We’ve all experienced it. A new book is released, and the author hits site after site after site to promo it.
It doesn’t take long to bore the crap out of everyone in the community with this tactic. The first day, we’re thrilled. The second day, we smile and nod and may even read the post. But as the tour progresses, more and more people shut down to it. “Enough already! You have a new book out. I get it. I even bought it. During the length of your book tour, I’ve read it twice!”
Unless you’re a die-hard fan of the author, you probably don’t hang in there until the end. I bet even the author is sick of it by the time the last stop on the tour is reached.
Why do they do it? To reach readers and rack up sales. There is no other reason. But the problem with the long book tour is 99% of your audience have seen the first two or three tour posts and aren’t interested in the rest because they are in the community. They’re plugged in, they get the news and hear the rumors, so any tour lasting longer than a few days, a week tops, is pointless and, worse, annoying.
The real trick is to get outside the community and reach readers who have never heard of you. And if you think I have the answer to that, you haven’t been paying attention. I don’t rack up impressive sales. I sell a few copies of every new book I release, and almost every day, I sell one copy of something off the backlist. But that’s it. Obviously, I haven’t discovered how to get news of my books outside the community to people who would enjoy reading them if only they knew they existed.
I’m talking about some real numbers here, not a copy or two here and there. Guests posts aren’t gonna do it. Giveaways are only interesting to those few people who don’t care much about the book in the first place; if they did, they’d buy the damn thing and give me a little money. Author interviews? Please! If I was that interesting, my blog would have ten thousand followers.
Remember how well The Haunted Maze did? I made a couple thousand from sales of that novella–the most I’ve ever seen from one of my releases. And why? Because of fluky things that happened in tandem with Amazon and Halloween. I didn’t engineer it in any way, and since then, my sales have sunk to pre-Maze levels, if not lower.
When you think about it, it’s sad an author has so little control over their product they can’t even put it in front of the audience outside the community who might want it. The book tour doesn’t do much, and neither do all the other things authors do that emulates jumping up and down and screaming, “Buy my book!”
Every time one of us discovers a trick to get noticed, it inevitably becomes overused and stops working. Remember how cool it was to list a book for $.99 on Amazon and sell a zillion copies of it? Yeah, neither do I, but that’s because I missed that party. Currently, the Big Thing is to advertise on BookBub, but they don’t accept just anyone, ya know. I tried to get them to list Precog in Peril and Transgression multiple times, only to be turned down continuously. And now they’ve raised their rates so high, I can’t justify the expense.
Eventually, BookBub will die and something else will take its place, but in the meantime, authors are struggling to deliver news of their work to readers who might be interested. If any of y’all find a way to do that, let me know.