The Internet is a Barrier to Me

18 replies
Hello folks. I'm pretty new to this forum but I'm not new to the web. My company(s) have had a continuous presence on the web for 18 years.

I'm not really interested in hiring someone or buying anything to help me solve these problems at this point, mainly because a) we can't afford it and b) I'm exhausted trying to supervise any more big projects.

I'm mainly just interested in some informal advice and discussion with people who may have faced this problem before. Also I may reply in this thread and I may challenge some advice fairly directly. That's just part of my process of understanding a subject, so don't take my replies as anything but my attempts to clarify your advice.

I've recently come to the now inescapable conclusion that I just flat out cannot market anything we build on the web. We've done webcomics, software, games (browser, Flash AND apps), ebooks, merchandise, affiliate marketing, blogs, videos, audiocasts, animation, web fiction, etc.

But we generate no traffic. Our best site generated a record 15k uniques back in 2010. That took about a year, a lot of money and the support of a 100+ site ad network. Many of the sites in that ad network had multiple multiples of our traffic levels.

The business we do now, which is the game market equivalent of selling someone ELSE the picks and shovels to go hunt for gold is actually pretty successful, but it will never scale. Our producers have to grind out work client by client, and while every client comes with four figures in overhead, most have only three figures to spend. It generates some money, but not anywhere near enough given the man-hours required.

Now we come to the Kindle. We've got seven books up on KDP now, but sales are VERY sporadic. We have two fiction, one non-fiction and four color
comics.

Now I've been told that having a lot of books on Kindle is key, because sales of one book will lead readers to the next, and the next, etc. This is due, again, I'm told, to the "also bought" list beneath each book. What I haven't quite gathered is how a new book with no sales gets on those lists.

For example, if I write 20 books all of which have zero sales, how will they support each other's future sales? Is it just the volume? Anyone who writes this many books must have something to say? Haven't figured that one out yet.

I understand Amazon.com has more traffic than I could ever hope to generate. I suppose that by having random people tripping over my books through category searches or keywords or whatever, I could, over time, gradually build up some sales and a readership. I'd like to get to some minimal level of sales sooner rather than later, of course. Here and there isn't going to work.

Now fair disclosure here: I can write 10k words a day, perfect grammar, perfect punctuation and moderately competent storytelling. Fiction or non-fiction. So if writing a lot of books is the key, then that's exactly what I'll do. I'll write those 20 books by next summer if that's what it takes.

But this is where I hit the wall. I can't market those books, and here's why:

1. If I use paid advertising, I go broke. Nobody pays attention to ads and even if they do click through, they just keep on clicking and they're gone. (Strangely enough we have exactly the same problem on our web sites)

2. If I use Adwords, I go broke by 2:30PM tomorrow. See above.

3. If I use article marketing under pen names, I trip over the "you must disclose your affiliation with the product" rule. Seems there needs to be a Chinese wall between the article writer and the product.

4. If I blog as myself, I'm being redundant. Why blog when I could be writing another book?

5. If I blog as myself, I'll need two years of religously updated, laser-focused content that ranks for keywords common to a buying audience to get out of the Google cage. And even if I'm successful in generating that content (at tremendous cost), now I have two problems instead of one, because...

6. I can't get people to my book page now. Why should I think I can get people to my blog?

7. Twitter is the one bright spot in this dark cave. We have nearly 2000 Twitter followers (it took over a year to get to that point, and we built that wall brick, by brick, by brick). We don't get very much attention from those followers though. (20 clicks total, maybe)

8. I could e-mail book review sites. We sent over 400 review requests for the first book which worked if you consider a few dozen sales success. We did get seven for seven positive reviews and an average four-star rating for that first book, however.

9. I can't do Facebook and Twitter at the same time. It's too time consuming with the studio business and writing books. Even if I could do both, it's the same problem: if I can't get people to my book page, how do I get them to my Facebook page?

I realize I could just go around upvoting everything I see and crowbar-ing my way into people's news feeds, but again, we're looking at 2-3 years before there are enough follows and likes to matter. See my Twitter example for details.

