Expanding Readership

Phew! This is a tough one. What does one do to expand sales of their book?

I’ve been struggling with this for a few weeks now. I’ve gotten AMAZING support (thank you everyone!) from many of my friends and family, coworkers and work-related acquaintances, and other people I’ve encountered through writing conventions and conferences.

But how do I branch out to the next circle of readers?

Especially without an unlimited budget to hire someone to do my marketing for me….

I’ve been looking into this lately and have come up with a few ideas, but I’m running short on thoughts. The signing I had last weekend went great, but only exposed my graphic novel to the public for the three hours I was there. I’m going to be attending SpringCon this coming May, but from now until then is a LONG time to have limited sales.

So what else can I do?

Two things I’ve done are 1) I was interviewed for a podcast show (release date TBD) so hopefully I’ll reach new audiences that way and 2) I was just invited to join bloggerdise.com. It’s a website where bloggers can come check out other artists, writers, etc. and blog about their stuff–while often times getting free copies or discounts on their items. Check me out there at http://www.bloggerdise.com/offer/?offer_id=4945.

Any other suggestions??

15 Comments

  1. acmoyer

    Hi again. I just had another thought–if expanding your readership/marketing is something that requires money you don’t already have, what about crowdfunding through Kickstarter or something similar? I serendipitously stumbled upon this article (blog post? essay? I’m never sure what to call them) about that: http://www.fundsforwriters.com/funding-your-first-novel-using-kickstarter. Now I don’t really know whether this is the ideal forum for expanding readership–maybe it’s better used for funding a future novel you want to write–but I thought I’d mention it. TTFN!

  2. Anonymous

    Hola Christa:
    I was thinking about your request i don`t know much about marketing but the way we did it while in real estate we would send somebody to shows there are alot of different kind of shows around the country. boat shows, car shows etc, etc the way it work was you rent a space or cubicle and hand out your flyers or panflets in your case you would take your card table sorround it by posters and be yourself talk to people you have a great personnality you could do super markets parks any place where people gather around the more positive you are the more fun you will have you might not sell anything in months but you will have fun i just know that you will sell eventually. hope that is of some help.

    Charly

  3. Leota

    I’m not sure how you went about getting more stores to carry your novel, or put up posters but if it wasn’t too complicated perhaps have friends and buddies who live in other places, and are willing, take that on in comic stores in their areas? Again, not sure what the process was in Minneapolis but places seemed to pick it up pretty quickly once it was released… PS where I live there are quite a few…

    1. Thanks so much for the comment, Leota! Here I pretty much just went to the stores and asked if they’d be willing to buy a few books off of me (for a discounted price) to sell in their stores. I’d been told I can call any store I want, but between their cut and shipping, I didn’t know if it would be worth it. I hadn’t ever thought of having someone who lived IN the area do it for me… I bet, too that if I could get some guaranteed stores interested, (like they contacted me), I would send those out-of-state people who helped me something for free….

      Anyone interested in this can email me at cyelkoth@gmail.com. 🙂

  4. acmoyer

    Hi Christa, it’s Ali in case you haven’t deduced that already. I was thinking you could create a facebook page specifically for Hollow, that is in addition to your own page. That way, when Hollow does show up in a person’s feed, there will be an eye-catching picture (the cover), and hopefully it will garner many clicks and “likes.” And of course each time one of us likes it, it will show up in our feed and hopefully be seen by all our FB acquaintances. FB even has an option to pay to promote a page now, and I don’t know how much it costs or exactly how it works but supposedly it guarantees your page will be seen more (or at least, not buried so very deeply in the news feed)–might be worth it if it’s not too spendy.

    Or there’s always skywriting.

    1. acmoyer

      P.S. Another thought I had (more to promote yourself than Hollow): Write articles and/or book reviews. Obviously this gets your name out there a little more for every article/review, but also if people read your writing, albeit essay-length, they may think you seem like a good writer, maybe they should check you out. And of course, at the end of every article it would say “Christa Yelich-Koth is the author of the graphic novel Hollow, and…(etc.)”.

