Book promotion

Home is a little tricky to promote, being the third book in a series and all. I think it works as a standalone novel, but opinions may differ–and in any case, some people might not bother with it if they think they’ll need to read two other novels to pick up the thread.

Anyway, here are a couple of things I’m trying:

Kindle Book Promotions is pretty expensive, but I used them for Dover Beach, and they delivered exactly what they said they’d deliver–a bunch of sales and customer reviews (although I’m pretty sure the sales didn’t recoup the cost). What I’m looking for now are mainly unbiased customer reviews. Haven’t seen any yet, but they will come.

I’m also trying Books and the Bear, which offers promotion on their Facebook page and Twitter page for a price that’s low enough that I thought I’d give it a try. They also have schemes to help you build your email list, which is a thing I’ve been thinking of starting. This will involve dealing with Mailchimp. Which I will probably do. Because it will help with my newsletter. Which I will probably start. With my buddies. Who will certainly do more about this than I will.

I’ll keep you posted.

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Goodreads

Do people here use Goodreads much? I took a look at it today for the first time in years and it seems to be a pretty active place. Should I promote my books on it? I feel remiss.

Should I create audiobooks of my novels?

Most of my own “reading” nowadays is via audiobooks, which I listen to on my endless commute. There are pros and cons to this approach, but in my experience a good narrator can greatly increase my enjoyment of a book. (The main disadvantage is that it’s hard to skim an audiobook.)

It’s not especially hard to create audiobooks nowadays. ACX, the Audiobook Creation Exchange, provides all the resources an author needs–especially the ability to hook up with appropriate narrators. So I just need to decide whether it’s worth the time and money.

The money part is straightforward–narrators charge “Per Finished Hour”, which includes narration, engineering, corrections, and so on. (Many narrators do their own engineering.) So, if your audio book is seven hours long, and the narrator charges $200 per finished hour, you pay $1400.

Depending on the model you choose, you might get as much as 40% of the retail price as a royalty from Audible, the top audiobook vendor. If they charge, say, $20, that’s $8 per book. That’s a breakeven point of about 175 copies–which is not an insignificant number.

On the other hand, there’s synergy and cross-sales and all that good stuff. Maybe audiobooks will help increase my ebook or print book sales. Or maybe not.

Help me out here.

“Home” is available now in paperback!

You still have to wait till April 2 to get the e-book version of Home. But you can buy the paperback version now. How cool is that? It’s available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as probably other places I haven’t checked. Barnes and Noble will sell it to you for 10% off the already low list price; it also discounts the e-book.

Here’s what the book looks like, in case you forgot:

There’s a lot of value to getting sales up when a book is first published, so there’ll never be a better time to buy it (for the author, at least). And it goes without saying that reviews are extremely helpful as well.

By the way, this is the third book in my Portal series, but I think it stands pretty well on its own. Give it a try! Or buy all three!

Writers in movies: “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Another in an occasional series.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? is the true story of Lee Israel, a moderately successful biographer whose best days are behind her. Broke, alcoholic, and desperate, she stumbles onto a scam that brings in some money — at least for a while: she forges letters from literary figures like Dorothy Parker and sells them to credulous and acquisitive rare-book and memorabilia dealers. It all falls apart before long, but for a brief, glorious period she is once again creative and successful, in a strange sort of way.

It’s a nice little movie, and Melissa McCarthy is great in it. (Richard E. Grant, as her gay alcoholic sidekick, is even greater.) McCarthy’s character is a depressing loser who can’t hold down a job and cares only for her cat, but she has a spark. She comes alive when sitting in front of her typewriter, and I found myself wishing she were normal enough to find a way to create a real career for herself with that spark. But it wasn’t going to happen.