Dianne Stadhams has asked me: I know from reading your regular blogs that you have tried a variety of marketing routes to generate sales, Paula. Did the freebie sales weekend in USA (which I seem to recall ended with you listed as an Amazon Best Seller… well done) generate the scale of volume sales (post freebie) you hoped for?

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

In answer to Dianne’s question I shall try to explain from my point of view. To start with I don’t have any other novel sale records to compare my sales of Stone Angels with as it is my first published novel. Personally, I’m not happy with my sales so far, but this could be because as a new author you compare yourself to the best selling authors like J.K. Rowling, and expect your first book to be an overnight success. In the cold light of reality, I don’t have her marketing force behind me, and even she started with only a few sales. According to Wikipedia, J.K.’s first print run was a thousand copies of which five hundred were distributed to libraries.

When Stone Angels was first launched last August the prelaunch sale were about fifty ebooks copies sold. I had bought twenty paperbacks which I then sold to family, friends and people locally. I did two free-weekends in which I gave away over three thousands copies of my novels in the hope of receiving reviews. At the moment, I have 54 reviews which come from mainly America and British readers. Also the free-weekends are suppose to create payments via pages turned. (click on link for details) These I haven’t received many payments from as I feel readers will snap up a free book to read later, which might be years later. If like myself, readers will hoard books for later. I have several piles beside my bed, and yet I still buy more.

That’s where the problem lies. If a reader is looking around for a new book to read then if they make the choice for themselves they are more than likely to start reading the book straightaway. If it’s a free book, I’m sure the reader will download several books they quite fancy in one go to read at a later date. If you check out Goodreads. See screenshot below. These are all the readers that have Stone Angels on their currently-reading books list.

Taken today: These are all the readers that have Stone Angels on their currently-reading list.

As you can see some of them may take awhile to read Stone Angels. There are two ways of look at this 1) they bought the book, thus I’ve already received payment from them, so it is up to them when they read my book or not. 2) If they downloaded it as a freebie, when they get round to reading it they maybe pleasantly surprised, and enjoy the book thus they may seek out another book by me. This time they might be happy to buy one. (fingers-crossed)

I think it is far too easy to get caught up in the romance of being a writer and not look beyond the hard work involved. Writer don’t just sit and write. Today we wear several different publishing employee’s hats as we work. Even with the big six publishers still expect their writers to be able to edit their work to a high standard before submitting it, and wear a marketing hat to promote their work.

My expectations in reality were not to be a best seller with my first novel, though I did hope I would generate the money to market my next book. At the moment this isn’t happening. Over the last few months I’ve sold eleven more copies of Stone Angels. Though, I don’t know whether my marketing with Readfree.ly has generated any new sales this weekend. All I can do is hope I’ll earn the money back at some point in the future.

The feedback I’ve received since having Stone Angels published has boost my confidence though I’m now nervous about my new novel. I’ve decided to focus on getting my next novel written, and to see Stone Angels as example of my writing style for readers to experience. This in my mind doesn’t please me as I feel I’m undervaluing my hard work. In no other business would you work for free, or give away your product without expecting some sort of payment.

I guess what I’m saying is I’m hoping that at some point I will write a best seller, but then all writers wish that for themselves too.

I hope I’ve answered your question, Dianne. Thank you so much for following my writing journey.

Immortality comes at a price. So to does betrayal. Pre-order now by clicking here: Seeking The Dark

18 Comments

  1. Thanks Paula – such a fulsome and honest reply to the joys of writing (which is why we all write and develop our editing skills) and the long slog of finding readers and generating income. I enrolled for the (USA) Suffolk Mystery Authors Festival on your Writers Workshop recommendation (thank you – so enjoyable with some excellent and amusing speakers). They echoed your findings. Perhaps you should consider being a panelist at these events? I feel sure your style would be much appreciated.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh Dianne. Thank you for saying so but I live in England. I’m so pleased you’re enjoying the writer’s workshop. Getting involved with a group of like-minded people is great for support and reading one’s writing aloud. I’m missing the writing group I run here, as Covid19 stopped us from meeting up.
      I’m a little puzzled, Dianne have you mixed me up with someone else or do you mean I posted up an article on the For Writer’s only clubhouse group. As a recommendation?

