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Old 11-30-2012, 01:18 AM   #1
mforge
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What am I doing wrong?

Hi everyone,

For about six weeks now, I have been doing everything I can to publicize my new book and drive visitors to my website. Traffic to the site has been steadily increasing and I'm averaging between 50 and 100 unique visitors a day now. Many of those visitors are interacting with the site and even visiting my online store where the book can be purchased.

I've also received a great deal of positive feedback—not only the expected stuff from my friends and contacts, but from a great many people I don't know.

How many sales has all of this generated? Four. Of course, we've sold many more to friends, family, etc., but you can't count those.

The book's website is www.hypoethicals.com. As fellow writers, your insight on what I might be doing wrong could be a big help. Is the book priced too high? Is the website unappealing? Does the book just not seem worth buying?

Be honest, I can take it (I think). I'm obviously too close to this to judge it objectively.

Thanks,
Mike
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Old 11-30-2012, 01:28 AM   #2
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My suggestion would be to give people a clearer idea of how they would use the book. I look at a few pages at the beginning and it strikes me as an interesting novelty but I had no urge to buy it because I could not imagine using it.
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Old 11-30-2012, 02:00 AM   #3
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Also be a bit more patient with it. Six weeks is nothing.
I can imagine you there sitting all tense, waiting for that big increase in sales but it really takes a while until the ball gets rolling.
Your website is fine, just keep your fingers crossed and go on marketing.
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Old 11-30-2012, 02:03 AM   #4
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I think you're right.

Really, it's intended to be used as a conversation starter/ice breaker/debate generator. We've had our best successes reading the questions out loud at dinners and social gatherings. It really has spawned some great and funny conversations.

We're going to film a few such activities and post the videos on the website. Hopefully, that will help.
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Old 11-30-2012, 02:05 AM   #5
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Also be a bit more patient with it. Six weeks is nothing.
I can imagine you there sitting all tense, waiting for that big increase in sales but it really takes a while until the ball gets rolling.
Your website is fine, just keep your fingers crossed and go on marketing.
Man, do you have that right. I've been like a lunatic checking the analytics every 10 minutes. I'm trying to tell myself to enjoy the process and not worry so much about the outcome. Some days I'm more successful at that than others.
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Old 11-30-2012, 02:08 AM   #6
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I think your promotion needs to provide some examples of these hypothetical situations and what they can do for the reader. I don't understand what your book really has to offer, or why I would benefit from it. Your ad copy did pique my interest... enough that I would have liked to see a sample of your book. But not nearly enough to buy it.

PS from my experience six weeks can tell you a lot. Plenty of books take off in that time. But we need to know more about yours.
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Old 11-30-2012, 02:25 AM   #7
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Hi mforge,
I went back to your website. The first time I was on it and clicked on weekly hypoethicals, nothing came up. Now this second time, I was able to get in and see what you were talking about.

You say you're getting great feedback and site visits, but few sales. Perhaps you just need a lot more exposure for your book. I've used the free promotion approach through KDP Select-- you give away large numbers of your book over a few days, which generates a lot of attention and sales it's a good way to kick start a book.
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Old 12-01-2012, 09:41 PM   #8
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Exposure, exposure, exposure. I think the site is put together well. Nice and visual. Daily "what ifs" are a great idea. Place them on Twitter and Facebook. Maybe put together a video or ten on YouTube?
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Old 12-03-2012, 01:17 AM   #9
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Personally I wonder whether a book is the right medium to explore and develop your idea - if its purpose is to spawn debate, then it has to be read in company, so it's not something you can just pick up and dive into for entertainment on the bus or when home alone and there's nothing on tv. I can see it working very well at office parties, or as an ice breaker at a slightly more high brow social gathering or team building event. But that's very limiting.

On the other hand, I thought the online survey and comparing my answers with others' was a good bit of fun, but it didn't really go anywhere. I see great potential for developing this concept online - you could expand the polls, introduce forums, contests, etc.

In short, I see this sort of thing working far better with a global internet community than as a face to face exercise that relies on the purchase of a book. After all, most novelty books and games just end up in a closet.


EDIT: and yes, I think at $16.99 it's priced way too high. For a novelty christmas party game book, I wouldn't shell out more than about $10. Make it an ebook and it's more like $5
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Old 12-03-2012, 01:50 AM   #10
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The best way to publicize a book is to publish a second book.
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Old 12-03-2012, 12:31 PM   #11
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I think you've got an interesting book and a really interesting website.

The only thing is that readers are less likely to take a punt on an unknown author with one book to their name. It just takes time to build these things. Everyone on this forum will tell you that a second book helps.

Also, this is just my opinion, but your book looks like the kind of thing I'd pick up in a gift shop and flick through and think 'huh, that's kind of funny, I might get that for Uncle so and so.' I think that your book might sell better in a book shop with a link to your website so that people can log on at a later date. Can you approach local shops? I don't know who you're using for printers. If you have a batch of books at the ready, why not go to your local Waterstones and have a chat?
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Old 12-03-2012, 02:21 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
The best way to publicize a book is to publish a second book.
So right, James I'm getting a lot more interest in my backlist (and sales) now that I have a few more books out there.
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Old 12-03-2012, 07:53 PM   #13
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Thank you everyone for the fantastic feedback. All of it makes great sense.

