I’ve been promoting books again, or at least one book anyway and so here’s a breakdown of the results, methods and hopefully something a fellow author can use because we all know marketing is hard… let’s dive in…
It’s important to start with some kind of plan or at least something to aim for when it comes to promoting books. For this promotional run, my ghost story novella ‘The Ghost Beside Me’ was going to be free for a few days before and on the day of Halloween via kindle. My aim, to get as many free downloads as possible during that time.
Although this is a great way of generating many downloads, my voice alone isn’t loud enough to tell everyone so I invested in some methods listed below.
Top tip: Promoting a Ghost story over Halloween in theory is a good idea. Some genres work better during different seasons. Another example would be my super hero comedy book which always sells better in summer months (northern hemisphere) as it makes for a beach read. Have you got a Christmas themed story coming up? December is closing in. Timing is important folks…
Strategy – how was I going to do it?
As mentioned I would firstly set the price of my book to free via Kindle Direct Publishing. If your e book is enrolled in Kindle Unlimited they allow you so many days every so often to make that book free for promotional purposes. In terms of target market, because it will be free, we were aiming for everyone – free books are more of a blanket approach in terms of targeting. There are some authors who insist they’ll never make their work available for free – you’ll probably never reach a larger scale audience if you think that way, no matter how special you think that book is…
How exactly was I going to reach as many people as possible?
- Book Promotion websites that offer paid advertising. Websites listed below.
- Via my social media following – 4k twitter followers and 500+ blog followers and 500+ Facebook page followers.
There are many paid and free book promotion sites that do a great job in reaching readers. When running a promo I would recommend using them and in my case I spread them out over the three days the book would be free. This is also a great way of knowing which sites are effective.
Top tip: When paying for anything online make sure you use a reputable payment service such as PayPal. There are also many authors like myself who will share results highlighting who are the better sites so remember to do your research.
As you can see nearly 2000 people downloaded the book across 9 different Amazon territories over the 3 days. Day 2 was the most popular and we even got a number 1 chart position over in the US, so let us look at the methods I used in detail.
Methods in Detail
The following things made this promo a success:
Existing Book Reviews
Let’s face it, getting book reviews is a struggle but the one’s we get help immensely when running a promo as lot’s of traffic will be passing by your book page to see them. If there are just a few reviews that will increase the chances of that book being downloaded. In my case ‘The Ghost Beside Me’ had a healthy number of reviews in both the UK and US markets. This helped.
Book Promo Sites
The engine room of this promo was the sites I invested in to advertise and tell people about the book.
You can near enough pin point which promo sites were effective. Day 1 only got a handful of downloads.
The sites I used for day 1 were:
My Book Place ($25 Feature)
Book Reader Magazine ($10)
I would most likely not use these sites for this type of promotion again. For $35 I expect a little better… lesson learned and recorded for future use…
For Day 2 which yielded the brunt of my results I used the following sites:
Hotstuff Romance Free Friday Promotion ($15)
Book Angel (Free)
Freebookshub .co.uk ($15)
Book Bongo Book Bump ($9.99) 2 Day Promo
E Book Deals Today ($9.99) 2 Day Promo
Freebooksy Paranormal Romance Deal ($99)
From the results we can gather that the Freebooksy deal which was the most expensive and probably did the most work, but combining promo sites is a great way to spread the word. My advice, if you want maximum downloads be prepared to pay for the advertising.
For Day 3 I simply relied on the two day promos alongside a blog post on here and utilizing Shameless Self Promo Saturday over on Twitter. On Day 2 and 3 I also put up a post on the Facebook Page. All of these posts included this book banner.
Top Tip: Get yourself a decent book banner to share your works on. I made this myself via Pixlr but you can get a freelancer to put one together over on Fiverr for a decent price and half the time. Book Promo Banners are an essential visual. Visuals result in sales. The same also goes for a professional looking cover. People do judge books by them…
This is all combined with the fact Day 3 was also Halloween. Here’s what my Twitter post looked like:
Top Tip: When it comes to Twitter, hashtags and getting people to engage are key. You can see on this tweet above I encouraged others to drop links while also providing incentive to Retweet and follow back – incentives and having something to offer are a must for successful engagement.
Factors for Success
So how exactly did I get the results I got?
Firstly I had a plan and an aim – to get as many free downloads.
The book had some existing reviews which helped passers by notice it.
I invested money in advertising.
I implemented and used my social media following with a post that included hashtags and incentive to engage,
It was the right time for a Ghost story promo – Halloween
Book Banners helped for the visual factor along with a professional cover.
Since the promo ‘Ghost’ has already received two new reviews which is a huge result but the results for a good promotional run will last a while after with page reads being tracked via KDP and possibly further sales. Overall for a stand alone short read that has only been out 10 months at the time of promo, I’ very happy with the results. This was my last promo of the year and a good one to finish things with.
My advice for anyone looking to promo their own work is to consider the factors for success listed above and of course combine that with your own expectation as there are so many other factors that help sell books – genre, what’s happening in the news etc. This takes time and patience, if you have those things, you’ll be okay.
If you promote your books a handful of times a year there’s no doubt your readership will eventually grow. Investment is the most important thing and not giving up. Thank you for reading, there is a stack of more useful information for authoring and blogging over on the resources page. That is until next year when the self help book arrives. Peace out!