JG, it's a pleasure to have you today. Could you share a little about your current marketing strategy and how Kindle Scout fits into it?
JG Faherty: I recently completed a new novel. Hold your applause, that’s the easy part. Well, not easy, but certainly not as hard as what follows: trying to get it published.
The book is a bit of a departure for me, it’s a YA science fiction thriller. As I’m known mostly for my work in the horror genre, I had to think long and hard on a marketing/publication strategy for this one. A couple of writer friends suggested I try Kindle Scout before subbing to traditional publishers.
For those of you not familiar with the Scout program, it’s run by Amazon and the reading public gets to act as slush pile editors. Each book is posted for 30 days, along with an excerpt. People read the excerpt and then they can vote on whether or not they’d be interested in reading the rest of the book. Each month, based on votes and the opinions of Amazon’s editing team, a few books are chosen for publication by Amazon.
What’s the benefit to the readers? If a book you voted for gets selected, you receive a free pre-publication ecopy. (Plus my undying gratitude and possibly another free gift.) And the benefit to the writer? A publishing contract with Amazon’s big marketing machine behind it and some cash in pocket.
However, it’s not just a matter of posting the material and letting the votes pour in. You have to let readers know about the book. In other words, you have to promote it.
This is where things get tricky.
Promote too much, and everyone you know on social media will get sick of you (There’s Faherty, whoring that new book of his again!). Promote too little, and you’ll never get enough votes. So where is the happy medium? It’s hard to say. Every writer has their own strategies. After talking with some people who garnered contracts through Scout, I decided on the following strategy:
1. Week 1 – Post on my own social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin) 1 time each. Also, post 1x each on several of the larger book review and author promotion FB pages. Since most of them have specific days you’re allowed to self-promote, I ended up with at least 1 promotion per day visible to the public. And as people shared, I made sure to like and thank them. Not only is this polite, but it also helps bump posts a little bit.
2. Week 2 – Same as Week 1, but without repeating any of the FB pages except my own.
3. Week 3 – Blog Tour. That necessitated asking for guest blog appearances and writing the blogs during Week 2. I ended up with 10.
4. Week 4 – Social media, but with extra posts on my own pages.
Now, as I’m writing this blog, I’m nearing the end of Week 2. So I only know how effective this has been up to Day 12. What I’ve seen is that on days when I post nothing in social media, the number of page views (you don’t get to see how many viewers actually vote) drops dramatically. So the temptation is there to say the hell with what your social media friends think and post more, post everywhere! Buy ads, sign up for paid promotional services.
Except there’s one little problem.
Amazon monitors where your page visitors come from. They even let you see the stats, because each campaign has a statistics page for the author. Number of hits, organic vs inorganic, per originating page, etc. And if the numbers skew too much toward paid services, rumor has it that is a negative in the eyes of the Amazon editors.
So when you feel yourself getting a little weak in the knees as those views drop in number, it’s time to take a deep breath and center yourself. Patience, grasshopper.
For a writer, this is a nerve-wracking experience, much more so than the traditional submission process, where you send in your manuscript and wait 3-6 months to hear back from the editor. Instead, it’s like you’re looking over the editors’ shoulders as they read your book, and you’re trying to see their faces. Did they smile? Frown? Groan? What page are they on? Did they just spill dinner on the book?
I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone who has a nervous constitution.
However, if you’re looking for an alternative to small press publishing or self-publishing, it’s certainly something to think about. And if you’re a reader, it’s a great place to discover new books.
Speaking of which... here comes the self-promotion.
Struck by lightning, developing new superpowers, and pursued by a power-hungry secret military group that wants to use her as a weapon of mass destruction... it's so not the 18th birthday that high school senior Chloe Olivetti was hoping for.
This is the summary to my new novel, THE CHANGELING, and I’ve decided to try something new. I’ve launched a Kindle Scout campaign for it. Readers are invited to preview books and vote for the ones they feel worthy of publication by Kindle Press. I don’t normally do this, but I’m asking if you have a minute, please register for Kindle Scout (it’s free!), read the excerpt, and if you like it, vote for THE CHANGELING. The benefit to you? If it wins, you get a free copy of the book for your Kindle and the book gets published. Plus, you’ll have my ever-lasting gratitude for your support (and maybe another free gift as well!). Here’s the link:
THE CHANGELING is a YA sci-fi thriller in which a high school senior is the accidental target of a top-secret weapons test. Afterwards, she develops amazing powers, including seeing through walls and transporting herself through space and time. Now the Army has kidnapped her and her family so they can recreate the experiment and build an unstoppable team of invincible soldiers. It's up to Chloe to save the people she loves and put an end to the experiment. But her powers are also slowly draining her life force, and she has no idea if she'll have the strength to stop her enemies before it's too late.
JG Faherty is the Bram Stoker Award®- and ITW Thriller Award-nominated author of five novels, seven novellas, and more than 50 short stories. He writes adult and YA horror/sci-fi/fantasy, and his works range from quiet, dark suspense to over-the-top comic gruesomeness.
A lifelong resident of New York's highly haunted Hudson Valley region, JG grew up amid Revolutionary War graveyards, haunted roads, and woods filled with ghostly apparitions. His varied professional career includes working as a resume writer, laboratory manager, accident scene photographer, zoo keeper, scientist, and salesman. He began writing fiction in 2001, and his short stories, poetry, and articles have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies.
For more information about his books, or to arrange signings or readings, visit www.jgfaherty.com, www.facebook.com/jgfaherty, or www.twitter.com/jgfaherty.