Thursday, August 4, 2011

Launch Day! Dare To Dream Press Storefront

When I put together the Extinct anthology, I made it clear that I wanted this ebook to serve as a tool for helping us all learn what works and doesn't work when it comes to marketing and publishing in the e-world.

The past week I've been working on breaking the anthology down into its component stories and publishing the individual stories as standalones in Amazon, BN and Smashwords. I, of course, did this with the authors' consent -- and they'll be pocketing all the royalties from those individual sales. Of course, the hope is that someone will sample a single story and then purchase the anthology. Links to where the anthology can be found are included at the beginning and end of each standalone story.

Interestingly, neither Amazon nor B&N have yet objected to having links to multiple e-stores inside the book. At Smashwords, apparently the books were reviewed by two different reviewers. About half the books passed the manual review that helps ensure the books are placed in the "Premium Catalog" for distribution to affiliate stores such as Kobo, Apple and Sony. The other half were busted for having the EXACT same links in them. Smashwords policy is not to annoy distributors by having competitors' links in the books. The problem is, that policy means an author can't put direct BUY links into any of their books slated for mass distribution. There are emails out about all that now ;o)

Otherwise, the conversion and upload went fine -- just slooooooow, given a total of 17 "books" that had to be separately formatted and uploaded to 3 different sites.

You may have caught that I said 17 rather than 19, which is the number of stories in the anthology. That's because 2 authors opted out of the single story distribution. One author wants to handle separate sales of their story themself and the other didn't feel the generic cover art given each of the stories worked to his story's advantage. I happen to agree, and will happily work with the author to add the book to the rest if he wants to provide his own cover.

There has already been a sale or two for many of the stories, so YAY! One sale of the anthology plus a couple of downloads of the sample and a link to one reader's library can also be attributed to the authors beginning to "talk up" their single stories.

While the campaign to raise money for the Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal resulted in only 8 sales (and I'm including 1 a little before the campaign started and 1 right after it ended), the campaign did have other successes. Three of the Aussie authors got feature stories (with pictures!) in their local papers and, State-side, Landra did a lovely write-up for the Little Rock, Arkansas, online I just wish the check I'm sending to the Appeal were larger ;o(

With so many books now to keep track of, I decided it was time to establish a small online bookstore under the Dare To Dream Press label. Admittedly, I didn't give much thought to the name when I uploaded Spoil of War and the Extinct anthology four months ago. But I'm using the name now and have set up a storefront for all the titles under that name. I'm still learning what's available through the Affiliate programs that Amazon and B&N offer, so the site will, I hope, evolve over the next few months. I elected to use Blogger since it's free, though I know a real website would mean a better-looking and more functional storefront all the way around. Still, I figure if I can find a way to do it with Blogger, I can find a way to do it on a real site :o)

So yes, while I'm doing a lot of work and the anthology is, overall, still in the red, I'm benefitting from the willingness of the authors to try new approaches along with me. There's perhaps another venture on the table and, if it happens, the experience I'm gaining now will be invaluable.

The other positive with a separate storefront is that it gives us all a consolidated link to point to whether we're directing potential buyers to individual stories or the anthology.

So, the adventure continues!

You can check out the new storefront for Dare To Dream Press right here.


Wilkins MacQueen said...

You/this journey is making my head spin. Excellent to peek inside and see how it's done with unusual fresh marketing angles.

As you know I think local promotion at the grass roots level might help sales for all the authors and may nudge some folks into the e world of books. Not positive though.

Taking the broader view globally, there is financial hardship and uncertainty almost everywhere you want to point on a map, I've also heard the summer months are not good sales months (outdoor activities, vacations)but I am greener than green in this area.

Loved the storefront. With your brain and determination if you can't milk out decent sales from your promo plan, no body can. Also time is needed, far more than I would have guessed.

Amazing stuff.

Wilkins MacQueen said...

Bt the way in your previous post you mentoned some authors had gotten some local press, that is exactly the kind of exposure I have been yaking on about. Every community in my experience takes great pride and interest in local writers. I do believe that can be turned into a sales opportunity if the coverage is refreshed often enough over a long enough perod of time. Low tech but a sales opportunity is a sales opportunity.

Perhaps the marketing mix needs both the cyber and the real world.

Matt said...

You misspelled dare at the bottom of the website.

Phoenix Sullivan said...

@Mac: You're quite right. In the end, we're selling to people and making that connection is the best promo possible. Of course, making those one-to-one connections is INCREDIBLY time-consuming and coming up with anything resembling unique is as hard as -- well, as hard as writing a really good query letter ;o)

There's certainly something to be said for luck and happening to resonate at the right time.

Of course, reinvesting in promoting helps, too. A few thousand baht in the right venues can be quite lucrative ...

@Matt: *head desk* Thank you. Fixed now. *slinks off sheepishly*

Wilkins MacQueen said...

Definitely extremely time consuming, energy consuming, expensive gas wise travelling in and out to whatever local events can be drummed up. How do you measure a result from all that effort.

Not only are you doing a lot of unpaid running around but the non cyber people have to kind of turn into cyber people to a certain extent to get the book if it's not avail in hard copy.

I have a few non cyber friends, no way they will turn into cyber people. Quite a dilema.