But Where Are the Readers?

After publishing, the real hard work begins. Post a link to your newly published book and you’ll get the obligatory responses and purchases from select friends and family. But there are well over three million books in publication, ready to be purchased or downloaded at any given time. What makes yours stand apart?

Of course you’ll need a social media presence, but be ready. Despite social media interaction, which may devour hours of the day, you may receive one or two, Hey wanna book swaps? Great to at least get ratings, maybe readings, perhaps a solid review, but those are few and far in between. Not to mention you are either buying their book or buying yours and gifting it to them. I’ve had sales off FB and Twitter, and lots of to be reads off Goodreads. Most of those well intentions come from other authors looking for reciprocity.

Where do you get the readers? The following? Some companies offer marketing. I have tried several and gained several new authors as followers. But where are the readers? Your best bet is book bloggers, but good luck getting on their reading list any time soon. The good bloggers are backed up at least nine months. I have tried independent small marketing firms, mostly because I like to support the Mom & Pops out there. However, I have been burned by a few of those and recently disputed a fee through PayPal for one such company claiming they will publicize my book to over 15,000 readers on their blog and even more across social media for $14.99/month. I paid and never heard from them again.

Being listed as a writer on Facebook, I quickly realized that I am now targeted for sponsored ads relating to writing, editing, publishing, and anything interconnected to the industry. I look through the ads, do my research, read the comments, look for reviews and find that most authors are greatly displeased with these services. After all, they can only guarantee exposure not sales. Writers have been targeted by pop-up companies and services in mass this year. Authors are a consumer targeted group.

Then there are free books. Many authors boast, and rightfully so, about giving away 10,000 books on a KDP free day. It’s all for exposure and the cost (but no profit) of gaining exposure. And somehow, and this is just me, I feel like the adage: Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? I know those readers too. Many only look for free books and will not BUY anything indie. Many readers download free books from unknowns and don’t read them (bless the ones that do AND leave reviews…they are few). One friend shows me her Kindle with hundreds of free downloads, but she admits to rarely reading them, and often erases them to free up memory to download new free books. I ask why she downloads them and she proudly says, “I really do have good intentions.”

baseball1Writers beware! You will pour your heart and soul into birthing characters, plot, and story line. Some writers have only a family following. Some have a very small dedicated following. The greater majority sell under twenty books. This is in no way meant to be a downer but an insight into a whole new world that will take your hope and dreams and make you work harder than you ever thought possible. Many writers give-up, because marketing can consume your day, which in turn means you aren’t writing, which causes a bit of writer depression. There is a vicious cycle that consumes even the brightest of eyes. Those that succeed do so by sticking with their talents: write, publish, market, repeat. As Tom Hanks said in a League of Their Own, “If it wasn’t hard everyone would do it. The hard is  what makes it great.”

The best advice I have come across to date to sell more books is: WRITE MORE BOOKS.

If you have any great advise for indie authors or have a service you’d like reviewed, leave a comment below.

Tania L Ramos RN BSN

Follow me on TWITTER and FACEBOOK or visit my WEBSITE

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6 responses to “But Where Are the Readers?

  1. I feel your pain!!! In 3 million books, how on Earth will anyone find yours? It’s all advertising, word of mouth, and relationships you made. Then, on top of this all, you’re competing with a nearly endless list of FREE novels. I’m spending 2017 working on developing a mailing list–Maybe that’ll help some–and writing another book int he series. It’s all I can think of that seems to work. Thanks for this post!

    • The worse part is that I looked up the number of books in print and it is more of 10 million plus. I feel like I’ve moved from small fish in a a big ocean, to just plankton trying not to get eaten.

  2. I have no further advice for indie authors. I’m still trying to find it myself! I’ve got about 3 or 4 novels at various stages from 50-95% complete. I insisted on doing my own cover design (against all recommendations), and accidentally discovered a knack for photography which has now resulted in a slight change in direction. I still intend to publish my novels, though, but the desire to make money from it is not as important as it once was.
    Love that tom hanks quote. I’ve used it myself! Good luck!

    • Photography is a great direction. I’ve never thought I’d make millions off my books, but it’s a nice thought, I just want to find readers. The best of luck to you on photography, that is a beautiful art form.

  3. Jia Jiang (Rejection Proof, published by Random House) and others try to get “Book Ambassadors” or “Super Friends” or “Street Teams” who love their books after they get a free “proof” and then help them get the word out. Help other authors and they will help you. AskDavid.com is only $15.00 a year and you can add books all year. We should all get a degree in social media because of all the research we need to do! When it ceases to be fun, we need to question what we’re doing and for what.

    • I’m going for my Master’s this year and deeply considered getting a minor in marketing or social media presence. I have done extensive research and read numerous books, but I still feel many of the suggestions are best fit to authors who already have a large following. Thanks Mary, I will be looking up AskDavid.com.

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