Kallithrix, the hope is to create a decent fan base with the book and then expand it into a board game. We plan to greatly expand the Web component as well to be more interactive and to generate more interesting stats.

Having said that, I do think it works as a great coffee table book now. The quality of the book is quite high and the art is beautiful: sometimes hilarious and sometimes poignant. It's the kind of thing a friend will pick up and leaf through when visiting and before you know it, a great conversation has begun.

As for price, we've spent so much to get this far, I can't afford to lower it very much, and we did a pretty extensive review of comparable books before landing on the price point. But I know that Amazon and Barnes and Noble typically discount the retail price substantially. Personally, I seldom let price dissuade me from a book I want, but I know many people are much more frugal. Perhaps I'll put it on sale for a few dollars less and see if that helps.

Sarah, I agree, I'd love to get this into a few local book stores/gift shops. I just need to summon enough courage to approach them! I have a huge stock of books.

Thanks again, all.
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Old 12-03-2012, 08:10 PM   #14
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IMHO the art in the amazon sample struck me as pretty rudimentary-- I personally was not drawn to it. But that was secondary to the issue of not being able to imagine actually using it
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:45 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mforge View Post
Having said that, I do think it works as a great coffee table book now. The quality of the book is quite high and the art is beautiful: sometimes hilarious and sometimes poignant. It's the kind of thing a friend will pick up and leaf through when visiting and before you know it, a great conversation has begun.
Then perhaps sample pages on your website would showcase that? At the moment no one has any idea it offers more than it says on the cover.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mforge View Post
As for price, we've spent so much to get this far, I can't afford to lower it very much,
But if you don't sell enough copies, you'll never recoup that expense anyway, so to me this seems like backwards logic. I dunno, I'm the first to admit to not being a business person, or a sales person, but I think not selling copies because of the price would be worse than selling all of them at a smaller margin - or even no margin. Hell, at a loss is better than nothing at all!

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Personally, I seldom let price dissuade me from a book I want, but I know many people are much more frugal.
Who (besides yourself, although perhaps not after self financing your book ) can afford not to be these days? I can't afford anything I really want, so I sure as hell won't just take a punt on something for anything more than lunch money.

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Perhaps I'll put it on sale for a few dollars less and see if that helps.
Promotions always help - maybe you could offer discount on multiple copies? It is Christmas soon, and as others have said, it would make a nice gift...

Good luck
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Old 12-04-2012, 03:37 AM   #16
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Also, this is just my opinion, but your book looks like the kind of thing I'd pick up in a gift shop and flick through and think 'huh, that's kind of funny, I might get that for Uncle so and so.'
Which was kind of my thought, also. This is absolutely the type of thing I'd buy as a gift for someone else. With gifts, I want to see what people are getting.
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Old 12-05-2012, 03:51 AM   #17
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Hi everyone,

For about six weeks now, I have been doing everything I can to publicize my new book and drive visitors to my website. Traffic to the site has been steadily increasing and I'm averaging between 50 and 100 unique visitors a day now. Many of those visitors are interacting with the site and even visiting my online store where the book can be purchased.
If you've know any of this already then ignore. The word "Ethical" in the google's keyword tool has "Low" competition for the word and almost all related suggested terms.

For Yahoo and Bing you have to submit manually through BingWebaster tools, I think until you do you're on there for the exact name of your site but not in related searches.

50 - 100 unique visitors a day I think is pretty good after 6 weeks, I'd be interested to know what you did?
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Old 12-05-2012, 03:56 AM   #18
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You might consider a black and white version--if that would lower the price.
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Old 12-05-2012, 06:16 AM   #19
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It mightn't be part of your sales issue, but while some of the questions are fun, like the 'Gnomewecker' and 'Look Smart', the 'Let them eat Flakes' seems a bit too contentious to me. First off it's equating low IQ to flakiness, secondly it kinda reads like 'eugenics, yes or no?'
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Old 12-05-2012, 08:10 PM   #20
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First off it's equating low IQ to flakiness, secondly it kinda reads like 'eugenics, yes or no?'
Well, this is kind of the whole point of the book. The book itself doesn't advocate—or reject for that matter—eugenics. It asks the reader if he or she does.

As another example, one of the scenarios involves having to choose between having a baby with a very low IQ or one that is potentially gay. It would be easy to jump to the conclusion that the book, or its authors, are suggesting that one or both of these things are negative. But what it's really doing is asking the reader to reveal how he/she views these things. If you have no problem with homosexuality, the answer to that question is easy. If you are homophobic, it's a bit of a dilemma.
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Old 12-05-2012, 08:28 PM   #21
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If you've know any of this already then ignore. The word "Ethical" in the google's keyword tool has "Low" competition for the word and almost all related suggested terms.

