It’s summer holiday season. Therefore it’s self-published e-book time. I’m currently loading up to my Kindle. But what makes me choose one non-traditionally published book over someone else’s?
It’s tough to know which marketing works, and which doesn’t; as a reader, I have to say that I find a lot of book marketing intensely annoying, and at best unprofessional.
There are many excellent bloggers out there who give excellent advice, based on their own experience, on marketing for self-published books (not least David Gaughran here), so I’m not going to pretend to know anything about that. Book marketing is extremely tough, and I don’t have the answers. But from what I’ve seen, many successful novelists seem to rely most on painstakingly grown mailing lists, for marketing purposes. I’m not on any of those, though. So I wondered, how is it that I buy lots of self-published stuff?
With this in mind, I thought I’d do a little study of my own, based on an extensive sample of a self-published novel reader – myself. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, here we have a scientific study of the most pure and unassailable proportions: a survey of just 1 person. You can thank me later.
As you can see from these comprehensive and incontrovertible figures, the majority of my self-published book buying is influenced by book reviews, which I will only get to read having already looked up a title – which will result from a search by genre. So that’s not probably not much help. (However, if self-published authors do want to take any action from the fact that asking me on Twitter to buy your book will most certainly result in me NOT buying your book, feel free.)
It’s because I’m looking
Because I tend to buy most of the self-published stuff I read when I’m already browsing (apart from the 20% I buy after hearing about them on blogs), this means attracting my attention when I’m looking, not when I’m not looking. So it strikes me that if I was marketing something to me, the most important factor to get right is genre, followed by the blurb telling me what exactly it’s about, followed by an indication of what book or author your work is like. I know that this doesn’t help the very authors I sympathised with in this rant against lazy genre stereotyping – sorry. But if I’ve never heard of you, how else am I going to hear of you?
Finally, kudos to the book bloggers. They’re doing readers like myself a service, in an industry where neither publishers nor authors know their arses from their elbows at the moment. It’s a jungle out there, and most of us don’t want to have to kiss the frogs. If you’ll excuse the mixed metaphors.
Over to you – how did you hear about the self-published novels you’ve read?
What influenced your decision to buy them?
And lastly – has anything ever turned you off buying a self-published book in particular? Why?