Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

How Important is the Internet in Selling Books?

If you're reading this, you're on the Internet. Probably have a blog, a Twitter account, a Facebook page and whatever tools you have chosen to utilize. It's not so much about selling as it is about building your online presence-- using social media to get out there and learn the publishing trends, meet writers, readers, editors, agents-- whatever it is you need to move your writing career forward.

These days, it takes more than just sitting at home with the laptop writing the books. A writer must understand the industry, the market, the options for publishing and distributing your book.

A few years ago, I was seeing this on publisher blogs: "If you don't have a way to get your book into the bookstores, then you won't ever sell more than a few copies to friends and family." I saw that over and over. In today's publishing climate, it's just a stupid thing to say. Anyone who makes that statement now shows their ignorance of the current book market.

It's great to get your book into bookstores but doesn't guarantee sales anymore than publishing your work as an ebook will. There are no easy roads to success. Getting a top agent or fat publishing contract doesn't guarantee success. Setting up a blog or tweeting your head off with links to your new release won't either.

The most successful authors will tell you that it isn't just one path that leads to sales but many.

Try whatever you can. Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify. Experiment. Do spend a LOT of time on the Internet. Because when it comes to the selling of books and the making of money, the Internet is where it's all happening, baby. Plus, the best thing about the Internet is that it is free as well as effective.

Sure, it takes time to build a web presence and stay active online but everything has a cost. Don't get discouraged if there aren't instant results. Keep at it. Keep trying stuff. There's a lot to learn and to try, even for those who have been at it for years. New sites, new opportunities, new people keep popping up. Like I said, the Internet is where it's happening for writers and books. Time you spend on the Internet now can mean income later.

41 comments:

  1. publishing is an adventure no matter how you face it. the internet is a tool amd useful if you know what to do with it!

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  2. One of the best investments I've made, believe it or not, is business cards. I love them. I hand them out to evreryone. They have my name, my publishing email, my web address, and my publishing po box. And they keep me from embarrassing myself when people ask, "What do you do?" I just hand them a card. Which leaves them free to ask the questions or not.

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    1. Anne, I like that you just hand them a card. What a great idea! It keeps away the long boring explanation when the eyes glaze over LOL. I need to rethink my business cards. I ordered them, didn't like them, don't carry them.

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    2. Bookmarks are even better cost around 10c(here in NL anyway)) and you can really space out what you do, even listing some publications.
      XO
      WWW

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  3. What I've discovered so far is that there is no one right way to do things. I agree that the internet is a critical marketing tool!

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  4. Half of success is showing up at the right time. The other half is a lot of work.

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  5. What do you think about advertising on websites? What are the best places and the costs? (Perhaps you've already covered this somewhere.)

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    1. Tamara, I haven't covered this at all. I'm not sure I'd want to pay to advertise on websites, because there's so much we can do for free. I know that paid ads on print media isn't that effective, so my guess would be it would be the same on Internet sites.

      If anyone has experience with this topic, please chime in and help Tamara with her question!

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  6. Great advice. I love how you said to diversify and bottom line...just keep trying. Have a great day, Karen!

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  7. I've been doing this since January so am such a newbie I think anything I do can only help. But I understand the importance of the internet for sure!
    Rhia from Five Minute Piece for Inspiration

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  8. It truly all boils down to hard work, determination and plenty of luck and more hard work whichever way you market/sell your stories!

    Take care
    x

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  9. The Internet is my writing group/community. It keeps me in touch with the world. It is an important place for me to sell my book, as it will not be easy here in Cyprus.

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    1. Glynis, I could say the same about Utah. The few bookstores I knew about that were supportive to local authors have both closed.

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  10. This is great advice. :) I look forward to the time when YA e-books sell better online. Until then I'll keep one foot agent hunting and the other selling adult e-books. :)

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  11. Insightful I-Day post for online authors!
    Visiting as an A to Z blogger.

