Happy April Fool's Day! It's been a long time since anyone's used this day to pull a fast one on me, not that they couldn't still do it with ease. Just whisper in my ear that Hollywood wants to turn my mysteries into movies, and watch my knees turn to jelly.
Maybe the first-of-April jokes are a thing of the past, and we can focus on more serious things like marketing our mysteries. And maybe some of what I've learned can be fuel for your own marketing efforts. What works, and what doesn't? Let's get it right on the table that I still have more ignorance than knowledge, but the scales are slowly tilting in the right direction.
In the last week or so, author Jeff Rivera sent around an email to a lot of people he apparently didn't know. If you go to the Amazon site for his book Effortless Marketing, you'll see that a number of people received an email from someone named "Mogoli Angelberg." Now doesn't that have to be a real name? I mean, who would ever make up a name like that? Anyway, the email flattered the recipient and touted Rivera's book. As a result, Rivera ticked off a bunch of people. As of this morning, his e-book has 26 five-star reviews on Amazon and 13 one-star reviews. That's awful! It would break my heart to see so many people thinking so little of me and my work.
I read the book, and it's okay. Not great, but okay. My biggest criticism is the title, because there is no such thing as effortless marketing.
So Rivera, who is most likely a very nice man, provides us with an object lesson: be honest, and don't get in people's faces. Sending out a flood of emails to strangers is bad enough without pretending you know them and admire their work.
What does work? Well, work. In my experience so far, Twitter has been helpful. Starting when I had about 1700 followers I tweeted about my books, and others retweeted--that is, they passed my messages along to their followers. To encourage people to do this, I made a special point of doing the same for them. More of my tweets are about other people than about my own work. On the positive side, I made good money for a couple of months. On the negative side, there were diminishing returns. But I would encourage you to try using Twitter. Of course results will vary, but there is a nice market for low-priced ebooks, and Twitter is a good place to begin tapping into it.
So to come back to my bad pun, this is my April fuel that can kindle (and fire up) your e-book marketing.
Just please, please don't pay anyone for a marketing campaign.