10. Can't just e-mail people because they'll claim it's spam. It would take two years to build a subscriber list (who is going to subscribe to a list about fiction books?), and there are rather arcane and non-specific rules governing collecting e-mail addresses as well.

11. Can't post on forums because people will scream spam plus it's way too time-consuming.

12. Can't build an empire of web sites because we'll be just the most recent example of the Lost City of Unknown Treasures on the web: all site, no traffic. We actually tried this with our comics. We had two webcomics (89 pages total) a web fiction site with nearly 100,000 words of original fiction and a news blog to make a network out of all four sites.

We ranked #1 for "free adventure stories for girls" for a while. Otherwise we were pretty much ignored by search engines. (40 visits a month, max, despite the fact we updated pretty much daily for over two years and did SEO until you can't stand it any more) The only reason we got that 15k uniques month is because of paid advertising for our network.

It's really like kicking whales down the beach. I feel like we've been spinning our wheels for years. My favorite metaphor was provided by a friend of mine:

"Your business sounds like carrying a couch that is 50 lbs. too heavy up a flight of stairs, except there's never any place to put the thing. Just more stairs."

And the thing that drives me completely bats is visiting Kickstarter and finding out three clowns in a garage someplace raised $68,000 for a (REALLY mediocre) t-shirt design or some housewife raised $170,000 for an 18-page book about a dog who buys new shoes.

Knowing what I know about conversion rates and web traffic, I can't figure out how three clowns drove the 11 million people they needed to their site to convert into $68,000 in contributions. Maybe it was all family and friends? Who knows?

What I do know is our first IndieGoGo campaign flopped (and it was for our comics, which are bookstore quality). Our Kickstarter campaign is sitting on the runway with a ridiculously low goal for pretty much the same project. (You don't want to know what it took over five months to get our account approved.) I'm terrified to launch it because I know it's going into the ground like a dart. We've got an IndieGoGo campaign going for our studio which got off to a very fast start and then fizzled. (Yep *sigh* another grind, contributor by contributor)

We could be building browser games, animated television series, plush toys, action figures, audiobooks, board games (I'm being serious. We could build all of those things right now). Doesn't matter. Nobody will ever see them. All the places we could get an audience are surrounded by 20 foot walls. (We scaled the one around Kickstarter, only to find nobody is home)

I feel snakebit. No matter what we produce, nobody is ever going to see it because I am just not competent to attract an audience. The stuff we make is great fun and when (the very, very few) people do see it they seem to like it. But then again, we don't know if it's any good because nobody ever sees it!

The ancillary problem is just as frustrating. Even when we had thousands and thousands of people a week reading our comics, that's all we had. People would show up, take the free bandwidth and comics, and leave. Thanks. No e-mails. No comments. No likes. No upvotes. No recommendations. No purchases. No shoutbox. No nothing. It was WORSE than not having an audience. It was like playing to a theater full of absolutely silent expressionless people. Think about that for a minute. I half expected Rod Serling to be leaning against the piano.

Now maybe our products just suck. Fair enough. Why did those thousands of people keep coming back then? Why did our book go 7-0 with reviewers?

I feel inadequate, frankly, because I'm stting in front of a $7 trillion worldwide communications system and I can't get anyone's attention. It seems like we've built a communications system that actually prevents people from communicating. Oh sure, we can put up videos of our cat vs. our printer, but if we want to sell something or market something we're persona non grata: the guy who has no chair when the music stops.

I also feel like I'm missing something tremendously obvious. Others have conquered this problem, but even if they write a book about it there's always a big unexplained hole in their formula where the "and this is how I got the attention of the entire population of Buffalo New York last Thursday" part goes.

I've been told at various times I should just post some blog entries as me, but I'm really not interested in celebrity or performing directly for an audience. I know it would create that 1940-general-store personal message atmosphere, but I really don't see that causing people to say "oh, well NOW I'll buy your books." I think it will be just another distraction for both me and the readers.

I'm a competent writer (did you guess yet?) and my words may be entertaining or informative, and my characters fun, but I am personally none of those things. At least not today.

