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Making a Living #3 – The most basic marketing

This post is not going to make you instantly rich. It is an experienced based introduction to getting some sales on DriveThruRPG and Itch.io.

The graphs on the right here, is an illustration of failure, or potential failure.

What is happening, or what it is showing is the weekend where I released three or four products on Itch.io, and then walked away and did nothing else. The first day has a lot of activity, it dips and then when the next product was added it picks up again, before it all starts to fade away.

Because I didn’t continue with product releases, there was nothing to stimulate new interest. Yes, I am getting one or two views and an occasional download but basically this is a flatline. If it was a patient, they would be calling the time of death and switching off the machines.

By comparison, look at this graph.

The timeline starts a week or so before mine, and shows a spike in interest, a dropping away, another bigger spike, a falling away, a bigger spike and then a falling away.

What is happening is every new release is building upon the success of the previous product. I am getting 1 or 2 views per day, here the background level is 12 to 14 per day. I have released four products, here we have three products.

This graph comes from Azukail Games. The owner of Azukail is the closest thing I had to a mentor when I started out, even today we share data and experience and he very kindly allowed me to share this graph.

I have allowed Itch to falter because I am not ready. Don’t have enough time to devote to regular, and by that I mean weekly, product releases.

When you start in publishing, even if you want to write your own full-on system, it is best to start with small adventures, GM resources or supplements. What you gain is the experience in managing your own projects. A book you never finish will earn you nothing. Listing the book on DriveThru and/or Itch will get you sales, maybe not many by it will start the trickle of income. Those sales will start your mailing list. Both Itch and DTRPG give you ways of contacting your customers.

These regular products will build your audience, and your catalogue. It will show you want skills you are strong in, where you are weak.

Very few people actually enjoy marketing or the idea of selling. This method of audience building avoids anything that looks or feels like marketing. You may not see it this way, but your books are your adverts.

Social Media

You cannot start your social media accounts for your publishing soon enough. These audiences take a long time to develop. The sooner you start them the sooner you will get some followers.

I will not tell you which networks to join. What I will tell you is to use the ones you are already active on, and enjoy using. Azukail Games has a massive presence on Pinterest. I could not get on with it. Although I didn’t like the idea of it, I am getting on better with YouTube than I thought I would.

Blogging is very old fashioned, by today’s standards, but I enjoy it. Because I enjoy blogging it is no effort. If it is no effort, any benefits I get from it are effectively free. I am also active on Twitter. Conversely, I rarely post on Facebook, I am not on Instagram or Twitch.

Using tools I don’t know how to use, and I am not comfortable with is not going to make my life more pleasant, so I don’t do it.

We vs. I

When you refer to yourself in books, press releases, or product description pages, you will often see publishers refer to themselves as We or Our books. I always use I and My books. The reason for using the singular I is that I believe that people would rather buy from an individual. You can see the authors name on the book, so when I say “I…” you know it is Peter talking.

Many publishers that are one person us the We and Our to make them sound bigger, like a full publishing business. I think they are just putting up a barrier between themselves and their customers.

Marketing is a massive subject. I am going to do a few of these blog posts covering some really simple basics. As well as simple advice to help you sell more books, I also hope to show you that marketing is not scary and it isn’t evil. We will not be tricking anyone into buying anything that they don’t want.

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