From Kristine Kathryn Rusch:
Here’s the surprising post. Many of you who read this blog regularly probably think that I’m opposed to major marketing campaigns. I’m not. I’m opposed to them when they’re done incorrectly.
Pretty much everything you see from traditional publishing to most indies. You have to look outside of publishing to see how to do a smart, aggressive growth campaign designed to grow an audience.
Why do I say traditional publishing and most writers do it wrong? Because…(wait for it)…an aggressive campaign to grow your target audience is part of a long-term strategy.
Publishing has turned aggressive growth campaigns into a short-term strategy, one that has no real upside.
Here’s what I mean.
Traditional publishing in modern times is based on the velocity model—selling a lot of books fast, then ignoring the product, and moving to another product.
Standard business growth is the exact opposite. You develop your company, develop your brand, cultivate your consumers, and then, once your business is large enough, consider making that business bigger.
When you decide the time is right to aggressively grow your audience, you should pull out every trick in the book and design a few of your own. You will work very hard on getting people to sample your wares. Most of the people who try your books will not continue reading them. Most people—because they didn’t like the book they sampled or they have only so much time or other favorite authors—will not return to your other work right away. And that’s okay, because your efforts here should have netted you 5-10% of the readers you targeted.
In other words, a properly done aggressive growth campaign, will get you more readers. Just not all the readers you expected.
. . . .
Readers are not predictable folk. So, of the 100,000 new readers who bought the book, 50,000 actually read it in a timely fashion (meaning the first three months). 25,000 read it eventually, and 25,000 more might get to it one day.
Already your “readership” is down to 75,000, and one-third of them might not have read the book they own by the time the new book comes out. Generally speaking, the release of a new book reminds slow readers that they already own one of your books, and they should read it now.
Of the 50,000 who’ve read book six by the time book seven comes out, 10,000 were unimpressed and will not buy your next. Another 10,000 liked it, but not enough to run right out and get another book with your byline. The remaining 30,000 split in a variety of directions.
Some read the series from the beginning. Some go back to book five. Some buy book seven and forget all about books one through five.
You can measure some of this. After a huge marketing push on book six, you will see a lump of readers work their way through the entire series. Even if the series is compelling, the lump will spread out over time. Why? Because some readers don’t like binging. So they’ll read one of your books, then five books by other writers, then another of your books, then ten books by other writers—and so on.
Link to the rest at Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Here’s a link to Kris Rusch’s books. If you like the thoughts Kris shares, you can show your appreciation by checking out her books.