The Learning Curve (Not really about cooking at all. Until the end.)

For the past 20 days, I have anxiously watched my one, lonesome book on Kindle.

I published it on KDP on December 30 and finally figured out how to set up a free promotion for the first three days. I figured a new project for a new year, right?

These are some of the things I have learned in that short time. (Sort of my version of “What I Did on my Summer Vacation.” If you are just starting out, too, I’d love to hear your version!)

1. Don’t get too excited about how many downloads you get in a free promotion.  I set up the promotion because I had read it was a good way to get it the book out there, especially for a new author. I got really excited about how many times it downloaded, especially since I didn’t really do anything to promote it. (I tweeted about it once on my personal account and posted it on my personal Facebook page a couple of times. That’s it.)  I logged into KDP to check the numbers almost hourly. It was so very exciting, especially when I realized that it was being downloaded in countries all over the world!

Then the promotion was over and so were the many downloads. On the plus side, however, I did get 5 reviews out of it, and only some of them were from people I know. lol

2. Marketing takes a lot of time. Once the holidays were over and I could settle back into a normal routine, I decided to buckle down to marketing my book. I had done marketing for other things through social media before, but concentrated primarily on Facebook. This time, I decided not only to set up a Facebook page for my book, but to create a Twitter account, too. Also Pinterest and Instagram. And this blog. I immersed myself into creating content. I read all the tip sheets I could find. I made sure my posts were at the optimal time of day. I lived, breathed (and sometimes slept) marketing my book. It takes a while to get all the pieces in place, y’all.

Has it worked? Some.

  • I almost made it to 150 likes on my FB page in the first week, and not all of them were people I knew. That’s a win.
  • I haven’t gotten a lot of interaction yet, but some of the posts have gotten comments.  I’ll keep plugging along and see how it goes.
  • I don’t have a lot of Twitter followers yet, but I gain a couple every day. Some of them are people I have followed, but others are not. I’m still new to the whole Twitter thing, so I’m figuring it out as I go along. Treating it like a community instead of just somewhere to scream, “HEY! BUY MY BOOK!” seems to be a good strategy. I don’t have a lot of personal interactions yet, but I’ve had a few.
  • My blog posts are getting some followers and likes. I have discovered some other bloggers who are like-minded and started following and commenting and they have returned the favor. That’s pretty cool. I think I could even make some friends here!
  • I still haven’t figured out Instagram very well. It still just seems easier to post photos to my social media from my phone. I’m open to suggestions here.
  • My book is selling. Slowly, but it is selling! I figured a realistic goal for a first time author (especially in non-fiction) was selling one book  a day. I am already averaging more than that. Some days none sell, but other days more than one do. So I’m not complaining! 🙂

3. Read all the tips you can. I came into this will a little marketing experience, but not related to books. I also came into it with no real budget to spend on promotion yet. (I know, I know; spend money to make money. But you do what you can.) So far, I’ve found plenty of tips and information out there on the great Google machine. Some of it I’ve tried and some I haven’t.  I’m trying to focus on the things I see repeated over and over by multiple sources.  I’m trying really hard to limit what I do to what I feel I can do well. I am only one person and I can’t do it all. Which leads me to #4….

4. Know your limits. This one I have to remind myself of. Daily. Hourly. If I miss posting one time, I’m not going to stress. Instead, I’m going to enjoy the feeling I get when I log into KDP and I’ve sold one more book. Or the feeling I get when a post gets a “like.” Or the feeling I get when someone I’ve never heard of starts following me on Twitter or my blog, or likes my FB page. It’s the little stuff, ya know?

I’m starting on the second book in the series. I wrote the Introduction today. I’ve heard that publishing a second one will push both books along even more. And hey, I had fun writing the first one, so why not a second?! I guess when it isn’t fun anymore, I’ll stop writing and just start cooking for myself again. Until then, you get to share in the fruits of my labor, if only through the written word.

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