Anyway, sorry if that depressed you, but that's my story. Comments welcome.
#barrier #internet
  • Profile picture of the author Dan Curtis
    Originally Posted by heavycat View Post

    I've recently come to the now inescapable conclusion that I just flat out cannot market anything we build on the web. We've done webcomics, software, games (browser, Flash AND apps), ebooks, merchandise, affiliate marketing, blogs, videos, audiocasts, animation, web fiction, etc.
    I'm not sure that is the precisely correct conclusion, although there is probably some truth in it.

    I think it would be more accurate to say that you are probably attempting to market products that people are not interested in buying.

    You seem to have missed a step. At any point did you do any surveying to find which publics may be interested in purchasing products from you? And then another survey to find what specific products they would want to purchase?

    Without this information you are shooting in the dark.

    Following this you would need to do a pilot project to see if the results of your surveys were valid and translated into sales. If they did you could scale up, resurvey your buying public for new products and expand your sales in that way.

    If the pilot proved that the products were not in fact in demand by that public you would need to resurvey to see where the information was not valid.

    If you just guess you may get lucky. And you may not. And if not it can be very expensive and frustrating. It is more efficient to survey and get answers from the beginning.
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  • Profile picture of the author jamesrich1
    Your all over the place with emotions. I learned this from a well known respected marketer about the power triangle. Its best to not be the brand but learn how to successfully market inside of a niche you could wake up and feel motivated to create content for. Looking at others success discourages many entrepreneurs. You have no idea how long it took for anyone else to get to where they were successful. I have seen people go through decades of failure. The theme inside of success comes down to three things.

    1. Have a definite purpose and a plan to carry it out.

    2. Dedicate your life to achieving it NO MATTER WHAT TYPES OF TEMPORARY DEFEATS YOU WILL FACE. Never stop trying until you achieve success!

    3. Listen to successful people who have climbed the mountain you wish to climb. I invest in my education regularly to learn from those who have achieved what I desire to achieve.
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  • Profile picture of the author dvduval
    As I read all the strategies you have tried, you didn't say the word "customer" a single time. I am not clear how you go from customer feedback about your products to marketing those products. If the marketing strategy is blowing money, I get the impression you are making yourself the expert above your customer. Don't take offense, but my first thought is you are not getting your advice from the right places, namely the customers.
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  • Profile picture of the author webstrategistpk
    Just one piece of advice, ''Try to build your products with customers in your mind. They will start selling.''
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  • Profile picture of the author DeanJames
    @heavycat - If you become the conduit for products with high commercial intent, you load all the dice in your favor. Test the market then scale up. Now one thing that you may wish to consider is this. If you are a great writer and feel you are lacking in marketing expertise, you could team up with someone accomplished at this and agree an upfront sum + profit share. There is always a way around what may on the surface appear to be an insurmountable obstacle. If there is an obstacle in your way smash it down. Henry Ford didn't know how to do many things but he knew how to assemble a team of people around him that did. The projects that seem to do well on Kickstarter often have a lot of in-built good will from fans/previous customers of earlier incarnations or older products from that company/team/individual (etc). Take Tim Schaffer for example - he was behind Grim Fandango (incidentally that game rocks...still), Psychonauts and Day of The Tentacle and is a super cool guy - people like him and they loved his adventure games. They raised 2 or 3 million (I think it was 3) to create a new adventure game. If people want something and it is marketed correctly, they will support you and stump up their hard-earned cash. The cool thing about Kickstarter is that the people involved feel like they are part of something that wouldn't have happened otherwise and it funds niches that won't necessarily get corporate backing because they won't take that risk. I digress. Good luck!
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    • Profile picture of the author ExRat
      Hi heavycat,

      I understand that the situation may be contributing some negativity to your thoughts, but I want to highlight some of it, so that I can show you where it appears to be twisting your conclusions away from reality (I've quoted you then added my comments in brackets).

      a) 'Nobody pays attention to ads' - (not true - some people have ad blindness, but ads work, when done correctly)

      b) 'Why blog when I could be writing another book?' (Because, as you have pointed out, if no one gets to see an example of what is going to be inside the book, they don't end up buying it)

      c) 'If I blog as myself, I'll need two years of religously updated, laser-focused content that ranks for keywords common to a buying audience to get out of the Google cage.'(SEO and SE ranking isn't the only way to get traffic to and make use of a blog.)

