Here's my contribution for What Works and What Doesn't Online Marketing Symposium.
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Most successful people dispense helpful tactics such as: Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Don't be afraid to let go of something if it's not working. Don't be blinded by fear because that will only stop you from learning something valuable.
In a nutshell, these tips simply give you a gentle push and encourage you to 'take risks'.
A Risk-Free Life?
As far as I can remember, ever since I was a toddler, I love to take risks. Physical risks like climbing on high stools or jumping from the highest step of a flight of stairs. I love the rush of being carried to the ground by gravity. I rarely get hurt. I am only prone to having scrapes on the knee and a bump on the forehead when I'm on level ground, and I run and slip on things.
I guess I haven't entirely outgrown that desire for taking risks, although they don't involve chairs or stairs anymore. :-)
Nowadays, it's more of a different kind of risk. Allow me to explain.
|Photo Credit: Cas on Flickr|
Mistakes? No Problem
I wasn't afraid of making mistakes. As I said, I love to take risks. Besides, I know that I would hate myself more if I didn't even give it a try when that was one of my goals. So, I sent queries and manuscripts. Received rejections. Cried a river on a super-soaked pillow. But when my red and swollen eyes would go back to its normal state and no more tears came, I submitted again. I also entered indie publishing to learn more.
That's when I published my first eBook. I published another one after a few days. And another.
To help spread the word, I've created eBook trailers on YouTube and recently did an audio-video reading for the first part of "Sleepyhead? Not!"
I also reached out to others. Thankfully, most of the authors I've met have welcomed me. They were really warm and supportive.
Last December, I had my very first virtual book party for my book bundle for kids (which carried my picture eBooks, "Sleepyhead? Not!" and "Are You There, God? It's Me, Kaitlyn Zamorra, Smiling at You"). The book bundle was named "Sittie CASE."
(NOTE: These eBooks for kids and my other eBook, "13th Breath: A Collection of Poetry and Prose" are also available on Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other retailers, but these are sold individually on these sites.)
Since the inexpensive promo was going to be offered up to the 31st of January, I thought of holding an event that will support it until the promo ended. So, I sent invitations. Most responded, but only a few participated. Those few had made it a really enjoyable event. It felt like a real party that's not hosted online! I prepared games, offered virtual food and drinks, had a guest book, created a reading room and also went out of my way to greet and talk to those who've attended.
But then, I had to end the party sooner. There were different reactions when I announced that I have to cancel it even if the promo is still available on Flipreads until January 31.
One of the reasons why I chose to end it was because I was going to face a really hectic schedule for this year. I wanted to reach all my goals and have all of the other previous drafts (that I've written in high school and college) published.
When you're pressed for time or you know that you are to face a very busy schedule for three months, there's a little sacrifice that you have to take. My choice was to end the book bundle party even if I like it so much. Some of the things I've learned there is that timing is key and, in hosting the party online, the number of days should also be considered. Plus, you also have to decide whether to host it on Google Plus or Facebook. If you've got more followers and friends on Google +, then host it there. If not, invite them to go to a Facebook page instead. It's best to juggle your options and try 'em so you'll find out what works for you. Another thing that you must remember is that you should think of your party not as the endpoint of where all your sales would be coming from. Rather, think of it as a means of spreading the word about your work because not everyone who attends would really buy your books. But most people who are there would help you in tweeting or sharing your event to others.
I'm happy to say that some people bought the bundle even if I didn't continue the party up to this month. It's in Philippine pesos there (since Flipreads is a Philippine Bookstore), but the Paypal option allows interested readers of children's picture eBooks to purchase it in dollars. However, I'm still far from what I want to achieve in terms of reaching out to more readers and gaining the number of sales I hope to get from all the retailers that carry my eBooks. But that's not stopping me from enjoying the journey.
What Really Works
In marketing your work, there are times when moving away from it and seeing it from all angles would help you more than sticking to it but not being able to reach all your goals.
Having a book bundle party is one way of promoting your work. Another way is through eBook trailers or a video where you'll read a part of your work. You can also provide slides and share them on SlideShare.
It's like practicing the 80/20 rule. Focus on what can be most productive. Take risks. I did. I chose to embrace the life of an author even if most people told me to stick to being an article writer and editor for traditional publishing firms. I hosted a virtual party even if I didn't have any notion of how a virtual book bundle party should run.
(That was why I was surprised when I ended it because I thought it would just stay there, but it disappeared. A lot of people would say that they cancelled a certain event but I could still see it online. So, I thought that by clicking on the option of canceling the event on Facebook, it will remain online. But the whole event disappeared! LOL! I should've just mentioned something on its page so I wouldn't get a hate PM telling me that I was reported and shame on me. LOL! That was from another author who didn't know me that well. I was quite amused and initially confused when I received that hate PM. It took a while for me to realize that she was referring to my book bundle party. I wish she simply asked me why the link wasn't working. I'd be glad to explain why.)
Remember: Marketing is all about taking risks. Regardless of what your current age is, once a goal is born in your mind and heart, risks simply attach themselves to it. What works is taking those risks. Even if you're the shyest person alive, you'll do well if you get involved in a group of like-minded individuals. If you want to be an author, spread your wings and search for sites that will bring you to your readers (like Goodreads, Shelfari, LibraryThing, StoryCartel, First Page Last Page, Scribd, Wattpad and others).
There are a lot of risks out there. If you don't take it, you won't learn much and you won't grow. It's your choice.
I know this is a long post. I'm thankful that you've reached this part.
Didn't you notice that I just took another risk? I joined the very first Online Marketing Symposium, "What Works and What Doesn't". This is my first time to join a blogfest like this.
Much thanks to the hosts of this event. Click on their links to see what they've shared.
Arlee Bird - http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/
Yolanda Renee - http://yolandarenee.blogspot.com/
Jeremy Hawkins - http://www.beingretro.com/
Alex J. Cavanaugh - http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/
Don't forget to click HERE to bring you to the list of participants. Do visit their sites, too, so you'll learn more things on what works and what doesn't.
Thanks for visiting! I'll see you next post. :-)