The e-book experiment: tentative results

As I mentioned in my post last week, the Grassroots’ Writers Guild is nearing its one year anniversary. As such, we feel it’s important to update readers on the concepts we initially put forth on this blog. Today’s topic is marketing via e-books. Does it work? The early answer is, yes and no. While Julia and I have sold some books that way, both via downloads and CDs, the numbers (for me, anyway) haven’t been high enough to grade it a success. On the other hand, it hasn’t been a failure either, so the fair thing to say is that the jury remains out. Our guess is once we get out into the writing community, doing some talks at bookstores and writers’ events around town, sales will pick up. But as with all experiments, we won’t know until we try. Meanwhile, we have opted to add some old-fashioned actual printed books to our repertoire prior to scheduling those appearances. That will be the best way to gauge peoples’ reaction. If they are willing to pay $12 to $20 for a printed book (price determined by length) versus $5 for a CD (book length inconsequental), that will give us a definitive answer. (A review of the printer we chose will appear on this blog in the near future.)

The point is, marketing remains the key to success as a writer. If readers don’t know who we are, they aren’t likely to buy our book(s). Given the number of books currently available via electronic format, that makes sense from a reader’s point of view. Readers can go onto Kindle, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Apple, and probably a dozen other sites, and browse through literally hundreds of thousands of titles, be they self-published or electronic versions of current best sellers. What are their criteria for picking a certain book? Do they search via subject, key words, author name, previously published works? Probably all of those and many others I haven’t thought about. Basically, it’s a crap shoot. About the only foolproof method to make a sale would be for a reader to go onto the site with an author’s name and book title already in hand. How do we make that happen? By getting our names out there, any and every way we can think of. Creativity must be the name of our game.

I will be updating my personal page and my Elvis section this week, so please stop by again and check it out. As always, we welcome your comments. Have a good and productive week!


The Grassroots Writers’ Guild: one year later

As hard as it is to believe, the one year anniversary of the Grassroots Writers’ Guild is almost here. While we didn’t actually go public until December 2009, Julia and I spent literally hundreds of hours getting the blog ready prior to publishing it, so September is our anniversary. Given how neither of us knew much about blogging (as Star Trek’s Doctor McCoy might have said, “Damn it, Jim, I’m a writer not a webmaster!”), we felt pretty good once we got the site up and running. And we feel even better now, knowing that we are getting regular readers and attracting new ones every week. That was our original goal in forming GWG, so it’s nice to say Mission Accomplished.

On the other hand, we still have much to do. It’s amazing how much work it is to keep a blog current. Writing new posts every week—meaning posts people might actually want to read—is a lot more work than we thought it would be. Not so much the writing itself as coming up with fresh ideas.  In addition, we must update our personal pages from time to time, sort through comments and decide which are appropriate for publication, answer reader inquiries via email, check our photo and PDF links to make sure they still work, and find and download photos to go with our posts. (Readers tell us they are more apt to read a post with an accompanying photo than one without, so far be it from us to disappoint.)

All of that said, we have no regrets. Maintaining this blog is well worth the effort. Within the next couple of weeks, we will be taking an in-depth look at our marketing strategy as we move into year number two, so please stay turned.

About This Blog

Hello writers and those of you who love books! Welcome to the Grassroots Writer’s Guild, the blogging home of Connie Kirchberg and Julia Simpson-Urrutia. The two of us have spent the majority of our lives as writers. It’s our goal with this blog to share our experiences, both good and bad, with other writers like you in the hope we might provide a bit of occasional inspiration and solace for your own writing endeavors.

Please feel free to comment on any of our posts.  We do our best to keep them writing-related, but let’s face it, a blog is a place to sound off, and sometimes that’s what we do. Most of the time, however, our posts will relate directly to the business of writing.

So, sit back, relax, and start clicking away on the links to the right. You’ll see that both of us decided to implement a “get to know the writer” approach by including personal experiences and family photos. We discuss the ideas behind our books and share our experiences regarding agents and traditional publishing. You may decide to go with a less intimate approach on your blog. The point is to figure out a marketing strategy that’s right for you and implement it. A personal blog is a great place to start. Remember, the person best equipped to sell your book(s) is the person who knows and cares the most about it. And that would be you.