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.
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 (Caveat: the arrangements between these companies and sites are always changing, and I may have outdated information.)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?