      d) 'I can't get people to my book page now. Why should I think I can get people to my blog?' (Is there anything for visitors to 'take away' from a book page, or is the book page just a salespage? A blog isn't just a salespage. It can be a place for discussion/comment and building relationships.)

      e) 'It would take two years to build a subscriber list' (a subscriber list is a list with one subscriber - that's how you start - it takes a day to build a subscriber list.)

      f) 'there are rather arcane and non-specific rules governing collecting e-mail addresses as well.' (The rules are quite logical, wise and specific. Just follow the rules and you'll be fine, like all other list builders. This needn't be a barrier, unless you want it to be.)

      g) 'Can't post on forums because people will scream spam plus it's way too time-consuming.' (No they won't and no it isn't - it's called engaging with people, which seems to be the key part you're missing).

      Can you see how your negativity (which is understandable) is making you twist the truth when you tell yourself (or us) why you have no avenue to go down?

      On the other hand, recognising the potential like this -

      I'm stting in front of a $7 trillion worldwide communications system
      ...is extremely positive, so you're more than capable of being positive - unlike the thread title which is nonsensical. The internet is not a barrier, it cannot be, it is a gateway.

      See point g) above - when it comes to blogs and forums (and anything else similar) you seem to be missing the value in actually engaging with people, casting these methods aside as too time-consuming.

      Think of offline analogies - if a person approaches a group and tries to sell them something offline, they need to engage with them in order to give them a reason to buy.

      If they fail to do that, then it's likely to come down to price and it will only be the people who have a recognised, existing need for the item who have any interest, IE a small subset.

      So how does a salesman 'create' need? He can usually only do it by engaging. Forums and blogs are ideal for this (with blogs, it doesn't have to be your own blog, you can engage people in the comments).

      Some of your options are generally time consuming and not ideal - EG - talk of building networks of sites to drive traffic. Yes, even if this is the ideal approach for a particular project (unlikely in most cases), if it is started from scratch, this kind of SEO can be slow.

      But as I demonstrated above with your attitude to building a list, it doesn't take two years it takes one day. You build an autoresponder series to sell to that one first subscriber. The same series can be used to sell to millions later on. But you have to first focus on selling to the one prospect because if it works, that positive feeling will encourage you to continue to keep building it - it feeds your own fire. Instead of negativity you will be saying, 'it works!' Then you can apply all of that ability and effort into what has proven to work and ramp up the scale - your own motivation and attitude is a key part of success, is it not? So feed it the good stuff, not the opposite.

      Overall, I see a lack of focus on peoples' needs, and a tendency to concentrate on markets which are more entertainment based - which are difficult to monetise. Try aiming for markets where people have burning desires and/or needs.

      Secondly, you have identified one of the main problems (the other is conversions) - your problems with getting traffic. So take some of the time/effort that you are putting into creating new products and finding new markets and focus on solving the problem you have identified. Find your best product(s) and do everything you can to overload them with traffic.

      Don't write any technique off (excluding the obviously long winded, outdated or silly ones) until you have tested them thoroughly and proven without doubt that they are useless.

      I may not have hit the mark for you, but I've had a go based on what I have read. I did read all of your post, you can clearly express yourself well. I understand the negativity and where it comes from but I think that you need to recognise where it is making you feel that your options are limited, because it's not true in many cases and you are allowing the negativity to close off many avenues, even though they are not actually closed off - you are in effect robbing yourself of opportunity.

      I know full well how this can happen through repeated efforts that seem to come to nothing, but no effort is a waste of time if you force yourself to take the lessons from it. Success takes longer for some people, sometimes for reasons that cannot be fathomed. But if that's the case, there are only two main options - give up or die trying, while continuing to learn and always trying new things. Giving up is boring I guess, so bounce back off the bottom, get back on the horse and try again.

      I hope this helps at least a little - you are not alone in your struggle.

      Also, go here -

      Persistence
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  • Profile picture of the author heavycat
    Thanks to everyone for your gracious advice. I see a couple of recurring questions.

