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Report from the Trenches October 6, 2011

Posted by bobv451 in business, conventions, e-books, VIPub, writing.
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Last week I posed the question about what it takes to drive eyes (and potential buyers) to your work. I offered a 3-book omnibus for free on my store, one day only. No takers. I mentioned it in this blog. No takers. That tells me freebies aren’t what it takes to get people interested.

Shannon, in her comment, mentioned giveaway items like bookmarks. Ebook readers have that automatically. Print books–what’s sinking down to about half the market–are where they’d be most useful but at every con I attend there are dozens of different giveaway bookmarks touting a book. Most are still on the giveaway table at the end of the con.

This began with a query from Shawna, a former writing student of mine, about marketing/promoting books. I would say that giveaways are counter productive in the sense that they don’t generate real interest and cost something to give away. The people who take the freebies might enjoy them–and that’s it. I don’t see much pump priming for other work here, and there is a distinct possibility that the giveaway goes into the “I got it for free” box and is never looked at..

A better approach seems to be contests. Everyone loves to win. If the contest is accessible, doesn’t take much to actually win–as popular as lotteries are, the thrill of winning is different from showing knowledge, delivering a winning haiku or otherwise *winning* through your own efforts–and there is a chance to suck up part of that 15 minutes of fame Andy suggested we all could enjoy.

I’m finishing off Hot Rail to Hell and will try to come up with some sort of contest related to it and see how this works.

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