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Book Marketing – What did and what didn’t work for me? (Part 3)

book marketing -2

For the last ten months, I have been so busy and preoccupied with the promotion of my books that I hardly had time to think about writing and my 9th book which I have started by the early of 2015 has somehow stuck at the corner. Frankly speaking, I have not been able to proceed further than just a few pages I had wrote before and I don’t see any possibility of restarting it again for at least early of next year.

Furthermore, my 7th book called OLD MEN DON’T CRY, which is about Hong Kong, Chinese traditions and a tearjerker, and my undisclosed 8th book about the celebration of women in a patriarchal society, are both ready for publication now. The final date of release is still yet to be decided, I am also very busy working on them as well, and the actual writing of book has to probably wait for at least early of next year.

As I searched through the internet for the ways of promoting my books, I found the virtual world fully littered with offers that promised not only instant successes but also come with readymade guarantees, and needless to say, they were initially really enticing. As a newcomer, I didn’t know which ones were good and which were not, the market was really crowded and everyone was proclaiming themselves as market experts. Therefore, I started using those smaller packages initially that cost less or were free and on the recommendation of my trusted allies I gradually moved towards the popular and more costly ones. It started from $1, $5, $10, $30, $50, $75, $100, $150 and $175 each, almost all them didn’t even generate one book sell for me, and all ended up as the lost arrow thrown into the abyss. Most of those service providers are ubiquitous and well known to our industry, I don’t want to name the names, and I am pretty sure that we all know them by heart now.

As far as I am concerned, only BookGorilla did generate some sells for me and the others were a total waste of time and money. I heard a lot about BookBub as a sure bet, I have tried a few times with them but they haven’t accepted my books hitherto, so, I cannot say if this will work or not. Just like you all, I also have to wait and see.

The other particular package that I bought for one of my books was the trade show, you pay as per the book, they will combine the books altogether from all the participating authors and display it on the show on your behalf. It costs $150-$175 for one book, you have to send a physical book to the representative, and they were supposed to provide you a full report after the completion of the show. In my case, I got an email from the representative with 4 inquiries; I wrote to them individually as follow ups and never heard from them again. Yet, what pissed me off was when I asked for a photo of my book actually being displayed on the show, the representative couldn’t even provide it, and it made me wonder if those inquiries were genuinely for books. I personally do think that it is a very good method of getting a real recognition to a big market, but the biggest drawback of this method is for the authors not actually being there, and says it all. Since the representative is already paid beforehand, besides, it is not his/her works, and he/she won’t put her heart into it. From then on, I am totally against it.

The next package I bought was a so-called-bestseller package; it costs almost $800-$1000 dollars, and guarantees a bestseller position at Amazon. Due to my position as charity, I got some discount and I paid approx. $600 for the package. And to my utter surprise, my book suddenly reached at the bestseller position in Amazon, I think it was top 7. But there was a catch, those people were so smart and tech savvy that they would find one such rarest category for your book that just a few dozens of sell can catapult your book to the bestseller list overnight and you simply cannot say much about it. I personally don’t think they are wrong, after all they have delivered what they had promised at the end and there is not much I have to say about it. But come on! A bestseller title with just a few dozens of sell, my ethics simply won’t accept it, and I am too embarrassed to even bring that big word to my mouth since then. The next thing I did about it was to just keep my mouth shut and never talk about it again.

On the next blog, I will write about book fair, and keep visiting for more, thank you!

TIM I GURUNG/AUTHOR AT ISSLCARE – http://www.timigurung.com

Book Marketing – What did and what didn’t work for me? (Part 2)

Book marketing

Most of my friends must have known by now that I only write for my charity, I don’t write for money or fame, and my family doesn’t have to wait for me to bring foods on the table anymore. It is definitely a great position to be in, I did virtually nothing but promoting my books for the last whole year, and it must be also for the very first time in life that I am in a loss business. No panic, I was sort of expecting it and for the last two decades of my life I had somehow been preparing just for that.

Having said that nonetheless, I still want my books to do well, I want people to read my books, and I genuinely want to sell at least a few thousands of books. There are two main reasons that motivate me and keep on trying: 1 – Just like all the genuine writers out there who write for sheer passion and love of it, I also want as many people as possible to read my works. 2 – The more books I can sell, the more children I can sponsor, and my wish of covering the whole Nepal through my charity can one day actually become a reality.

Everything I do now is more or less related to my final goal, including this blog, and it is also the main reason why I come to work every morning. If you are still not convinced, I don’t blame you for being skeptical. Sadly our world is full of cheats, chicanery and doubter, being wary is our first layer of self-defense, and we are all prone to that. You can visit my official website, http://www.timigurung.com, read more about my works, and you will certainly understand what I have been trying to do here. No offence!

