But What Was The Point?
The original edition of Saving the Planet & Stuff went out of print in 2006. Print books go out of print because publishers make the decision that the sales the books are generating aren't large enough to justify warehouse space. That's why so few even traditionally published books are found in bookstores, too. Shelf space goes to books believed to sell. Print books are expensive to sell because of the real space they take up. The window for marketing a print book isn't very long. I've read more than once that after three months, authors should give up marketing efforts and work on the next book.
The edition of Saving the Planet & Stuff that I self-published is an eBook, however. No warehouse or shelf space required. Theoretically, you should be able to market eBooks indefinitely. Theoretically, you should always be able to find new readers because there are always new people who missed earlier promotions, who are growing into your book's age range, or who are discovering your subject as a new interest.
This theory gives me an opportunity to indulge my obsessiveness. Saving the Planet isn't my passion. You don't hear me going on about how much I love this book, believe in it, must give it its chance in the world. No, STP&S is much more of an obsession, probably because it straddles the YA and adult reading group and is so many things. It is fiction. It is humor. It deals with characters at different stages of life. It is connected to time and place. That wide net gives me opportunities to experiment with so many things.
What Was I Trying To Do This Time?
I had thought of putting up STP&S book excerpts at my website, but, seriously, I couldn't see myself going to a website to read an entire chapter of anything. Why would anyone else? Something briefer in a blog post was another story. And I love annotations and those behind the scenes features you see on DVDS. I'm always looking for ways to do Earth Day tie-ins. The annotated excerpts became my Earth Day month tie-in.
What Did I Actually Do?
Sold a few books. That's what you want to know, right? It really was just a few.
Learned that these days you have to promote blog posts. I got the idea to tweet the Annotated STP&S posts at the marketing program I attended in March. I also posted them to Google+ communities when the content was appropriate for them. On days I didn't do Annotated STP&S posts I tweeted the guest blog posts I'd done over the last two years. This past month I got the best blog stats I've had since back in the Golden Days of Blogging, around 2005-06. I suspect that that won't lead to a lot of new, regular readers. However, I will be more proactive from now on about promoting blog posts as a result of this experience in order to extend my reach.
Found that Twitter has it all over Facebook for getting the word out. There's nothing to discuss. But I will. Facebook author pages, in my experience, reach barely anyone. Personal pages involve a finite group of Friends. Posts are liked, but rarely shared. You're not going to reach new people, and your friends are primarily interested in hearing about your kids and vacation. On Twitter I could use hashtags to attract people beyond my own followers, people who were interested in what I was hashtagging. I got some retweets by environmental groups, one with a lot of followers. I could see results there, and those results presumably led to the leaps in blog page views.
Confirmed that Google+ communities don't get the credit they deserve. Links posted to a community could end up getting shared days after they went up. I've often seen a little boost in blog stats here after posting at a Google+ community.
Definitely An Experience
This last month's work has changed how I'll be doing my posting. I've blogged in the evening for a long time, then posted as soon as I was done. For this project, I blogged in the evening, then posted early the next morning so I could tweet and retweet during the day. I'll be continuing with a similar system.
Also, the next time I have a new book come out, I would far prefer doing a lengthy blog promotion than a blog tour. I've done one traditional blog tour for a book and a nontraditional one, over a long period of time, for the Saving the Planet & Stuff eBook. I think this past month's promotional work was more effective.
For now, I am looking forward to blogging about other subjects. I'll be taking a rest for a while from Saving the Planet & Stuff promotion. But I do have a couple of ideas to try sometime in the future, because who just drops an obsession?
Next up: A weekend off from blogging. I've got some biking planned, and any time I can squeeze in for work I'll be using for my May Days project. Then next week--new material!