IWSG: Reader's Rock


Today is the first Wednesday of the month:  Insecure Writer's Support Group blog! The IWSG is a safe place for writers to express their fears and insecurities in a supportive environment. Join us at  www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com And don't forget to sign up for the IWSG Newsletter - it's filled with great advice written by writers for writers.  

This month's IWSG Reflective Question: What is your favourite aspect of being a writer?

My favourite aspect of being a writer is the feedback and comments I get from my readers – whether it’s praise or constructive criticism. Ultimately, I am writing in order for my stories to be read. Drawing readers into my world, and providing them with a new experience or escapism, if only for a short time, is the most rewarding part of the writing process.

This month’s insecurity: Sales slump, Marketing Meltdown

I published my first compilation of short stories in July and researched (or so I thought) the plethora of tips for marketing. However, I haven’t made one sale since the end of September, which is worrying. Should I do a blog hop? Will this have an impact on sales? I need to pick apart and rebuild a marketing strategy in preparation for my upcoming novel, which I intend to release early next year (yes, I’m still ploughing through the edits – thanks for all your encouragement last month). I have worked so hard on this first novel, I really want it to be successful in terms of sales and to be the solid foundation on which to build my novel writing career.

If you’d like to share what worked for you in terms of marketing, I’d be very grateful.

Wishing you all a great November and if you are participating in NaNo – Good luck!


Comments

  1. Hi Nicola - good luck with finding a new path and then the new book ... a series seems to be one way of going ... but for now - take care and enjoy the process - Hilary

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    1. Thank you, Hilary. Have a lovely November.

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  2. I'm not sure how much of an impact a blog hop will make on sales, but you could give it a try. What works well for one author may not work as well for another. However, you have to try different marketing strategies and find the one that works for you.
    Good luck with the ongoing edits on your novel.
    Happy IWSG Day, Nicola!

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    1. Thank you, Michelle! Have a super day and a productive November.

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  3. I wish I could help you with the marketing, Nicola - I've tried lots of things and none seem to make much difference. Releasing a new book does usually result in a few more sales of the others though, so you might see sales of the first pick up when the second comes out.

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    1. Aaww, thank you Patsy. If I hit on something that works, I'll let you know. So better get a move on and get more things written and published. Thanks again.

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  4. Writing the next book is always the best thing, which you are doing.
    Toss out a couple guest posts between now and then. Just something to keep you fresh in people's minds.

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    1. Thanks, Alex! Congrats on the audio books!

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  5. You and I have the same insecurity this month. Marketing is difficult, and after a bunch of research, I thought I found the right way to promote my books, but it isn't working. Keep on trying new things and put yourself out there. You can do it!

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    1. Thanks, Christine and good luck to you too! Have a super month.

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  6. Keep working away at the next book. I know it's hard seeing the first one not going anywhere in terms of sales right now, but remember that it'll be available forever. And unlike traditional published books, it doesn't have to make all its sales at the beginning to be a success. It may take several books before they all begin to take off.

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    1. Thanks for the words of encouragement, Ken.

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  7. Sadly, I can't help you with marketing as I've failed miserably at my own (and I was a marketing specialist before I retired). Sigh! Just keep plugging away at it, and never stop writing as long as it keeps giving you joy.

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    1. Thank you, Karen. I'm determined to find a way :) And I don't think I could ever stop writing - making stuff up is what my brain does 24/7 :):) Hope all is well with you. Take care.

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  8. Alex is right. I read nothing sells a first book like the 2nd, 3rd, etc. I think we're all trying to find that magic marketing tool that will help us sell millions of books. Good luck!

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    1. Thank you, Diane. Wishing you lots of sales too!

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  9. I've been struggling with marketing and sales, too. For me, it honestly feels like the more I publish, the less sales and reviews I get. It is worrying. I keep thinking it's because there's too many books out there, too many coming out each month. It's hard to get noticed. What used to help me, no longer is working. :\

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    1. I've heard that so often - what used to work no longer does. It's such a changeable industry and so hard to keep up. I'll share what I learn along the way and hopefully we can all work together to conquer this marketing thing :)

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  10. I regularly review what is recommended by the pros as must-haves in a marketing plan (word-of-mouth, blogging, email lists, that sort) and can't tell you what works. I've had publications that worked despite doing none of that and others that failed when I tried everything. To me, it's magic.

