One of the things I love about being an indie author is that we share sales figures and marketing strategies. Please take time to thank Traci for sharing her experience with us. I’m pinning this post for easy reference! ~Heather Day Gilbert
Permafree as an Indie Marketing Strategy
Interview with Traci Tyne Hilton
|Author Traci Tyne Hilton|
HG: First off, how long have you been
self-published, Traci? I know you were one of the earlier writers to take this
route (and I know it has paid off for you!).
it feels like just yesterday, but my first indie title came out in paperback
around February of 2010, and then as an ebook that fall.
the definition of that is “permanently free” e-books), how did you
decide you were ready to make one of yours permafree? And was it the first in
because I was basically desperate. I was terrified to do it, but I knew I had
to make a change.
So, I had been doing pretty well, considering I didn’t know what I was doing,
didn’t have a background in publishing, didn’t have a budget, didn’t have much
of a plan, and wanted something I could do from home while raising my kids. I
was making about a thousand dollars a month, and felt great. Then, November
2012 rolled around and I made…almost nothing. Or it felt that way. I was down
to about $200 a month with no idea of how to make more.
a day, links to helpful posts, fun quotes—a link to my books here and there.) I
had tried writing fast and publishing fast (as fast as I could, anyway) and I
had tried being a part of Kindle Select and running short promos. I had run
Ereader News Today ads, Pixel of Ink ads, I had posted all over facebook. I
don’t know, if someone had suggested it, I had tried it, and not just one
little try, I had gone all out. And…I had short term success. Moments of good
sales, but absolutely nothing lasting.
I said to a friend of mine who was known for never compromising on his advice,
“You are bossy and successful. Tell me what to do and I will do it. Whatever
you say.” He said make my first book free and write more books. So I did, and
other books in the series when you made the first permafree?
TH: Yes, definitely. You remember I was desperate because after two years of
publishing and growing an audience my royalties had dropped to about $200 a
month, right? Well, the first month the first Mitzy book was free—and I only
had three books in the series at the time—I made $2800. I was immediately sold.
I mean, think about that…three books made me $200. I made first book free, and
two books made me $2800. I’d say that was an immediate result!
your permafree decision?
is that I now have an active fan base! It’s a blast to get fan mail, and to
hang out with people on facebook who are there because they like my books!
permafree with his/her book?
author only has one book
author’s titles are not in the same genre
if in the same genre the books are too different to be grouped into some kind
author is philosophically against free. (There are plenty of authors who
consider free promotions damaging to literature. I would never try and talk
them out of their convictions.)
they are my direct competition. JUST KIDDING! I have happily talked lots of
other Christian Cozy authors into trying it out, and I think they are all
pretty happy with their results. (Check out the authors of
Cozymysterymagazine.blogspot.com to see what I mean!
to date, going free a few days with my books has brought the most results in
terms of temporary sales boost. Would you say going permafree has been the best
marketing strategy you have tried? If not, what is?
producing both short and long term sales (for me.)
books do you think an author needs to have out before making a full-time income
on self-publishing, if you could give us an estimate? I’ve heard five books.
a year to make a living. The point at which they start making a living is
different for everyone. But it is the steady stream of quality new releases
that makes a person able to live off their writing rather than a set number of
books already published. Three is really the minimum for most people, and since it’s August, and I’ve only published one so far
this year, I had better say goodbye, and get back to work! Thanks so much for
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the author of the new Tillgiven Mystery Series, The Mitzy Neuhaus Mystery Series,
and The Plain Jane Mystery Series. She was the Mystery/Suspense
Category winner for the 2012 Christian Writers of the West Phoenix Rattler
Contest, and has a Drammy from the Portland Civic Theatre Guild. Traci serves
as the Vice President of the Portland chapter of the American
Christian Fiction Writers Association.
in History from Portland State University and still lives in the rainiest part
of the Pacific Northwest with her husband the mandolin playing funeral
director, their two daughters, and their dogs, Dr. Watson and Archie.
can be found at http://www.tracihilton.com
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