So I want to try this thing: thoughts on a promotion idea.

4 years ago | ubersoft (Member)

Assuming I can shake this illness that is making my brain a mushy pile of mush, December will be the six-issue mark for Curveball. So far my Grand Experiment is going... well, ok. It's been damned useful in that it's taught me what I need to do in order to publish an actual product on a monthly basis. I'm still sanding down the rough edges, but producing and selling an ebook every month has been good production and management exercise. Eventually I'll have it all down to a science.

But Curveball hasn't been gathering much in the way of eyeballs. I do get positive comments, and I know people are reading it because they edit for me :) (November was brutal. Damn you NaNoWriMo). But the audience is basically a sliver compared to the audience reading The Points Between, and that audience is a sliver of Pay Me, Bug! (which I expected. PMB! is far more accessible.)

But anyway. I haven't been putting much thought into promotion because IT'S COMPLICATED. But it occurs to me that I've been overlooking something pretty obvious, and I'm going to give that a try in the next few days:

I distribute everything under a Creative Commons license, non-DRM'd, which means it's perfectly fine for people to copy and distribute my work as long as they aren't charging for it. So why not play that up? So I plan to release Issue One: Death of a Hero for free on my site, in epub, mobi and PDF format... and I'm going to encourage people who sample that if they like what they read, to please start posting it in other places to make it available to people they think will like it.

(And I'm going to leave the epubs etc for sale on Amazon and the rest so that my entire backlist is available in online stores. But I figure people won't be buying it any more...)

Oh, Alexander, if you're reading this send me your email so I can comp you issue two.

I'll let you know if/how this works.

Second thought was I'm going to start posting Curveball on a six-issue delay on Wattpad. Essentially Issue One will go up in January, Issue Two on February, etc. We'll see if that does anything other than oblige me to update yet another site...

Curveball (Updating)
A Rake by Starlight (Updating)

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Responses

  1. SgL (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Uber - I have a few ideas but I need a little more info since I haven't read Curveball.

    What's the genre (or best approximation thereof).

    Doyou have a very modest marketing budget or free Google advertising credits? (Basically do you have 20 bucks to throw at Project Wonderful? Have you already?)

    Have you already considered searching for the "free ebook" /"online novel" directory sites? Jim has used them ... I'm waiting until I have one to go crazy on those. The online novel site(s) run by one person wants complete works, but if you have standalone volumes that actually should work fine with her requirements.

    Anyways, will give youa more thoughtout response later after I can sort through what you've already done/genre, etc.

  2. ubersoft (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Curveball is superhero fiction. I call it a "prose comic" because I try to lay out each issue as close to a comic book as I can, only... you know, without pictures. (And I write it in present tense because it gives the narrative a comic book feel... to me, at least. I really can't explain that one, but it seems to work). It publishes monthly, like comic books, the cover is essentially made to look like a comic book cover, etc. So, for example, the graphic I use here is the cover for the Issue One eBook.

    I've paid for advertising on PW before for Curveball, but only on specific sites (Sluggy Freelance and Schlock Mercenary. I tried advertising on Spinerette but I kept getting outbid). I certainly have $20 to spend, but I don't know where to spend it at this point.

    I'm not familiar with the free ebook /online novel sites, so the answer to that is "no." :-) However, the episodic nature of Curveball has proven a problem in the past. Smashwords, for example, has refused to let me sell the Curveball ebooks on their site because they don't consider the issues complete works.

    I just figure at this point, encouraging people to pass the work around is a good use of the CC license and I ought to give it a go.

    Curveball (Updating)
    A Rake by Starlight (Updating)
  3. Alexander.Hollins (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    I'd suggest a mid issue splash page with links to the site, ect. Maybe at the end of the main text would work better, but I personally don't mind ads in the middle. I know some people do. That way it gets people heading back. also, infographics have been HUGE with social media. Redo the cover with a bit more info, the web address, and a request to share and like it, and send it around on facebook.