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    1. A bit of magic - another skill to master :) Thanks for popping by Jacqui.

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  11. Nicola, in terms of marketing, the only thing that worked for me was paid advertising, but I know that costs money. There are small outfits you can try that may yield some kind of returns. Also, if you can find people to read and review early on, that might make a difference to your sales.

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    1. Thank you for sharing, Joy. Means a lot. Have a lovely November.

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  12. There is an interesting symbiotic relationship between writers and their beta readers, isn't there? I often spot things in books that I recognize as my contribution to a crit partner's labor of love, and I feel overjoyed. I always appreciate thoughtful and helpful comments on my work from those same readers. It is very exciting.

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    1. I do get a buzz knowing someone is taking time to read my work. And actually like to get feedback - even if it is sometimes a bitter pill. Thank you for popping over, Lee. Lovely to see you.

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  13. Getting compliments is a really mood boost, and it probably makes you want to do more! Amd i hope you find your marketing mojo, whatever it happens to be.

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  14. Another book helps and so do reviews. Get those and try to get on Book Bub.

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    1. Thank you. I'll check out Book Bub.

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  15. A blog hop might be a good idea. Also, encourage your readers to write reviews on Goodreads, etc.
    Mary at Play off the Page

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  16. More reviews or a giveaway might help. Be cautious about lowering the price and paying to advertise it though. The results might depress you even more.

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    1. Thank you, Diane. And thank you for your great post about the publishing process.

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  17. The best thing to do is to publish the next thing. Period. The more content you have out there, the more visibility. The more visibility, the more sales.

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    1. Thanks, Crystal. Have a lovely November.

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  18. Ahh...the secrets to marketing. I don't know what they are. But I know each new book prompts sales of the previous books. And sales fall off dramatically after the first months so if there's a secret I don't know it except to write the next book.

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  19. Sometimes you just have to ignore the marketing data for a few days...if there's one thing that'll mess with a writer's creative process it's that. Just remember why you started all this in the first place...because you love books:)

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    1. I'll remember that! Glad things are going well for you, Mark. Thanks for popping by.

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  20. I don't watch the sales charts. I only begin to worry when I don't receive a royalty cheque. And even then I let that thought go for another term. Do what you love, Nicola. Believe in yourself. The rest will follow.

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    1. Thanks for the words of encouragement Joylene. Much appreciated.

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  21. It is all about marketing and who you know which burns my ass when some "Star" writes a book and gets all the coverage and it's crap whereas a great writer has to suffer. In the end, take what people here say to help you out and write for you. It makes you feel good even when you are editing and the people who read your book and praise it makes it all worth while.

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  22. I wish there was a magic bullet! I'm still struggling with marketing after I won't tell you how many years, and, advice changes every day, it seems. One thing I read on another blog today and that is "Pick one thing and become a "Maven" at it. Bet he best you can be at one solid thing and push that to the envelop. Perhaps that may help. I'm going to work my marketing strategy around that when my next WIP comes out...

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    1. Sounds like sound advice, Lisa. Thank you for taking the time to share.

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  23. Uggg to marketing, I have no idea with dumb marketing, so I just pfffft to it and go on writing away.

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    1. I love that word - pfffft :) Feels good saying it too :) Thanks Pat.

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  24. Isn't writing awesome? But yeah, marketing and selling books...it's a little scary.

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  25. I'm glad you have such helpful readers. If I ever get to the marketing part, I'm pretty sure I'm going to hate it.

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    1. It's not really a hate thing - it's just frustrating not knowing what the perfect key is. Thanks for popping over Liza.

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  26. I enjoy feedback too. It's nice to know what worked or didn't work. As far as marketing, there's no magic way to get your book in front of readers. Just to toss out an idea, have you tried putting your book on sale and using sites like Bookbub or ebooksoda to help get the word out? There's other sites out there too.

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  27. If you figure out how to sell those books, please let me know! My marketing strategies haven't worked either, and yet I'm preparing to release another one. LOL Misery does love company. :) They say it's all numbers, the more books you have out the more books you'll sell? Okay, worth a try, I hope!

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    1. You can always count on me for a sale. I'm a big fan of your books, Yolanda. If I figure out what works, I'll be sure to tell all my IWSG friends :)

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  28. It seems like novels are a much easier sell than short story collections. I'm sure what works varies by genre. In Contemporary Romance, I've found being part of Kindle Unlimited helps and releasing at a sale price so you can advertise through bargain book e-newsletters. I have a whole list of them - message me at elson.nicki @ gmail . com if want me to send them to you.

