Marketing for Fiction Writers

crowd so eager to buy
All so desperate to buy your books

All writers need good marketing and there are plenty of contenders on the net offering help or tools towards marketing for fiction writers.

You know the usual approach, an email with video offer: a video that begins with 20 minutes of insistent voice outlining typical author problems, another 10 minutes of the entrepeneur’s success – usually via setbacks and problems (to show you he’s been where you are and COME THROUGH) and there you are waiting and waiting for the promised help, tip or tool. Near the end of the video it comes in miniature, followed by the plug to buy the book, video, or course that really holds this apparently magic solution to marketing for fiction writers.

The thing is, if you show people gold, there’s a chance they’ll buy it. If you yap on and on about people’s need for gold, the misery of not having it, the desirability of buying it and how you own gold, silver, diamonds etc., but you never show anything, you produce frustration, envy, and – in the case of sales – probable disappointment.

Epitome of success

So I will mention two entrepeneurs who do not disappoint and are not full of bull. No, I have NO affiliations and gain nothing but this post from talking about them. I’ve tried them and benefited from them.

Firstly, Bryan Cohen. Recently, he offered a free video about writing a book description, his Best Page Forward service. Bryan’s delivery is to the point. He speaks clearly and unhesitatingly about the process. It’s obvious this is from confident practice of his technique which he then demonstrates live. Using an actual example of someone’s fiction title and synopsis, he analyses key selling points, divides into sentences, strategically ordered. This effective copy writing process is shown in full, suggestions from the video audience invited and used and by the end, produces a really good book description that any author would be thrilled to have. Yes, there are services to be bought advertised at the end but viewers will have clearly seen their worth and, importantly, if they can’t afford to buy, they have learned, or at least seen, valuable techniques. This gives confidence in buying Bryan’s other services and tools, on the basis of “This was so convincing, I bet his other stuff is good, too.”

Secondly, there’s the talented Dave Chesson of Kindlepreneur. He gives away quite a lot online, such as his neat conversion from written book description to an html output so that it looks good on Amazon or elsewhere. I have his PublisherRocket: once bought, all updates (and they are frequent) are free. Rocket helps with keywords and categories and considerably slims down the process of discovering these. It’s best for US markets, but a great and quite comprehensive tool. Moreover, Dave answers emails himself, and promptly. So any hiccups in using this or his other tools are quickly ironed out.

Entrepeneurial treasures

Many groan about having to engage in marketing techniques for fiction writers. There’s a whole deluge of offered supports and solutions out there. Some may be great, a lot really are NOT. At least I can write a post about two entrepeneurs who deliver.

Writers: why go Kobo?

Photo by Mohamed Nohassi

Here are some reasons why writers might go Kobo.

It’s not only Amazon offering a brilliant service to the e-reading public. Although many successful writers have made a killing on KDP Select, those days may be numbered. Going exclusive meant that readers could sample free via Kindle Unlimited, but now the payment to authors is much reduced, fewer writers speak of substantial income coming from KU.

The alternative to publishing exclusively to Amazon is to go wide. Publishing through a company such as Draft2Digital gets your books into many alternative outlets. However, by not including Kobo in the list, you can submit to them separately and this has distinct advantages. Why Kobo?

Reasons

Firstly, any serious writer considers the reader’s enjoyment as paramount. Kobo Books sets out to keep the reader’s entire reading life in mind. The new Aura has one-touch library e-book access and a recent software update installed this capability in all Kobo devices. This facility, Overdrive, significantly increases the number of library users. How wonderful to bring more readers to libraries where new worlds await them!

This year, Walmart was made the only place to buy the various Kobo e-books. Before this, Americans had to travel to Canada or risk an on-line purchase which, if faulty, couldn’t be returned. Then, on August 21st, Kobo and Walmart launched a joint venture: Kobo e-books would now be sold there. Kobo’s share of the reader market rocketed up accordingly. Consequently, Kobo books have a greatly increased visibility.

Writers, going directly to Kobo with your books means that Kobo promotions are open to you. Kobo has them variously and often. They’re particularly good for romance and sci-fi, but general fiction and non-fiction can also be promoted. For instance, a 10% cut for discounted books aimed at Australia and New Zealand for a week, or a Free for Labour Day targeting the US, another for Romantic Suspense under $2.99 or Spy Thrillers at $0.99. These promotions are cheap for the author, perhaps a £3 charge, or a 10% reduction in royalties.

Moreover, Kobo automatically returns book prices to their proper price after the promo. Authors do not have to remember, as they do with Amazon. What a pain that is!

Much more significantly, your books may sell to 190 different countries: including very many countries that Amazon neglects. How pleasing to know that someone in Bhutan, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, Cambodia, Finland, Seychelles and Zimbabwe is nosing into one of my books!

Canadian Readers

Kobo is Canadian, so this is Kobo’s most prominent outlet and for those writing in English, a very important customer source. Canadian readers are surveyed annually by BookNet Canada. The most recent survey showed an increase in e-book reading, to 52% of the sample. The few copies I’ve sold on Amazon to Canada are dwarfed by what I’ve sold via Kobo.

Sales

Sales reports are great on Kobo. On Amazon you only get to know whether your sales are US, UK, Europe or Australia. Kobo provides a map showing the number and extent of your sales worldwide— very satisfying.

Kindle readers seem fixated on free copies, so many books will be excess to need, remaining unread. Kobo readers are more discerning, so willing to pay more than a few cents for a good read.

If the massive distribution of Walmart makes it easy to discover books and authors this has to be good for both readers and writers. Go Kobo!