What’s the Best Strategy to Market eBooks?

        Recently I listened to Guy Kawaski on Webinar, explaining how to use social media to sell more books. The following day, I read an article on Anne Allen’s Blog, “7 Ways Authors Waste Time Building Platform on Social Media.” Speak about the two extremes of my dilemma, I think I located them.

Kawaski’s message—“Go after quantity get followers—start building followers as soon as you begin writing a book, add 15 a day for a year to reach the critical mass of 5,000. He favors Google Plus over Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc. Add bling with 500-pixel images that tell a story. Set yourself up as an expert, post stuff that’s useful. Don’t attack others, stay positive or silent. Tap the crowd for their input, send out your book’s outline for comments, and a book to all who agree to review. Don’t think of it as losing sales, for they probably wouldn’t buy it anyhow. If using twitter et al, post the same message several times every day, eight hours apart, because people look at different times. Add value to other’s blogs.”

Anne Allen’s not in Kawaski’s world. “Social media adds only to the pressure. Allen quoted Hugh Howery, ‘… instead of trolling the universe, create goodwill with a loyal fan base, a thousand true fans. Word of mouth spreads news of your books.’ I love this … buying thousands of Twitter followers and calling it a platform is like renting a lot of empty safe deposit boxes and saying you are rich.’ Neither Amazon’s nor Facebook’s ‘likes’ have an impact on sales. Free Kindle or Nook deals is kind of a crapshoot.” 

Now her positive advice, “… can do much better on smaller social networks, like Redroom, SheWrites, or myWANA. Good Reads can be good too. She hates newsletters. Advises us to only guest blog once or twice a month, have a Web presence, be Googleable offer fans a way to interact, best way to sell books is to write more books. Good Ones.”

My question on how to attract followers remains unanswered?  

Here is my latest marketing plan. Give it a look.

With six moderately priced narrative-history books, plus one priced at 99-cents on Kindle and Nook, I feel as though I’m stranded on an island, trying to cut my own Gordian knot. Therefore, I’m adopting a pull/push strategy. Pull followers to my blog, while simultaneously pushing news of the blog’s content by RSS (Really Simple Syndication.)

I adopted an idea for the content from Saturday afternoons at the movies’.  It’s akin to flipping through a book before you buy it. Each week on my blog, www.theirish-americanstory.com, in the “Coming Attractions” category… selected paragraphs from specific books will be accompanied by an explanation of why I wrote it. One might call it a mix of “show and tell.” My first effort from Druids, Celts, and Romans and The Civil War’s Valiant Irish was posted last week.

This coming week on June 30th, paragraphs from Chapter 1 of The O’Donnells of Philadelphia will describe the most important military secret of WWII. For if knowledge of it had gotten out, it would not only have had a disastrous effect on our and our Allies morale, in addition, it may well have made the Normandy invasion suicidal. A second paragraph from that same chapter will illustrate the siege mentality Philadelphia’s Irish Catholics had in the 1930s and 40s while surviving in a Protestant nation. Paragraphs from The Last of the Fenians take place in Ireland and will introduce the three main characters. My goal is build a growing readership, and hopefully entice some to purchase my Kindle /Nook books.

Don’t be afraid to tell your friends.

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One thought on “What’s the Best Strategy to Market eBooks?

  1. James–Thanks much for the heads-up about this post! And now I know where all that misinformation is coming from: Guy Kawsaki! I’m about to do my own series of webinars and now I can let my publicity people know I’m kind of the anti-Kawasaki. From what I know of him, he’s 100% a marketing guy–all about “killing the competition” and “make a killing in sales.”

    I don’t want to kill anybody, except on the page. 🙂 I write comic mystery novels (and a self-help book for writers.) But I’m not trying to rope in a million followers, because if they don’t read funny mysteries, they are of no use to me.

    Like me, you have a very specific niche, so the kind of gentle marketing that works for me (I’ve got two books on the Amazon bestseller list for humor right now) probably will work for you. You are looking for members of the American Irish diaspora who are literate enough to be interested in reading about their history. So genealogy fans and Civil War reenactors and Celtic music lovers would all be fascinated by this (Do you know the work of musicologist John Doyle? I’m sure you do: he’s very into Philadelphia’s Irish heritage.)

    Personally, I’m very interested. Wish I had more time to spend here. My Allens were Anglo-Irish from County Sligo, and my sister married a Mullaney from Philadelphia–2nd generation, so her kids have qualified for dual Irish/American citizenship.

    But I’ll be back!!

    I’m so glad you listened to me. You don’t want mass quantities of faceless followers. You want a loyal following of IRISH followers. Don’t offer Amazon gift cards: offer coupons for a pint of Guinness. 🙂 .

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