Monday, November 5, 2012

Book Marketing: My Eight Month Progress Report

After several months of small, but steady increases, my stats for Web traffic, blog subscribers, and social media contacts have all leveled off. How to explain this lack of progress?
- Conservative viewpoint: This is the value the market places on my time and skills.
- Liberal viewpoint: I am not a big business with a staff nor am I celebrity with a drug problem (yet).

But the good news is that maybe we don't need millions of fans to make a living as writers. We only need 1,000 who really like our stuff. (Actually, 500 would do.)

Book Marketing Progress Report

I) Blog 



- Page views in July: 2,428      (1,779 visitors)
- Page views August: 2,977     (2,139)
- Page views Sept.: 2,774       (2,017)
- Page views in Oct.: 2,783     (1,996)

- Blog subscribers at end July: 48
- Blog subscribers at end of August: 71
- Blog subscribers at end of September: 95
- Blog subscribers at end of October: 114

*includes a small number of  visitors -- 100 to 180 each month -- that go to my resume and rarely-updated travel Web sites.


Latest Tactics


- Cut back to three blog posts per month instead of weekly
I'll use use the extra time to submit to contests, apply for grants, and pitch readings and performances to organizations, such as libraries, colleges, etc. As long as I'm getting 1,500 or so visitors a month, I'll be happy -- adding another 200 or even 500 is probably not going to make much difference.

- Added a table of contents to one of my most popular pages.
The page is called "Prostitution for Dummies," a tongue-in-cheek piece I wrote five years ago that continues to get steady traffic from guys traveling around Southeast Asia looking for naughtiness.The page now directs readers to some of my humorous erotica and to sites that offer what they're really looking for. Warning: the page has some racy, politically-incorrect content -- do not visit, if you find that kind of thing offensive.

- Created a list in Yahoo mail of people who subscribed to my blog but didn't confirm/verify their subscription. (When someone subscribes, my blog sends them a confirmation e-mail; for some reason about a dozen people didn't confirm. So, I manually forward each blog to them using a Yahoo mail group. These people are not listed in my Subscriber stats above.)

- Targeting different types of readers
In addition to book marketing, my blog covers four other topics -- erotic humor, weird travel, naughty travel for men, and life as a chronically single person. So, I am trying to target readers of these four other topics by offering monthly newsletters for each group. To get subscribers, I added sign-up boxes to blog posts frequented by these people. I created the sign up boxes using Mailchimp. If I get any subscribers for these four newsletters, I'll write them. Sign up so far: Zilch. (the new newsletters are the top four listed in the screen shot below. Two newsletters show one subscriber -- me.)

newsletter sign up boxes created with Mailchimp
With a little fiddling, you can create e-mail sign-up forms for newsletters targeting different audiences.

II) Social Media


I just picked up a book called "Social Media is Bullshit." I will write a short review later this month. So far, the book is pretty disturbing but somehow reassuring for all of us who feel like we've been banging our heads against the wall with online marketing.

1) Twitter

Results: 805 followers, increase of 59 over last month.

Tactics probably worth considering:
- An interesting suggestion from a Linked In connection, Erik Deckers: retweet more of influential people's stuff.
"... find some major influencers and occasionally ask them to retweet your posts to their own followers. Make sure you do that for the influencers as well, about 5 - 8 times more than they do yours. They'll be more inclined to just do it for you out of the blue." 

- Separate crap from cream in my Twitter feed. I'm considering making a list of the top 10 folks I want to follow, using Hootsuite to monitor their tweets, and focusing on commenting and retweeting their tsuff.

- I considered and then abandoned the idea of starting a new Twitter account or cutting useless folks from my existing account. I'm too insecure to cut my number of followers -- as small as it is -- because I want to be able to demonstrate to agents, publishers, and potential employers that I'm somewhat active on Twitter.

2) Linked In

Results: 1,148 connections, increase of 21 from last month.  

- This is still the major source for my blog traffic. I belong to a slew of groups and manually post links to my blog to each group.
- Disturbing trend: I have started receiving spam from people selling book-marketing services. I'm giving them one warning to knock it off, then I will report them as spammers. A cynical part of me thinks that Linked In may not care, particularly if these spammers are folks who are paying for the Linked In premium service -- Is spamming connections included in the price?

3) Facebook


- Fans: 2,036, down one from last month.
- Reach (the number of Fans who actually see my posts) 200 to 250, about the same as last month.

I am expending less effort posting to Facebook.

4) Klout Score

Now 47, down from 48 from last month. Does anyone care?

III) Networking


- Personal e-mail lists: I went through my contacts in my personal Yahoo e-mail account and sorted out those who might care about my progress as a writer and who might buy a book. Then I uploaded the list --about 290 people -- to Mailchimp. I will send them a quarterly progress report.

- I continue to meet smart, nice people online. Erik Deckers (referred to one of my blogs in one of his blogs and offers good advice in Linked In forums.), Jen Zeman who retweets some of my tweets, Tzigane and Martha Moravec, two writers who comment on my posts.

IV) Minor Successes


- Interviewed on cable access TV show.
I did a one-hour interview for a travel show. Since it's cable access, there may be all of three viewers, but it was good practice, fun, and required minimal preparation. (I discussed a four-month solo trip around the world I took in 2007. The trip cost a lot of money and basically sucked, and I spent most of the interview kvetching and moaning about unfriendly locals, wine I drank made from pickled cobras, and Melbourne's fly problem.) Note: It wasn't hard to get on the show. If you contact your local cable access station, there's probably a show about local artists, writers, or other topics for which you might qualify as an interview subject.

- My previously published story, "Domination for Dummies," was accepted for an e-book erotica anthology (a small, independent press.) Due out later this year.

- A humor piece called "Productivity Secrets of a Successful Novelist" accepted by Calliope magazine for print and online (A small print and Web journal.)

- "Domination for Dummies" was also accepted by Bizzarocast, a podcast that I'm guessing reaches a younger audience. (I should have asked about the audience. Regardless, I need all the publishing credits I can get). Supposed to appear Valentine's Day. I'll get paid $5.

Attribution for image at top of blog: By aTarom [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Can't Get Enough Book Marketing?


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