The Writer's Mailbag: Installment Ninety
We’re Getting Closer
One step closer to one-hundred, and I thank all of you for that.
Slow week this week, so I’ll give you what I’ve got and put this one to bed. Short does not necessarily equate to bad, does it?
Here we go!
My Newest Series
Continuing a Series
From Buildreps: “Honestly I didn't thought you would publish again another part of the series of Bobby-Fix-it, because your novella is out. How long are you going on with this series? And how is your publicity doing? I love to read this series, although the language is typically American I perfectly understand every little word of it. Great achievement, billybuc. Have a great day!:)”
My friend is referring to the continuing series/novella series, The Billy the Kid Chronicles. He takes note of the fact that the first novella is out and he asks the question why in the world am I still writing the short stories on HP?
It’s a good question. Not sure I have a good answer!
Here’s the thing: this series is well-liked on HP. If I can keep the interest up on HP for this character and his stories, then what I’m doing, in effect, is marketing the novellas with the short stories. The novellas from here on will be quite a bit different from the short stories shared on HP, so you, the readers, will be getting bonuses each and every week.
Don’t try to thank me. I embarrass easily. LOL
As for the second question, the publicity is going…..it’s going. I’ve got a plan and it takes time to execute that plan….so my answer stays the same…it’s going.
From Mary: “I have another question for a future mailbag. This is actually a three part question so do with it what you will. This past week I received an email offering a trade, a free e-book for a review. Firstly do you think this is a valid way of marketing or do you think it is grasping at straws. I am also aware people pay for positive reviews. Secondly, how many reviews are enough before you can expect the general public to take notice of a book? And lastly, what are your thoughts about authors commenting on reviews? I have read that this can cause problems for an author more than the low rating on the review.”
Such good questions, Mary! You’ve managed to ask three questions that have never been asked before, and that’s quite an accomplishment considering how many questions have appeared in this series.
One at a time…..
A free eBook for a review, is it a valid way of marketing or is it grasping at straws? I don’t see it as grasping but I do see it as a possible conflict of interest. If it is agreed that the free eBook in no way influences the review then I see no problem with it….still, and this is just me, if someone gives me a book in exchange for a review, it would be very hard for me to be totally honest in my review. What if the book totally sucked? Could I find it in me to say that? No!
How many reviews are enough to get the general public to notice a book? I read quite a few articles about this, and according to the brain trust at Amazon, there is no thing as “too many reviews.” The number 25 keeps popping up as some magic minimum level to reach, but the overall answer to your question is the sky is the limit, or “to infinity and beyond.”
Lastly, should authors comment on reviews they receive? There is a constant battle over this topic in the reading community, and the opinions are differing and all have valid reasons.
I personally think this depends on personal taste. I respond to every comment on HubPages, but on Amazon I don’t comment. I really have no reason for that other than it’s a bit of a gray area for me, as the author and the one selling the book, to comment in a section that is for readers. I prefer to leave my readers alone on Amazon and let them say what they want without my interference.
One thing I am adamant about is a writer should never take the bait and respond to negative comments about a book….that is a lose-lose situation and I see no benefit at all from doing it.
Having said all that, I’ll be curious how others feel about your questions, Mary.
Random Ideas for Marketing
From Brian: “I was wondering, with all the technology at our finger tips, and all the new social networking available, if you have tried anything really radical to market your books?”
Wow, Brian, pretty cool timing on your part.
For me, the greatest challenge in marketing is technology itself. I’m old-school, and learning how to download and format on new sites is hard for me. Luckily we have kids ranging from 18-34, and they are very knowledgeable about all this new computer stuff, so they help me.
One thing I’m looking at right now is podcasting. I was born right at the end of the radio hay day, and I remember the old radio programs that had serials on each week. I am also familiar and fond of programs like “The Prairie Home Companion” hosted by Garrison Keillor. I think this approach to marketing is fascinating and it’s something I’m seriously considering. I’m toying with the idea of a weekly podcast like my blog “Artistry With Words,” or something like “Storytime with Bill,” where I could do readings from my short stories or novels each week, as well as touch on other facets of writing….like this Mailbag. I can also see interviews on the podcast….anything and everything to do with writing…as well as some shameless self-promoting.
Anyway, to answer your question, yes, I’m always looking for marketing ideas that fit “outside the box” of traditional thinking…..and you should too.
My Apologies to Chris
I had a comment/question on my blog, from Chris, and it disappeared before I could answer it. It had something to do with his selling a new comic strip he’s developed, and what do I think about marketing that comic strip….but I hesitate to answer a question I lost and am hazy about….so mea culpa, Chris. If you read this please ask again.
This is becoming big, by the way. Pulp fiction style comic strips with super heroes are becoming quite the rage….check them out in the library…..so I think Chris is on to something.
Join me on my writing blog
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Another Short One This Week
But that’s okay…we are all busy, and every Mailbag doesn’t have to be overflowing to be interesting and helpful.
Thanks to those who asked questions this week and thanks to those who just stopped by to read. I’ll be back next Monday with more questions and answers.
In the meantime, think about that marketing question. What can you do to gain more readers? What is there to try that you have not tried so far?
2016 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”