Tuesday, July 3, 2012

First Impressions

The Sex and Violence store has been opened for about a week at this point. Although the books will be on sale as long as Amazon is in business and my experience as a professional writer is in its infancy, there are a few things that I have already learned. There have been some good things, some bad things and some lessons that I have learned. I’d like to share them with you now.
1.       I set a start date of June 29th and I’m happy to say that the whole project launched on time. I was able to create the website, set up three online stores, set up a FB page and populate all of it with content. When you consider that every other business venture I have ever attempted has been delayed, pushed back or dumped altogether, this is a big accomplishment.
2.       The Amazon.com store is fantastic. There have been no hiccups or issues with the service or the availability of the books. Amazon isn’t really helping me sell the books yet, but that’s really not their job. That’s my job.
3.       I sent an email invitation to 2,500 people last Friday. So far, 500 people opened it. That means 500 people are roaming through the world who know I’m selling thrillers and porn. That might not seem like a lot, but with email marketing the most you can reasonably hope for is a 12-15% open rate. The fact that I got almost double that is impressive.
4.       Once I sent the email some people even wrote back to congratulate me on my new venture. That felt good. There isn’t really much to say after that except Thank you.
5.       A friend of mine who has an online radio program invited me for an interview. Publicity is always good and I’m not a man who turns down the invitation to talk, so that’s a win/ win. More details on the radio interview will be posted soon.
6.       A young lady who read Bedtime Stories and gave me the following verbal review:  “Your erotica is very voyeuristic. I felt like I was in the room with you looking over your shoulder as I was reading it.” I think that’s what I was going for. Score one for the writer.
7.       Other writers on Author’s Den really like my profile picture. That’s understandable, considering how sexy my legs look in that particular shot.
1.       In the first week, I’ve only sold a ½ dozen copies. Boo.
2.       In the first three weeks, I have only been able to get 1 dozen likes on FB. No bueno.
3.       So far I have sent out two dozen review requests to independent book critics. All of them were ignored or rejected. Ouch.
4.       I found out the hard way that there is no way to contact top Amazon reviewer directly to request a review
Lessons Learned
1.       I am quickly coming to the conclusion that trying to get online reviews might be a waste of time. This might be accurate, or I might just be bitter because I can’t get a review.
2.       FB ads might be a better bet to generate sales, but so far even though 40,000 people have theoretically seen the ad, only 4 people have clicked on it and no one has bought anything. If you ever see one of my ads on FB, please let me know. I’d like to get independent proof that my ads are actually out there.
3.       If you are an independent writer, your “writing” time is divided in the following manner: DIY publishing is 40% back office work, 40% marketing, 15% research and 5% actual writing. I clearly need as assistant and a sales team. If any of you have any ideas on how to get that for free, I would be happy to steal your idea.
I’m sure I have a long way to go and a lot more to learn about the art and business of writing, but so far the positives outweigh the negatives. I can’t really ask for more than that.
Have fun.

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