industries do.

Lit Ring has a one hour consultation service. It's mostly for FB ads but I'm sure Melissa would talk branding too.

I have to agree with the consensus here, though. It's very hard to make a profit of one or even two books, especially if you want to market aggressively. Write three in your series then start to focus on marketing. It will be much easier to make a profit with 3+ books on a series.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Blerg et al. said:
I'm no pro. But I would say between the cover and the first page or two of writing, your book is one of the stronger titles I've seen on kboards this year. . .
HUGE thanks for that! Actually made my day :D Going to focus on the next few books and then circle back around to marketing.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
wearywanderer64 said:
NO CATS! :mad:

Then not worth reading then, is it? (storms off)
Sorry about that! I happen to love cats, just not writing about them. :) I've had a few conversations in cozy circles and gotten a few looks because the book isn't cozy enough. Maybe I'll slide a cat into book two. . .
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Crystal_ said:
Write three in your series then start to focus on marketing. It will be much easier to make a profit with 3+ books on a series.
Thanks for the advice :) My goal is now to finish book two before the holidays.
 

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Not helpful, since everybody else has said it, but your product, website and general presentation are strong, and I can't see why you wouldn't do well once you've written more books. Write more books. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Lydniz said:
Not helpful, since everybody else has said it, but your product, website and general presentation are strong, and I can't see why you wouldn't do well once you've written more books. Write more books. :)
Both helpful and appreciated :) Thanks for the encouragement!!!
 

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Hiya,
I'm an author of marketing and finance books from Australia. As an editor, I'm very fussy with blurbs but yours definitely passed the grammar test! Congratulations to you and your copy editor.

One thing that both my daughter and I prefer is: don't give the plot away in the blurb. It's all about suspense and so the brutally murdered bit could be a buzzkill, unless this is all part of the plan to throw one off the path?

Happy to take a quick look at your marketing plan ... no charge this time. You will find me online... under "Jennifer Lancaster" Australia.
 

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Any author who's successful at marketing likely won't have time to do a consultation for you, no matter what you pay. There are PA/VAs who can do some level of the marketing work, like making ads and making sure they run, gather the results, and so on, but you'll have to be involved. You really can't just leave it to someone else.

It seems you're further along than many, with a good web site and books that are done well, so learning some basic marketing, like FB and Amazon ads, shouldn't take too much time. You know marketing in general, just pick up the particulars for self publishing books.

After all, they call this gig "self publishing" for a reason.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks to all for the advice. I'm going to focus on finishing the next two books so that I am working from a sustainable foundation. At that point I'll refocus on the marketing.

As always, I greatly appreciate everyone's time and expertise. Best to everyone in 2021!
 
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