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      1. Apologies – it was your recommendation the For Writer’s Only Clubhouse Group. Note to self… proof check before posting!!! Re: being a panelist… it was a Zoom event with participating writers from beyond the USA. Perhaps the opportunities for live in the UK, promote globally will continue post-Covid.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Now, I’m with you, Dianne.😊 Zoom has really opened the market up world wide. I’m sure it will continue so. It will take awhile for the whole world to be Covid19 free/safe so I’m sure most people will feel safer still chatting over the net.

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  2. Hi Paula!

    I wonder whether giving the book free does generate page read returns? I thought the same at first, then realised you only get those from KU borrows.

    For what it’s worth, I think you as an author, have an exceptional brand. You have a really distinctive ‘voice’ – your background, the issues you faced, etc: that you’re a bona fide goth! I love those Whitby pics. So in tandem with pushing individual books, maybe think about including yourself in your marketing strategy. You may not know it, but you are a really interesting lady.

    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The Goodreads screen shot tells me a lot of those readers will never get to your book.:-( There are just too many books piled up in their to-read lists for them to keep track of and read their previously downloaded books. Instead of a freebie weekend generating reviews, I think it’s more helpful in generating Amazon ranking.

    If no author had freebie days, then every reader would be forced to buy only those books that sound/look really good, and the cream would rise to the top. But we live in an era when authors DO have freebie days, so we have to work within that reality.

    Perhaps another strategy might be no freebie days but give away e-books to people who volunteer to read and post a review.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As someone whose first collection of short stories has just been published, I find this to be extremely valuable information, Paula. Thank you so much! And best of the luck and success with the up coming release of “Seeking the Dark”.

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  5. Oh, Paula. I am one of those persons in the screenshot and highly embarrassed that I have not, honestly, even turned page one of Stone Angels. Please accept my profuse apology.

    I shuddered when I saw (realized) that I have 28 books that I am currently reading, but, then I see those people who have well over 1,000 which I feel is hoarding. I have a bad habit of picking up books when authors I know have a free weekend. Yes, they sit in my Kindle for when I have time to read, which has been non-existent for a few months now, still hauling huge tree branches to the roadside after October’s severe ice storm… and many other things.

    This post is an eye-opener for me. I promise to start reading Stone Angels this week and leave reviews everywhere.

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    1. Oh Sue, I’m so sorry. I didn’t do this to embarrass you or anyone else. I was just making a point about not knowing whether promoting your books works or not. I love the fact that Goodreads allowed writers to see who has your book on their to read list, but as the screenshot shows there are readers who have a list that is impossible to read. I checked myself out and I have 22 to read on my list. Please take your time and enjoy my novel if it is to your liking. I would hate it if you rushed reading it just to give me a review. So don’t worry, my dear friend. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  6. No offense was taken, Paula. I am thankful for the wake-up call! And, Stone Angels is absolutely a tale which I know I will enjoy. Your blurb, the outstanding reviews… now, I’m figuring out how to get today’s responsibilities out of the way so I can have an hour to start reading and getting to “hate” James Ravencroft this afternoon. Actually, I’ll probably like the twisted creep. Haha… ❤️

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  7. Reblogged this on Sue Marie St. Lee and commented:
    I am sharing this article for the benefit of all my author associates. Paula covers the conundrum of marketing, free book giveaway weekends and how some of the recipients let the ebooks sit.

    I was one of the guilty ones with letting Paula’s book sit on my Kindle, waiting for the perfect time to sit, relax and read.

    For me, there will never be a perfect time to sit, relax and read. I have finally admitted that and, am starting Paula’s “Stone Angels” this afternoon. I may not be able to dedicate a full hour, or even half an hour for reading, but, reading is something I enjoy and am making a concerted effort to escape reality, even if it’s only for a short period of time.

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  8. I have a number of freebie books from author friends who let me know when they are available. I usually start reading them, but may not keep with it if I don’t like disconnected nature of the narrative. Also, if I don’t purchase enough from Amazon, I cannot write reviews.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Paula,
    I’m another lady on your snapshot. I do feel a bit guilty because I started to read it but then stopped because my reading at the moment is being done just before I go to bed and the story was keeping me from going off to sleep. It’s a very visual book. I will make an effort to finish it and to leave you a review. After all, I wouldn’t like it if someone did it with one of my books (wishful thinking as I haven’t any published😊).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bless you. I’m so sorry, Maria. Please don’t think I was singling anyone out. It was just to highlight that a lot of books just sit on readers kindles. Please don’t rush Stone Angels. Please enjoy it I’m very happy to wait. ❤️

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