The following story was posted in the Book Marketing Success Stories forum at the Book Marketing Network: http://bookmarket.ning.com. I wanted to give Stacy-Deanne's story a wider circulation here on this blog. Thanks for sharing.
I gotta say ONLINE PROMOTION rules, baby!
For my last release, Melody, I worked (and continue to work) the social networks and online groups. It must have worked because I made back my advance in a few months! That's how I knew social networking was the way to go. I never did it much with my other books and my sells weren't as good as my third book. But, because I am out there more in the virtual world, my other books are selling more now too. I'm with a big pub, Simon and Schuster, but we all know that even with big pubs authors gotta work their butts off themselves.
The key to marketing and promoting online is that you have to take it seriously. You gotta put the time in everyday. I tell people all the time that they shouldn't just join online groups but that they need to participate on forums and become a true member. They can't just add folks and spam then expect to sell books. All promotion takes hard work. Some authors act like they shouldn't put in the time with online promotion but they should. You gotta be dedicated. The benefits I see from online networking is not just in selling copies either. I see this too:
1. Getting the chance to talk with and meet authors online I never would be able to meet. This way I can exchange promotional ideas and learn from them.
2. Writing articles that result in popularity as well as book sales.
3. Online marketing helps you build a steady fanbase much faster than the traditional methods.
4. When you do interviews or get your books reviewed on blogs/sites, they pop up on millions of other sites instantly bringing your work exposure as well as traffic to your own site.
5. Being able to talk with reviewers, book clubs, readers one-on-one.
All of this is promotion and promotion sells books. It may not happen very fast but if you keep it on going, you'll sell in the long run. Sometimes actual sales isn't the only thing to look at. Exposure and publicity can help build a career.
I have seen a bigger difference with online marketing than I ever did when I did book signings. I already plan to do multiple virtual book tours whenever my next release comes out. Online is also great promotion when watching your money and who isn't these days?
For more about Stacy Deanne's novels, see http://www.stacy-deanne.net/works.htm.