    We've tried occasionally to engage our audience on various sites with surveys, polls, and our blog had a comments section. We had a feature where our characters would answer e-mail (which eventually became our characters running a Twitter feed)

    Participation was light at best. We got maybe 35 total reader e-mails/comments/survey answers over six years. The traffic was there, I think. But the readers were not interested enough, I suppose, to participate or be a part of what they were seeing.

    I realize most communities run on personalities and it may very well be that I am the problem because I don't walk the ropes and greet people. (I would prefer to resist replacing focus on the books with focus on the author) But that said I'm sure there are other properties like ours that have large buying communities that aren't centered around the author.

    To be honest I'm not entirely sure how I would go about doing a survey to find out what kind of books customers want. I know our genre is popular (fantasy adventure) and I know that strong girl characters in YA and MG literature are also popular (Buffy, Katniss, Alanna the Lioness, Lucy Pevensie, etc.)

    I suppose I'm taking a risk by saying these two story features should be successful if combined, but we are certainly not the first example of girl protagonists in a fantasy adventure story, so I think it would be guesswork to say the characters and the genre are the problem.

    There is also the ever-present problem of marketing to YA and MG audiences which is this: if you aren't on the Disney Channel or Nickelodeon, you don't exist. Period. Parents just don't allow visits to unfamiliar web sites and getting promotion on a large site with demographics likely to be interested in our books is very nearly impossible even for a Big Publisher(tm)

    I'm perfectly prepared to accept the fact there is no right answer. I'm just really confused at the complete lack of traction across such a wide range of projects and what I consider to be at the very least an above average effort invested in each.
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    • Profile picture of the author ExRat
      Hi heavycat,

      In your reply (above) you seem to be only talking about fantasy adventure books. As I mentioned above, I reckon that market is low on a desire/need level - there are probably no desperate buyers of fantasy adventure books and if there are, I personally wouldn't like to try and get inside their heads! You also point out that this market is dominated by big-hitters -

      if you aren't on the Disney Channel or Nickelodeon, you don't exist. Period.
      So what about all of this stuff -

      We've done webcomics, software, games (browser, Flash AND apps), ebooks, merchandise, affiliate marketing, blogs, videos, audiocasts, animation, web fiction, etc.
      Surely all of that wasn't in the same marketplace?

      So perhaps, for a while, shift focus onto the other markets you may have entered which have more of a burning need and less barriers? What about going out there and helping to solve peoples' problems (for a price)?
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    If you think you can, you can. If you think you can't, you're right!
    It seems to me that you have taken a lot of time and effort to explain to us all the reasons why you can't make money. If you spent even half that energy actually doing things that WILL make you money, you will be way ahead of where you are now.
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    • Originally Posted by laurencewins View Post

      If you think you can, you can. If you think you can't, you're right!
      It seems to me that you have taken a lot of time and effort to explain to us all the reasons why you can't make money. If you spent even half that energy actually doing things that WILL make you money, you will be way ahead of where you are now.
      Excellent response, it's all in the mind!
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      • Profile picture of the author Jill Carpenter
        6. I can't get people to my book page now. Why should I think I can get people to my blog?
        What I'm about to discuss has been mentioned above, but perhaps the way I'll put it will help you break that barrier/wall you are feeling.

        The web is really not much different from the real world and any brick and mortar business. It is only another dimension. But the same general rules apply.

        First, if you start a new business anywhere, you need to first research if/how your business will do.

        For example, if I decide I'm going to open a toy store on Main street and there is already a Toys R' US and perhaps a Walmart with a big toy department then this only tells me one thing. It tells me there is a demand for some toys on Main street - or that people coming to Main know they can find toys in the area.

        So now I'm faced with either offering the types of toys that are selling (finding a completely different angle (USP) on why those consumers should come into my store) or I need to find a toy that those other stores can not offer - which is unique to my store, but better be something those buyers are looking for.

        Also, just because I open my little store on Main just down the road from the big stores does not mean people are going to see it. I need to make my presence known. I need to call all my friends and family. I would be very reliant on their word of mouth to help spread to everyone to come and check out my store. I'd need to stick an ad in the local paper. I'd also be wise to spend a few days down at the local pub or diner and go make some friends. Ask people if they have kids and where they buy their toys and what kinds of toys to they buy and what they're willing to pay for them.

