Friday, August 7, 2015

Marketing Woes and a great offer!

Ever since I received my first publishing contract over ten years ago, marketing has been the bane of my existence.  I soon discovered that not even my publisher had a clue about the best way to hit best-seller lists. They sent me on multiple book signings across the country, hosted me at the annual International Christian Retailers conference, paid for magazine ads, radio interviews, blog posts, ran contests on Goodreads and Facebook, and even paid to have my website designed.  I love them for all their efforts and it was a pleasure working with them.  But honestly, did any of it work?

With the advent of social media, publishers began shifting the responsibility to their authors for much of the marketing. You need to be on Facebook, Twitter, Google-plus, Linked In, etc, etc.. You need to get tons of friends and talk up your books. So I did. (Against everything within me, I might add)  But I soon discovered, people aren't on Facebook to buy things. They are there to make connections and share their lives and opinions with others. The last thing they want is to have someone shoving a "Buy my book" message down their throat.  Instead, from what I discovered, most of the people who "Like" my author page, just want to get to know me.

But the truth of the matter is, I don't have time to chat on Facebook or any of the other media. There simply isn't enough hours in the day.  If you're one of the "Likes" on my page, you've probably noticed I don't comment very often. It's not because I'm snotty or don't want to get to know you. It's just a matter of time, pure and simple.  Besides, it may interest you to know that when I do post on my author page, Facebook only allows a small percentage of my "Likes" to even see my post. I have to pay money to boost that post so everyone can see it.
NOTE TO MY FACEBOOK Friends:  If you want to know what I'm up to, or find out about special prices and new releases, your best bet is to sign up for my newsletter AND  Follow this Blog by Email (See places to the right of this post to do so)  

Blog posts don't really work either. For my last release I was interviewed on several different popular blogs, in addition to taking part in a huge Tea Party celebration. My sales never increased. I've given away over 70 free copies (both ebooks and paperback) of my last book in the hopes that I would get good reviews and by word of mouth receive more sales. (NOTE: One of my biggest pet peeves with reviewers is those who volunteered to receive a free copy and review my book, but who never do. I never hear from them again. It always amazes me that Christians behave this way.)

So how do I get the word out about my books? Just ask my husband how many times he's caught me pulling my hair out trying to find some method that helps get my books noticed. Let's face it, (especially now with self-published books) there are a TON of books available on the market these days. How does an author get noticed?

Write a REALLY Good book, is what some people are saying. Then it will sell itself by word of mouth. But I don't believe that's true anymore. I believe there's a lot of GREAT books out there that don't get read.  Of course, I do my very best on each book I write. I pray over them and try not to rush the story, but instead, make sure it's my very best work. Then I hire the best editors, the best cover designers I can afford.

This post may sound like I'm whining, but I'm really not.  I feel extremely blessed to be able to write for a living and I honestly trust God to get my books in the right people's hands. I guess the main point I want to get across is if you don't see me out there on blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other media, it's not because I don't care to converse with you, it's because I'm probably tucked away in my writer's cave, music blaring, fingers pounding away at my keyboard, writing my next novel.  I feel like that's the best use of my limited time.

However, since this is a ministry as well as a business, I'd also like to reward those of you who are my loyal readers.

So, I'm instituting a new Two-For-One-Ebook and Three-For-One-Paperback offer.  Here's how it works.  


Buy any of my Ebooks online, read it and write a review, then send me the receipt and a link to the review, and I'll will send you a FREE copy of any of my other Ebooks.

And/Or

Buy any three ebooks, write reviews, send me receipts and links to reviews, and I will send you a signed copy of any of my paperbacks (US Only, sorry)   I wanted to make this 2 ebooks, but honestly with what it costs me to print and ship the paperback, I would lose money.


I know some of you have already read all my books, but this will apply to future books as well.  For instance, if you purchase and review my new release, The Reckoning, you can get my next release for free! (ebooks only)


God Bless and have a good weekend!




20 comments:

  1. Friday 7th,
    "Morning, MaryLu."
    SO glad you are able to share the realities, blessings, hardships, and frustrations -- all, of being an Author ! I don't know of anyone who has done more than you have ... to get the word out about your novels !!!
    And you surely cannot be making much $$ with giving out 'free' paperback novels !!! But then, to have some not even write you a review -- when they said they would .... that's just more than sad !
    If I were an author .... I don't think I could handle the publicity end of it all. Enough just to come up with the stories for the books !!!
    Still planning on purchasing 'The Reckoning' .... and when I do get it ... I will write a review ! (And "no" ... I am NOT looking for nor wanting a free hand-out !)
    Feel badly for all of your publicity woes, and how disheartening it must be at times.
    But please KNOW .... your writing capabilities are God-given ! Keep on - keeping on, MaryLu ! Those of us who are your true friends .... keep spreading the word too, plus - purchasing your books.
    Thanks so much for the freedom to share with us !
    Take care, and, God Bless, In Him, Brenda

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    1. You're such a sweetie, Brenda, Thank you so much!! I don't know what I"d do without my true friends like you! You are such an encourager! Hugs!

