A guide to book promotion

The thing about life and doing stuff means that sometimes you gain experience. And to be more specific, when it comes to writing books (I currently have 2 published with 3 in the pipeline) I have learned all sorts of crazy, funny and sometimes important things. I’ve dabbled many times in sharing my experiences all things publishing and this post is indeed another branch from my resources section.

This is my guide to book promotion…

First of all the results I got from my various endeavours is subjective and dependent on a lot of things. This includes: the type of book you are promoting, the state of the market, timing, pricing, quality of product and how it looks, how many reviews, yada yada yada.

A lot of things have to align pretty well for any book to sell, even thought there are snake like marketing tactics to trick people into buying things. You wont find any here, just honest experiences, ideas and tactics.

STEP 1 

Firstly you have to decide what you want. For me personally and my two books, I wanted people to know they existed, quite simply. Thousands of sales would be great but I realistically want to shift enough books just to know they are being read. A majority of 2017 I spent trying to figure out the best way to promote both of my books and truthfully my sales were god awful. (Basically near to zero).

I went from near enough nothing to a maximum of 600 plus sales in 1 day! Hell we even hit number 1 in the occult charts at one point. And there’s no proven secret, you just need to do your homework and that’s the next step.

STEP 2 – RESEARCH 

Now where did I do my homework? Goodreads!

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There are hundreds of discussion boards/groups amongst the grand depths of goodreads full of mostly up to date and historic information. One particular group I joined; ‘Support for Indie Authors’ is packed to the rafters with stuff. And for the first time in my writing life, I knew I wasn’t alone.

This group is full of not only valuable tutorials but it is run by people who have been there just like you, their books haven’t sold either and they discuss it, vent and share. This is the wonderful thing about the modern age we live.

There is a section dedicated to book promotion, and so I got to work deciding how I would go about promoting my books. I wanted people to know my product was there so how would I do that?

I was willing to part ways with some money, not a lot mind, say around £50. How would I know my money was being put to use, I consulted the discussion boards where people tell you results and now here I am.

STEP 3- DECIDE 

I put together a short list of promo service providers. Websites and companies who specialize in promoting books via websites and mailing lists. Some of them promised over 10,000 eyes would look over their newsletters alone. I made contact with ones who looked genuine; many of them have a process such as a form making it all the more easier. I will list my results further down.

STEP 4 – IMPLEMENT 

I timed my booked promotions with a view to eventually give the e-book of Open Evening away for free. I enrolled in KDP select for both books and set up dates for them to be free (5 days in a row). (I only intended Open Evening to be free but Darke Blood was also for a time). Everything was organised and so I waited for the promo dates to roll by.

STEP 5 – TRACK SALES AND RESULTS

Book sales began to trickle in. And so here are the results and who I used:

Before books were free: 

Book Doggy – Cost $10 – Book sales – 21 (not bad huh?)

Bargian Booksy – Cost $43 – Book sales – 21 (somewhat pricey compared to above..)

Fiverr – Cost $5 – Book sales – 3 (Probably not worth it again, but lesson learned)

The 5 days my e-books were free:

Bookwerm – Cost $10 – Book sales – 10

And then things went a little crazy, by day 2 I had sold 83 books and then that number kept growing until my final day of being free. Open Evening was downloaded 629 times. We hit number 1 and many post downloads came in after! oe 1

So there it is, Open Evening officially arrived and I was only just touching the surface in terms of promotions. But this is the beginning.

The good thing about kindle is that you can also track pages read, and so here are my results…

people are reading

As you can see people are reading my book. Which is what I wanted from this, just to let people know it exists. When it comes to promotion of books, the job is never done. And there is always someone who has been in your situation.

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Stranger Things 2 : Review

There aren’t many TV shows quite like Stranger Things. I could probably count with one hand the amount of shows with as much binge-a-bility, yep that’s a new word around here. We are in a the golden age of television with multiple Netflix original series spreading their vines amongst the calendar year, no pun intended.

stranger things 2.PNGWhat I will share with you now is the sequel to my Stranger Things review of last year And what exactly do I have to say?  A lot because Season 2 is just as good if not slightly better than the first. There may be spoilers ahead but not many.

So what makes Stranger Things the stand out series of 2017?

The Phenomenal mostly young Cast

Season 1 worked with a particular format and as a stand alone holds up pretty well. But sequels are a fantastic opportunity to expand upon the wealth of wonderful characters, with a cast that matches or even surpasses the likes of Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. Probably the best thing in stranger things is the cast,  but this time around I found very few things wrong with the show at all.

Long gone is the over done; over the top emotion of Winona Ryder. We see her in a more developed role with a concern for her no longer missing son/ partial newcomer Will Byers Will (Noah Schnapp).  For a character who had a handful of scenes last time around he certainly changed the dynamic of ST2 making it different for the better.

Will Byers takes center stage again in all things plot but this time he is present. He becomes one of the top priorities in a rich multi plot narrative driven by the huge range of characters. From the very beginning we are teased by him that something is coming and his time in the upside down had an effect.

David Harbour as Jim Hopper takes the deserved lead. We see his character explore further into himself and the effects of the upside down world that seems to slowly present itself into the real world. There aren’t many television characters as third dimensional as the conflicted but real Hopper with his cigarette smoking, wheel spinning tough love approach to life. All he wants to do is protect his town and not let the past haunt him.

Gone are the spook type secret people or the ‘bad men’ although the shady department of energy lab is still in operation only this time seemingly in more control of their ‘experiment’ with a convincingly shady Dr Owens (Paul Reiser) being at the helm.

