Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Being Where the Readers Are

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Last week I posted that I had no plans to schedule anything as far as my writing was concerned. However, I’m already rethinking that position. Let me preface this by saying my number one goal for 2018 is to (finally) finish a story. To be honest, I had that same goal last year, but was so far off the mark I knew I was in trouble by June. Fortunately, I made enough progress in 2017 I think it’s a realistic goal for 2018. Crosses fingers! 

In any case, it’s time to start thinking about marketing, and this is where the scheduling aspect enters the picture. One of my secondary goals for 2018 is to visit blogs with a fantasy/sci-fi focus. Up until now, most of the blogs I visit either discuss the craft of writing or belong to IWSG members. Not that the support from my fellow IWSG members hasn’t been great, but if I expect to be a successful seller of fantasy books, I need to expand my horizons a little. 

One of the things I’ve learned about book marketing is that you need to be where your readers are. The IWSG is full of great and supportive people, but the writers cover a wide range of genres. Thrillers, romance, fantasy, science fiction, mystery. This diversity in genres gives me a great perspective on the industry, but it's not where most of my readers are.   

One of the most important items that show up on your Amazon book page is the “Customers who bought this item also bought…” list. Amazon’s algorithms track the buying habits of the people who buy your book and use that information to decide who else they should show your book to. It’s one of Amazon’s primary techniques for promoting our books. Unfortunately, these algorithms can be pretty touchy. 

For example, if I sent out a general broadcast about my new book to everyone in the IWSG, and everyone bought the book, Amazon’s algorithms wouldn’t know what to do with the data. Instead of finding that fantasy readers are buying my book, Amazon would see an eclectic mix of genres and reader buying preferences. And if there's one thing I’ve learned about book marketing, it's that you definitely do not want to confuse the Amazon algorithms. 

So my plan is to visit and interact with at least one new fantasy or scifi blog every week. This doesn’t strike me as overly ambitious, but I kind of slacked off on my blog visitations during the final months of 2017, so this new habit may require more diligence on my part. We’ll see. 

What new thing are you trying this year in regards to your writing or book marketing endeavors?

ChemistKen


14 comments:

  1. There aren't as many as there used to be, but I can send you to a couple new science fiction ones. I need to find more myself.

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  2. Finding new blogs sounds like a very doable idea! I should probably do something like that, as well. I know a lot of my blogger buddies (supportive as they are) would not fall into the market for my book.

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    1. Yeah. If you plan on doing a blog tour you should definitely shoot for those logs specializing in your genre.

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  3. Good plan! Target your readers. Yes, writers read books, but they aren't your target. (Unless you've written a book on publishing, promoting, or writing.)

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  4. Let me know if you find any good fantasy blogs to follow, especially if they like YA too.

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  5. That is a good idea visiting blogs in your genre. I might have to try it too.

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  6. That is a great idea. I will say, the 'blast' method worked fine for my Book 1 and not so fine for Book 2. I just don't understand.

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  7. I love that focus. Finding your audience is key, and good on you for finding a small way to put that in action.

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  8. I've been hearing mostly the same things about the Amazon algorithms and pondering what they mean. The thing about people's buying habits is very important, it seems.

    Also if you don't already know about this one, you might like Planetary Defense Command. It's a blog about defending the Earth from poorly written Sci-Fi and Fantasy. https://planetarydefensecommand.wordpress.com

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    1. Thanks for the suggestion. I'm going there now.

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  9. I think your plan is solid. I love my blogging friends and enjoy reading their blogs. I also enjoy their books and am happy to purchase the ones that sound interesting to me. However, they're not my target blog audience, because most of them are already published or have editors they're happy with. That's great! But I'm always on the lookout for those who actually need or want what I'm capable of delivering.

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  10. I think finding those new blogs is a good idea for hitting them up on giving reviews of your book. Following them could help you figure out if you think the blogger might really enjoy what you've written. It's easier to get a book reviewer to read your book if you've matched them well to it.

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  11. That's a great plan! I need to find more epic fantasy writers out there. Best of luck building your network! I know I tend to peek in and lurk at the Mythic Scribes Forums a lot, though admittedly, I'm too fearful to talk about my books other than asking for feedback on my covers.

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