For book/ebook authors, publishers, & self-publishers
I too struggle to get sales. The Kindle marketing tools work, but be prepared to have to pay per click-and not all of those equal sales.
Doing review exchanges helps a lot. It takes time to read and post reviews for others. Most indie authors will do this quid pro quo, though.
You can post ads for free on this site. Also, if you have ebooks available for 99 cents, Indies Unlimited allows you to post ads on their site for free every Thursday.
I have accounts on several social network sites such as twitter, linkedin, facebook and google+. They are great exposure sites. I have over 700 followers on linkedin
The biggest challenge for most book authors is very simple: They don't believe in their books enough to spend some time every day marketing their books.
I so agree with you, John! That's what I keep telling authors.
I'd imagine the answer is fairly simple. Being noticed. The world is flooded with books. Quite often books by indie authors are of a higher standard than those pumped out by commercial publishers. It mostly comes down to marketing. If a book is pushed hard enough and enough money is spent then the you'll probably have a best seller. The actual quality of the writing will be secondary. Against all this you have the independent authors desperately trying to be seen and get some traction.
It took me five years to finish my first novel, Gunny Mac Private Detective Trouble in Chinatown. People often ask me why did it take so long. I realized as soon as I started to write that I did not know what I was doing. Career military officer, high school teacher, MS In Psychology... an entrepreneur, and I was lost as heck. I soon found out I didn't need or want another degree in writing. I knew in my gut I could learn how to write fiction.
I have read at least one thousand books in my life and I knew a good story when I read one. But I struggled. I searched the internet looking for assistance. Most writing gurus gave you just enough information to buy their products. Few gave me any real writing information. So...I listened to hour upon hour of writing podcasts... a waste of time...I read self-help writing books...very little help...I was feeling so stupid. I felt I needed a step-by-step guide on how to write a fiction novel. None were available. So what did I do? I took chapters from my favorite books and rewrote them on a page of paper to get a feel for excellent writing. This helped a lot. I began to retrace the steps of great writers and how to write a scene. Then I studied the way a fiction novel is put together. I went to a writers conference that changed my life. There was room for fifty people at the tables. They were filled by fifty women. I squeezed myself between two hefty women. I listened to Larry Brooks and my life was immediately changed. Then I knew why fifty women were there in person and only one manly man. One... Larry Brooks was a hunk of a man (former baseball player) and two...about the smartest man that ever explained how to write fiction
to me. Also, I found out why there were fifty women and just me. Women are doing all the writing. I have no idea where the men are so I really got motivated to write because a man's story must be told! Anyway, I had a private discussion with Larry after the conference and I really began to understand how to write a novel. A technical plan was needed and a story had to have certain elements in it and once you knew what they were you were off to the races. I figured I wrote over one million words to get to my final 89,670 words of my novel. I had a minimum of 55 edits and rewrote all chapters and scenes several times. Using this process I learned to write.
I still have much to learn writing great fiction but my second novel, Gunny Mac Private Detective Trouble in Cleveland is half-finished. I found out that writing a novel is just simple logic. Don't make it more complex than it is. (A) happens...something logical must happen next...you have choices but they must be logical to connect with the previous event. Then because of that logic, something follows, and before you know it you have an interesting story. I'm willing to help any writer who needs help. The problem is most people can't take criticism and act like little children. They just want to be told how great they are. I tell them criticism is hard on the person giving it.
If a person truly loves people the truth must be told. My advice to writers look for criticism and learn to love it. If a person gushes about your work....go find someone else who will rip you apart. Then you will be a writer.