He isn’t the only new character in town as Sean Astin appears in true nostalgic Goonies style eventually providing some important input to the group as Bob the Brain. We see a conspiracy theorist investigator type  (Brett Gelman) provide that well known ‘commie’ hysteria of a town where something happened.

stranger things 2 cast.PNGThis wouldn’t be stranger things without the break out character Eleven and Millie Bobby Brown this time stands alone most of the time. Her performance throughout can be best described as award winning, with that power and emotion wrapped in an essence of historic darkness. We are teased that there are more of her types in the world and this is perhaps something further explored in the latter stages of the series.

The most important element of Stranger things 2 is in fact the kids; or the AV club as I like to call them. Lucas, Mike and Dustin who are all on form and not just a trio this time but with Will back in the fold. The AV club are the character glue of Stranger Things and all of them face new challenges alone and together which is all a part of growing up. Newcomer girl Max (Sadie Sink) provides that extra diversity and perspective of an outsider along with testing the group’s integrity.

Eventually they are joined by boyfriend of Nancy , Steve Harrington (Joe Keery)  who exceeds his character from last season complete with best hair do and really comes into his own as the ‘baby sitter’.

The established friendship of Jonathan Byers and Nancy is expanded upon eventually tying into the main plot like all of the familiar faces seen before. And we even get a nod towards the seemingly not cared about Barb from Season 1!

The Story

Let’s face it, you can have all the nostalgia and nods to various 80’s pop culture stuff, but it’s nothing without an original story. And that’s where Stranger Things sets itself aside from other shows. The story, this time around was sharper toward the end but with a slower build to bringing all the elements together.

Characters were deliberately separate making the viewer want to see the reunion and boy did we have to wait, but boy was it worth it.

From the poster you can see breaking out of red sky the big bad looking thing looming, and I must say it looks badass, or ‘bitchin’ shall I say. After spending three of so episodes re introducing the story we are treated with a continuous build all the way to the final episode. It makes for binge worthy watching and even runs like a 9 hour film. I recommend watching more than one in a sitting as scenes continue and overlap episodes. And no this isn’t like Game of Thrones with the constant death, there’s actual story here so if your perception of TV has been ruined by dragons and incest then you may not like Stranger Things.

Last time round we had the iconic light bulb scene and to me it’s what made the series. Season 2 even nods to that and does the same thing in a different way. All of the questions asked in season 1 eventually become answered, and the world isn’t quite what you thought it was.

The nostalgia

Okay I get it, the whole 80’s thing is cool and season 2 expands with the nostalgia. There are nods to basically everything good about 80’s pop culture. We are treated with a Ghost Busters nod and much of the creature stuff is straight out of Alien/Aliens. We see the Goonies and Stand By Me tributed yet again without complaint.

There is cold war/Russian fear which highlights a different time and the music is on point. The original soundtrack will take anyone back to that time and let’s face it the hair styles are in between good, amazing and terrible. If you like watching a car wheel spin away you’re in luck!

The humour

The Duffer Brothers have grabbed at the opportunity to tell yet another riveting, engaging, edge of seat sitting story which keeps you watching to the very end. There were emotional lump in throat moments along with some real laugh out loud lines from a cast of wonderfully gifted performers. I found myslef smiling at the chemistry some of these guys and gals had on screen. This may be the best show on TV right now and it’s all a bit tongue in cheek.

Final Thought

Our return to Hawkins is an expanded coming of age story. It continues right where it left off and even excels in some parts. The universe in which the upside down world has been fully established and makes great old fashioned television, something which has nearly vanished with the mass over produced stuff we see today.

It truly shows that stories can still be told without graphic sexual content or even politics. Yes it can be scary at times, but grow up if you are bothered by that. If those kids can survive the demo gorgon and demo – dogs then you can too.

If you ask me like last time Stranger Things should be known as Better Things!

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Big Book Update 2018

2018 is closing in on the horizon and I find myself asking where did that year go? Time flies when your kicking ass and writing books. But these days blog posts are rare for me due to my procrastination efforts and my philosophy of no news equals no blog.

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Of course I could find something to vent about, like the deteriorating political situation in ‘insert nation here’ or how ‘insert maniacal world leader here’ will get us all into a nuclear war. It’s safe to say I prefer not to debate and voice opinions of such things, I find most news tiresome, especially when most of it is bad, I’m not ignorant, just selective. All bad news aside, I must say 2017 has been incredibly diverse for me in terms of success and writing efforts.

Earlier in the first half of this year we saw the release of my second novel Darke Blood in which sales are still trickling by and even some fresh reviews have made their way in. The feedback overall has been good and my efforts to publish this book have been very much worthwhile.

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Open Evening had further success by reaching Number 1 in its Occult category on amazon and sold over 600 copies in a day (it was free to download at the time!).

Soon after DB’s publication and before I got to work drafting my next next book. I say next next because 2018 is a huge year for me.

 

2018 will see two books of mine grace publication. My back catalogue this time next year will increase to 100%! (that’s just maths…) 

So what are they? Well scrolling down past this post you will see my announcement post for CEMETERY HOUSE; the sequel to Open Evening and also linked to the Darke Blood universe! Exciting huh? Click on the picture below to view the teaser. We are looking at a Halloween release for CH.

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So what’s the other book?

Soon after finishing the inital draft of CH I needed a much needed light hearted break away from horror/thrillers and so I got to work on a comedy novella called, wait for it….

THE TELEPORTER; a super hero comedy type story. I am looking at an early April release date and more importantly over the last week I have been in contact with my awesome book publication team and I can confirm…..

both Satin Publishing and Design for Writers will be on board to publish/edit and create an awesome cover not just for the Teleporter but for Cemetery House also!

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My next step will be to let my loyal readers know official release dates which will turn up sooner than you think! Hashtag creepy wink!