    But most important is having a cover & blurb that grabs readers - because even in those book bargain newsletters you'll have competition and need to stand out.

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    1. Thank you very much, Nicki. I'll be in touch. Really appreciate the help!

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  29. I'm a reader. If you want more readers might I suggest joining facebook book parties. I have been going to them more since I can't go to the big events in the United States. Been starting to buy more ebooks from authors there and joining some might help find fans of your work. Also I'm so glad to hear you say you enjoy both positive and critical reviews. As a book reader, writer and reviewer it bothers me sometimes when writers only focus on getting positive reviews and don't mention the importance on critical reviews that can help point out errors and snags to improve a character or story. Thanks for taking part in IWSG Nicola and have a great day.

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    1. Thank you so much for such a kind comment. I think, if we only got brilliant reviews (which we all like - no question), we wouldn't have anything to improve upon. Wish you a super November, Sheena and thanks again.

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  30. I read your question and then I read the comments looking for answers to the marketing dilemma!
    Here's what seems to help me: hosting guests, being a guest poster, tweeting obnoxiously for a month or two at a time then calming down for a while, facebook posting to facebook groups, and asking for reviews from readers. And, I've tracked my sales for the last three years and every year, I have a fall slump. I've fought it with paid marketing and other things, and it still happens. Just think of this as a long haul operation and keep on writing!

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    1. Thanks for the words of wisdom, Tyrean. Have a great November.

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  31. Good luck with the marketing. As I'm still working on finishing something, I have no tips for you. But there are lots of blogs that do talk about the marketing stuff, so I'm sure you'll find some good advice.

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    1. Thanks, Liz. Hope the kids are behaving themselves :)

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  32. Hi, Nicola. I've joined your blog. I think marketing is the toughest job for writers. Congratulations on having a book out there. I don't even have that-- yet. All the power to you, my dear!

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    1. Bless you, Victoria. Thank you for your kind words.

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  33. I used to do Blog Hops and Blog Tours. Lots of work and they just don;t pay off like they used to. Moving forward I'll post a couple months before relase asking people to give a shout out the day of release with a pic of the book, a blurb, and links to download it.

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    1. There are mixed views about blog hops and it is a lot of hard work, which is wasted if it doesn't pay off. Thanks for sharing Stephen.

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  34. Yeah, I'm not a fan of marketing. It's so time consuming when all I want to do is keep writing. But at the same time, I also want to reach as many readers as possible. I'm not sure yet what works best for marketing.

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    1. Lovely to see you, Lynda. Thank you for popping by.

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  35. I've found that blog hops are definitely helpful.

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    1. Thanks, Robert. Lovely to 'meet' you.

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  36. It's an uphill struggle at first, Nicola, but consistency and bringing out more work does help to raise your profile. I find interacting on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram a good way to build contacts - not by asking people to buy anything, more about chatting or posting with only occasional book news. This is not meant to discourage you but it is true that short stories don't sell as well as novels and novellas. Just a fact of life but a great way of getting your name out there and preparing the way for more publications. Keep going, Nicola - it's all about the long term!

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom, Rosemary. It means a lot. Once my novel edits are completed and sent back to my editor, I'll brush off the novella I worked on earlier this year. It's almost done so I don't know why I didn't finish it :)

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  37. Marketing... I don't know what works and I'm terrible at it. And when it comes to writing, I too appreciate the reviews from readers.

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    1. Thanks for popping over, Bish. Hope all is going well with your new release :)

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  38. We could be twinsies! My writer fave is the same as yours and I've had lots of sales disappointments despite promoting the heck out of things. I doubt it's anything we're doing wrong. My second book is doing better than my first ever did. That's the key in the end -- keep writing more books to develop a line and a "brand" so fans know what to expect when they buy one from you. There's no shortcut -- doing well with sales just takes a long time and lots of determination, but little by little things will pick up speed.

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    1. YAY!! I've always wanted to be a 'twinsie' :) Thanks for your words of encouragement Lexa. Really appreciate it.

