Sunday, January 3, 2010

Hope your New Year was Happy...

Got any New Year resolutions?

Mine is to write one book a month for the next twelve months.

"Why", you ask?

Well, authors don't make a great deal of money on their least, not unless their name is Stephenie Meyer or Nora Roberts. Most of us make far, FAR less. I had a woman ask me how it felt to make a "seven figure income" per year, and I almost laughed. I informed her (nicely) that if I combined my total income from all sources, I wouldn't come anywhere near the seven figures she mentioned. In fact, I would be hard-pressed to make a five figure income in a year. (And that includes my regular income.)

With e-publishing, an author must develop what we call a "back-list" of books. Because our new releases are only big sellers (if they sell at all) during the first three or four weeks that they are on the main pages of the publisher's website as new releases, we must have a number of prior releases shown on our back-list that might entice a reader to buy one or two of our older titles.

So far, I have six published books, with two more ready for release this month and next month. I have two different publishers, so my "back list" for Ellora's Cave is the four titles I have published through them, and my Resplendence back list has only two books in it. So...I must continue to write new books to get folks to go look at my back lists. Make sense?

In order to maintain any kind of sales after that first month of high visibility, an author must continue to put out new releases in order to attract buyers to their back lists.

Advertising? With all the competition out there, advertising is a small drop in the bucket when it comes to keeping a book in the public's eye. Many authors will keep touting a release on all the groups and loops they frequent until no one will even click on the links anymore. You can only promote a book for so long before everyone just deletes your posts. And unfortunately, the great majority of the groups and loops out there in cyberland are author groups...not reader groups. The vast majority of group/loop members are other writers, all vying for promo time on these huge loops. And when I get 500+ promos in one day, I simply delete them.

I have held free giveaway contests on every new release I have had, hoping that the contests and the promo would attract readers. I have paid for a Newsletter. I have several blogs and websites. I have given away many free copies of books to generate interest. Maybe the winner will like the book well enough to purchase some of my others. Maybe. And maybe not. LOL!

I write erotic romance. Not every person will like every book I write. I have had love letters and hate letters. I have had readers tell me they love my books. I have had readers tell me they were disappointed that my book wasn't as good as a previous book. Every reader has their own opinion. I appreciate them taking the time to tell me how they feel, but I know that not everyone will be happy with all of my various books.

So how can an author reach new readers? Get interviewed on other authors' blogs? Place a paid for ad in a magazine? Get the various book review sites to review your books and take the chance that the reviewer may deep six your book instead of rave about it? How many ways can an author promote his or her books? Too many to count. But not all are effective. So building that back list still appears to be the best insurance when it comes to getting sales. That, and getting your name to become a household word without having to resort to running naked through the Supreme Court when there is a high-profile case being decided.

So if all of you stand outside on your doorstep and shout "Fran Lee" at the top of your lungs every day at noon, maybe my name will become a household word. And then again, maybe not.

Have a wonderful New Year!

Fran Lee


  1. Hmmm. Naked through the Supreme Court? Are you sure that would do it?

  2. Hey, babe!
    One a month!
    That is the ticket.
    Then, as time marches, you will attract more readers. Its a multiplication thing! Honest. So I am told.
    And believe. Plus, in the interim, you get to grow as an author.
    And you get more COLLEAGUES WHO LOVE YOU AND YOUR WORK, too!!!
    May 2010 be a Perfect 10!
    Cerise..who must now go work on her "monthly" endeavor herself!

  3. That's quite a goal, Fran -- best of luck with it!

  4. That's my goal, too, Fran. Don't know if I'll manage it but I'll scare it to death! I'm totally with you on the backlist. A writer is hit with so many promotional ideas at once that you feel your head is spinning like the little exorcist chick. The smartest is to dabble in the promo (carve out an hr a day) and spend the rest of that time developing your backlist. It's all a crap shoot but if you don't have a book to sell, you won't make money.


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