    All on Blogspot.com and all in the A to Z Challenge:

    Heart of a Ready Writer – Bible & Devotional
    Meme Express – Daily Blog Prompts (A to Z)
    Nickers and Ink – Featuring favorite classic poems from A to Z
    Practically at Home – See what fellow writers are cited – with article links!
    The Mane Point –Profiling special horses from A to Z
    Working in Words – Writing How-to’s

    Click my name/icon for links to all these blogs! Happy A-to-Z!

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  12. Great tips! I believe that the internet is very important for authors. You need to be able to market yourself effectively, which in turn has an impact on sales. Wonderful "I" entry!
    You have an awesome blog and a new follower.

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  14. All I can say is, it's a lot of work, so you sure better be passionate about what you're doing...change it up and keep it interesting. You can do this, good people, but only if you really want to.

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    1. M.J., That is so true! It's not something you just do a few times and expect to get results. I'd have given up blogging a long time ago except I found out I really really enjoy it.

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  15. I'm not sure if I'm doing it right. There's an awful lot of trial and error going on at the moment!

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    1. Annalisa, I think that trial and error means you ARE doing it right!

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  16. Great advice! And very timely since so many authors are trying to figure out how best to leverage their online presence.

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  17. The only reason I write a blog is because I am a grandma and like to exchange ideas and info to improve this world.

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  18. It's fun most of the time. When it becomes tedious, I simply open up my MS and remind myself why I am putting out so much effort.

    Great post, lady!

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  19. Thanks for visiting my blog earlier today. As a blogger, I can see the relevance of having an online presence, but I try not to let that distract me too much from my writing.

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  20. Great post, Karen! I do think we need to just keep at it for just about everything connected with this business! :)

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  21. I still think bookstores are important, and paper books are too, especially for younger readers. But it's all changing oh so fast.

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  22. This is a wonderful, wonderful post. I took a course called 'ebooks or print' from an editor who said exactly what you're saying ... do both, take chances and watch your writing career grow. They support and promote each other. Recently I listened to a podcast. Can't remember who or what (I take so many) but the guy said any writer who isn't moving forward technologically will be--WILL BE--left behind. I belive it. I lack courage and confidence --something that's definitely going to have to change.

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  23. Great advice! It's hard but the times are changing & although I like the feel of a paperback I know that I also have to embrace the change of digital eBooks...I guess the good side to it is less storage space for the books I like ;o)

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  24. It's so important now. With so few opportunities for physical appearances and ebooks on the rise, the Internet is an author's best friend.

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  25. Thanks for the great advice! I will follow Celery Tree and think this may be a great place to get answers to all those "what do I do with my memoir?" questions...:-)

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  26. The whole publishing world is a beast of its own. But you are right, things are changing and the authors who are innovative and connected are going to find success.

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  27. I think it's interesting to see what a big difference the internet has made to publishing in just the last few years. Now it's essential to have an online presence. It will be interesting to see what the future holds!

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  28. Great post! I'm trying to have a presence on line but remain present in my real life too . My hubby is already starting to complain ;)
    A to Z challenge # 893
    Leigh
    http://www.oneandoneequalstwinfun.com

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    1. Leigh, Balance is the toughest road to navigate once the Internet enters the picture.

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  29. Thanks for this post! It's just what I needed. The internet can be a daunting place...I mean where to start? It is so time consuming, but like you said, the payoffs will come later. Also, thanks for visiting my blog. :)

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  30. Excellent post. For those who've made a nice chunk of changing only selling books via the internet, I've consistently seen the words: diversify, build your portfolio for the readers and interact, but always write more.

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  31. I agree with you to the very end, Karen. And I'm coming real fast, watch me for just around a year. (I admire your strategical thinking by the way.)

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  32. Great point- the internet is free, technically. But as a writer, you have to ask yourself how valuable your time is - what's an hour of your day worth? Could you be writing a scene? Brainstorming? I agree social media is just about mandatory, but I think lots of writers put the cart before the horse - they're putting their name out there at the expense of their product. Without a manuscript written, what's the point?

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