Another Easy Way To Help Indie Artists/Authors/Musicians

A thing I’ve done for years now, particularly with indie family musicians, is to find the performer/band’s website and drop them a quick email to let them know that we like their stuff and where I heard about it.

Indie creators really love fan mail because, frankly, sales are few and far between and their day is made each time a fan says, “I bought your album/book/litho/etc and I love it!”

But when you take the time to also say, “I found out about you from [source],” it’s vitally useful to their future marketing strategies.

For instance, I heard about Monty Harper’s excellent science-based kids’ music from the Parenting Beyond Belief podcast, and I made sure he knew that. I’ve told other indie/small scale artists about having heard them first on Pandora. I told Dave Carroll that I bought his album “Perfect Blue” because I’d heard of his viral YouTube video “United Breaks Guitars” but that now I’m more in love with other songs on it (particularly “Now” and “The Place that I Call Home”).

And of course Charles Dowd knows that I found out about his girl-positive comic Lilith Dark because of asking for specifically that sort of thing on G+.

Indie creators know when their friends buy their stuff it’s because of that personal relationship, but are often bewildered as to how random strangers heard of their work. Is this sale a friend-of-a-friend thing, or did a promotion strategy actually work this time?

Last month I ran a coupon for “Finding Gaia” on Smashwords. One person used it. But my current Amazon stats show five sales so far for February, two of which were from before the coupon. Were those other three related to the promotion? Did people forego the coupon because they prefer to buy from Amazon? Or did they just see reviews on Goodreads and happen to buy during the coupon period without even knowing it was available?

Indie creators spend a lot of time on marketing that they could be spending on more creation. If fans take a moment to let creators know what promotions worked, it goes a long way to helping reduce wasted time for everyone and focusing future campaigns more effectively.

So today, go tell an indie or small-scale creator you like that you like them and where you heard about their stuff. You’ll be making someone’s day in multiple ways.

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150 Copies Sold and Valentine’s Day Coupon

I’m thrilled to announce that as of the end of January, over 150 copies of “Finding Gaia” have been sold! That’s real sales, not giveaways or review copies. Given that most independent novels sell fewer than 50 copies (the authors you’ve heard of who have sold thousands are successful outliers), I’m quite pleased and hopeful that as more great reviews come in at Goodreads, Amazon, and elsewhere, word of mouth will increase that number substantially.

To celebrate, and in recognition of Valentine’s Day this week, I’m offering $2 off “Finding Gaia” at Smashwords through February 15. Use code ZA46L to pay only $2.99!

Further, the extended love scene “The Power of a Blush” is still FREE and comes with the first two chapters of “Finding Gaia”. It is available at Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Diesel, and Goodreads.

For my fellow data nerds or for any would-be writers who would appreciate some realistic information, here are some statistics on my sales so far:

Publication date: July 9, 2012

Copies sold*: 152
Total known payments owed by all stores: $481.30
Actual payments received: $385.53

Costs**: $1556
Profit: -$1170.47
Percentage: 31%

* Includes those stores that have reported as of February 11, 2013. Third-party sellers to Smashwords sometimes take months to report.

** Includes cover artist, editor, and lyrics permissions. Does not include ISBNs and occasional small-scale marketing costs (ie printing flyers).

Fans are the most powerful force any independent author has. You can make a tremendous difference! Please post a review, tell your friends, and share the coupon around. Thank you for your continued support.