        Once I get someone into my store, I need them to remember it and want to come back. I might put out some cookies for the kids. I want to make the shopping experience for the adults as easy and enjoyable as possible. I want to find a way to collect those customers information - perhaps by giving incentive to sign up to my mailing list (like special discounts). Once I have their information, they are now like I've just extended my family/reach. I can contact them again and hopefully encourage them to send their friends to my store as well.

        Here's another scenario.

        Let's say I'm an author. Let's say I've written a book, and the local book store has agreed to put it on the shelf. Am I to rely on the owner of the book store to push my book for me? It's sitting on a shelf in the back. What are my chances of someone browsing through the store coming across my book?

        Now to add to the book story, lets say I had a great publisher who put out a press release announcing my book. Would I maybe get a few people walking into that book store asking where they can find my book?

        Just because I put a book on Amazon does not mean people will automatically find it (very rare exceptions on this rule). Amazon is like that giant book store and unless I toot my own horn or get someone else to do it for me, no one is going to find that book stashed way in the back.

        Once I DO find a group to go in and buy and review, that changes the game a bit.

        Think about the Main street book store. If everyone walking into the store keeps asking to find my book, do you think the shop owner might want to stick a pile of them right up in the front so their customer can access it a bit faster?


        I bought a book this year from amazon. It was a digital download. I heard about it from the online acquaintance who wrote the thing. I'm on a SKYPE group that he is a part of. He posted the link to the book, and I bought it. I've never met this person in person. Heck, I'm not even an avid reader!

        He has a blog too. I like the style of writing on his blog. Sometimes what he blogs about is complete jibberish - yet still amusing. Completely fell into style of what I could expect when I went to read his book, lol.

        I have to wonder - should he spend all his time writing a ton of books this year that he can list but no one will find, or would his time be better spent writing just ONE book and then spending the rest of his time socializing and marketing that - and selling a lot of copies.

        Which will do better? One book that a lot of people know about or a lot of books no one has a clue about?

        Anyway, you can liken the diners/pubs to all those nifty new social sites like Twitter and Facebook. Press releases can be done for free on the web in some places, and there are better ways to use things like Google adwords for research reasons or list building as opposed to using it to try to make immediate sales.

        We like to think that just because there is this screen in front of us it means we don't have to really interact with anyone on the web - and this makes it seem very cold. In reality, there are real people/buyers on the other end and you need to give them all the same consideration as if they were walking into your store on Main Street. They need to be swooned and attended to and made to feel special. And you are here to solve their problem of finding the right toy for little Timmy and assure them you are the person they should be buying it from.

        But the main point I want to emphasize is that just because you just put something on the web does not mean anyone else will find it or know it is there. LOL, that old saying - If a bear farts in the woods does it make a sound? Who even knows the bear farted unless someone else was there to witness it and spreads the word.
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  • Profile picture of the author PerformanceMan
    I honestly think you should forget your own products for a minute and start being an affiliate for the most popular product in your category.

    As you try and make sales for this already hot selling product you're going to learn a lot about why it's successful (and why your products aren't).

    Try some of the same techniques you've been using to make sales for yourself. If they work for the affiliate product, you know where your problem lies.

    Do this at least as a sideline. You might be surprised at what you learn.
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    • Profile picture of the author Manie Amari
      Originally Posted by PerformanceMan View Post

      I honestly think you should forget your own products for a minute and start being an affiliate for the most popular product in your category.
      I acutey disagree with this.

      You are advising the OP to not undertake the most critical activity that separates the "boys from the men."

      Product creation is the best thing I have ever done in this business.

      It has allowed me to:
      • Build a list of targeted subs
      • Build a list of buyers
      • Build relationships with JV's
      • Understand my target market
      • Understand what people really want
      • increase my business
      And many more pros


      To the OP start of slow take your time. Be methodical in your approach and go for it. You fail not to quit but to learn faster and improve your attempt at achieving your goal.


