Saturday, November 24, 2012

Targeting the audience

So here we are 4 years later (5 years?).  We still exist.  But we haven't "hit it big". 

The trouble is, marketing.

Really simple:  4 P's.

Product - our product(s) is(are) very good; customer feedback, reader satisfaction, and positive reviews in official media confirm this.

Price - the price is certainly reasonable.  It does not compete (or try to) with the "penny horribles" at the Crazy Store, but it is not as pricey as the books in a certain chain...

Position - that is where we fall smack on our faces.  (No thanks to a certain bookshop chain who told us to get reviewed by the country's most respected reviewer before they would bother stocking our books.)

and Promotion.   In this self-same blog and its sister-blog, the P'kaboo Blog, I detailed often enough our loud, active, off-the-wall style promotion.  Also, the Solar Wind has been reviewed several times now, and four times (4!) in mainstream printed media (newspapers, a glossy mag).  But without positioning, the promotion can go nowhere. People read about the series and want to buy it, can't find it and give up.

Where is your book's best position?
Right in your reader's face.  He has to walk into it around every corner until it is such a part of his reality that he can't help but pick one up out of curiosity.

How does one get into a reader's face?


Ok this is circular logic, but it should be obvious from this that having the book shoved in your face is a lot more effective than reading a review.  What sells the book best is - well - the book!

Going to work on this a bit, but from all this it should become clear that right now the name of the game is distribution

Monday, November 19, 2012


There comes a time in every business (and usually it comes round and round again) when one needs to focus.
It doesn't matter if the business is small or enormous.
It took 4 years to determine which way we make our best sales. I still believe our selection of titles (including my own, yeahh..) are good; and there are avenues we have never yet explored (due to, mainly, financial constraints).
Here are my findings, and I'm sure others have completely different experiences.

Our best sales have been, so far, in descending order:
  • Violin Tunes for Beginners, mainly to a distribution agent, and directly to music shops; of course, I have a captive market there as every new student also buys one.  But the real sales have been to the distribution agent who sold to music shops all over and to CNA.
  • Solar Wind 1.  Mostly direct sales, and a few to bookshops.  
  • Solar Wind 2.  Again mostly direct sales, plus a few to bookshops.
  • Almost Dead in Suburbia.  Direct sales mostly, again.  Some internet sales.
  • Everything else.
The markets:
  • Overall primary market, direct sales to friends, contacts and people we know.  These would be in part beneficiaries of gift copies if some huge publisher were to publish the book instead of a little one-girl-show. 
  • Secondary market, music shops and CNA via agent.  Music sells better than novels.
  • Hardly any sales online.
  • Sales to book clubs:  None - but that might be because the focus has not been on them.
Successful ways of advertizing:
  • Word-of-mouth, alerting friends and relatives by email and phone call. 
  • Some response:  P'kaboo Website, Lulu, Amazon
  • Little to no response:  Reviews in local paper, magazines.
  • Little to no response:  Community events with music.
  • Little to no response:  Blogging.  Very time-consuming and a nice hobby in itself but can cost one the very time it takes to generate new stories and marketing ideas.
  • Haven't tried:  Youtube uploads; radio ads; TV ads, full-colour ads in mags and newspapers. Which of these will work, if any?  They all cost money to generate.  So each of them will be a bit of a gamble, and to gamble too low means to lose because it will not generate enough interest for any return.
  • Another angle:  Targeting interest groups.  Not yet tried.

Well, there we are. Most important commodity right now:  My time.  Where do I apply it best?  Because it is alas, as usual, dreadfully limited.