As informed on my last blog, the next thing I did use was Goodreads, and I did not only fully participate on this virtual library but also bought ads for many consecutive months. The first step I did on Goodreads was to create an author’s profile, followed by adding all the details of my six books in it, and I even put myself in open for answering all the questions that readers might have had for me. Furthermore, I wrote a new blog in a weekly basis; added quotes from my books regularly, reviewed other writers’ books and posted it, and joined a group or two as well all at the same time. Goodreads has a very simple, easy to use and effective platform for creating ads for authors, you can create as many ads as you like at once, and the ads are based on PPC (pay per click). You can decide your own budget, the cost is approx. $0.50 per click, and you can renew the ads again once the preset budget is used up. It also sends you a daily report on total number of impressions, clicks, money spent, and the remaining balance etc. The customer services are also responsive, fast and helpful.

After trying for a couple of months and spending almost a thousand dollars again, I just got almost a hundred or so people who clicked my ads and marked my books as to read, and I hardly sold a dozen of books through it. Then I listed all of my six books for a give-away-promotion, this promotion is free but you must have physical presence of your books on their data system, only then you can run this promotion. If you don’t have it, ask one of the customer service staffs and they can help fill in the details for you by manually. By the end of this campaign, I got almost 3k readers participated, sent out 80 individually signed copies by post from Hong Kong to US, UK, & AUSTRALIA, and eagerly waited for them to read, rate and review my books. It certainly did cost me a lot of money, here is the final result up to now as I am writing this, (1st book -20 copies – 6 ratings/2nd book – 12 copies – 3 ratings/3rd book – 12 copies -3 ratings/4th book – 12 copies – 2 ratings/5th book-12 copies – 1 rating/6th book – 12 copies – 1 rating) and you be the judge. By the way, I must have got just 4-5 reviews out of this whole exercise.

The give away exercise is the best way to attract more participants, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will actually read your book, let alone rate or review it. The FREE word certainly attracts more people, it is far more effective than other paying ads and it will at least make your author page look much better at the end. There must be many ways to maximize your chances of exposure in Goodreads, but those were only ones which I have applied for and I can only write about them, right? I am not sure how much I have gained or lost from this but one thing is pretty sure and that is I have stopped using all the paying services from them by now. I still use those existing free services in Goodreads though and keep updating my details whenever it is possible.

For the next blog, I will write about other ads that I have used for my book promotions and hope it will be of your great interest, thank you!

TIM I GURUNG/AUTHOR AT ISSLCARE – http://www.timigurung.com

Book Marketing – What did & what didn’t work for me? (Part 1)

Book marketing

As promised, I have finally started writing about my experiences on book marketing and will start serializing them henceforth until all the tactics I have used so far are fully covered. It will be a clear, honest and unbiased account from my part, I am just trying to be helpful here to those struggling writers like me and I have no intention whatsoever of giving any advises to anyone or trying to be a smartass here.

A gentle caveat should be given to all here – whatever I am writing here is gently squeezed out of my own experiences, there is no silver lining here and the method that worked well for me might not work for you and vice versa. Furthermore, before I decided to be a writer, I had plenty of experiences on international marketing as the managing director of a successful company, and I knew very well of how this thing called marketing works in details. It was not a new thing for me, it was just a different product, and I still found it very hard and daunting. I certainly didn’t expect it to be an easy task, but I didn’t expect it to be that hard as well, and if I were to talk frankly here, I genuinely found the task of selling book a lot more challenging than selling consumer products.

There are certainly many things that could affect the final outcome of any endeavors, book marketing is no different, and nobody has a magic wand for sure. Having said that however, one thing is certain, and first and foremost, your book has to be good. All the marketing work only as glitters, it attracts peoples’ attention towards your book, and from then on, it entirely depends on the book itself to make them buy – and that will only happen if they liked what they saw inside of the book. If your book is crap, even a mountain pile of money cannot force people to read it, and your dream of becoming a writer will pop up even before it has started.

Therefore, before anything else, read as many books as you can, make sure your book is good and hire a professional editor even that would cost you more. Before and during my writing, I read at least one book from all the Nobel laureates that I can find, my editor is probably the best one I can afford, and trust me, I study plenty of related materials before I put them into my books. I also do subscribe reputable magazines such as Newsweek, Time, Economist, and others, including the main English paper in the city, and try to read them as much as I possibly can. You have to be knowledgeable as well as well informed.

Although it is never too early or too late for the promotion of your work, according to the experts, it is ‘the earlier the better’, and when I did publish my 6 books all at once, the only thing I had ready for my promotion vehicle was my website, and nothing else. I started registering on various social networking sites on the same week I was publishing my books, I was only in Linkedin with less than one hundred connections, and I genuinely thought Facebook was only good for friends and families. I am on Linkedin, FB, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram and Tumbler now, I had hardly any followers when I started, and my website had just a couple of visits in a daily basis by then. Social networking is a necessary devil we cannot do without now for any marketing, book marketing is no different and I will update about it in details on a later blogs.

The first thing I did as a promotion of my books was to buy ads on Bookseller magazine from UK, it was a combination of both print and digital versions, and in order to get more bangs for my buck, I coincided it with the London Book Fair. It costs me more than a thousand UK pound, I got nothing at all in return and it all disappeared as the single drop of water in the sand. It was a total waste of money and I was utterly disappointed.

I will write about Goodreads on next blog, stay tuned, and until then, happy writing and take care!

