“Fifty-five percent of the romance readership is buying their books in the bookstores,” says Werksman of Sourcebooks.
But that’s way down from historical brick and mortar sales. Why? Because 25% of romance writers are now publishing independently — and mostly in digital (ebook) editions.
Kensington’s Zacharius said, “We’ve seen, like everybody else in the print traditional area, a distinct leveling off of print books because there’s less space for them in bookstores. Unless Amazon is going to open up another few hundred stores next year, I don’t see many retailers expanding. Wal-Mart is cutting down its space, Barnes & Noble has fewer stores each year. So print is definitely a challenge.
Tim Grahl has some tips on how to market your romance fiction:
- Give away a tantalizing scene. Whether it’s your sample on the Kindle or a downloadable PDF, give away the first part of your book but sure it’s a scene that will catch reader’s attention. You want people get caught up in the story right away so they’ll immediately buy. How can you get the reader hooked early on?
- Bring people along for the ride. Author Max Barry wrote his book one page at a time and released it to an email list. He get reader feedback along the way and used is as the first draft for his novel Machine Man. What are ways that you can involve your fans along the way?
- Write companion short stories. Orbit Books has been working with their authors to release short stories based in the world of their novels. Brent Weeks released a 96 page ebook based on one of the main characters in his popular Night Angel trilogy. What if you wrote and release a few short stories and priced them extremely low to generate interest in your longer pieces of work?
- Write more books. J.A. Konrath and John Locke are two very successful self-published authors and they both offer the same piece of advice over and over… write more books. In a world were Amazon.com drives over 90% of online book sales, you want to make sure you have lots of books available for people to buy. People that read romance novels tend to read a lot! How can you turn a one time buyer into a serial buyer?
- Build your email list. Invite your readers to join your email list so you can stay in touch with them and let them know about new titles as you release them. This is the #1 way to build a platform that will carry you long into the future.
Bonus tip: When you give away a PDF sample of your book, make sure the last page of that sample includes your bio, book blurbs and links to immediately buy the book.