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I came across a post talking how people were saying this is not the time to promote books (unless they're free). The creator of the post said authors had apparently received direct messages telling them they shouldn't be promoting a product right now.
This is so wrong.
While it's true that sales may tank because people aren't buying as many books right now due to money concerns or stress, authors need to keep promoting. Promoting our books during this time doesn't mean we're being insensitive. Rather, we're doing what we have to do for our careers, our sanity, our happiness. It is more important now than ever to keep doing normal tasks.
Social media feeds are full of posts about the virus, shelter-in-place orders, worries, lay-offs, bare store shelves, and politics. We need to see bright colors and pretty covers in our feeds. We need to share excerpts/quotes that make readers laugh or swoon. When readers see book promotions, they are relieved, happy...it's a bit of normalcy in this stressful time, and reading is an escape for them.
And for people to say that only free eBooks are the ones that should be promoted right now is short-sighted and unrealistic.
A lot goes into planning a book's release. Authors can't just postpone the releases of their new books. They may lose money or their publisher may not allow it, and no one knows when this situation will end. Many authors rely on publishing for income, which is likely not great to begin with, and to have to delay releases for months could hurt them. (If authors are able to delay their releases with ease, they're lucky but...still stressed and worried.)
Also, authors can't give away all of their books for free. It's wrong to claim that authors should be providing free products or nothing at all during a time when everyone is suffering. Even them.
Authors are doing what they can. They are providing happy places and worlds readers can escape to. They are offering 99 cent sales or marking their eBooks as free for a limited time.
Or we're capitalizing on the pandemic when we offer 99 cents sales. (Traditionally published authors can't mark their eBooks as free as easily as others can.)
Or that all of our books should be free.
Or we shouldn't promote our books, unless they're free.
Or we can't celebrate our new releases and post about them.
NO ONE should be ridiculing authors during this difficult time when we're suffering, as well, and trying to do what we can for readers and for ourselves.
Don't forget... we're small businesses being impacted now, too.
|(This is a tweet that was shared widely on Facebook.)|
1) If you want to promote during this time, do it! But treat it like a normal promotion, not related to what's happening in the world. (I do caution against promoting just because people are stuck at home.) If you have a new release, shout it from the rooftops and don't stop.
2) If you want to mark your eBooks as free (or 99 cents) to help others out during this time, definitely say so. That's wonderful and will be appreciated by many readers.
I marked all of my mom's picture books to free for this reason. With all the kids not in school, Sammy the Teddy Bear wanted to make sure parents and children would have stories to read.
TIP: To get Amazon to mark your eBooks to $0.00, you first have to mark them as free elsewhere. Doing this through Smashwords (if you're there) is super easy. When you do this, other retailers are notified. Within hours your price is dropped. The best way for authors to get Amazon to drop a price to free is through this KDP link. Click on the "pricing" and then "price matching" options and follow their directions to send them an email. I never have a problem doing this for my mom's eBooks.
SIDE NOTE: Right now, I’m not offering 99 cents sales on my series because, after seeing a post by another author, I wondered if people would want to read about natural disasters during a pandemic. Would it be too much?? As it is, I don’t promote during real natural disasters. I especially avoid promoting the book in which the disaster appears in. As you can imagine, this is tough, and not something I anticipated before I started this series, so while this situation is new for most authors, this is something I deal with several times a year.
Until next time...
Stay healthy, everyone!