TIM I GURUNG/AUTHOR AT ISSLCARE – http://www.timigurung.com

Book Marketing – What did & what didn’t work for me!

Book marketing

When I was about to publish my 6 books at once in Jan 2015, I did almost nothing to promote my books except telling my few friends and families, and I have been trying almost everything that I can to promote my books since then. So much so that it has became a fulltime job for me now; I do nothing but promote my books and run my charity whole day long now. I have been so busy and preoccupied with the promotion of my books that I hardly have anytime to write and my 9th book which I have started early this year has somehow stuck there with just a few pages to show as progress.

During the last ten months, I have tried almost everything that I thought were right my books as a new writer and it has been an eye popping experience for me. The time, effort and money that I have spent onto it are quite substantial, the lessons I learned from it were precious, and I genuinely believe that it could be helpful to all the new, nascent and aspiring new writers out there. Therefore, I have decided to write a journal on my own experiences, I will write on 1-2 methods of marketing on each blog, and continue writing it until all the methods I have used are exhausted.

It will be a no-hold- bar type of blog, the honest and most clear one that we hardly see these days out there, and I want you, especially the new and aspiring ones, to benefit from it. I spent my precious time, so you don’t have to; I paid thousands of my hard earned money, so, you don’t have to; I put my heart into it to learn from it, so you all can benefit. As I don’t write for money or fame, I also don’t have to bring money to my household and I am only writing for my charity. I just want to help, so you don’t have to go through all this shits that I had gone through. I don’t want you to waste your time, effort and money. I don’t want you to be disheartened or disappointed by the lack of progresses in your writing, I want you to learn from my experiences and avoid pitfalls. Most importantly, I want you to be happy, successful and keep on writing as we writers would like the most.

Before anyone gets any wrong idea here, let me be very clear here through, and I am not claiming to be an expert here. I am not trying to be a smartass either, I hate all forms of pretences and cheats, and all I am trying here is just to be helpful. Caveat! Everything I will write about will be entirely based on my own experiences, those methods that worked for me might not work for you and vice versa, and it should be taken only as references and nothing more. Nothing is guaranteed, no grievances whatsoever will be entertained, and whatever decisions you want to take, it will be entirely yours own.

Please mark this space, I will be writing on a weekly basis, and continue writing until I have nothing more to say. First piece of advice – don’t make the same mistake as I did, don’t wait for your book to be published, start marketing for your book as early as possible. If possible, give yourself 1 year, if not, at least 6 months, and many experts say, you should start promoting your book the day you have started writing it. That is all for now folks! Until next time, take care and keep writing folks!

TIM I GURUNG/AUTHOR AT ISSLCARE – http://www.timigurung.com

Book Review – The Gourd Seller & Other stories by Abha Iyengar

gourdseller by abha iyengar

TITLE: THE GOURD SELLER & OTHER STORIES
AUTHOR: ABHA IYENGAR
GENRE: SHORT STORIES
PUBLISHED IN 2015
SIZE: 50 PAGES

THE GOURD SELLER & OTHER STORIES from ABHA IYENGAR is a small, interesting and nicely written book of short stories. It contains eight stories, THE GOURD SELLER is the first story, from which the name of the book is also derived, and all of the stories in the book are not only different but also relevant and meaningful as well. It deals with many pressing issues of our society, the language used to describe those issues is pithy and powerful, and they have been presented in a nice and proper way without even a trace of vulgarity. What makes the book even more special is that it was written through the meticulous and experienced eyes of a woman, who happened to be not only coming form the same society, dominated by the outdated patriarchal system where women are harshly marginalized, but also seen it through her own experiences, and it outweighs everything else as far as the authenticity of those stories is concerned. I read somewhere about writers from the western hemisphere lamenting about our writing, they allegedly said – eastern writers only write about the travails of our daily life and nothing more – but as long as I am concerned, our travails are not only our main inspiration of writing but also our main strength as well and they are as necessary and relevant today as they were before in our writing. And we should keep writing about it as long as it matters to us dearly, because it is our story and if we don’t write about it – Nobody will. We shouldn’t worry too much about what the others have to say.

I don’t know the writer personally, nor do I know about her other works, and I don’t have much to say in regards of her other works. However, I must say, she must be a seasoned and experienced writer of her own merit and it clearly shows on her writing. The writing is not only of a very high standard but also distinctly clear as well as very nicely executed. The subject matters of the stories are very powerful, the prose of the story is perfect, and the deliverance of the stories is nicely done. The writing flows smoothly as a cadence of untrammeled spring water, I didn’t even stop for once while reading this book and despite its seriousness on subject matter I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It is a brilliantly written book, if you care about our ongoing issues in our society, I highly recommend you to read this book. What’s more, it is not that big so you won’t need that much time to read it.

http://www.amazon.com/Gourd-Seller-Other-Stories/dp/9810934017/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1444212330&sr=8-1&keywords=the+gourd+seller+and+other+stories+by+abha+iyengar

TIM I GURUNG/AUTHOR AT ISSLCARE – http://www.timigurung.com

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