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  39. Hi, Nicola! I wish I had wise words for marketing. My only experience is helping my sister market her two books, and it was a slog! We presented at a literacy conference in Colorado four years in a row. She's put her books in gift shops and restaurants up and down the province of Nova Scotia. She's done book signings in Calgary and Nova Scotia. She went to a conference in Hawaii and had seven people show up for her session ~ but she kept on slogging, and I think she finally has realized a profit. I haven't been able to get her to try the online route. I have seen authors in Nova Scotia and Hawaii at farmer's markets and interacting with people and selling books. Keep writing ~ That's the best advice I can give you. Determination and persistence are absolutely necessary ~ so hang in there! Good luck!

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    1. So pleased that your sister is reaping the rewards of all her efforts and how great to have a sister like you for support. Thank you very much for visiting and taking the time to share your sister's experience. I really appreciate it.

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  40. Being able to connect with readers is something special! Marketing - it's the ongoing struggle isn't it? There's so much I haven't tried, but blog tours are definitely fun.

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    1. I'm determined to find the answer - maybe not in this lifetime - LOL!! Thanks for popping by, Nick. I hope all is well.

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  41. Hi Nicola, I agree with your reason for writing totally . . . I write because I want to share my stories. And feedback and constructive criticism is uplifting and useful in equal measure.
    I'm sorry I don't have anything particularly helpful to add about marketing and publicity as I haven't tried it yet myself, but I do think persistence is key. Whatever you decide is the best next step I wish you all the very best but most of all happy writing.

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    1. Thank you very much, Suzanne! Your words of encouragment mean a lot. I hope all is well with you and yours. Take care.

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  42. Selling is a hard business. Getting those first fifty reviews is quite a bear. Getting your name out there is vital. Don't be discouraged by a month of low sales or no sales-- let it drive you to figuring out how to be a better seller. I hear blog tours are a popular way to increase your fanbase.

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    1. Thank you for coming over to comment. Your words of encouragement are greatly appreciated.

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  43. Guesting on blogs was how I kept sales of my own two story collections selling consistently in the first year. I also wrote an article for Writing Magazine about how I went about publishing the collection and had a short piece in their 'subscribers' section. Twitter has also been helpful (but be careful not to push it too hard). Sales have a habit going up and down so it might just be a blip. Nicola.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your experience, Wendy. I hope all is well with you.

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  44. Blog hops can be great fun and you get a lot more exposure. Perseverance and belief in yourself are key elements to any success, and because you are open and engaging others, you're on the right track. Best wishes!

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  45. Best of luck to you in raising the sales and exposure for your collection. I think a bloghop sounds like a good idea. I don't have any experience in doing one (yet) but I've participated in some in the past and they do a wonderful job at getting your writing in front of a lot of people! Thanks for visiting my blog on IWSG Day!

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    1. Thanks for popping by to comment, Jen. It was a pleasure to visit your blog.

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  46. Hello Nicola, thanks so much for visiting my blog. I wish you every success with your new book (how exciting!) but don't really have any advice regards marketing it. Having just read some of the previous comments it looks as though you have a lot of support, which is wonderful. Have a good week, Barbara.

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    1. I loved your blog, Barbara! Thank you for your kind words. Have a super week.

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  47. Alas, I have no suggestions when it comes to marketing. But it looks you've gotten some good suggestions. Have you tried any yet? Have you noticed any sales?

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    1. No more sales yet, Loni. Thanks for popping by. Hope you are feeling better.

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  48. It is true readers reviews are like hitting a gold rush. So heres the thing in my book. A young audience might not be taken with stories and characters from 50 years ago. A compelling ending is one which delights readers but still leaves them hungry for more.

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  49. Yes, readers keep us motivated. What would we do without them?

    Be well and thank you for visiting, Nicola.

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  50. It's always good to get comments on your work. If they're good, it makes you feel successful as an author. If not, it gives you feedback for ways you can improve.

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    1. Well put, Sherry. Thanks so much for popping by.

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  51. In my blogging travels, I found this one on one hundred marketing tips: http://writewithfey.blogspot.com/2016/11/100-marketing-tips.html

    My sales have been flat as well. I did hold a giveaway and that sparked a lot of downloads. Since I'm not expecting to make money and would be happy with readers/reviews, this was fine with me.

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    1. Thanks for the link, Tamara. Have a great week.

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  52. I'm a newbie with my first book releasing in January, so I wish I had advice for the both of us! Hope it turns around for you!!! Christy

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    1. Congratulations Christy!! I hope you have a fantastic launch.

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