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  2. I love your blog because I feel like I can 'get to know you' here and get real insight into the publishing world - especially in Christian fiction. I can only imagine how frustrating all the marketing must be. You're an author, not a publicist! But unfortunately with the number of releases and the shrinking marketing budget of publishers many are left to their own devices :/

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    1. Exactly, Stefanie! I'm not a publicist! Nor do I want to be. Good grief I couldn't even sell Mary Kay when I tried to one year. LOL. I actually asked God today if He wouldn't step in and be my publicist. LOL. Maybe He will!

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  3. I remember what first drew me to the first book I read by you- the original cover of "The Blue Enchantress." I saw a picture of it on the internet and just fell in love with it- and the title was pretty awesome, too. Then awhile later I was browsing the library shelves and what did I find? Yep, that same book. Of course I snatched it up and loved what was in it so that I went back and read book one, and then book three. I loved them, and think they were awesome books, as well as some of your other ones (still haven't read them all). It wasn't someone shoving your books in my face that made me read it. It just took a simple cover to get me interested, and when I liked what was inside, I found a new author to go to. It makes me sad that your books aren't very popular- because I've liked them!- but I know you've touched some hearts with your entertaining, faith-based stories, including mine, and I just wanted to thank you for that.

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    1. Thank you, Grace! That means a lot. I honestly think part of the problem is that my books are so faith-based. Being a follower of Jesus doesn't seem to be so popular these days... :-(

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  4. My heart breaks for you, my friend, when it comes to selfish readers. You are doing all that you can do, so don't beat yourself up......I truly believe that The Reckoning is your best so far. Still praying that the right person picks up The Redemption and falls in love with it, enough to turn it into a movie. ;-)

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  5. My heart breaks for you, my friend, when it comes to selfish readers. You are doing all that you can do, so don't beat yourself up......I truly believe that The Reckoning is your best so far. Still praying that the right person picks up The Redemption and falls in love with it, enough to turn it into a movie. ;-)

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    1. HUGS Chappy!!! A movie would be awesome!

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  6. Thank you so much for openly sharing your heart with us. I am so sorry about all the heartache you have faced over the marketing issues. This is a truly wonderful offer you are sharing with us. I have loved every one of your books that I've read so far. I have a number more already in my TBR pile/list (for the Kindle) and each of them will be reviewed as I have time to read them. We would lose out on so much if you were ever to stop writing.

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    1. You made me cry, Debbie. I really appreciate your last sentence, and thank you so much for being so faithful to read and review my books. Hugs!

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  7. MaryLu, I can't imagine how much work goes into publishing and promoting books. You can only do so much with your time, and like you said, you use that time to write. I love your books and do all I can to help promote them. I know others who do the same--Chappy for one.
    Blessings,Tina

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    1. Bless you, Tina! Thank you so much for your support. It means the world to me. :-)

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  8. MaryLu, I love your books! Right now, I am about 1/2 way through The Reckoning, and I love it! The last series of books of yours that I have read was The Escape to Paradise series. When I turned the last page of that series, the tears were falling down my face...I cant even begin to tell you how those three books affected me.Keep doing what your heart tells you to do. You will be BLESSED!!

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    1. Thank you MammaG! I will, I promise. :-)

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  9. I have noticed that the marketing aspect of the books is almost entirely on the author now. An author for which I am an influencer recently had to make all her influencers send her links to all that she required because so many we're getting books and she wasn't getting any reviews. I promote books I love whether I'm an influencer or not.

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    1. Thank you for being an honorable influencer! I'm always amazed at how many people flake on the reviews. I've even told them that if they didn't like the book, they can send me a note and let me know but I still get nothing. Sigh.

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  10. Thank you, Ladies! I was gone all day and just came home to all your lovely messages. I truly wasn't fishing for compliments, I was just venting about how hard this business has become... and how HORRIBLE I am at marketing LOL. As you can probably tell from my post, I've been a bit discouraged lately with the whole thing... have even entertained brief moments where I wanted to quit. But writing is my love and my calling and I can't see ever doing that, even if only one person buys my book and reads it! LOL. God bless you all ! What an encouragement you are to me. :-) I'd give you all a hug if you were here.

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  11. MaryLu - you are such an inspiration, personally, as are your beautiful books and blog posts!! Thank you for all you do to reach others in His name. Low book sales figures don't always pay the bills, nor do they get the books in as many people's hands as we would like - however, please rest assured that you have done all that is humanly possible to make changes in those areas, and know that God has a smile on His face, a song in His heart, a dance in every step, as well as love and gratitude - for each word you write!! He will use those words to change the lives of many people, because of your obedience to Him. I'm so grateful you are obedient and bold enough to self-pub those words you feel led to write, regardless of what others say or feel. Your writing is such a blessing to me, I keep you and your writing in my prayers - prayers re: writing guidance/instruction, sales, promotion, distribution, security against discouragement and stress/anxiety, time usage, peace, health, etc.. Wish I had the time to accomplish much more for you than I do, though I am comforted by the fact prayers work miracles!!

    Love you!!

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    1. Love you too, dear Sweet Bonnie!! Thank you for your kind words and encouragement! And thank you for your prayers... I can feel them.. I truly can. Hugs and prayers sent your way!

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