Rebranding gradually

Ship Tracers 2018 thmbI’m very conscious that while I’m a pretty good writer (ahem), and I’m okay with most of the business side, I’m really pretty lousy when it comes to sales and marketing.

Key point for an indie writer, right? Market yourself.

Some of my books have fairly bad covers. Some have terrible sales copy. I don’t even have a mailing list. This site sits in WordPress’s paid domain, but free side. I’ll be upgrading that (*update, Saturday – upgrade done – already I’m out of my depth with customizing the look. Good – out of my depth means I’ll learn to swim).

All of that was okay in the early days of indie publishing, but times have changed. Around me. And in my dozy state I’m just beginning to notice.

So I’m making a few changes. My website. Trying to figure out managing a mailing list. Trying to get a handle on, you know, the basic stuff if you want to gain a few readers here and there. I did start a facebook author page – here where this blog posts to and I do occasional separate posts. That’s a whole other area of learning – social media.

Now I do have some covers and copy I’m proud of – my Captain Arlon Stoddard series books look okay to my mind. Not up there with the $2500 professionally designed books, but still doing okay.

So this will be a time of experimenting. First out of the blocks, I’m going to update the covers and blurbs for the first series I released, starting back in 2012 – The Hidden Dome. Here’s a preview of the new covers. What do you think?

I’m looking for a consistency of branding there, so at least I think I’ve got that. Next step: amazing sales copy. Then the whole repackage, getting them out as print and ebooks again (somehow I never got around to putting The Eye out as a print book, so it will be good to have them all done).

Will I get more sales? Who knows? The thing is I need to work on my branding, my sales and a whole bunch of other things. This is like a practice round.

The Map Maker of Morgenfeld thumbAfter that I do have a second book coming out in my Morgenfeld fantasy series – The Stairs at Cronnenwood. At the same time I will update the original’s cover (see the current cover here – too many design faults there, though I might even use that image). And if I can figure it out, I’ll create that mailing list and have a giveaway Morgenfeld story for signups.

Plan is to have The Stairs at Cronnenwood out in September.

Then there’s another Captain Arlon Stoddard novel to come out. And the third in the Chronicles of the Donner series. I’m not short of material, but I have so much to learn about getting into the hands of readers.

 

 

 

Writing sales copy – still learning

I like to think that I’m growing and learning as a writer (and despite a string of university qualifications, I’m starting to  wonder if I’m a slow learner. Perhaps a topic for another post). As I learn, I hope I’m getting better a writing blurbs. Blurbs are a whole other language (did I mention somewhere that I struggle with learning languages?).

Stories seem to fall out of me, yet blurbs are more like that old story about pulling teeth.

It strikes me that a blurb, as in sales copy, must describe the book, but not reveal the book. They must be punchy. Rather than saying, ‘well, you might enjoy this book’, they should say, in effect, ‘READ THIS NOW! Your life depends on it!’ I’ve been looking back over some of my blurbs and starting to get a sense of how they miss that. By a wide mark. Sometimes wide means something like the gulf between galaxies.Raven Rising thumb

My recent book Raven Rising started out with this goofy blurb:

“Practically swallowed up by alien forest, the wreck of the Raven offers few clues to the team eager to discover why the ship wrecked so violently. Crack investigator Angelie Gunnarson faces an enormous task. Will she be able to find the answers before time runs out? An action-packed short sci-fi novel from the award-winning
author of The City Builders.”

I think this blurb has some good moments (the last sentence kind of works), but frankly overall it’s pedestrian. Where’s the good reason why a reader might be interested in the book?

All right then, I’ve had a go at another iteration:

“Light years from home, Starship Raven went down in an plunging blazing wreck. Crack investigator Angelie Gunnarson and her team love this kind of impossible mystery. But the Raven might have more secrets than even Angelie can handle. An action-packed short sci-fi novel from the award-winning author of The City Builders.”

Hmm. Not quite sure yet. Don’t quite know what the next iteration will be.

I am, however, going to take a course in Writing Sales Copy, to see if I can’t get a better handle on this.

Then of course there’s work to do on the covers… and all the time work to do on the craft of writing too…

All this is pretty fun.