Marketing a Book: Online vs. Real Time

While chatting with a friend this weekend she asked how my book sales were going. My second suspense novel, ‘Dark Circle,’ was recently released and a frenzy of promotional activity soon followed.

While it’s easy to see how “real time” sales are going–those books which I sell to local retailers or outright to readers at an author event–the online sales are a little trickier to understand. What makes the numbers increase one day on Amazon or Barnes & Noble but result in zero sales the next day? Why are digital book sales gangbusters during this month and molasses slow during this one?


Partly, I believe it’s my inexperience selling online. I’m still learning the book-tracking ropes. I know that my online venues are probably capturing more data than I can figure out from Google Analytics or my author dashboard on sites like Amazon, Goodreads or Barnes & Noble. Then there’s all the social networking to decipher. Did an increase in sales recently come from a helpful tweet or funny Facebook exchange or was it something else, or nothing in particular?

As an indie author, my entire fiction career feels a little “fly-by-the-seat-of-one’s-pants” at times. But it’s good. It’s a beneficial way for me to learn (I’m a jump-in-with-both-feet-type) and also a good way to fail (not much money wasted–time, yes, money, no). I’m looking at all these book promotion attempts as a series of experiments.

And I am learning along the way. Inspired by the success of such indie authors as J.A. Konrath and Hugh Howey I drink in their experiences. And other authors are so generous that I’m blown away. I have learned so much practical information from fantasy author, Lindsay Buroker and suspense novelist J.F. Penn. I’m excited rather than scared that I can’t see what’s coming next.

What about you? Do you find online sales to be the “meat and potatoes” of your market or do you prefer real time sales? Is attending a  book club as the author-of-the-month your norm, or does tweeting suit your personality and pocketbook more? 

This entry was posted in Book promotion, J.P. Choquette, Marketing, Social Media, Writers, Writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Marketing a Book: Online vs. Real Time

  1. Good food for thought here, J.P. — I like learning about your journey. And the links you’ve provided are intriguing: good reminder that readers, like writers, aren’t in one “box.”

    • jpchoquette says:

      Thanks, Beth. Yes, it helps to view readers (current and potential) as more like waves in the ocean. It’s figuring out how to ride those waves (go alongside readers), rather than ending up on dry ground that’s the tricky part. But also a fun adventure!

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