  4. ubersoft (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Mar that cover with more stuff? You're asking a lot. :)

    Curveball (Updating)
    A Rake by Starlight (Updating)
  5. SgL (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Not ready to toss a complete response at you (still at work, shhh), but I wanted to giveyou some homework.

    First - do you have you a Google analytics account for your site? If no, I'd register as by doing so I always get free credits for some reason (and have been hording them) from Google Ads. even if you do nothing with the credits, apply them and let them accumulate for later.

    Project Wonderful:
    Spinnerette is now part of Hiveworks I think . They don't do targeted advertising. It's spread out over their whole network (eclectic and pretty skewed to adult contennt). Not a good match for a lot of stories here.

    I wrote up a blog on PW last week. It is kind of a lot to process and skips a lot of my working through trial and error ( http://online-novel-blog.blogspot.com/2012/12/project-wonderful-reflection.html ). I'd skim through it so you know where myquestions are coming from.

    But to break it down for you, I think the first thing is to look at the tag cloud at (https://www.projectwonderful.com/tagcloud.php .

    Figure out -- Do you have five categories you think might represent sites similar to yours in some way?

    Or if that's too hard - come at the answer from a different direction. For example--
    If there is a superhero category, are those sites in that category good matches to your work?
    What can you tell me about your current readers and their interests? Are superhero readers also likely to go for adventure comics? space comics? Or girly shoujo sparkly romance? :)
    Are there other genres/tags then that likely have the same audience?

    If from this you can come up with a few good terms, then you can start thinking about different kinds of PW approaches and member sites.

    If you see nothing, let's toss it.

  6. ubersoft (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Yep, I have Analytics. However, Analytics isn't as useful as it could be because I get significantly more traffic for my webcomic and comic archives than I do for fiction, which pushes any information about specific pages/visits/bounces for webfiction waaaaaaaaaaay down on the list. (The live tracking version is kind of fun to watch though. "Hello Prague! Thanks for visiting!")

    With PW, I found I got pretty good traffic from Sluggy Freelance but affording the ads long term was tricky. One thing I never tried was a campaign, and I think I should give that a go using the keywords method you mention.

    Curveball (Updating)
    A Rake by Starlight (Updating)
  7. Letitia Coyne (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Giving books away and actively asking people to share and repost the files is the single and only thing I did with four books. It worked like a dream. Nice numbers, that I could account for, with bit torrents and such leaving me with little info to account with.

    But I now realise I tapped into a huge free ebook reading audience. They are like the library readers in the RW. They are devoted readers, return readers, who rarely comment and never buy.

    It is possible now, I do it, in fact, to keep your ereader bulging at the seams with free fiction. I [until recently] received emails from authors every day telling me their book is free for a few days. I download them. I take no notice of who they are or what they have written. Just as with print, it would take an exceptional read for me to look for that author again, if and when I get around to reading their book. I have found authors I love. Michael Hicks is one who gave away the first series of his fiction, and I'd buy his books if I didn't have a TBR pile as big as Everest.

    I don't find any fault with this freebie reading audience, I'm plainly part of it, but I do not believe there is more than a microscopic relationship between freebies and sales.

    Lxx

  8. SgL (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Ah, I love how Reddit always seems to read my mind:

    UBer - check out this site/bookmark for later: http://www.reddit.com/r/selfpublish/comments/14uv0w/hey_authors_offering_your_ebook_for_free_we_need/

    One of the nicer sites I've seen thus far actually...

  9. SgL (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    This next suggestion has nothing to do with advertising your site, but trying to take advantage of something internally happening at Kindle.

    I'd go ahead and load up Curveball #1 as a free pub at Kindle. Make sure to add #2-6 either as a nice price point (as a bundle) or at a moderate price range for successive issues. (Not knowing the length, I am not sure what price to arrange, but keep in mind that the current Kindle serials usually are only a few dollars for the entire subscription.)

    Once the link is up, advertise #1 as "free" on whatever free ebook sites you have identified from any searches you've done..

  10. Alexander.Hollins (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/free-ebook-promotion_b52130

    nice list i just saw.

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