Welcome to release day! Your book hits the shelves or Amazon today. The pre-order sales have been good, and you get rave reviews on the story and the cover. Best of all, you have in person book signings at three major conventions, Romantic Times, Romance Writers of America, and the Writers Digest Annual Conference in New York City.
In your free time, you write your next book, and set up a time line for critiquing, editing, etc. You’re busy, but happy. Then someone suggests you do a promotion and make your first book free for a week. Wow, that’s a tough call. You might give away a few hundred books, maybe a few thousand. But you have no guarantee that they are going to fans who will be eager for the next book.
Well, you are convinced to give it a try. Your wonderful story is free for a week, and you do a blog tour to alert people to the fact. Maybe you even have a Facebook party to let fans know and to give away stuff that advertises your first book and previews the second. You have fun and wrap up the week with lost of thanks in your own blog.
You may have just done a disservice to your fellow romance writers who self publish. And you have trained your fans to undervalue all your hard work. This great blog by M.A. Kropp shows just how adamant and rude readers can be about paying for ebooks. https://makropp.wordpress.com/2016/05/02/monday-musings-your-books-are-so-good-i-shouldnt-have-to-pay-for-them/
If you ever want to be self-supporting through your writing, you must get firmly behind the idea that you have value as a writer, and your books have value. Once you have a dozen or so books on Amazon or wherever, you can think about a special deal and offer the first book for 99 cents. Especially if you are writing a series and the first book hooks the readers. But do so with lots of research behind it.
To clarify, neither my own novella nor the anthologies I participated in (and that are currently unavailable) took off to become overnight sensations. I’ve done little in the way of advertising or promotion, and no in-person signings. What I relate to you here is from what I have seen in my on-line writing groups, what I have heard in my local romance writers’ chapter, and the blog post noted above.
With the anthologies, we did Facebook parties for the first two, but the cost was beyond the returns in readers. You do need to get your own ideas about these things so that you don’t blindly navigate a very difficult passage. A friend and author whose book did take off used Ink Slinger PR (http://www.inkslingerpr.com/) to good effect.
Bottom line, write a really good book. Put most of your efforts into making the book everything you want it to be, evoking emotions and making fans. With that going for you, word of mouth on social media might be your best path. Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Thursday.