Overnight success comes slowly
Update to this article: I no longer own Whizbuzz Books, but the following article remains for interest value only.
As some Vandal readers may know, I also operate a book promotion website. Whizbuzz is a ‘soft marketing‘ site and operates on the book marketing principles I have often written about on this blog. These principles are based on ‘discovery‘ and not on ramming a book down readers’ throats with incessant ‘buy my book‘ messages.
Readers will never buy a book because they are told, threatened, or bombarded. However, when they are given the choice to be informed about a new book, have the option to receive new book updates, and can choose from a range of books that may interest them, they are far more receptive.
Each and every reader has favourite genres and reading tastes, so they need a range of choices to perhaps find what they are looking for, or what may interest them.
When I started Whizbuzz well over seven years ago, it was initially a vehicle that I thought may be useful in promoting my own books. Of course, if I had only listed my books, it would have been a total failure. So I offered the opportunity to a group of fellow self-published authors to use my site and my idea, for free. It was slow going at first, as at that time self-publishing was still quite new, and in all honesty, some wanted to see instant sales success.
Of course, this didn’t happen. It wasn’t like appearing on Oprah! And even then, appearing on television hasn’t worked wonders for many authors.
What did happen though, was that over a period of many months, the followers and subscribers to Whizbuzz grew, as did the number of books being listed, and from the visitor data collected from the site, it was evident that even the oldest entries were being viewed on a regular basis.
Call it recycling. There were no huge sales spikes on any one book, but from my own sales data, and from those of a few of my fellow authors, book sales were happening, steadily, improving, and while Amazon never gives information about where sales originate from, it was clear that Whizbuzz was helping visibility, and therefore, probably sales.
After about a year and a half, the site was taking many hours of work each day to manage, so I decided to, ‘oh horror of horrors’, start charging for book posts. I clearly recall how surprised I was when I received my first ‘paid post’ the following day. Then shocked when three more arrived a day or two later.
Fast forward to today, and all I can say is that Whizbuzz is in danger of being a victim of its own success. It now has over 145,000 followers on Twitter, over 2,000 Likes on Facebook, attracts more than 40,000 page views per month, has a very high Alexa ranking, and from time to time, has an embarrassingly long queue of books waiting in line to appear on the site.
While there are some instant success stories, such as one author recently who told me he sold more books in the first few hours after his book went ‘live‘ on Whizbuzz than in the previous few months, this is not the aim or the norm. The intention is all about exposure over time, discovery, choice, and without a ‘
The intention is all about exposure over time, discovery, choice, and without a ‘buy button‘ in sight. Whizbuzz features books for potential readers to find and evaluate, either via the Whizbuzz feed on Twitter, its Facebook Page, Stumbleupon, or on the site itself. It also offers ‘random discovery’ by offering ‘more great reads‘, a random 100 book selection, and by randomly listing authors and their blogs on every page of the site to expose all listed authors and their books. No pressure, just information and lots of choices.
With Whizbuzz, I have put my book promotion advice into practice. Don’t tell readers to buy books. Just give them information and let them discover and decide for themselves. And I believe it works.
Just as a footnote, I promote my own books only on Whizbuzz, and I’m selling books (almost) every day. I’m certainly not a millionaire author, but I’m happy. As for charging fellow authors to post on Whizbuzz? Well, 2 hours of hard work each and every day, as well as the years it has taken to build my social media presence, I think it is worth being compensated for good old-fashioned hard work. No guilty conscience, just busy, and practising what I preach. Let the readers decide without pressure, and then they will buy books.