For Yahoo and Bing you have to submit manually through BingWebaster tools, I think until you do you're on there for the exact name of your site but not in related searches.

50 - 100 unique visitors a day I think is pretty good after 6 weeks, I'd be interested to know what you did?
Doesn't the Google Keyword Tool just relate to Google AdWords ads?

I wasn't aware of the BingWebmaster Tool. I am checking out now. Thank you.

My site traffic has come from a variety of sources, including Twitter, Facebook, Google Adwords Ad, email blasts, and banner advertising. I try to do something almost daily to keep the traffic up. But, as I said, very little of this traffic results in sales.
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Old 12-05-2012, 08:33 PM   #22
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IMHO the art in the amazon sample struck me as pretty rudimentary-- I personally was not drawn to it. But that was secondary to the issue of not being able to imagine actually using it
The book is definitely not for everyone. You're either a person who loves the prospect of answering provocative hypothetical questions and debating those answers with friends or you're not.

Same thing with the art. It may not be your style, but it's certainly not rudimentary. The artist is very gifted.
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Old 12-05-2012, 10:20 PM   #23
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Well, this is kind of the whole point of the book. The book itself doesn't advocate—or reject for that matter—eugenics. It asks the reader if he or she does.

As another example, one of the scenarios involves having to choose between having a baby with a very low IQ or one that is potentially gay. It would be easy to jump to the conclusion that the book, or its authors, are suggesting that one or both of these things are negative. But what it's really doing is asking the reader to reveal how he/she views these things. If you have no problem with homosexuality, the answer to that question is easy. If you are homophobic, it's a bit of a dilemma.
I appreciate your answer, and I don't have a problem with people being asked that question per se, but there are a couple of other issues I have with it, mental retardation (included in the lower 10 per cent of IQ) is not the same as flakiness, the illustration also depicts the subjects being culled from a mega-mart, I'm not exactly sure of the reference, not being from America, but I've heard of people referring to Walmart shoppers as being stupid.

While hypotheticals that riff on a reverse It's a Wonderful Life scenario are fun, equating deafness and low IQ with a devaluation of life are a bit harsh for the people (or in the case of deafness, dogs) who have those issues, or the relatives of people in those situations. I don't even know people with those issues and I find the question harsh. Sorry, it just reads like 'Sophie's Choice, but what if one of the kids was retarded?'

And yes, these questions can be addressed, I just don't think it makes for a fun evening of light entertainment.
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Old 12-05-2012, 10:55 PM   #24
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I appreciate your answer, and I don't have a problem with people being asked that question per se, but there are a couple of other issues I have with it, mental retardation (included in the lower 10 per cent of IQ) is not the same as flakiness, the illustration also depicts the subjects being culled from a mega-mart, I'm not exactly sure of the reference, not being from America, but I've heard of people referring to Walmart shoppers as being stupid.

While hypotheticals that riff on a reverse It's a Wonderful Life scenario are fun, equating deafness and low IQ with a devaluation of life are a bit harsh for the people (or in the case of deafness, dogs) who have those issues, or the relatives of people in those situations. I don't even know people with those issues and I find the question harsh. Sorry, it just reads like 'Sophie's Choice, but what if one of the kids was retarded?'

And yes, these questions need to be addressed, I just don't think it makes for a fun evening of light entertainment.
I still don't think you're understanding the nature of the book, Pippi. Again, the book does not equate deafness or low IQ, for example, with a devaluation of life. The book, and I as its author, do not make value judgments at all. It endeavors to make the reader investigate whether he or his friends make those associations, consciously or otherwise.

Some of the questions are lighthearted and fun, others can be pretty serious or dark. Personally, I can easily discuss the darker ones in the context of a fun evening of light entertainment. Readers who find those scenarios too intense can simply skip over them.

And, yes, some of the questions and illustrations are intentionally provocative. You are right, the MegaMart illustration is supposed to be redolent of Walmart, which does suggest that Walmart tends to attract a less intelligent segment of the population. Having said that, I have shopped at Walmart many times and I can laugh at it without feeling insulted by it.

I hope I'm not sounding defensive here. I certainly don't mean to be. My whole point in posting was to ask for your insight in why the book isn't selling as well as I'd like. That's exactly what you're providing and I appreciate it. Your perception of the book may well be shared by many others.
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Old 12-05-2012, 11:10 PM   #25
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I hope I'm not sounding defensive here. I certainly don't mean to be. My whole point in posting was to ask for your insight in why the book isn't selling as well as I'd like. That's exactly what you're providing and I appreciate it. Your perception of the book may well be shared by many others.
That's true, other people may very well have the same issues, and I'm glad I can be helpful. I don't really think we'll see eye to eye on the way these questions are asked, but please understand that even if certain meanings are not your intention, people often infer things you might not have meant. The more politically charged questions can be extrapolated a lot.
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