What works for books that are already selling and what works for the majority of books that never really hit their tipping point are two very different questions. It’s interesting to hear what marketers have to say. I think they place a lot of emphasis on these third party discovery sites that have been popping up in the past few years. Do they really work? Probably a little bit and this kind of activity is better than nothing.
As I’ve said before in this blog, the great thing about the new media economy is that you can bypass the traditional media funnel and go direct to consumers to make your pitch in a variety of ways. But stepping out of the funnel you risk drowning in a sea of uncurated content where you’re just another voice in the cacophony. So it’s kind of a good news bad news situation.
Everyone in publishing has been trying to figure out how to use their brands to become trusted curators for readers. It’s an attempt to recreate the funnel on different terms. If successful, publishers can use their own funnels to boost their authors and products. Some publishers want to create communities for avid readers, mavens, and writers to discover and interact with their authors. There’s Inkpop, ReaditForward and many others. The hope is that mavens will discover their books and authors and pass along recommendations. Has it worked? Sort of. A lot of great fan fiction has been discovered this way. Has it “made” a book that otherwise didn’t get much attention? I don’t think so.
There’s always advertising. I’ve talked a little about advertising before and do believe targeted online advertising can help keep a book going. You can also fool around with price. A lot of people are looking to discover new ebooks for 99 cents. It worked for author John Locke.
To me, probably the best evergreen strategy is to be very active on social media sites where you post interesting content targeted specifically to your audience. Build your audience and capture as much of their information as you can through building a subscriber newsletter. Remember that your book is a product; identify your audience and strategize how to reach those people, package and title the book to give it a clear value proposition. Building an audience is painstaking work. But if you work at it, you will see the results.