      Manie
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  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
    Banned
    Originally Posted by heavycat View Post

    I may reply in this thread and I may challenge some advice fairly directly.
    It's a slightly unusual approach for people asking for advice. I don't say it's necessarily a "bad" approach, but it's one which appears likely to inhibit many from responding in any detail. It certainly dissuades me from doing that, and will make me brief (quite an achievement in itself).

    I don't criticise you for it at all, because I suspect that it speaks of an approach naturally suited by your own personality and perspective. I can't help wondering, though, to what extent that same personality and perspective have led you to the accumulation of online experience which prompts the situation and beliefs you've described above. My own overall impression of your situation, just from reading your original post a couple of times, is that you may have received some misguided advice in the past, which has - and perhaps on a very fundamental level - both informed your beliefs about, and colored your attitude toward, "internet marketing".

    As Jill explains just above, "putting something on the web" isn't in itself much of a way of attracting customers. Making something available on the web and identifying and driving targeted traffic to it is a way of attracting customers. And specifically selecting the "something" in accordance with your pre-existing abilities to do that is an even better way.
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  • Profile picture of the author KenThompson
    Hey...

    If you want to sell books on Kindle, then do what successful authors have done to become successful. From what I've read about them, they did not spend a lot of money. But they did some things you said you're not interested in. So I would re-think that.

    Start with a clean slate. I think it comes down to doing what is necessary even if you're not so crazy about the idea.

    There are some patterns with successful authors. At least check them out, if you want.

    There's helpful advice at this site. The site belongs to a Warrior member. Can't remember his name at the moment. And I'm posting a link to an article/post by a Kindle author who sold 100,000 books at Kindle. He published his first Kindle book in March 2011. So I think he's worth listening to.

    Tim Hits 100,000 Sales | bookPumper - The Kindle Revolution

    Have you heard of Amanda Hocking? She's in her early 20s and a year or two ago hit the million dollar sales mark with her fiction at Kindle.

    I read an article she wrote over a year ago, something like that. She lamented the fact that she had to spend so much time marketing her books. But that's the not so secret, secret, evidently. Maybe you're nodding your head and thinking, no kidding. That's fine.

    You can Google Amanda Hocking and find more info. I also think she created a blog at Amazon and used it. I remember reading that she spent a lot of time blogging and interacting with her fans/readers.

    It is not redundant to create a blog. It's all the other things you can say in your blog, that do not appear in your books, that matter.

    I read some Kindle author's blog, not at Kindle, and he talked about how important it is to get out among people - your readers, potential readers, etc. You have to let people know you exist, as others have said in this thread, until they start remembering you, etc.

    I understand if you don't want to do those things. I bet I'm more reclusive than you are.

    However, depending on what you want to do, you'll do what's necessary to accomplish it or you won't.

    Besides, I've learned (recently) that stepping out of the (cliched) comfort zone is different, not as bad as it may appear, and new things will definitely happen in your life.

    Good luck.
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  • Profile picture of the author dvduval
    Reading your second post, it sounds like you are thinking about what they want to buy, and how to rank, but not how engage them. It doesn't sound like you have ever made an interactive site that is fun to surf. When you have a site people love, you stop worrying about Adwords or targeting keywords so much. It sounds to me like you have never been able to create such a site, so all your marketing efforts have fallen flat.
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    • Profile picture of the author heavycat
      Thanks to everyone for your helpful advice. I have some new ideas in the works and I will be sure to keep everyone up to date on our progress.
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      • Profile picture of the author brentb
        You said you get tons of people trying to read your books but nobody pays. Why not try switching to an ad supported model and have premium memberships to remove ads, get new releases early etc....

        As people flip through the pages you occasionally display interstitial ads to non premium members. Display banners on the site. Ad co registration to your registration form.

        High Quality Content that is FREE brings serious traffic, this is what people want to share on social media, tell their friends etc. With the ads, you will make money off that serious traffic. Build a brand around the story line and start an estore with the logos and character art on tshirts, backpacks, hats, posters whatever...

        Reward people for sharing... everytime they share on FB or twitter post or something, give them 24 hour premium membership for an uninterrupted reading experience. Some will do this every day when they start to read. Blowing up your traffic.

        Just some ideas... feel free to PM if you have questions about any of them.
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