      1. Hey Ali! Thanks for the comments. You know, I haven’t yet created a specific FB page for Hollow. I’ve been meaning to, but I just never seem to remember to do it, so thanks for the reminder! I DID look into skywriting–unfortunately it happened on a day it was snowing, so no one saw it…

        I will also look into reviewing other books, too. I’ve done a few, but I’m sure I could do more. Thanks again!

  5. Matt

    I might try internet forums where actual writers are sharing ideas/work, not just fans. I’m sure there are plenty of sci/fi/fantasy related forums out there, but finding one/s where people are working in the field might be tougher.

    Maybe try to get reviewed in a magazine that deals with comics.

    Find authors that deal with similar styles or genres and send them your work, and ask them what they think. Obviously it’s a bit like cold calling a business, and you might get no response or “not interested,” but I imagine these writers are also all readers of sci/fi/fantasy, so they might like to see a new story come across their desk. If they like it, they pass it along to a friend, who passes it along, etc., like word of mouth. Also, ask them how THEY got noticed. There might be some esoteric path or some gatekeeper (anybody who’s anybody or who wants their stuff exposed to a wide audience has person X read/review their stuff in Y magazine, don’t you know that?).

    Have you contacted stores that are chains about selling your work? I have no idea how that works, but I’m thinking of comic-specific or hobbyist stores that have comics, and not Barnes and Noble type things.

    1. Thanks for the thoughts, Matt! Looking into forums for writers instead of just fans is a great idea. I hadn’t thought of that. I’ll also look into magazine reviews, too. I have worked with/ talked with several others writers and asked them what they’ve done, but a lot of them have publishers who do stuff for them.

      Currently we have six stores that carry Hollow, but none of them are chains. I could look into that option as well. Thanks again!

  6. Hi! I haven’t read your book–I got here from a FB post from a (presumably) mutual friend. If you have ample copies of your book, I recommend sending them out to graphic novel review blogs if you haven’t already done so. (A simple google search for “graphic novel blogs” and/or “graphic novel reviews” should suffice to start–or try local book blogs, like http://www.minnesotareads.com (if you’re in MN))

    It’s unfortunately a total crapshoot–some may take months to get around to it, if ever, you might get a lukewarm review, you might get an awesome review on a blog that no one reads… but it’s probably worth it. If you have a pile of copies laying around, they’re better off out there getting read and creating movement than unread and undiscovered. If your book is self-published, be sure to check reviewer polices to see if that matters to them.

    Good luck!

    1. Hi Meg! Thanks for your comment! I have actually just started looking into getting blogger reviews (I just joined up with Bloggerdise and I offer coupons and a chance to win a free T-shirt), but I hadn’t thought of doing a specific search for graphic novel bloggers. Great idea!

  7. Anonymous

    while marketing certainly is not my area of expertise, i did have a few ideas, many or all of which you may have already checked out. one was to go online and research marketing tips. another was to see if you could put a ‘hollow’ poster in the window of the stores where your book is being sold — something along the lines of ‘now here in stock’. it’s such a great cover and totally eye-catching to anyone walking by. the final thought was given to me by a supervisor on gathering more clientele. i think you might have to have new cards made up specifically with the ‘hollow’ picture and/or info on it being a graphic novel, etc., and then give cards out to everyone you meet, pass, encounter, etc. it’s already advertising itself by its quality graphics and you are also selling yourself as an author w/o having to get in someone’s face, so to speak. just some thoughts. good luck w/ this. i think it’s the toughest part of being an author. oh, another thought, maybe an announcement ad in a community paper that ‘hollow’ is available now at these fine merchants’ establishments. best to you.

    1. Thanks for your suggestions! I do have a couple of posters up (at The Bookshop, Comic Book College, Twin City Comics) and have some kind of info page at the rest of them, but I don’t know if all of them are hanging in the window. I may check up on those stores to see…. And I’ll pass on the compliment to my illustrator about the cover being so catchy! I do also have different types of cards made up, from full size pages to bookmark/business card size, but I guess I never thought about handing them out to strangers. I had also not considered an ad–I’ll have to look into that. And thank you for the luck!!

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