Distributing Naturist Fiction

Some authors drive to busy parking lots and hock their books out of the trunks of their cars. Some authors film “book trailers.” Some authors go on multi-city book-signing tours financed by their publishers. What all of us share is the need to get word out there about our books.

Following up from my previous post here three weeks ago, and also building on recent posts by Robert and Paul, I’m taking a look at logistics. Given that we don’t have agent representation to the big publishing houses, those of us who write naturist fiction rely on social media and personal appearances to spread the word about our books.

At Oaklake Trails Arts Fair

A fundamental aspect of publishing through Kindle/CreateSpace is that your books become available on Amazon. Smashwords, another fine interface, has different distribution channels that don’t reach quite as wide of an audience. (Caveat: the arrangements between these companies and sites are always changing, and I may have outdated information.) Even so, once your work is out there on Amazon, it needs to be marketed. You can’t just rely on reviews, because there usually are not as many as you’d like, and sometimes you get bad reviews by people who are either mean-spirited or truly disappointed enough to take the time to write about it.

When I look for my books on Amazon, some of the books that show up in the category “Customers who bought this item also bought” are other titles of naturist fiction, and the rest are fictional works about nudist experiences. I haven’t read these latter titles widely enough to say for certain, but I suspect they are often too overtly erotic to be true naturist fiction. Yet the two varieties apparently do share readers, and some of these readers are probably the ones who give a poor review to a book that thwarted their expectations for something sexier.

So beyond Amazon, we maintain a dozen different social media profiles, through Twitter, MeWe, Goodreads, our various blogs… and even Facebook, which as we all know, is a perennial challenge. I don’t even bother to maintain a naturist presence there. To the extent that social media profiles can be enhanced by actual live appearances, we make the effort to sell our books in person. I’ve had good experiences at the Oaklake Trails arts fair for the past few years. Last year, I even met two individuals who had already read some of my work and were surprised to see me in person! Robert, among us, has made truly outstanding efforts to travel to bookstores and attend numerous book signing events, with stellar results.

This week I set up a two-day poll on my Twitter account asking how often people listen to audiobooks. My motive is that, in an attempt to explore alternative ways of selling my work, I have already begun recording my second novel, Aglow, as an audiobook. Yet, as you can see from the results below, the majority of respondents do not listen to audiobooks at all.

One respondent specified that although he doesn’t listen to audiobooks, he does listen to podcasts quite a bit. The thought that came to me in response is that it would be possible to run a podcast with a chapter per episode. And while this would be relatively easy to do for free, the challenge would be to monetize it successfully.

What I’ve learned in starting to record my novel is that it takes a considerable amount of time, and you need the correct equipment and setting – preferably carpeted floor, no random humming noises from electrical appliances in the background, etc. So I’m left wondering if I should continue. It’s probably worth a try, since I’ve already started, and besides, there is bound to be some market at least. What do you think?

8 thoughts on “Distributing Naturist Fiction”

  1. I appreciate that publicising one’s book is hard work, and that publishers (hardcopy and virtual) don’t necessarily make life easy – or even as easy as they could (do they really want to shift product? I sometimes wonder).

    Looking at things from the other direction to Will’s point of view, as a naturist looking to buy naturist-friendly books, there are various problems.

    Searching on Amazon for either “nudist” or “naturist” will bring up a huge number of titles which are nothing to do with either, being erotica or porn. So keywords don’t help unless I am prepared to wade through all the dross and check (“Look Inside” is a great help here) which sort of nudity is being presented. I do grit my teeth and do this every few months, but it’s not fun, and must create all sorts of metadata about me suggesting that I am often go looking for porn!

    What WOULD help is if authors used a consistent name for themselves, and ensure that Amazon / Smashwords keeps all their titles consistently associated with that unchanged/unchanging name. With some authors I resort to a Google search of Amazon to check if they’ve produced anything new. (Smashwords seems better than Amazon, but maybe that’s just what I’ve happened to look for.)

    Goodreads is helpful (although not that well known, and the moderator of the “Nudists of Goodreads” group hasn’t been active since September 2017).

    Various naturist authors have blogs (individual or in a group), Twitter accounts, Facebook pages etc. As far as I know, there is no umbrella platform in which all naturist authors could be represented and presented.

    A couple of years back I read an article by a self-publishing Amazon author, where they explained their approach to publicity. This included signing up to various Amazon promotional schemes – the (significantly) reduced income per sale was IN HIS CASE more than offset by the very substantial increase in number of sales. He also reckoned there was a second wave of increase, several weeks after each promotion ended, which he reckoned was word-of-mouth promotion from the first glut of sales.

    Sorry to go on at length. Hope it’s of at least some interest.

    Oh, and I do sometimes listen to audiobooks – we keep several short story collection CDs in the car. Not sure I’d go for a full-length tale in this format, if only because I always have lots of print- and e-books waiting to be read, and reading is a lot quicker than listening.

    Best of luck to everyone in their marketing!

    1. Hello Tim,
      Thanks for your participation here on the blog – my delay in responding does not represent the importance I give to your comments!
      It would indeed be helpful if there were some sort of category, hashtag, something that we could use collectively to separate the sheep from the goats. I think that such a label would inevitably become compromised as well, however, whether sooner or later. Complicating this, as well, is the fact that some of the writers whose work – or at least, a portion of whose works – I would consider to be naturist fiction don’t always choose to identify their work that way. Authors I’m thinking of who do this, claim that they don’t want to be reduced to a niche. They have a good point.
      Amazon / Kindle does indeed offer several marketing schemes that can be worthwhile, no doubt – thanks for the reminder. And thanks for your response to the question about audiobooks. I myself rarely listen to them except occasionally on long road trips! As of today I am still undecided about continuing to record.

  2. I listen to audiobooks ALL the time, and am frustrated I cannot find any naturist fiction. If you finish “Aglow,” I would be pleased to get that.

    1. Thanks, David – I greatly appreciate your interest, and your time to write and let me know. I will certainly return the favor (letting you know) if/when I am able to finish the recording. Thanks for chiming in!

  3. This morning, the BBC news reported that audiobook sales have been increasing dramatically in UK. There’s nothing on their website, but this is probably what they picked up on:

    I assume this means not all those folk I see wandering around wearing earbuds are listening to music: a significant number are “reading”!

      1. Tim, thanks again! That article for which you provided the link is a great source, and it lays out the growth parameters very clearly, even by region and language in some cases. Certainly the future, at least short-term if not long-term as well, looks bright for audiobooks.

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