The biggest thing authors, both old and new, have to deal with is growing your audience. If you’re old guard and established, take a look at your career level and ask yourself if you’re comfortable with where you’re at or if you’d like more growth. By this I mean do you wish to expand your audience (and your royalty check) and make a bigger name for yourself?
If you’re just starting out, can you grow your audience quickly?
Well, yes and no. The biggest challenge any author I know has is trying to figure out how to expand their readership without resorting to practically giving away the product. I’ll never support the artist mentality of being poor, broke, starving, sober and happy. It doesn’t pay the bills. But what does?
We’ve covered enough plotting and scene structure of a story, plus a plethora of other things in this blog to date that should help the author write solid marketable stories. Jean Marie has covered the factors that make an author successful from an erotic publisher’s standpoint and we’ve gone over other aspects of craft. By now you can write a story, novella or novel that a publisher should consider buying. But the biggest mistake most authors make in marketing their sold products is in how they go about marketing.
From a typical author’s standpoint, there are the following options:
- Online chats
- Facebook and Twitter
- Blogging and Blog Tours
- Business cards
- Convention attendance
Online chats tend to be a waste of time, social media is a skill many do not possess, blogging and blog tours require tons of time spent writing posts that balance the close of a sale and the content management designed to keep readership up, BUT done successfully they work.
The last two require an outpouring of funds from the author, which is not always a smart move since it doesn’t make financial sense. If you’re talking about a low level convention such as last year’s Erotic Author’s Association Convention in Las Vegas, we’re talking air fare, hotel fare, convention fare (they stupidly didn’t wave fees for their speakers) and food. If it’s a more upscale and established convention like RWA Nationals, we’re talking hundreds of dollars if not more for just air fare and hotel PLUS convention fees. At least the folks at EAA kept the entrance fee fairly accessible.
If your royalties don’t justify going, then don’t. MONEY FLOWS TO THE AUTHOR, NOT AWAY. This is why I’m so against self publishing, because from a financial standpoint it makes NO sense. Yes there are exceptions, but they’re rare. It may not be about who has the most money at the end of their career but how much does it suck to know that nice $500 royalty check you made last month got sucked in one fell swoop by a convention that historically proves a low return for authors?
So what IS the secret for growing your audience?
I hesitate to reveal it because it really is THAT simple. Most people can’t grasp simple ideas, they seem “too easy.”
In an earlier post by Jean Marie Stine, she talked about reusing content across multiple sites and publishers, thus maximizing your income and keeping your time spent in proportion to monies earned. Yes this isn’t so easy to do with novels and novellas but short stories are what attract the reader to you initially. In the same vein, aren’t you writing short stories or taking your characters from the worlds you’ve created and writing short stories featuring them? If so, the free erotic story markets are your friend.
- Madison’s Cure and Other Erotica
Readers on sites like Literotica.com are voracious, many of them come back to the site to check it multiple times a day. Their favorite author or authors may have thrown up a new story, a new chapter, a continuation of some sort or who knows! The stats speak for themselves however. In the first month I posted a short story from Madison’s Cure and Other Erotica: A Best Of and found myself with 23,000 hits on that story. I followed up with a few more short stories and learned better the tricks for keywording a story to draw the attention of the reader. This taught me how to write better promo blurbs for when I had later stories published.
The point is, using the simple tricks to avoid spending money while improving time spent will over the course of your career help grow your name.