Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Rebecca Dahlke on getting the word out

Today's guest post  by Rebecca Dahlke addresses one of the great challenges in publishing, whether traditional or indie – getting the word out about your books. Here's Rebecca:

In 2010, I started an e-newsletter for mystery and suspense authors. It ran, free of charge to the authors, until December 2011.  I decided to let it go because: 1) authors just weren't with me on how effective this kind of advertising could be, and 2) I had my own books to write.

So I put the website in mothballs, but kept the Facebook site; the yahoo group (which is where authors meet to talk about promotion, and readers come to see what authors are talking about); the Goodreads group for Indie and small press promotion; and a Twitter account.

Since then I have put four mysteries up on Amazon/Kindle, and because I understood that my books are a product, I also began a six-month quest for the best, and most effective, form of advertising.

The results were exciting!  I discovered that with a combination of inexpensive paid and free promotion, I could sell more books. I thought the results of this were interesting enough to share. I put together a 7 page handout and spoke on this subject with my local Sisters in Crime chapter in Tucson. The handout was necessary because I had a lot of powerful information to share, but also I cautioned my grateful listeners with the following: The only thing I could guarantee about this information was that some of it would change.

That was in June 2012, and sure enough, things did change. One of the sites I listed as smart and creative bit the dust, and another site, Digital Books Today, has taken a giant leap after only 18 months in the business.  Eighteen months? Gee, All Mystery e-newsletter started before DBT… so that meant… but wait! There's more!

In a 2012  e-mail from the founder of Digital Books Today, Anthony Wessel  says, and I quote: "Traffic on our Sites: March: 8,000, June 16,000" and in their "The Top 100 Best Free Kindle Books List: November 2011: 600+ and June 2012- 10,000+ with 38,000 click outs to books on Amazon."

Obviously authors had finally seen the light and were using paid book marketing as part of a successful campaign to sell books. I know, because I was using them too, and the results have been gratifying—except I had one complaint: As a mystery writer, all of the promotion sites had mystery squished in between vampire and memoir.

It didn't take me but a nano-second to see that All Mystery e-newsletter's time had finally come. I ticked off the obstacles for resurrecting this e-newsletter against the fact that it might take some time to gain momentum. Then realized I already had all of my requirements for a good promotion site: I still had my list of readers from last year's e-newsletter, and I had a Facebook page, Yahoo and Goodreads groups, and Twitter with a small army of Re-Tweet pals.

September 1st I sent out the first weekly e-newsletter  accompanied with additional author posts at Facebook and Twitter that would continue throughout the week.

Sound interesting?

Here are links to All Mystery e-newsletter places:

Twitter handle: @allmysterynews

Last but not least, for those of you who would like a copy of that 7 page handout for both free and paid promotions for authors, send me an e-mail with "promotion handout" in the subject line and I'll send you a PDF copy. E-mail:

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