Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

Paying to play


Here’s an interesting thought… What if, Kickstarter?

Let me back up a sec and recap the message of a wise indie author by the name of Linda Gillard, who advises that indie writers not drop a ton of cash on iffy promotional campaigns. It’s generally not worth the outlay in terms of sales, and activity tends to drop off immediately upon the end of the campaign. In other words, you cough up hundreds of dollars, wind up selling fewer copies than you hoped, and take an emotional dive when it’s all over with and your Amazon ranking plunges to new depths.

A better approach, Ms. Gillard tells us, is to take the long view, keep your eye on your writing, and build a reputation and an audience one reader at a time. Publish a book a year for five years, she suggests, and see where you are. You might be surprised, and pleased, that you’re holding your own in a very competitive world.

In my experience with Yesterday Road, paid promotions have flopped like fish on the poop deck. In fact, the more money I spend, the less successful the campaign. It’s an inverse relationship. This tells me that I shouldn’t be so willing, on faith and hope, to throw money at unproven sales vehicles.

I have had good results with Ereader News Today, which is remarkably inexpensive. But I’ve also heard good things about BookBub. Obviously, results are not guaranteed, but overall it looks like they provide a bigger punch than other outlets, which at $50 or $100 bucks a pop can really dent your budget over time.

The problem is, BookBub is pricy. For Occasional Soulmates, in the Women’s Fiction category, a campaign is likely to run about $600. Much more than I can justify, what, with all the cat meds I’m buying these days…

And this is where Kickstarter comes in.

I’m thinking of dipping my toe in these waters with a modest crowd-funding effort to the tune of — you guessed it! — $600. It would be focused only on the BookBub campaign, and if BookBub doesn’t accept the book, no one would be charged. Likewise, if I didn’t reach the target, there’d be no cost to donors.

What do you think?

J. S. Collyer ran a very successful crowd-funding campaign over the summer to help with the promotion of her new novel, Zero. Is there a groundswell of goodwill out there to help indies? You think this is so crazy it just might work?

Chime in!

9 comments on “Paying to play

  1. sknicholls
    August 20, 2014

    Bookbub declined me eight times. I haven’t the courage to ask again, and this is with me willing to pay that sum out of pocket. They only want NYTs best sellers and things they say they have a market for. They don’t want to take author’s money if they can’t expect sales. You have to appreciate that. Frustrating though.

    • Kevin Brennan
      August 20, 2014

      Yeah, there’s certainly no guarantee that they’ll accept this book, but it does seem like a good thing that they don’t want to bilk anyone.

      Another form of gatekeeping, eh?

  2. John W. Howell
    August 20, 2014

    I would go for it. You really can’t lose nor can your reader. You could give each donor an e-book and a kiss on the cheek (choice of cheek left up to you).

    • Kevin Brennan
      August 20, 2014

      You’re right, John. There’s certainly no harm in running it up the flagpole. And yes, I’d definitely put together a package of freebies for the peeps who contribute.

  3. kingmidget
    August 20, 2014

    I’d try it if I were you and I’d love to hear about your results if you do. I, too, have soured on virtually every “promotional” opportunity out there. EReaderNewsToday is the only one that has produced any discernible results for me and their cost is based on your results, so you don’t have to worry about putting out $100 and generating $20 in sales.

    I agree with the woman you quoted in this piece, however — the best way to do this is build an audience one book at a time and one reader at a time. The indie authors who are the most successful are the ones who have a lot to sale. My problem on that score is that my writing has slowed down dramatically and I’m struggling with finishing anything to publish.

  4. 1WriteWay
    August 21, 2014

    Go for it 🙂

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This entry was posted on August 20, 2014 by in Publishing and tagged , .
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